This Day In History: 01/25

Friday, January 25, 2002

We went and saw A Beautiful Mind the other night, wich turned out to be a really well-done movie. It stumbled into "feel-good" mode right at the end, but the rest of the movie was rendered extremely effectively. I haven't seen many movies since last summer, but there really haven't been many worth seeing. At some point I'll have to see Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, just because of all the hype. I also want to catch Final Fantasy sometime, just for the technical aspects of it.

I finally finished printing out the Finale manual yesterday -- it now resides in a pair of two inch binders on my shelf. I'm also about two hundred pages into Peril's Gate, which is just as good as I expected it to be.

American Taliban John Walker is going through the justice systems back in my hometown this week. I love how smoothly the search for Osama bin Laden became an excuse to eliminate an unpopular regime. As news reports continue to paint the Taliban as the opposition, it seems like more Americans equate beating them with retaliating for September 11. The mindset seems to be that "we've won because we beat the Taliban", and the original foe seems to have become a secondary concern.

"Wagner has lovely moments but awful quarters of an hour." - G. Rossini

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Saturday, January 25, 2003

My thesis defense has been set now -- it will be March 3, 2003 at 3:30 PM. I went for a four person committee (Clendinning, Kubik, Spencer, Wingate) since I didn't realize at the time that a three-person committee was viable. Now that my preliminary draft is bound (courtesy of Mike's Binding) and submitted, the committee has two weeks to review it and offer suggestions. Then I make a final copy and wade through paperwork to announce the defense to the university.

There's an article about the post-Super-Bowl episode of Alias up at salon.com. You can read the entire thing by opting to watch a 15-second ad for Mercedes-Benz:

    Nobody really understands why "Alias" is not a ratings smash. Critics love it, fans are obsessed with it, ABC is behind it and star Jennifer Garner has had more magazine covers than she's had hot meals. So what, exactly, is the problem?

    The only explanation -- and the brain trust's current thinking -- is that the plot is too confusing. And it is. It is staunchly, proudly and maddeningly impossible to follow. You can't just drop in and out of "Alias." You have to account for your whereabouts. "Alias" demands loyalty, devotion and the ability to keep even the most Byzantine convolutions straight. And once you get into it, you really want to.

    [...] 9.3 million viewers aren't enough, so as of Sunday, after the Super Bowl, a new, revamped "Alias" hits the airwaves. Weekly cliffhangers will disappear and new episodes will be more self-contained, requiring less knowledge of the previous week's episode. - Salon.com

I have Chapstick again. Medicated.

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Sunday, January 25, 2004

I rarely, if ever, have anything useful to say on Sundays. Today I sorted through all my old files on the computer and did a full backup on about twelve CDs. Then, I fought crime in a jumpsuit.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    how high penguins can jump, cooking with god, fudge said the judge

Alternate Ending: Home Alone 3
Recruited senior shows he is a winner
Effective debate skills
Good thing it tastes good

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Absolutely nothing newsworthy has occurred since my update yesterday. I hope you're all working prodigiously on your Name That Tune entries.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm pretty lackadaisical when it comes to my health, as evidenced by the fact that my dentist visits that occur less often than the Summer Olympics. When I'm legitimately sick, I actually stay home from work and recuperate rather than become a walking Asian of Contagion in the office and I'm considerate enough to not hang around my friends when I should be quarantined (though I bet they have all caught my infectious zeal for life! LOL!). In my super-immuno mindset, anything that can't be cured with lots of fluids and bed rest will naturally go away when it's run its course, so I only go to doctors when absolutely necessary.

For example, I had planned to get my wisdom teeth removed this month -- it's been on my short list of things to do since October when Kim's mouth exploded into a festival of fun and she had to get emergency surgery on her wisdom teeth. However, the month's end is approaching rapidly and all my teeth are still in my mouth. The only reason for this is inertia: my company switched health insurance providers for 2006 and the amount of effort it would take to set up with a new oral surgeon is a tragically insurmountable obstacle.

Now, I've had this Cough of Annoyance for two and a half weeks (it's got a +3 to being annoying, and is more effective at night). During the day it's just a plain old cough, but at night its tickly nature makes me cough on a loop, like I'm the backup track for K-Fed's next hit single. Every day that I'm about to call the new doctor to set up an appointment, it goes away just long enough to seem like it's coming to an end. Last night, I tried a few home remedies (like dancing naked in a field at midnight) and made myself a mug of hot tea with honey. In my zest to mix the honey in though, I broke open the teabag with the stirring spoon, and tea grounds spilled out into the bottom of the mug. Of course, I did not realize this until I had started draining the dregs and ended up with tiny lumps of tea in my throat, which were easily more ticklish than my cough. Needless to say, that remedy did not help me get to sleep any faster. The throat gnomes are going to be mining tea out of my esophagus for weeks to come.

Today, I feel fine and don't think I'm infectious (and I've been careful to wash my hands like a Hefner and not blow my nose in anyone's Cheerios), but there's a slight lethargy to my being. I feel like I'm just one step out of phase with my surroundings, but I don't think I'm having an out-of-body experience or anything like that. I'm going to call the doctor this morning just to make sure I didn't catch Dutch Elm Disease or anything. I will let Anna know if she needs to burn the couch I sat on last night once I get checked up.

Alternately, I could be a ghost and you could be getting this news update from beyond the grave. In that case, woooooooooooooo.

"Everybody Hates Gilmore Girls"
Salamander man strikes again
Left without a leg to stand on...

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Review Day -- Wario Ware: Smooth Moves

Overview
This is, without a doubt, the craziest game I have ever played. Sure, Milon's Secret Castle had a boy in pajamas with an umbrella shooting bubbles at dragons, and Freddy Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist required you to collect a horse's fart in a paper bag, but neither one can hold a candle to the latest game in the Wario Ware series. The developers were obviously in an altered state of mind when they created this.

Gameplay
By now, everyone is familiar with the concept of the "mini-game", a small simple contest that forms the basis for games like Mario Party, or add optional fun things to do in games like Zelda. Wario Ware takes this concept one step further by introducing "micro-games". Every micro-game lasts five seconds or less, and generally involves a very simple combination of timing and movement. The game is played with the main Wii Remote (although you can unlock some extra games that use the Nunchuck attachment at the end), and every micro-game requires you to hold the Remote in a different way. The goals are varied: you might be hitting a white guy with a baseball bat in one game and putting an alarm clock through a cheese grater in the next.

In Story Mode, all of the forms are taught through a series of nonsensical storylines about discoing cats and cheerleaders. Micro-games are thrown at you with progressive difficulty and speed until you reach a final boss level which requires you to master the latest form. Because words don't do it justice, I've included a gameplay video so you can see exactly how a thirteen-level story might play out. The second video is the cinematic that shows when you successfully beat the Story of Jimmy P:

Gameplay Video (3 MB WMV)
Story Mode Cinematic: Jimmy P and the Disco Cats (5 MB WMV)

Once you've beating the Story Mode (and it won't take longer than a couple hours), you unlock a hot-seat multiplayer mode, several standalone mini-games, and Endless Mode, where you replay a Story and the pace gets faster and faster until you collapse in a heap on the floor. New micro-games appear from time to time, and the goals increase in difficulty as well.

Graphics and Sound
Sometimes the graphics are crap, but it's intentional. The hyperkinetic pastiche of doodles, 3D renderings, and clip art are part of what gives this game its tone. The music and sound are perfect.

Fun Factor / Replayability
The Story Mode game is over very quickly, but its purpose is really just to show you how to play. The real replayability comes in Endless Mode or Multiplayer Mode. Because the moves are so easy and so ridiculous, this is a game you can pick up for a few minutes at a time. It's also simple enough that anyone can jump right in, even if they don't know how to play. The instructions for every micro-game are always one or two words, and the motions are almost always intuitive. Occasionally you'll run into problems where the Remote moves out of the detection field of your TV and you'll lose a game trying to make it reappear, but this is a problem with the Wii control system in general, and not this specific game.

Bottom Line
Definitely worth the $50 price tag, even moreso if you entertain a lot. Even just a rental to get through Story Mode will make for a very enjoyable afternoon. I tend to cringe when movie and book reviews call something "hilarious" (especially when the ad copy is written by the same company that made the movie) because humour is so subjective. In this case, I can honestly say that I found this game to be both fun and hilarious.

A perfect heist gone wrong
New fame for the putting parakeet
Juror sips vodka throughout trial

tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 5 comments

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Fragments

because even some crappy half-assed sentences are more exciting than work on a Friday.

♠ Congratulations to my Mom, who has now won three of the four Caption Contests on this site. She wins a $10 gift certificate for her efforts, easily outscoring all the other permutations of Mr. Ed and Tony Shaloub. Entries were also submitted by Mike (of Mike and Chompy), Jaood, Rebecca, and myself.

♠ With Mom winning all the Caption Contests and Kathy winning all the Name-That-Tune Contests, I may have to invent some new contest types that skew differently. Some possible ideas: Spot the PHP Syntax Error, Name all the Pokemon, Organize the Pregnancy Symptoms by Week, or Name that Tuba Soloist.

♠ Alternately I can start a Fantasy Draft for baby wrestling, and pit everyone's progeny against each other like I said I would long ago. I think Philip's baby, Madison, would win, because she's probably wiry and scrappy like her daddy. P.S. Philip, Anna says that you need to bombard everyone with more Madison pictures.

♠ Putting my money where my mouth is, here is a baby picture of BU. Any resemblence to Kuato from Total Recall is mere coincidence.

Total Recall is one of those movies I used to watch all the time, but I haven't seen it in years. We DID watch Amélie again last night -- it's a very fun movie and I could actually understand about 40% of the French without the subtitles, probably from my recent bouts of listening the the French Pop station on XM (102: Sur la route).

♠ We also went to the Beach Shack for dinner last night (though we didn't take the outdoor seating). The Beach Shack is a little restaurant in Falls Church with seafood, a (sand)bar, and a beach motif. I have the buffalo-style shrimp because I was intrigued as to whether it would be any good. It WAS good, but my final opinion is that the buffalo sauce was wasted on the shrimp, since shrimp is already so flavourful. From now on, I'll leave the buffalo to the chicken and have plain shrimp for the lickin'.

♠ I'm not liking lichen lickin' though -- I'll leave that for the caribou.

♠ I've never had coffee at Caribou Coffee, but if they merged with a Japanese restaurant chain, they could become Caribuki and serve sushi with the lattes.

♠ Today is Amanda's birthday and also Rebecca's last day at her job! Have a great weekend everyone!

For Sale: Horse -- TASTY EATING
Undercover dwarves steal from Swedes
Law and Order: The Home Game

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

Friday was a low-key night -- I ate leftovers of slow-cooked beef seasoned with thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and Shiraz, and started watching the sixth season of 24 again (after a two year hiatus from lack of interest) while trying to sit down with the Ruby programming language.

On Saturday night, we went to the Sheraton Premiere in Tyson's Corner for the 2009 FGM Holiday Party, which seems to get progressively later every year. I'm guessing that it will have a Valentine's theme within the decade. We did not win the "ugliest sweater" contest (because you have to wear a sweater to enter), but noticed a high number of folks risking confusion and possible ridicule by wearing a sweater without any intention of entering. We did, however, win an iPod clock/radio docking station (MSRP $99) which, given our lack of any i-themed devices in the house besides our iCebox, was destined to live out its days as a very expensive FM radio.

On Sunday, we simultaneously stimulated the economy and fulfilled the Destiny of the Docking Station by going to Costco and purchasing an 8GB iPod Nano, which is pretty sleekly designed, even if the video camera on the back seems like unnecessary feature bloat.

Following an afternoon spent dicking around with new gadgets, we picked up some moderately good Mexican take-out and visited Chris and Kathy, where we played a nerd game that involved building a railroad across pre-World-War Europe. I'm presuming that I won, since the scoring markers only went up to 100, and I was the only one that stayed below 100 with no overflow arithmetic errors.

Slime mold grows network just like Tokyo rail system
Burger King to open Whopper Bar in Miami
Homeless-chic unveiled at fashion show

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stuff In My Drawers Day

I'm still having issues getting Finale 2011 to work under Windows 7, so the sodium substitute for today's Museday Tuesday feature is this complete set of recital posters from Kelley and Shac's Sophomore Trumpet Recital. These posters were made in the early days of my self-taught Photoshopping, which meant that the bulk of the effects were the result of eighty abused filters and painstaking cut-outs of layers in the pre-carpal tunnel days before I knew what a Mask was.

And just when you thought that a recital, especially a sophomore recital, couldn't get any more douchey...

Alien Hand Syndrome sees woman attacked by her own hand
Next on the drawing board? A similar app that allows women to report sightings of handsome men.
Court confiscates 3 tons of mammoth tusks

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken in the late 80s, probably on one of many Sunday afternoon trips in search of more Civil War battlefields we had not yet Foursquared. Back then, there was no Target, no Walmart, and no four-lane highway floating majestically fifty yards above dry farmland.

Along with my stylish sweater that lasted through seventh grade, I'm wearing a giant Mickey Mouse analog watch. Mickey's hands moved around the dial to report the time until an unfortunate collision with the pavement during recess. After that, it was waterproof digital Casio's forever.

5 online petitions that prove democracy is broken
An Evening with Dr. Demento

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Wedding Day

I'm busy grooming Evil Mike for marriage all day!

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

With plenty of advance warning, we lived through the most recent blizzard (dubbed with the awful name, Snowzilla, which sounds like a white theme for Firefox) in relative luxury. On Friday, I worked from home on proposal stuff while Rebecca went to work on a pre-determined half day with a company party at Texas de Brazil at midday. Snow was already coming down by 2 PM here, and I had a big pot of 3-bean chili going in the slow cooker for dinner. We watched Empire Strikes Back and then devoured our chili.

On Saturday we did a preemptive shoveling attempt, but it had minimal effect. The picture above was taking around 3 PM, just before the storm amped up yet again to drop another foot. Saturday dinner was more chili, a giant batch of chocolate-walnut cookies we had baked, and the movie, The Martian which didn't suck.

By Sunday morning, we had gotten up to about 29 inches. We, and the rest of our neighborhood, dug out in the morning, although a portion of the cross street that we use to exit the court had been designated as a dumping ground for snow from the main road. We haven't seen a plow yet, although a neighbor further down the court did an obligatory drive through that barely helped. We chatted with our neighbors (annual effort) and learned that the house two doors down from us had become an addiction halfway house several months back, which is why we see an ambulance there every other week.

In the evening, we went for a walk around the neighborhood. Main streets within a quarter mile looked somewhat good, but getting there would be a huge problem. Luckily, Rebecca's job cancelled today, and my own can be done from anywhere with Wi-Fi (thanks, technology career!) We finished the night off with buffalo-infused meatballs, and Everest, which also did not suck.

Are you alive?

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 25 years ago, in December 1992.

I'm a freshman, posing with my classy lacquered Conn cornet with the Shepherd's Crook. Around my neck is an ankh, which came with the computer game, Ultima 4 and replaced the 1" shark's tooth I found at Calvert Cliffs (which eventually wore away to nothing after being worn around my neck for years).

Though we look like a musical family, we rarely played anything together, other than endless Christmas carol sessions coordinated by my dad so he could improve on his tuba.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, January 25, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Parking Lot Symphony by Trombone Shorty:
Trombone Shorty continues to move towards more crowd-pleasing accompanied vocals. It's perfectly fine, but the genre is already oversaturated with similar music -- I prefer his first two albums with more unique instrumental New Orleans funk.

Final Grade: C+

x Infinity by Watksy:
A few good hooks mixed in with some overly artistic songs makes this album hit-or-miss. Nowhere near as good as Cardboard Castles.

Final Grade: B-

Barry, Season One:
This HBO show about a hitman who discovers new meaning in life by becoming an actor in LA is much better than the elevator pitch would suggest. The show finds a perfect balance of actor humor, pathos, and extreme violence, and leaves you wanting more (the 8 episode season is over way too quickly).

Final Grade: A

The Witness:
This highly-rated puzzle game turned out to be an overhyped exploration of a pretty, sterile environment filled with line doodle puzzles more appropriate for a mobile game. After a half-hour of game time, it had not given me any incentive to keep playing. I should have trusted my instincts, having also disliked the game, Braid, by the same author.

Final Grade: Not Rated

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Monday, January 25, 2021

Game Day

On Saturday night, Maia played and completed an entire game of Tokaido (Ages 8+) with Rebecca and me.

This is one of the games that she watches Rebecca play online on Board Game Arena and apparently all of those lessons stuck. Not only did she make logical strategic choices in the game, she also explained why she made different moves as she played.

Not bad for three and a half!

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