This Day In History: 01/26

Saturday, January 26, 2002

I'm slowly working my way through the Finale User's Manual. It's not so much for memorization as it is for knowing where information is and discovering things which can be done that I didn't know of before. The manual has always been comprehensive, but it's written with so many step-by-step instructions that you could use the product for a year without realizing that something is possible.

I've often thought I'd like to write a Finale plug-in, but I've never been able to think of a good task that warrants automation. Most Finale plug-ins fall into two categories: inane music generation tools for the creatively disinclined, and tools that eliminate gruntwork when prettying up a score. If I ever wrote one, it'd be in the latter category, but I probably won't write one anytime soon. Plug-ins must be written in C++, a god-awful programming language at best.

"I know two kinds of audiences only - one coughing, and one not coughing." - Arthur Schnabel

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Sunday, January 26, 2003

Sunday's update is a little early because I spent Saturday evening cleaning up the Domain and wanted to get everything uploaded. The biggest improvement, besides the graphical overhaul, is the implementation of collapsible menus in every area of the Domain. If you've ever complained about having to scroll waistdeep through crap to get to your favourite Photo section, you're now in luck! Each major subsection of each area is now initially collapsed for everyone who gets stressed by the clutter (like me). This is something of a transitory step since the changes I'd really like to make can't be done until I've bought my own webspace. In the meantime, I've done a quick once-over, but if you find any errors or broken images, please let me know by using the mail icon in the upper left corner of this box. Thanks!

For my next project, I plan on rerouting the Swanee River using only HTML and geek-speak. Alternately, I could work on my lesson plans some more.

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Monday, January 26, 2004

With five inches of snow and forecasted ice, I decided to work from home today, as did most of the rest of the office. My home inspection was postponed until Thursday as well.

Booty and Kitty starred in a trilogy this weekend, much like the Lord of the Rings. The fat one must be Sam:

Part I (1.1MB WMV)
Part II (3.4MB WMV)
Part III (4.7MB WMV)

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    marching virginians pictures, orthotolidine, kharbanda stallworthy, picture of a knight in purple armor riding a horse, complete suicide manual, broad beans germination graphs

Breakdancing for the Pope
Fifty Oddball Slides

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Make sure to watch Alias tonight, since next week's show will be preempted by the State of the Union address.

Alias Episode 5 "Welcome to Liberty Village" Tonight: Sydney and Vaughn pose as a married couple in suburbia in order to find a weapon that could set society back to the Dark Ages. They quickly discover that "marriage" is a real strain on their relationship, and the picturesque neighborhood they've infiltrated is not nearly as innocuous as it seems - nor is it in America.

Clay-eating man
FBI probes Boy Scouts
I am the Jew here, I am the boss.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

I came back from the doctor's office with a clean bill of health yesterday. I'm not a viral spawn of destruction and there's no Spanish moss growing in my lungs. The doctor just said that my cough is a leftover throat condition from my cold two weeks ago. She prescribed an over-the-counter cough medicine for the daytime and a narcotic cough suppressant for the night, but I ended up getting neither. I reason that if my only course of action is to wait for the cough to go away, then one medicine is just as good as the next: I'm already using an over-the-counter drug during the day, and if the prescription drug is just to help me sleep better, I can get the same effect with Nyquil. Just in case though, I'm going to be working at home until the cough goes away, since Annoying Coughing Officeman is only slightly lower on the Office Etiquette Chart as Guy Who Makes All His Calls on Speakerphone.

I reaffirmed my dislike of doing new things yesterday, not because new things aren't exciting, but because of the fear that people will make fun of you when you are doing something they have done for years. Enroute to the examination room, there's always a little pagan ritual you go through with the nurse, turning this way, standing on that scale, turning around to get measured and so forth. The nurse, who goes through it twenty times in a day just expects you to know what to do and where to face. The second time through, I'm always fine, but the first time is always anxiety-causing for me. It's just like going to the grocery store and getting an incredulous look from the tomato stacker when you don't know that bacon bits are sold in the spices aisle and not the salad dressing aisle. It's much easier to just give up on looking for them and go without bacon bits for a week or four.

I'm just as guilty when it comes to things in my own comfort zone -- I often call people colourful names on the Toll Road when they suddenly have to merge into or out of the Smart Tag lanes or when they come to a complete halt in the middle of the toll plaza while they search for the full service line. Since I know what goes through my head in those situations, I also know what people were thinking the first time I went to a "leave your tray on the table" fast food joint and wandered around looking for a trash can.

This "everyone should automatically how stuff works" phenomenon applies to tools and gadgets as well. Do you know what all the things in your manicure kit do, or what every contraption on the Swiss Army knife is for? I have toolboxes with eighty billion bits and bolts inside, and the only way I'll ever know when to use one is to look at the job at hand and think, "This looks like it might fit in there".

Dance Dance Revolution to cure fatties in West Virginia
Independent company tries to get interest in Firefly Season 2
Calm down, have sex

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Fragments

the 67th edition, a must-have for collectors

♣ Last night I started moving furniture and books out of the office in preparation for next month's plan to renovate. I'm going to do the usual fresh carpet and paint plan that turned my three bedrooms into "airy bits of heaven on earth". A season of Extreme Makeover: BU's Home Edition is infinitely better than the ABC variety -- who needs Ty Pennington when you have BU with Hammer?

♣ The Hammer is one of the few Zelda set-pieces not present (yet) in the latest Wii edition, Twilight Princess. I'm about halfway through it now and it's definitely classic Zelda -- 50% frustratingly annoying and 50% inspired. For every puzzly "Aha!" moment or "Hey that's pretty swell" concept, there are an equal number of "Collect nine million gnats" minigames and "don't run so fast or you'll jump off the narrow cliff AGAIN" moments. You'd think they would learn what DOESN'T work after eight million sequels, but there's still an annoying helper fairy that giggles in your Wiimote at the frequency of rising bile. The reason Wiimotes are flying through TV screens isn't Wii Baseball -- it's Midna.

♣ My Wii Component Cable finally came in the mail, meaning I can run at 480p instead of 480i (the Wii doesn't support HD but it does offer progressive scan). The difference when you load games is immediately apparent, and textures are crystal clear and sharp with the new cable. It's like the difference between watching a football game stone sober or under the influence of Forty Friday except that the stone sober version is strangely more fun.

♣ It's almost too clear on some games, since you can suddenly see compression artifacts that are usually hidden by the low output of a normal TV. As a visual aid, here is our own Jason Chrisley to show the difference between an image that's only slightly compressed and an image that's fully compressed.

'ey man! When you look on the left side, that's me. That's me in HD lookin' hot, 'cause I got the best TV. That's not coo' on the right side, man, 'cause it's blocky as shee-it! I gotta get me some of that progressive scan -- I look good. Don't I look good? I look good.

♣ For the later generation of URI! Zone readers, Jason Chrisley was a Poh-laski native at Virginia Tech who would entice us out to his parents' lake house property with prime cuts of steak from their franchise of butcher shops and gas stations. We would while away the hours jumping on the trampoline, fishing, or paddle-boating on the lake. Despite the fifteen mile commute from Tech, it was the venue of choice for those long weekday nights when no one wanted to go to class the next day. I made out with a girl in the middle of the winter on the dock surrounded by a full moon and two feet of snow. It was key.

♣ Speaking of keys, Diebold was, up until yesterday, selling keys to unlock their super-duper protected voting machines -- and if you couldn't get a key, you could always take the screenshot and file a key blank down yourself . I plan on mass producing the keys for '08 election so I can win the presidency by a landslide.

♣ Happy Birthday to Bob Shrimp and Jaime Williams on Saturday, and Jack Wilmer on Sunday! Have a great weekend!

Wet the sponge first
A married woman who was having an affair with a fellow skydiver plunged to her death after her love rival and best friend tampered with her parachute.
Welcome to the Biden Talk Show

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Monday, January 26, 2009

List Day: Four Children's Books You've Never Read


An instructional text for young readers, reminding them that everyone occasionally gets constipated -- it's perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Light-hearted pictures illustrate the various ways to combat a backed up drainpipe, from bran muffins to enemas.


Gently normalizes the lifestyle of a single mother and her daughter as they flee from state to state, avoiding unsympathetic judges, and the custody rights of a deadbeat father.


Teaches children how to track down their fathers after a long absence, while steering clear of con artists who look nothing like the real thing.


This picture book describes one child's farewall to our sun as it transitions to a red dwarf star and eventually goes out, abandoning the Earth to eternal darkness and chaos.

The Frigid Fingers Were Live, but the Music Wasn?t
Microsoft Ad and Product Advertised Could Both Conceivably Make You Want to Kill Your Family
Awful Product With Awful Ad Makes Awful Music

tagged as lists, media | permalink | 3 comments

Tuesday, January 26, 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.

Bushwhacking: (adj.) Characterized by living, traveling, or ambushing in the jungle

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This piece is written for percussion, kalimba, marimba, and bassoon. It's my best stab at jungle music, and could be the background music for Shia LaBeouf swinging through the jungle on a vine with monkeys, except that I would only embarrass my music in that way for scads of money and fame.

Chavez blames quake on US weapons
Woman falls into Picasso painting
Plan to buy nonviolent games for son backfires
Where is the best place to put Shia LaBeouf?

Swinging through the jungle with CGI monkeys. (3 votes, 60.0%)


Standing next to a giant CGI robot. (0 votes, 0.0%)

"He belongs in a museum!" (2 votes, 40.0%)


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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Memory Day: Garbage Pail Kids UNO

Back in the late 80s (the ladies), one of several passing fads were the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. These cards were a grotesque parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids, and came bundled in 5-packs with a stick of gum. The characters on the cards had punniful names, and to increase the need to buy additional cards, every picture was printed with one of two possible names.

Collecting trading cards is annoying, except when your parents buy everything in bulk quantities. I was never able to complete the 100 card set for The Dark Crystal, since we only purchased them in 7-Elevens, but when it came to Garbage Pail Kids, we got twenty packs in a single afternoon and immediately ate all of the gum.

Of course, the problem with circumventing the society rules on collectibles, is that there's nothing to look forward to when you have a complete set, and you end up with a ton of multiples on the least rare of the cards. The obvious solution, is to invent some sort of alternate game to play with the cards instead. In our case, it was UNO.

The rules for GPK UNO were about as simple as you might expect for a game invented by nine-year-olds. The color of the background behind the character names became the UNO suit and playing a card with the same picture but an alternate name allowed you to Skip and Reverse. The horizontally-oriented cards became the Draw Twos and Draw Fours, with Tongue-Tied Tim and his counterpart as the scariest cards in the deck.

The games worked out surprisingly well, considering that we had a deck of 200 random cards and no professional background in game making. No doubt, this paved the way for my future game ideas of Clue and Island of the Blue Dolphins.

What sort of games did you invent as a child?

Cold jumping Arctic 'fence'
Law firm contends that Taco Bell doesn't use beef
Norweigan boy fends off wolves with Creed

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in this review.

Taller Children by Elizabeth and the Catapult:
This short album is a collection of lighter songs. The lead singer reminds me of a KT Tunstall with an American accent. The song Race You was driving me crazy with familiarity until I realized that it had been featured in an adult diaper commercial a few years back. The up-tempo songs are a little better than the slow ones -- ballads are universally boring though.

Final Grade: B+

Super 8:
You can tell when people were born by seeing if they think this movie is about a motel. This J.J. Abrams feature is a lovingly-crafted E.T. for a new generation. It feels just like something Spielburg might have created, but with better special effects. I enjoyed it more than expected.

Final Grade: B

Community, Season One:
Community is a laugh-trackless comedy about a Spanish study group at a community college. The characters and situations are intentionally one-dimensional, and in fact, many episodes are written solely to skewer common TV tropes. There's plenty of less-meta humor as well, and the DVDs are packed with extras and outtakes. We blew through this season in about two weeks and thoroughly enjoyed everything but the annoying presence of Chevy Chase.

Final Grade: A

Malcolm in the Middle, Season Four:
A mostly forgettable, but enjoyable midseries season. Having exhausted all comedic possibilities for Francis, the writers keep him around on a dude ranch rather than just letting the character fade out of the show (a la Doug from Weeds). This is a good show to watch while applying that third coat of paint to a stubborn railing that continues to absorb all of the color.

Final Grade: B-

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday night, Rebecca hosted a winter potluck event for all of her coworkers, a surprising number (nearly 15) of whom showed up. We reoriented the basement for darts, eating, and pool and ate everyone else's food.

On Saturday morning, we got new tires put onto the 2010 Civic, and then laid around for the rest of the day. Rebecca went out for Amanda's birthday party in the evening, while I stayed home and played The Talos Principle -- I have been on antibiotics since Thursday to get rid of this lingering flu cough and would not have been much social fun.

On Sunday, we finally took down our Christmas tree and then took an afternoon jaunt up to Leesburg, where we had a pint at Crooked Run Brewery, and then ate Mexican food at Los Tios. We decided that it's very hard to objectively assess non-seafood-based Mexican food -- it's either good enough or really bad, but after a certain low threshold of "good", it all tastes the same.

How was your weekend?

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Game Day: 10 Beginner Tips for Fallout 4

  1. Hold down TAB to turn on a flashlight. It's the color of your PIP-Boy text, so make your PIP-Boy bright white in the settings to get the brightest flashlight.

  2. I only have 4 must-have game mods right now: Better Item Sorting and Better Weapon / Armor Sorting (which add some prefix / suffix logic to the atrocious inventory pages), Better Map with Visible Roads (to increase the overland map usefulness from 20% to about 24%), and No Dot Dot Dot (which stops truncating item names in the UI and shrinks the font so you can see the whole name at once). I use the Nexus Mod Manager (also used in Skyrim) to download and keep them updated.

  3. If you need a scrap component to craft something, you can use the "Tag for Search" feature. This will make a little magnifying glass icon appear next to anything in the world with that component. I tend to keep copper, oil, screws, gears, and circuitry tagged all of the time.

  4. Tapping your action key will skip through the long typing introduction on Hacking terminals.

  5. When trying to get walls and floors to line up in Settlement Building mode, scrolling the mouse wheel will move the item further or closer to you.

  6. You can equip your followers and settlers with items by trading with them. An extra option will appear for equipping vs. just carrying.

  7. The Armorer and Gun Nut perks aren't critical, even if you want to improve your gear. Instead, find armor in the wild that has the right mods and remove them at your Workshop. Then, you can re-attach them to your own gear without needing the perks.

  8. The Local Leader perk is really only worth it if you are obsessed with settlement building. If you don't mind having just one settlement, put those extra Charisma points elsewhere -- settlements are fun but get tedious within the limitations of the system, and the game's dialogue options aren't good enough to warrant a high Charisma value.

  9. Here is a printable checklist of collectible magazines and bobbleheads I modified from other Internet sources to eliminate spoilers. While I don't actively use it to seek out collectibles, I do like to double-check the list after I've cleared a location to make sure I don't have to come back later. Some items require progress in main story quests, so if you haven't found the items yet, check if there's a non-functioning elevator or door that suggests that you need to return later during a quest.

  10. Here is my current build, set up for a more shoot-y experience. I travel without companions, sneak around sniping things with a legendary hunting rifle that has a fast reload rate, and then use my plasma-infused 10mm with VATS for up-close combat.

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Maia Week #29 Battle Report

Maia is now 6.67397 months old and an average of 15.4 pounds. Meanwhile, her dad is 38.361644 years old and 130 pounds and not nearly as crowd-pleasing. Maia continues to be a generally happy baby with an easy-to-elicit smile, and it's almost impossible to get a candid shot of her where she's not noticing the camera. This should satisfy my dad, who hates candid shots and trained all of my sister's kids to look at the camera on command by the age of 3.

Individual days are getting easier now as Maia can sit and self-play for longer than before, and we have a larger variety of settings and activities to rotate through between naps. We've also started doing a one hour enforced nap around lunchtime in addition to one in the evening, and that's working about 50% of the time (up from 0% in the first week of trying). She's not crawling or doing much rolling (except to roll out of the hated tummy time) but she excels at Sit and Reach and continues to clap for the most mundane reasons.

Maia continues to eat things that aren't milk, like beef, wheat cereal, and peanut butter, but her overall appetite has decreased recently. I dislike feeding her pureed meats because of the disgusting powdery consistency that is nothing like a delicious steak, so we blend it up with a metric ton of pureed apple or maybe a block of lentils -- it's like playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild in real life. She also likes sucking on cold coke cans (wiped down in advance, of course).

By this point, we're fully detached from charts and graphs, and I personally haven't glanced at a week-to-week milestone book since about week 20. There's a Wonder Week coming up at Week 37 but I have no idea what will happen then -- probably webbed wings or a fascination with anime. It's fun to watch her grow into her skin over time, and she's definitely looking more like a little person every day!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken a decade ago, on January 21, 2012.

Two company names ago and long before the extravagant club and casino settings of the present, my company had their holiday party in a conference hall at the Dulles Hilton.

I actually brought the horse from home (though I didn't ride it to get there), since it was languishing in the basement as a prop from my 2010 Halloween costume, Old Spice Guy. The horse still lives with us (Maia calls it "Spotty") but has finally run out of neigh batteries.

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