This Day In History: 02/02

Saturday, February 02, 2002

Today's been a productive day, as far as school work goes. I've allocated this weekend for catching up on work and getting ahead in a few classes so I can devote more time to composing later in the month. I still haven't started on the third movement of my string quartet, even though I'd planned to commence immediately after my last lesson. I think it still hasn't had quite enough gestation time in my head, so anything I might write down now would be stillborn. I think I'll definitely finalize the second movement by tomorrow though, and crank out a score.

As a clarification in my search for a title word, I'm looking for one with less negative connotations; one that says "I don't give a damn" in the context of someone who would be dancing at the end of the world. The word needs to be noun-ifiable so it can classify a group of people, like "the realists" or "the optimists". The overarching title of my string quartet is Outlooks, with the first movement "The Cynics", and the second, "The Optimist". I bet you can see where this is going...

Dr. Wingate tries to sell the board of grant folks on his grant proposal this week, so I've been minorly busy gathering information for that presentation, and cataloguing the interim equipment that arrived at the end of last semester. It also turns out that another professor found out about my lack of full-time duties and wants to add me as a second assistant to his stable. I think there was a miscommunication between him and Dr. Wingate about the permanence and extent of the switch so I'm not sure how things will turn out. If there is disagreement though, that's definitely one area I know better than to take sides in. I just hope the issue doesn't become a proverbial pissing match with myself as the target log.

"I don't know how, with no vibrato, Bach could have so many sons." - Paul Hindemith
"It's a shame he didn't have electricity -- he would have built a bomb." - professor, on the mathematical genius of Bach

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Sunday, February 02, 2003

The problem with "amorphous solid" music is that the lack of a pulse or even a sense of forward drive eliminates the incentive to stay focused on the piece. It becomes easy to slip in and out of conscious attention to the music, and one starting point becomes as good as the next. The phenomenon can almost be compared to movie scores, except that those scores are supposed to function in that way as an ulterior support to something else going on. Of course rhythmic interest isn't the only solution or the surefire solution to combat this, but it's probably the most accessible way to retain the audience.

I think I've heard enough flute and chamber strings now to last me for the rest of the year.

North Korea is down with the thesaurus

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Monday, February 02, 2004

I think today is Groundhog Day. Happy Groundhog Day. Maybe we'll catch and eat one tonight. Surely there are groundhog recipes on allrecipes.com.

I'm going to be working late tonight, but the upside is that I can probably take next Friday off to do home-y type things.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    michelle cao, haydn olio, nefarium, toll booth technician, a pedagogy presentation 3/19/02, erosion fun facts, free uri walkthrough, correct order recapitulation exposition development, do colored light bulbs have any effect on the growth of plants

The state's school superintendent has proposed striking the word evolution from Georgia's science curriculum and replacing it with the phrase "biological changes over time."
The Moon Unit of the new millenium

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

We watched The Forgotten with Julianne Moore this weekend. Though it had a few genuinely startling moments, it was not a spectacular movie. Good for a watch, but not particularly memorable after all is said and done. The DVD also has an alternate ending, half of which is better than the original ending, and half of which is utterly ridiculous.

McDonald's outsources drive-thru
Excuses for Jackson jury duty

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

After ten months of scientifically calibrated poll questions, I have come to some interesting conclusions about the visitors of the URI! Zone. People often answer the biweekly poll which appears twice a week in the sidebar, but the results of each poll are usually added to the archived post without fanfare.

Since most people don't go back to old posts very often, here is a smattering of the philisophical questions I've asked since the Poll debuted last April. I have already sent this information to several mass-marketing firms along with your social security numbers. If they like what they see, I promise I will give you 5% of the profits.

Conclusion: Zone visitors are either married or not planning on it, which is good because they would all have their weddings in the Fall and that's when football is. Zone visitors will be instrumental in reducing the rate of population growth around the world.

Conclusion: Zone visitors have an illogical fear of their ceilings and are afraid that it will fall on them if they slumber while looking up. Visitors like to see me lose my cool and write angry vitriolic posts. BU SMASH!

Conclusion: Zone visitors are very pragmatic down-to-earth folk who don't realize that their office mate has been dead for thirty years and always hitchhikes home at midnight on the night they got shot, leaving behind their jacket in the back seat. 5 of 11 Zone visitors are constantly on the move, evidently evading the law in some capacity. It's likely that those visitors killed their office mate for being annoying.

Conclusion: Zone visitors do not make good drinking buddies, as they will embarass you when someone tells a joke and they bray like a mating donkey. Then they will get up on the bar and do the Electric Slide until the part where they step backwards, falling off the bar and knocking themselves out against a tap. Then you will have to take them to the hospital but you will be incapable of driving because of the drinking, so you will have to throw them over your shoulder and run through the streets of Miami, because that is where you went drinking. What were you thinking?

Conclusion: Zone visitors would suck in the Super Bowl -- they would never score because all they would do is execute lateral passes and not notice that the clock is ticking down and the fourth quarter has been over for twelve minutes and everyone has gone home. Except Kim, who would have written "Fourth quarter ends after fifteen minutes" in her planner and highlighted it in pink. She would already have gone home for hot chocolate, causing the quarterback to get sacked on the blitz.


Conclusion: Chompy would overwhelmingly beat Kirsten Dunst in a popularity contest because the average Zone visitor is an underachieving under-30 visitor rich off of their family strip mining fortune who has nothing better to do than visit my site all day long and play web sudoku. Get a job, slackers.

Conclusion: Zone visitors are highly organized and methodical, but not very flashy in public. They have a low risk of getting assassinated on the street or running for President, so they will live much longer than the average human.

Killer bees join list of hazards of Florida living
But the door-to-door tattoo salesman seemed so trustworthy!
Punching Horse May Land Man in Deep Doodoo

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Fragments

makin' a world of diff'rence since 2005

♣ To capitalize on the success of my new state song (it's a foregone conclusion that mine will be picked since I know a former Mayor), I have also written the marching band arrangement, a crucial piece of any pre-game show (560KB MP3). I am also in talks with Wynton Marsalis to record a series of technically perfect but emotionally uninteresting jazz solos over the chords, to be placed on a CD and sold at Starbucks. At the very least, this should start to build public recognition of my work.

♣ So I don't get added to a list of dissidents, I would like to state that I don't necessarily endorse Northern Virginia seceding from Virginia At Large. However, here is how it should go down if it ever happens: The new state capitol would be Alexandria. We would get the state schools of Virginia Tech, James Madison, and George Mason, part of the Shenandoah Valley for tourism purposes, and all the counties along the Potomac River. We would also keep the name Virginia. South Virginia would get UVA, Virginia Beach, Hampton, King's Dominion, Busch Gardens, the entire Eastern Shore and cockfighting. This is a ridiculously fair trade -- why didn't anyone think of it sooner?

♣ We would also be The Seahorse State because our boundaries kind of look like an anorexic seahorse, if you rotate it twenty degrees counter-clockwise.

♣ Speaking of horses, Harry Potter is now in a play which tells the story of a stable-hand who has an erotic fixation with horses. Harry wants people to stop thinking he's Harry Potter, so he's mixing things up with this role. Actors are always afraid of getting typecast -- if I were one of the Mr. T's or Gary Coleman's of the world, I would milk my one-note wonder for all the money it was worth and then retire at 29.

♣ I've posted this before, but it deserves another mention since it's Friday: Mr T. sings "Treat Your Mother Right". Are you treating your mother right?

♣ Have a great weekend!

Japanese women are "birth-giving machines"
It will make the mud tired. We're killing the mud softly.
That question isn't about hair.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Weekend Wrap-up

I'd originally planned on doing some Costco shopping Saturday morning, to stock up on armoires and giant dog beds, but it was much more relaxing to stay in, stay warm, and stay on the computer. On Saturday evening, we drove to the far-off city of Falls Church for Sushi Night, in celebration of the return of one of Rebecca's friends who had spent the last year in one of the -guay South American countries.

The evening was well attended by both friends and family, with plenty of fried stuff and sake for all. Once everyone had arrived, we took a course in sushi roll preparation from master chef Jessika, who unfortunately would not allow me to make a sushi roll with just a giant stick of cream cheese.

On Sunday, we plotted out the usage of Rebecca's suddenly gained use-or-lose leave. Faced with a six day February vacation, we narrowed her choices down to Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, or Siberia, but it will likely be somewhere inexpensively beachy (it's okay if the beach is a little dirty and has crabs, as long as it's cost-effective).

For the Super Bowl, we went to a couple-y Bowl party in Fairfax (ending my streak of two straight years without watching it). We ate Vocelli's pizza, homemade cupcakes, and bean dip while I imposed my impressive collection of football knowledge upon Rebecca (a sack is when an amorous defensive lineman convinces the opposing quarterback to sleep with him).

The commercials this year were pretty weak, although the Mr. Potato Head spot was chuckle-worthy. Sadly, the spot for the URI! Zone was banned as too racy for primetime.

Hackers crack Texas road sign, zombies ahead
Fannie Mae dodges a logic bomb
Drunken sailors left out of rhyme

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

List Day: 2010 Plans

  • February: This month, we get to learn how to do our taxes as a couple, while spending most of the month quarantined at home behind huge tracts of snow.

  • March: Muse, the band with the brilliantly retarded music videos, performs live at the Patriot Center. We have general admission standing tickets ($55 each). Opening for the group is a band called Silversun Pickups -- I'm unfamiliar with the group and want to get into liking them, but the lead singer's voice sounds like the love child of auto-tune and a castrati alien singing an oratorio, liberally doused in WD-40.

    After the concert, we're off for a week to Puerto Rico (Spanish for "small Rico"), because I now generate 5.39 hours of leave every week, and if I don't hit the button to reset it every so often, the world will implode.

  • April: We will be replacing Rebecca's 1998 Toyota Corolla with a more high-class vehicle that better reflects our extravagant lifestyle -- maybe a Civic.

  • May: We'll start an herb garden so we don't have to buy parsley by the bushel only to watch it go bad.

  • June: We'll take another vacation, this time to the California coast to visit relatives and go on a driving tour that will make us realize that Sterling really isn't so far from Arlington after all.

  • July/August: There are no plans for these months yet, but I imagine they will involve mowing the lawn, getting bitten by forest mosquitoes, and visiting peoples' new babies.

  • September: I turn 31 and likely die. Maybe we should go to the Outer Banks to celebrate?

  • October: Perhaps we'll write a second burger review this month, making our URIviews blog an annual affair.

  • November: As usual, the Month of Thanksgivings is a carb-carrying member of our fattening holiday schedule.

  • December: No plans here either -- even 10 months in advance is a stretch for planning purposes, because all manner of hijinks could have happened in the interim.

What are you looking foward to this year?

Calvin & Hobbes creator looks back with no regrets
Chicken plays chicken on a busy street
Pork better for sex than Viagra

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Stuff In My Drawers Day

Apparently, I also like to smash snails with a cricket bat and wear cast-off costumes from Reading Rainbow.

Being only five years old, I am unable to apply the concepts of perspective to my drawings. I also like to sign my name on every page of this book.

My sister is black, and is also a unicorn.

Our house is actually in Barcelona, which is currently under an air raid alert.

Yellow milk is delicious. Olives are still delicious. I like to sit at the table and expect people to serve me.

Because I attended school in the 80s, it was a very pixelated building. Our school bus was a pickup truck.

Flav's Fried Chicken officially opens
China TV 'substitutes Top Gun for air force footage'
Text message blows up suicide bomber by accident

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Midnight in Paris (PG-13):
In this slightly-fantasy-based movie, a writer visits Paris with his unsympathetic future family and yearns to experience the city as it was at the turn of the century. It was pleasant enough, but if you don't like Owen Wilson, he'll annoy the pants off of you in this role. I don't really understand why this movie is up for a Best Picture Oscar, especially since the soundtrack consists of one song played over and over again. Rebecca liked it much more than I though.

Final Grade: C+

Songs for a Sinking Ship by April Smith:
Another Pandora recommendation, April Smith has a set of peppy rhythmic songs that are very fun to listen to. She has a strong, clear voice that occasionally veers towards beltiness, but is a fresh change of pace to the whispery singers I normally listen to.

Final Grade: B

Malcolm in the Middle, Season Five:
This season actually improved a bit over the fourth season, and didn't feel like an obligatory spin-out for syndication. A new baby is introduced in this season, but doesn't help or hurt the show at all.

Final Grade: B

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors:
This story/puzzle game had an intriguing premise -- you are one of nine people who wake up in the midst of an abductor's crazy game, and have nine hours to solve puzzles and escape. The game has six different endings, each of which fleshes out a different facet of the story. Enjoyment of the game is hindered by massive walls of unskippable text, and the suspense of the story is diminished when characters go off on tangents to tell their favourite (seemingly unrelated) stories for fifteen minutes at a time. Somehow, my first playthrough ended up at the worst possible ending, which reveals absolutely nothing, has no resolution, and ends with TO BE CONTINUED. I started a second playthrough but found that every single tacked-on puzzle has to be redone just to get through the story, and I didn't have the patience to wade through it again, much less five more times. I finally looked up the entire story online, and was glad that I had not invested in a replay -- it had a level of ridiculousness that was not apparent on my first runthrough.

Final Grade: D+

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Monday, February 02, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up

We got out of town this weekend, driving south to see our friends, Sam and Kristen, in the city of Richmond. After seeing their cozy basement apartment, we went to Lunch. for brunch. However, Lunch. was packed, so we ended up next door at Supper! for brunch instead (I had an omelet with grilled bison and mushrooms).

Following a tasting at Ardent Craft Ales, Sam introduced us to the magic of Ubering around the city. We toured the Virginia Museum of Fine Art while they went to the VCU basketball game. The art was artsy, as they had a good selection of both old and new stuff. Rebecca was unimpressed by Art Deco and Art Nouveau, and their Photography exhibit turned out to be a small row of old black and white portraits next to the bathroom. However, admission was free, which always buys plenty of goodwill.

In the evening, we ate Mexican food at En Su Boca, saw a little live music at the Hardywood Park brewery, and then went to The National to see Ingrid Michaelson perform. Her live act matched the quality of her albums, in spite of the drunk sorority girls having loud conversations behind us at the bar. The only downside of the concert was that she only performed for a little over an hour -- this would have been less annoying had Ticketmaster not charged a 40% surcharge for a $20 ticket. We had post-concert appetizers and yet another restaurant somewhere in Richmond and then retired for the night.

On Sunday, we had brunch at Saison Market, walked around Belle Isle where we met a crazy guy who was copyrighting "Indian Rock Sculptures" (extra emphasis on air quotes) he had "discovered" in the brush. I doubt an Indian actually carved that boulder, but it did kind of look like a frog if you turned your head, squinted, and painted a frog on it.

We ended our Richmond adventure at Sugar Shack, where the line was out the door for delicacies such as maple-bacon doughnuts and doughnuts with pieces of fried chicken on top. Afterwards, we made it back to Sterling in record time (1hr 35min), just in time for a small Super Bowl party at the Cranes. We left during the third quarter because responsible people need to get ready for work, but greatly enjoyed the sharks.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Impressions of a New Phone

I've never really seen the point of having a smartphone. I'm on the Internet all day long anyhow, so why would I possibly need a device that puts me back on it when I'm away from my desktop and laptop? Even so, it made sense to finally upgrade because of the discounts I was eligible for through Verizon, who were desperate to get that old equipment off their network. In fact, my monthly cost is now $2 cheaper, and will be $20 cheaper once the phone itself is paid off.

My previous experience with smartphones consisted of sending texts from Rebecca's iPhone on her behalf in the car and then complaining that my fingers were too meaty for the on-screen keyboard and horrible auto-corrections. I chose the Samsung Galaxy S5 because it was Consumer Reports' top pick in 2014, far cheaper than an iPhone, and boasts a pretty rugged exterior for someone like me who drops everything all of the time. I also figured that having an Android device leaves open the possibility that I can make $0.00 per month as an app developer someday in the future, without being locked into the Apple ecosystem.

Activating the phone was painless, and I immediately set to work uninstalling all of Verizon's bloatware apps. I have previous experience in this arena, having bought HP computers for years. One I had slimmed the device down, I set up a custom ringtone from my vast quantity of MP3s (Minor Changes by the Hi-Los) and called it a day.

I'm not a fan of mobile UIs, which unnecessarily restrict the things you can do while providing poor iconography on the things you can do. I also dislike how many different permissions various apps require, although I understand that the next Android update will allow you to selectively turn certain permissions off -- why does Facebook ever need to send a text message? I also started an Instagram account so I can see all of Rebecca's pictures, but am worried that I'll accidentally trigger an unexpected Like or Share as I swipe and grope my way through the UI.

Of the past six days, my new phone has sat on the desk at home pretending to be a landline for four days. I doubt I'll become a phone addict, but will update you all if I ever decide to fully embrace the 21st century and actually keep the phone on my person. You will know it's happened when I become the only person in the world "checking in" on that new hip app, Foursquare.

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Friday, February 02, 2018

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Vexed, Season One:
This is a British show in the mismatched-partner-cop genre. It's pleasant enough and has a few good laughs, but doesn't really have anything unique going for it. Had the first season been any longer than 3 episodes, I probably wouldn't have finished it. I might watch the next season once my queue of good shows runs out again but wouldn't prioritize it. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C+

The Big Sick (R):
I really enjoyed this rom-com movie, mainly because of its realistic, flawed characters and understated drama. It has a good balance of funny and dramatic moments and some great performances (finally something I like Ray Romano in). The feel of this movie is kind of what I hoped for (but didn't receive) from the second season of Master of None. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: A

Stranger Things, Season Two:
I wasn't over the moon about the first season but gave this one a chance. This season takes over five episodes to build up any watchability (Rebecca abandoned it during episode 5) but actually ends up with a pretty decent pay-off in the end (episode 6, 8, and 9 form a really strong climax). Episode 7 is completely unnecessary and should have been broken up into the "C" story across all of the other episodes. Also, the sound mixing is uniformly horrible -- some old people like hearing all of the dialog without having to turn down the sound at every jump-scare. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C+

Stardew Valley:
I picked up this Harvest Moon clone on the Nintendo Switch because it seemed like a game that would be calming fun in short bursts. I should have trusted my judgement from the time I owned Harvest Moon on the GameCube, as I'm really not the right audience for it (see also, JRPGs). The game allows you plant a little farm and tend to it and form friendships with a bunch of villagers which would be perfect if I liked casual gaming. However, I found myself getting bored pretty quickly and the multi-minute save time between each "day" didn't help matters out.

Final Grade: C

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Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Time-lapsed Blogography Day

BU at multiple data points

  • 28 years ago today, on February 2, 1994, I finished preliminary sketches on my Art class project, "Bear Drinking From Waterfall". (JJ Abrams would later steal this idea for his show, LOST). After school, I went to the Burke branch library to get sources for my English paper on Jack London, "London's House Is Falling Down". I was excited that I already had 13 sources to cite.
  • 27 years ago today, on February 2, 1995, we had a half day at school and received our report cards for the 2nd quarter. I received all As and a B+ in physics ("There is no A. You must all work harder!" Dr. Patel exclaimed with his finger shaking at us emphatically). In the evening, I went to Hayfield High School for the sightreading portion of All-District Band. (The concert for this band would ultimately be cancelled for snow).

  • 26 years ago today, on February 2, 1996, All-District Band rehearsals (and the eventual concert) were cancelled for snow -- hopefully someone has learned to not schedule this in the middle of winter in the ensuing quarter century. I stayed home creating multiplayer DOOM II maps and playing LucasArts' underwhelming new game, The Dig.

  • 24 years ago today, on February 2, 1998, I went to my History and Analysis of Musical Styles class (HAMS) and then spent the day beta-testing text adventure games as a way to inspire myself to write my own.

  • 21 years ago today, on February 2, 2001, I attended my opaque math class (Numerical Methods) and a brass master class, then spent the rest of the day editing and printing parts to my latest brass ensemble piece, Vanishing Point. In the evening I watched a long forgotten movie with Anna and Rosie in the Foxridge apartment.

  • 20 years ago today, on February 2, 2002, I hung out at Mike's apartment in Tallahassee and then went to a bar with Mike and Kathy to play pool (this was 6 days before Mike bought his own pool table and crammed it into his tiny apartment). Mike told me that he and Mark had poked around the music department head's office one night and found a sheet with a list of new masters students in order of preference and that I was number one on the list -- on one hand, nice to hear, and on the other hand, just the type of thing Mike might invent to mess with you.

  • 9 years ago today, on February 2, 2013, I went to the Sterling Costco to buy bacon-wrapped tenderloins then did some careful ductwork in the house. Rebecca and I went to a new restaurant, Euro Bistro, for dinner. It was underwhelming, accordion player notwithstanding, and we never returned.

  • 8 years ago today, on February 2, 2014, Booty was sick. We attended a Super Bowl party at David & Sabrina's but only lasted until the 3rd quarter.

  • 4 years ago today, on February 2, 2018, I wrote about convolutional neural networks for work and went to the dentist. Maia was 30 weeks old and rolling places.
  • 2 years ago today, on February 2, 2020, we threw a half-hearted Super Bowl party with the family of Maia's friend, Nolan. We made it until halftime before the kids got tired.

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