This Day In History: 02/04

Monday, February 04, 2002

Everything's going well in the trumpet department. Since I don't really have a set agenda anymore, I've just been trying to maintain and improve by working up a variety of works I did as an undergrad. Recently, I've been working on the Flor Peeters and Halsey-Stevens sonatas, as well as the two Brandt Concertpieces and Gottlieb's Theme and Variations. If all goes well, I'm hoping to perform Badinage on a Composers' Concert on March 21.

Today in Pedagogy, we had a student presentation which culminated in the student admitting that they didn't really understand the author's definitions (which were the core of the presentation) and then laughing it off. I can only hope that mine will go so well.

Last night's Super Bowl had a pretty lackluster collection of new commercials. However, the constant repetition of mLife commercials reminded me of the game two or three years ago, where every new dot com company in America had some sort of ad (and then promptly went bankrupt).

"He makes me sad because he is really a cultured, agreeable man and yet composes so very badly." - F. Mendelssohn on Hector Berlioz

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Tuesday, February 04, 2003

I finished editing the parts for my string quartet, and it's ready for submission to the nebulous ill-defined quartet competition that they have here every year. I still think legal-sized paper is goofy-looking, although it makes for some nice page turns.

The basketballers lost to Craven Moorehead, 59-39 last night. We're obviously improving, since our last matchup with them had a pretty score of 47-15.

There's a Tallahassee Winds concert tonight at 7:30. You should go -- I hear they're giving away free food at intermission.

Crazy Michael Jackson in the spotlight Thursday
Bush kills library, then proclaims Library Appreciation Month

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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

As most people probably know by now, Bush is interested in establishing a moon colony to facilitate the exploration of deep space . Over the next five years, he'd like to redirect $12 billion dollars towards ensuring that the next round of moon landing photos are less fake than the previous ones . Insider sources suggest that half of that amount is earmarked for licensing stock planetary footage from recent space documentaries, such as Independence Day and Third Rock from the Sun.

Ignoring, for a moment, the fact that NASA spends $86 billion dollars a year to launch broken things into space (or launch things into space and break them) and to take pictures of microscopic dirt , and that the proposed budget for next year looks like there will again be huge deficits when Bush merges arts education and prisons into a single program (under the tagline "Compulsory Practica Musica") , this really doesn't seem like a cost-effective move right now. Although I'm sure we'll get wonderful innovations in daily life as a result (such as pens that write upside down, Hungry Man dinners, and Men in Black III), this program is just a mismanagement of catastrophic proportions waiting to happen. How does one justify the spending of so much money on a program which is experimental at best when other programs are hurting for money within the borders of our own country?

If I were an outgoing President, I'd rather be known as a President who started and ended a war, rather than a President who started a war and fled to Mars. Actually, if I were President, we wouldn't have gone to war. As an aside, it's interesting that the War on Iraq is now a War on Terrorism, despite continued affirmations that Iraq and al Qaeda were not linked. No doubt, this is one more of Bush's mispronunciations of the word "Iraq" -- his Texan twang doubled the number of syllables.

I suppose though, that if Cheney's company is allowed to steal $27 million dollars for Hungry Man dinners with the excuse, "It's difficult to determine how many people will be at the dinner table in the middle of a war zone and the number must be based on estimates." , I shouldn't begrudge NASA its piece of the pie.

    Q: Do you think there will be life on Mars?
    A: Well, maybe if I land on a Saturday night. Otherwise I am going to bring a book. (2MB, MP3)

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    pictures of sir lancelot du lake, the theory of lengthwise rolling, suicide "punishable by death" england, radish plant growth chart for thirty days 30, saxophones sound like, "reflective circles", common goldfish new born - 5 years old

The stupidest year of Super Bowl ads in recent history
"Right Breast stole my thunder"

tagged as newsday, mock mock, politics | permalink | 9 comments

Friday, February 04, 2005

I got two more people addicted to Alias. Apparently Rosie & Jason bought the first three seasons discounted on eBay from Hong Kong and watched the entire first season in just eight days.

Not much planned for the weekend -- just a little work and a little shopping. I need some new shoes pretty soon now, since the ones I got before moving to Florida are almost torn apart now.

White House-friendly reporter under scrutiny
Wanted: Crimes for Vigilantes to Avenge
Hide your iPod, here comes Bill
Crazy Frog goes uncensored

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Europe Day

an occasional post about finding the way to Europe

In the previous post, we had just purchased the Eurail pass for unlimited train travel in France and Spain. The next step: make lists of fun things to see in each city and then pare them down to fit comfortably in the two and a half week period. For this task, we relied on guidebooks from the local library and the wise advice from world-traveler Paige, who has written plenty of London/Barcelona posts on her blog .

We had good success with the Rick Steves guide books, because although he had different interests than us (and a strange fascination with ice cream shops), he laid out the information very concisely and exhaustively cross-referenced. As long as you can stomach the constant advertisements for the Rick Steves empire (buy this sleeping bag on ricksteves.com! Don't forget to read Rick Steves' Guide to Airline Lavatories in Latvia!) it's a good high-level resource.

Paige also recommends his maps, saying that they're accurate and detailed. I haven't experienced this myself, but I've written a letter to Mr. Steves, asking him to map out my neighbourhood. If he correctly identifies the high points like the ABC store and Big Lots, I'll have confidence in his mapmaking abilities.

Great Britain

Everyone says that London is pretty expensive, so we started with a list of free or cheap sites like the British Museum, Cartoon Museum, and various churches. We also want to have some pints of Guinness, stroll through markets, and see some live music, using the money we save from tourist attractions. Personally, if I'm going to blow twenty pounds on a vacation, I'd rather it be on a delicious meal than looking at a painting that's only famous because it's old. We opted not to get the London Pass because so many attractions are already free, but will be getting all-you-can-eat Tube pass for unlimited subway travel while we're there.

Paris

In Paris, we started from the list on the Paris Museum Pass, but ultimately determined that it wouldn't be cost effective (especially since it's only sold in increments of even numbers of days). Among the sites we plan to see: the churches and chapels on the Ile de la Cité, St. Germain du Prix, the Rodin museum, the Sewers tour, the Catacombs, the Eiffel Tower of course, and a stroll down the Champs-Elysée. Communication will be my responsibility here, so we'll be ordering lots of Orangina (une orangina) and Coke (un coca).

French Countryside

It was much harder to chose places outside of Paris to visit that were still sort of on the way to Barcelona. We liked the sound of Colmar and Mont St. Michel, but both were too far off the trail. Nice and the surrounding areas sounded too modern and touristy. After much deliberation, we settled on three hotspots: the palace at Versailles, the castle at Carcassonne, and the quiet(er) beach town of Collioure.

Based upon this wishlist of sites, we plotted out three full days in London and three in Paris, with the remaining eight days to be divvied up between places in France and Barcelona. With a date in mind, we purchased tickets for the high speed train between London and Paris, getting a major discount because we had Eurail tickets (we had expected $200 per person according to initial information online, but it turned out to be $200 total for both of us).

The next step will be to create a similar list for Barcelona, and then start on things like reservations and restaurants! Rebecca is leaving the country for a month this weekend, so I'll spend the time while she's gone compiling all our random sheafs of notes into neat, organized lists (using the Technical font) with anal bullets.

No trip is complete without anal bullets.

Going out of your way to contest a traffic ticket
Diplomatic stink over finger in butt
Last wave for golden frog

tagged as travel | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Memory Day: High School Music Theory

When I looked through my old journals for thoughts on the music theory class I took in my senior year, I noticed that I generally wrote one of four single sentences throughout the year: theory was boring, theory was dull, we had a sub in theory and did nothing, or theory was a video. The reason it was so boring was likely the wide range of personalities in the class -- like all public school classes without the TOR (Talented or Rich) label, more time was spent on the remedial cases than the kids who actually cared.

Music Theory at the high school level is an introduction into the grammar of music -- if music was English, Music Fundamentals would teach the letters and words, Theory would teach how to make a complete sentence, and your Composition Instructor would teach you that complete sentences are stupid and you should write like James Joyce to truly be artistic. The problem with having a Theory class with no prerequisites in high school is that you'll end up with students that can't even read music.

Our merry Theory class had six students. On one side of the room sat Boris, who was a goth/emo hybrid before either was fashionable and never turned in a homework assignment, Dustin, who wanted to learn how to write punk music, and Kelley, who had to be taught what a half note was (Dudes with a name like Kelley often have questionable musical acumen).

On the other side of the room sat Melanie, who was a reasonably low-numbered violinist (although I think anything under 30th Violinist counts as "top of the class"), Ann, who went to Governor's School for voice, and BU, who had just returned from Governor's School and decided that he was the greatest composer since Victor Lopez.

Like all composers, I mostly ignored the rules of functional harmony, choosing instead to write whatever I liked and then try to shoehorn it into the proper classifications by making up ridiculous chord inversions and using the VII chord as often as possible. And because the teacher was too overwhelmed with kicking Boris out for listening to his Walkman in class, she never had time to correct my work. Below is one of several assignments I saved from that class thirteen years ago, in hopes that it would one day be worth millions on eBay.

The assignment was probably to write a four-voice work that goes from a minor to a major key, so of course, I had to be difficult by writing it with five beats in each measure (200KB MP3). By the time the third quarter rolled around, I had given up on learning anything useful, and was a blank slate when I started Dr. Bachelder's Theory Class at college the next year.

Ricky Gervais proposes a trade
Swat teams deployed in 911 fraud
Shoplifter tries to escape in mall security SUV

tagged as memories | permalink | 4 comments

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Review Day

There may be minor spoilers from Tuesday's episode of LOST in these reviews

The list of things to review was particularly slim today -- I'm guessing the government-mandated season of buying crap for Christmas is finally winding down.

LOST: Season Six Premiere:
I feel like I've reached the point where I'm waiting for LOST to end, rather than anxiously wanting to see what comes next. This two-hour episode had a decent mix of answers and questions, but wasn't particularly satisfying. It also had one of the same problems as the fifth season -- the introduction of too many new characters that we have no investment in. By the time "Big Trouble in Little China" arrived on screen with his translator, "John Lennon", I was beyond caring.

Final Grade: B-

Tyson Crispy Chicken Strips:
We purchased a bag of name-brand chicken on a day when Safeway was out of their tasty store brand. The Tyson strips are incapable of cooking in the microwave without remaining frozen or evaporating into an arid husk of tatters. 15 minutes in the oven makes them slightly softer, but not worth the wait. The only redeeming feature is the crispy breading, but I can make toast on my own.

Final Grade: D

24, Season Six:
Anna and I started watching this season back when Ella was busy being born, and we made it about six episodes in before we lost interest, exacerbated by the lack of a regular viewing schedule. I finally picked it back up a couple weekends ago and finished it off.

The story is what you would expect, and gets a little better towards the middle, but the main crisis wraps up after about 18 episodes, leaving a less-interesting storyline to finish off the season. It would be nice if they'd do a season where Jack spends twenty-four hours lying in bed asleep -- the guy deserves a break.

Final Grade: B-

Fla. trooper accused of writing bogus tickets
Jury awards ex-Stripper $100K for DUI wreck
Banker red-faced over racy photo

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Case Study Day: Blog Deaths

Where did everyone go?

BlogLast UpdateCause of Blog's Death
Katie Morton November 2010 Had a baby
Kim November 2010 Having a baby
Rob K November 2010 Internet outlawed in North Carolina?
Dad Gone Mad October 2010 Disseminated pictures of his penis to mommy bloggers and shut down in the aftermath
Mike C October 2010 Inexcusable lack of dedication?
Kristen S September 2010 Moving and wedding planning?
August 2010 Guys must have stopped eating stuff?
August 2010 Marriage
Sam E June 2010 Had a baby
May 2010 Moved to Facebook
May 2010 Had a baby
Russ O January 2010 Had a baby
November 2009 Eating burgers and writing about it is harder than it looks?

Conclusion: Babies are killing the Internet.

N.C. Official Sics License Police On Computer Scientist For Too Good a Complaint
Mystery of 200 dead cows solved
How Not to Deal With a Student Mother

tagged as lists, website | permalink | 7 comments

Monday, February 04, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

It snowed all weekend long in Sterling, but the total accumulation still ended up being zero -- a level of payoff not experienced since I last watched the complete LOST series. In between the flurries, I put in some voluntary overtime, getting a particularly persnickety project building on a continuous integration server and writing data access objects.

I also hit Costco on Saturday morning to secure a box of bacon-wrapped beef tenderloins with Gorgonzola cheese. In the afternoon, I fixed a rattling damper vent in the depths of my ducts, using only a piece of carpet stapled to a leftover piece of molding and my dad's snake-like spy camera.

For dinner on Saturday night, we tried something new: the Euro Bistro in Herndon. An Asian-owned restaurant selling German and Austrian food would seem out of place in any other city, but the food was actually quite good, if a little pricey. (Once a restaurant's entree prices start tickling the dank underbelly of $20, they fall into the "special occasions" bucket). It was also surprisingly packed at 8:30 PM and featured an accordion player.

On Sunday, I developed some Spring controllers and started a new Borderlands 2 character for the heck of it. In the evening, we baked our box of bacon-and-cheese-encased beef and headed to a Super Bowl party at the Crane's. We did not win any money in the Final Digit Bingo game, although we managed to crack open our final roll of year 2000 Sacagawea dollars (of 4 rolls gifted by my parents at 2000 Christmastime) to use as bet money. It should only take another five years to use up the remainder, since "legal tender" doesn't necessarily mean that "people like accepting them".

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

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Random Photo Day

I was busy working on a proposal last night, so for today's update, you get to enjoy this vintage photo of Rebecca in Paris taken 6 years ago in April.

Because restaurants were super expensive, we had fresh bread, cheese, and wine for almost every meal. On the windowsill, you can see the crappy corkscrew that broke immediately on our first bottle of wine. Just below that, on the radiator, you can see a block of butter we were trying to warm up, since April in Paris was less about "chestnuts in bloom" and more about snow falling everywhere.

tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Time-lapsed Blogography Day

BU at multiple data points

21 years ago today, in 1994, I was 7th chair in All-District Band, which had made the logistically poor decision to host in the tiny T.C. Williams music facilities. The guest conductor was Gene Corcoran, and all I wrote about him was that he acted arrogant.

20 years ago today, in 1995, it snowed 5 inches and I built a big snow fort.

19 years ago today, in 1996, I bought Warcraft II. It was so good that Jack went out and bought it immediately after he came over to see it.

15 years ago today, in 2000, I went to Jason Chrisley's with Shac, Kelley, Liz, and Karissa for steaks and sledding.

14 years ago today, in 2001, I stayed in all day playing on my new Nintendo 64 (five years old but found in a Walmart sale) with Rosie and Anna.

13 years ago today, in 2002, I bought a jigsaw puzzle as a "short-lived hobby to pass time in Tallahassee" (see also, USA Today crossword puzzles). I never bought another puzzle.

12 years ago today, in 2003, I was the only one in our friend group to attend Kathy's Tallahassee Winds concert. I did not get a prize.

9 years ago today, in 2006, I watched, and hated, Broken Flowers.

8 years ago today, in 2007, I installed laminate flooring in my foyer.

4 years ago today, in 2011, we went to Anna's for Game Night, squeezing past her giant new minivan for a game of Hoopla.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Tom Segura: Mostly Stories:
This stand-up special is occasionally funny, but struggles to maintain any momentum. There's also only so many times you can make a fat joke about yourself and then chuckle before it gets really old. We stopped about halfway through after Rebecca fell asleep. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C-

Everest (PG-13):
A disaster movie at its core, Everest plays out about how you would expect, and shows the real-world consequences of poor decision making and bad luck. The characters are pretty one-dimensional, which is fine for this type of movie, and the mountain is the main star. Best watched in your personal IMAX theater for the grand vistas.

Final Grade: B

Kingsman: The Secret Service (R):
This is a tongue-in-cheek take on James Bond movies featuring Colin Firth as a proper British spy and Samuel L. Jackson in a surprisingly un-scenery-chewing villain role. The action is over-the-top and cartoonish, but the movie succeeds because it has its own cohesive plot -- it never degrades into simple parody (The Austin Powers series is sufficient for that role).

Final Grade: B+

Margin Call (R):
There's only so much tension you can put into a movie about the mortgage crisis of 2008. In spite of the star power and good performances, this is ultimately a talky, cerebral affair that doesn't satisfy. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: C-

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, February 04, 2019

Census Day

Blogging has become a charmingly quaint practice for old-fashioned people, not unlike going into the bathroom at work and hearing someone in the next stall tap out a message on their classic Blackberry, or watching America's Funniest Videos live on an actual TV. It is for this reason that visitors to the URI! Zone have gracefully ebbed over the years like a perpetual neap tide.

Are you someone that reads regularly (for the articles) and not just some undergrad music major that got caught in my honeypot of aural training cheat codes? Come out of lurking and say hello in the Comments section. All 5 trendsetters subscribed to my Atom feed will need to visit this website to find the Comments section.

  • Who are you?
  • Where do you live?
  • How does the URI! Zone fit into your daily routine?

In honor of low expectations, if at least 4 unique, real people respond by Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 1800 EDT, a randomly-selected commenter will get a $10 Amazon gift certificate.

tagged as website, contests | permalink | 10 comments

Friday, February 04, 2022

Mouse Update Day

We discovered evidence of a mouse in the house last November and it remains uncaptured to this day.

Over the past three months, part of my daily mental load has been mouse management. I clean up mouse poop in certain parts of the house in an effort to induce migration towards areas more amenable to traps. I've filled in tiny gaps under the stairs that might somehow lead outside. I've tried traditional traps, humane traps, sticky traps, gravity-based DIY traps that would be more at home in a game of Mousetrap, and most recently, electric traps. I've use cat food, peanut butter, cookies, and granola as bait. I always make sure to handle the traps with a plastic bag on my hand to avoid any human scents.

Throughout the mouse war, this little asshole rolls up to each trap, checks it out, then bails:

Since I've only seen the one mouse on camera at any given time, I'm presuming that Little Asshole is a loner. I'm not conceding the war, but I have switched from Googling "mouse traps" to Googling "mouse lifespan".

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

 

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