This Day In History: 02/05

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

The full-sized pool table that Mike bought is supposed to arrive on Friday afternoon -- It's too bad he lives on the third floor of his apartment complex. With the introduction of this pool table, no doubt his pad will become the social hub of the theory/comp department. Alternately, it'll be the same five or six people that always show up. Pow!

The new federal budget allocates 369 billion dollars towards defense and homeland security while cutting back on growth and social programs . Bush probably saw the wartime anxiety as the perfect setting to bring back that magnificent anti-missile system that couldn't hit anything. Next year, we'll probably hear renewed support for anti-missile moon lasers. I think the vast majority of money being spent on security and defense is wasted. In an age where a single terrorist with a nuclear device is more likely than a frontal war with a superpower, even the strongest borders in the world won't protect us effectively. If Bush would stop running his mouth about "evil" countries in his attempt to trigger another arms race, and devote those same resources to making Americans smarter, more well-off, and with less pollution, maybe we could make some progress.

Interviewer: "I'm intrigued by one title from 1951, your Grand Symphonie Militaire Op. 69."
Ligeti: "Oh that was a joke. The Opus number refers of course to the sexual position."

permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Practica Musica Sucks

Practica Musica is easily the most poorly-designed software I've ever used. In general, it seems that software designed by or for musicians tends to be unintuitive or slipshod (consider early versions of Finale), but here it's especially unacceptable since the program is billed as educational software. PM's interface actually interferes with the learning process and more often than not it prevents students from translating what they want to answer into an expected canned response. Even on the instructors' end, the class report scheme (coupled with a Quit menu option than seems to mean different things at different times) makes more work than it should.

We used MacGamut when I was an undergrad, and while it may not be as customizable as PM, I'd recommend it any day over this tripe. I'm almost inspired enough to add "write ear training software" to my long list of future activities. If you're ever a full professor somewhere, check back on that idea -- maybe I'll give you a discount if I like you.

I've never understood why programmers don't apply the same simple strictures of human-computer interaction that are used with normal software. Consider, for example, Finale's shape editing tool. If you want to crescendo a particular amount, you have to create a graphical shape that matches the contour of the crescendo magnitude and then fit it to the occasion by inputting a numeric ratio for time scale and level scale. Finally you have to match that shape to the MIDI controller responsible for Volume (that's controller 7, geek-y). Wouldn't it have been more intuitive to have a dialog box which said "Crescendo from 50 (pp) to 120 (ff) steadily over 8 beats"? Then you could have drop-down boxes to change the underlined parts.

Then you have the cases of software that gets away with being buggy simply because it's the only game in town. Back in my drill-writing phase, the de facto drill software was Pyware and then Pyware 3D. I worked with that software over the course of three versions, and every one of them would fatally crash if you moved a particular rank formation across a yard line in a certain way. The company (which was probably one guy) kept putting out new versions for hundreds of dollars (the current price is $600 I believe) but this one little bug never got fixed. This revealed that the programmer probably based all his future enhancements on some shoddy baseline and didn't want to stop cashing his royalty checks to ensure its soundness.

Tallahassee Winds put on a good concert last night. I enjoy listening to wind bands -- it carries me back to old Virginny and all the ensembles I used to play in.

Soon I will never have to drive to FL again

tagged as reviews, teaching | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    mozart ultimate refiner haydn, barney doom wad files, "figure out" "time signatures"

Oil strikes woman
Learn or log off
The Debt No One Wants to Talk About

permalink | 0 comments

Monday, February 05, 2007

Home Repair Day

Last week I tore up the vinyl tile in my foyér (additional accent added because it's exceptionally French). Expecting to find the floor underneath, I instead found another layer of vinyl flooring, in an ugly yellow 70s earth tone. Apparently the previous owners were fashion savvy (they wanted nothing to do with yellow floors) and archaeology savvy (layering tiles instead of simply removing the old tiles would ensure that valuable information about our living habits in the late twentieth century would be available to alien archaeologists in the future when Old Rag Mountain turns out to be a long dormant volcano that covers northern Virginia in a four foot Saran Wrap layer of ash and liquid hot magma).

Yesterday, we installed laminate flooring, and found that it's as painless and quick as advertised. It only took about two and a half hours to measure, cut, and lay the flooring, and the end result is completely seamless, except for the one board under which I installed a secret pneumatic lever that opens up to reveal my gold bars and jewels (so now there are two places in the house where I keep my Booty). I spent last night painting the trim, and edging the walls (with NOUGAT, which is not quite as cool as PUFFIN BAY GREY when exclaimed, or exclamated, depending on whether you're from Virginia or South Virginia), and the next steps will be to fill in the remaining parts of the walls with NOUGAT, recarpet the stairs, and do something about the chocolately poopy bannisters.

Today I woke up at 9 AM instead of 5 AM and leisurely posted this article for your reading enjoyment. What do you think I should do on my vacation this week? Share your ideas in the comments section!

Women propose marriage and men can't refuse.
Dolphins play with bombs
Yale in a lather over steamy showers

permalink | 5 comments

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Accursed: (adj.) Being under a curse; doomed.

My Composition (0:28 MP3)

This excerpt is written for a brass ensemble and a light smattering of percussion. Share your thoughts in the Comments section!

Brits mix fact with fiction
A refreshing glass of Gene Simmons Wet
Target tells blogger to go away

tagged as museday | permalink | 2 comments

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Review Day: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

there is nothing worth spoiling in this movie

This movie did not need to be made.

I never had a compelling urge to watch it, but after borrowing it for free from my parents and leaving it on my shelf, unwatched, for two months, I finally put it on in the background while I worked on my Wiki.

I'm still not exactly sure what the plot of this movie was, because it jumps from inexplicable situation to inexplicable situation like a Choose Your Own Adventure book without page numbers. What I walked away with was that Indy stumbles across a crystal skull while searching for an old colleague, but only because said colleague had left it there (akin to finding the Holy Grail on the Slim Jim shelf in 7-11). They reunite and decide that the skull needs to be returned to the hidden civilization where it REALLY came from (because otherwise the movie would just be Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, which is entirely too succinct).

After a thirty minute car chase, during which cars occasionally vanish entirely until it's opportune for them to reappear, and Shia LaBeouf (almost French for SHIA THE BEEF) swings through the jungle on vines with a pack of monkeys, Indy and his gang arrive at a suitably old temple where they solve ancient logic puzzles to unlock doors (if this movie were a text adventure, their actions could be summarized with > PUT SKULL IN SKULL-SHAPED SLOT). In the end, the world is threatened by CGI and villains die when they get too greedy.

The tone of the movie is never certain -- apparently they couldn't decide whether to make an Indiana Jones movie or a "Scary Movie" rendition of a parody. This is immediately noticed in the casting of the Scrubs Janitor as an FBI agent who thinks that Indy might be a commie. Are you supposed to take him seriously? He acts like a janitor pretending to be an FBI agent, which is what he would do on any given episode of Scrubs. Immediately after that, Charles Widmore shows up as Indy's superior, ostensibly to enlist his help in finding the island from LOST.

Musically, the soundtrack is exactly what you'd expect from John Williams. Two years ago, I posted a review of the music from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and this soundtrack is just as bad. Williams still can't resist orchestrating every inconsequential action on the screen, and the end result is so busy and cacophonous that you almost start yearning for a Philip Glass score.

The cinematography of this movie was definitely a six-syllable word. Beyond that, there's nothing to recommend it. The story lacks any forward momentum, so the film is filled with really long reaction shots of Indy smirking, as if the audience is supposed to chuckle. I almost expected a canned laugh track to fill the shots.

It seems like most of the budget for this movie was spent and wasted on special effects, beginning with a Greek chorus of animated prairie dogs who watch the action in the first scenes (I'm guessing George Lucas was the driving force behind that addition). The problem with the effects is that the whole world still seems fake -- it looks as if the cast filmed the entire story in front of a green screen. The South American temples don't feel ancient, they just look like rejected graphics from Diablo II, and a colourful, cartoony haze covers every frame like the aftermath of a Bugs Bunny pot party. No doubt they wanted to emphasize the richness of Technicolor so people would go out and buy VCRs.

Final Grade: D-, a couple neat stunts act as helium balloons tied to a sinking frigate

Indiana Jones: The Abridged Script
Bunnies the target of gun-toting cow
Cows the target of 2500 lb snake
What was the best Indy movie?

Raiders of the Lost Ark (3 votes, 27.3%)


Temple of Doom (2 votes, 18.2%)


Last Crusade (6 votes, 54.5%)


Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (0 votes, 0.0%)

tagged as reviews, favourites | permalink | 6 comments

Friday, February 05, 2010

Snow Day


Today's Fragments column has been delayed while the snow shark puts the area into a POTENTIALLY PARALYZING situation.

NY driver used mannequin in car pool lane
Woman seeks "Jessica Alba" makeover to win back lover
Police to pay closer attention to your melons

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 7 comments

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

List Day: 5 Random Confessions

  • I have an irrational fear of getting towed and will never risk parking in a dubious towing location. I have never actually been towed.

  • I was initially underwhelmed at the poetry reading during the Inauguration ceremonies. Then, I realized that he hadn't actually started yet and that his introductory paragraph was poem-length. I was still underwhelmed after the real poem.

  • Browsing through a bookstore is a 100% guaranteed method for making me need a #2 bathroom break. I don't know what I'll do when Barnes and Noble goes out of business.

  • To this day, I don't know, or care enough to know, how an Employee Stock Ownership Plan works. I was in one for ten years, and then they shut it down when the company was purchased, so I no longer need to know. That's called knowledge efficiency, not laziness!

  • When I read the newspaper, I always skip stories about theatre arts, any country in the Middle East we haven't recently invaded, Putin, baseball, or Maryland.

What would you like to confess?

tagged as lists | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

More from Paris

To follow on with yesterday's picture of Rebecca in Paris, here is what we watched on TV while we ate our giant block of cheese.

tagged as media | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Like It Never Happened by Elizabeth and the Catapult:
Compared to Taller Children, this album has more highs and fewer listless ballads. Her style has evolved to incorporate more clown chords and electronica, reminding me to some extent of Bird and the Bee. The opener, Happy Pop, is one of the stronger songs.

Final Grade: B+

Brand New Thing by Doc Severinsen:
I somehow overlooked this album in my mass consumption of all things Doc during high school, even though it's now 38 years old. It's a very polished collection of lush combo funk served over a bed of creamy cello chords, with Doc as a well-balanced part of the ensemble, rather than screaming over the top.

Final Grade: B+

Lie to Me, Season Two:
The second season of this show is a full 22 episodes, and the writing has greatly improved. The "B story" found so often in procedurals is killed in favour of making the "A story" more interesting, and the writers have a better grasp on giving each plot a sense of urgency that was missing from most of season one. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

Legend of Grimrock 2:
I got a solid 10 hours of entertainment out of the original Grimrock, but stopped because the character progression was ultimately pretty shallow. I picked up the sequel in a Steam sale, but apparently I've moved on from the hybrid grid-based, real-time system that frames the game. I only played this one for about 80 minutes before tiring of the cryptic riddles and hunger mechanics.

Final Grade: Not Graded

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, February 05, 2016

Review Day: Blue Apron

On the recommendation of Annie, Rebecca signed up for a trial of Blue Apron, a service that delivers the fresh ingredients for 3 recipes to your doorstep once a week. The service works out to about $10 per person for each meal, and we quickly cancelled as soon as we got our trial week to avoid auto-renewing subscription hell.

The box contained the ingredients and recipes for 3 separate meals: Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice, Chicken and Sage Biscuit Pot Pie, and Italian Beef Grinders (apparently you get new recipes all year long without repeats). Ingredients were individually packaged and measured so there'd be no leftovers after the recipe, and the recipes were full of pictures and easy to follow. They assume that you own pots, baking sheets, oil, salt, and pepper, but provide everything else. With two people cooking together, each meal had an average of about 20 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of cook time.

All three meals were tasty, thanks to fresh ingredients, although Rebecca felt that the Grinders were something we could have just made on our own. Overall, it was a fun little experiment and a nice way to spice up our dinner routine, but too costly and time-consuming to do on a regular basis. I can prepare a good meal with fewer ingredients and effort for about $5 per person (thanks, Costco meat department), so if I'm paying $10 per person, I don't necessarily want to also devote an hour of cooking. 3 meals per week is also a little overwhelming -- I might like a routine of 1 meal every other week better.

Final Grade: B, a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live here

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, February 05, 2018

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday, I worked from home in the morning putting together prose about convolutional neural networks then went to the dentist for my six month cleaning. The new dentist is passably good as dentists go and have yet to try to upsell me on teeth whiteners or pinhole surgeries, yet they also want to paint fluoride on my teeth for an extra $30 a visit. I watched Maia in the afternoon while Rebecca got a dress fitted and picked up a growler of beer from Crooked Run South. Maia is now rolling up and down the length of the crib like a really cheap laminator so her naps are unusually active.

On Saturday evening, our neighbours from across the street came over for a bean chili dinner, and Maia got to meet their one-year-old son. They moved in over a year ago, but our ambition to make social plans suffers from overwhelming inertia. After a year of saying "we really should invite them over for dinner sometime", we finally managed to do so!

We had an early morning visit from the traveling Edwardses on Sunday, who braved a light flurry to reach our house. Maia got to meet an almost two-year-old, Owen, on this visit while the rest of us talked about press-ganging West Coast Mike into babysitting for us when we go out to his wedding. In the evening, we had the Super Bowl on in the background while we puttered about and ate leftovers and tater tots.

How was your weekend?

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

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 10 years ago, on February 6, 2010.

We kicked off a month of snow with a blizzard on February 5. By the time I took this picture the next morning, I had already shoveled on 3 separate occasions. There was enough on the ground (and enough in the following week) that Rebecca got to stay home to sell her T-shirts from the comfort of our dual office.

The neighbours across the street in this picture are long gone. The ones on the left have been replaced with people that let their tiny, yappy dogs run freely in the street while the ones on the right have been replaced twice since then. I presume that the house on the right is haunted.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, February 05, 2021

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Schitt's Creek, Season Six:
The last season of Schitt's Creek goes out on top, with a positive, understated ending. The whole series is worth watching even if the first couple seasons lack momentum. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Mystery Road:
This movie about an aboriginal detective solving a murder in the Australian Outback feels simultaneously familiar and muted. All the beats are there, but there's no intensity or suspense to anything that happens. There are so many dialogue-less driving scenes that I had PTSD flashbacks to Broken Flowers and the whole slog culminates with a shootout full of poorly-planned decisions. It did not make me want to watch the TV series it spawned.

Final Grade: C-

His Dark Materials, Season Two:
Though short, at only 7 episodes, the 2nd season adaptation of the Philip Pullman books is engrossing and worth a watch. It's hard to capture the right tone with the sheer number of witches and talking animals everywhere, but this works more than it doesn't.

Final Grade: B

Fargo, Season Four:
Only one episode (episode 9) feels anything like an episode of the Fargo that we love. The other episodes feel a little like Fargo fan fiction, written by someone who received a list of adjectives like "quirky" and "whimsical" and tried to keep the magic going. The characters are fine and the plot is fine, but the overall package feels like every other mob show that's been done to death over the years. Timothy Olyphant steals every scene he's in by essentially playing Marshal Raylan Givens as a Mormon and the plot eventually peters out like a deflating balloon.

Final Grade: B-

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

 

You are currently viewing every post from a specific month and day across history. Posts are in chronological order with the oldest at the top. On the front page, the newest post is at the top. The entire URI! Zone is © 1996 - 2022 by Brian Uri!. Please see the About page for further information.

Jump to Top
Jump to the Front Page


May 2002
SMTWHFS
1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031
OLD POSTS
Old News Years J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
visitors since November 2003