This Day In History: 02/07

Thursday, February 07, 2002

Netscape recently released Netscape 6.2.1 which, apparently, is more bloated and resource-intensive than 6.0. I still use the old Communicator 4.76 for web work, as I'm waiting for a worthwhile version of Netscape to upgrade to. I've tried all three of the major browsers (NS, IE, and Opera), and I've become most comfortable with Netscape, but I bet by this point, Internet Explorer has evolved into a much better browser. I'm still loathe to make the switch, just because IE has a much larger footprint than Netscape. Good ole' Netscape. Nothing beats Netscape.

You could always tell that Finale was written by programmers for programmers, but it becomes even more obvious when you start reading the manual. Many of the tools bear the stamp of a computer science major who was so excited about his way of solving the problem, that he never quite considered the end user, who probably isn't a computer person. A case in point would be the method of creating crescendos or accelerandos. In Finale, you design a graphical line with a scale like 2 eighth notes to a pixel, with the slope of the line equal to the change in dynamic or tempo. After the shape is created, the effect is modified by scaling the slope of the line by a variety of multipliers.

Wouldn't it have been easier and more intuitive to have a dialog box such as "Change tempo from        bpm to        bpm over        beats"? Of course this wouldn't cover slopes with curvature, but it would cover the vast majority of day-to-day changes with more ease.

"I don't like my music, but what is my opinion against that of millions of others?" - Frederick Loewe

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Friday, February 07, 2003

Having futzed around with my new GameCube for a couple weeks now, I thought I'd post a review or two. I picked up Luigi's Mansion as a rental last week -- it was the flagship offering when the GameCube was released last year. The game is a perfect distraction that effectively shows off the graphics of the GameCube. Though the sound is weak (there's little music, and characters talk in the gibberish-style popularized by Gobliiins a decade ago), the visuals and animations are extremely well-done. The game is essentially a side-scrolling puzzle game which involves being a ghostbuster in a haunted mansion. By fixing the camera to a specific perspective, the game manages to avoid the horrible camera problems that plagued Mario 64. Controlling Luigi takes some getting used to, but it's fun enough while it lasts. Just when the game starts to get repetitive and annoying, you've reached the final boss and the game is over.

The game's biggest weakness is definitely its length (I finished it in under two days), and since it's still selling for $50 retail, this would be a good choice for rental. Puzzles are either completely arbitrary or solvable through trial-and-error, but there's absolutely no replay value to the game. Right now, I'm inching towards the end of Metroid Prime, which could easily be the best console game I've played since the Super NES days.

Microsoft continues to do stupid things
Vacuums > Crabs (don't watch this if you flinch a lot)

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Saturday, February 07, 2004

Today has been a lazy, lazy day, punctuated by bouts of usefulness.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    liz benyo, note is which line of the staff, wbs inn weary, her wheelchair and lifted herself, greatest piece of music wagner, atlas of tongue coating, giraffe's tongue blue because

German teaches dog Nazi salute
Man lives with dead brother for eighteen months
Van loaded with dogs and cats and byproducts

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Monday, February 07, 2005

Yesterday morning, while on my way to the grocery store, I passed a car warming up in front of someone's house. In the back seat, there was a man fervently cleaning his rear window with what looked to be the front page of the Washington Post. The vigor of his scrubbing was akin to scouring a bathtub when you have no Comet. And by the way, this story has no moral.

Costly Cookies
If we can tax it, we will
Due to bad owners we are out of a lot of things, please do not get mad at the employees & manager

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cat Media Tuesday

I was abruptly relieved of jury duty Sunday night when I visited the Loudoun County website to discover that all jury groups for Monday were cancelled. I guess they figured everyone would be hungover from various Super Bowl festivities and no one would show up on time. As a side note, that's one thing about Loudoun County I love: every single thing possible can be done online, from paying our ever-expanding property tax bills to learning where to park for jury duty. The sole thing I can't do online in this county is pay my damn Adelphia bill. Since I can no longer spend today discussing my misadventures in Leesburg, I will have to resort to showing off a new batch of cute cat pictures and talking in random sentence fragments until I can regain my momentum on Wednesday.

I came in 4th out of 6 at poker on Saturday night, and then got up the next morning to have some Gwaltney thick-sliced bacon. I stayed home for the Super Bowl since Super Bowl parties tend to get annoying after about two hours or so, after which I get bored and antsy. Instead, I turned on the game in the living room and on my computer and just had it running in the background while I engaged in a round of puttering. The commercials this year were pretty horrible, although Anna pointed out one funny one: the FedEx caveman. I also saw the teaser for MI:3 starring the crazy Tom Cruise -- it'll be interesting to see how the movie differs from your average action movie since it's being directed by J.J. Abrams of LOST and Alias fame, and he's stated that it will be character-driven. You could already tell that a little bit from the preview.

Sometime during the fourth quarter, I flipped over to Animal Planet to see what the Puppy Bowl was all about but it was pretty silly. The entire broadcast consisted of a bunch of puppies running around a ring painted like a football field fighting over toys. Occasionally they would switch to the bowl cam, an underwater camera that filmed dogs drinking out of a bowl or show an embarassed teen actor dressed up as a ref making up some kind of penalty. I would have changed the channel, but then Amber decided to take an interest in the Puppy Bowl, and sat entranced for the next twenty minutes. I blame this on Kim, who has been trying to convince me that I should get a dog, and has obviously been subverting my cats with treats and toys so they will agree with her. These evil ploys will have no effect on me!

In other news, regular visitor, Justin, has just launched a site called "Today at Work" where you can anonymously vent your work frustrations and read other peoples' funny stories . You will also be able to get to it from the Links page under the "Funnies" category. Give it a visit and see what you think!

U2's Bono can't hook an X-Box to a TV
Japan's 'nerd culture' almost mainstream
To be honest, the Internet connection at my dorm isn't good enough

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Live* from the Living Room

The creative nerve center of this site's daily updates has relocated to a less expensive office space down the hall to facilitate the painting and recarpeting of the old space. From here, I can write updates while listening to my MP3s in 5.1 surround sound, and need only turn my head slightly to the right to watch old home movies or find out who America's Next Top Bass Fisherman will be. This also puts me at a good vantage point of the entire house, and near the front door in case of a sudden grease fire from all the bacon, or a botched kidnapping from one of the many software engineer love triangles I am currently involved in.

And let me tell you, software engineer love triangles may not be as dramatic as NASA astronaut triangles, but they're much more deadly. Why just last week, one of my Java developer lovers trapped me in an infinite while loop and println'd all the reasons I wouldn't go out with her. (I don't remember what happened next because I ran Out of Memory). Last year, another software engineer tried to use pepper spray through my window and carjack me, but thankfully that was during the period where the power window was broken on the driver's side. Sure I had get out of the car and look like a total tool when ordering in the drive-thru or exiting parking garages, but it was a small price to pay for my safety!

Despite the Love Triangle Threat Level being raised to orange in the aftermath of the 2/5 attacks in Florida, my vacation has been going swimmingly. On Monday, I rotated between painting the foyer and playing Zelda, as the mood suited me, and spent the entire evening reading on the couch until the chill in the air made me realize it was almost midnight and the automatic thermostat had kicked into "WTF GO TO BED" mode.

On Tuesday, I took a day trip to Italy and then returned home for lunch at Chick-fil-a, followed by two interesting off-the-radar movies: Idiocracy and Unknown, both of which I've already added to my burgeoning list of goods to review on the next Capsule Review Day. I spent the evening clearing out the office, and even moved the resident behemoth, the American Dream Desk (name composed by Jim Barry), a few feet away from the antique white walls which will soon be a tasty NOUGAT.

The plan for today? There isn't one yet, which is how vacations are supposed to go. When on vacation, you're supposed to roll with the punches and not plan a thing. I suppose it's a good thing that I felt like yesterday was Thursday, since it means my vacation is progressing nice and slowly. I don't know a single thing about the state of things at work -- for all I know, the company could have been bought out by a competitor or relocated to Petropavlovsk in my absence, and I really don't care. I'll probably paint a little today because painting is mindless and fun, kind of like rodeo clowning. Beyond that, I'll do whatever seems like a good idea at the time (the snow outside makes it a good bet that I won't leave the comfort cocoon).

Also, An Hour of Commercials featuring brief excerpts from the hit show, LOST, will be on tonight. The November - February hiatus is finally over, and we'll finally get a rewarding ending to the cliffhanger where Hurley's about to eat Claire's baby. Don't forget to set your VCRs!

*: The URI! Zone is taped before a live studio audience. Plus, it has to be live in a LIVING room.

Teen gets frostbite after barefoot run
Two years ago, Mr. Incredible, Elmo the Muppet and the dark-hooded character from the movie "Scream" were arrested for "aggressive begging"
Electric Slide on slippery slope

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Review Day

there are no spoilers in these reviews

LOST, Season 3:
The show stumbled a bit in this season, treading water on several plots, and spending too much time on tangents like The Others rather than the core mysteries of the island. Despite that, several of its standalone episodes were best-of-series quality, like Desmond in the ring shop. It almost feels like they could have compressed season two and three into a single season and not lost much.

The one thing that the LOST writers do very well is to make great season finales, and this one is no exception. If you initially liked LOST but felt it was going nowhere, it's definitely worth it to muddle through season three to get to the current one -- more actual plot actually occurred in last week's episode than three of any previous season's episodes and that pace looks like it's not about to let up now that an end date has been set.

Final Grade: B+

Undeclared:
A light comedy about a geek's freshman year in college, made by the creator (and many of the same actors) of Freaks and Geeks. It's great fun and never gets serious, but as a cancelled show the end comes too quickly without any major resolution. Like Freaks and Geeks, this set is very expensive, but comes jam-packed with worthwhile DVD extras. If you don't care about extras, just rent it.

Final Grade: B

Metroid 3: Corruption:
I purchased this at the same time I bought Zelda for the DS ($5 discount at Costco), but could never get into it. I've played it a handful of times -- where the original Metroid was a game of quiet exploration punctuated with exciting boss battles, this game feels like a nonstop timed arcade sequence. I'm all for gripping introductions (especially after ten years of Zelda games where you walk around a village fishing for eighty hours before you get a sword), but the pace of this one prevented me from getting comfortable with the control scheme. Maybe I'll try playing it again in the upcoming Bachelor-Month when Rebecca's in Guatemala, but if Super Smash Brothers Brawl comes out first, this is highly doubtful.

Final Grade: C

Paris, Je T'Aime:
A French movie with subtitles, this is a collection of very short stories about Paris, written by multiple directors and acted out by all sorts of famous and not so famous names (Steve Buscemi, Natalie Portman and Elijah Wood both appear at various times). The shorts range the gamut from funny to serious to way too artistic to be taken seriously.

Final Grade: B-

He Was a Quiet Man:
This indie movie started out with a lot of promise but squandered most of it away by the midpoint. The story tells of an office drone who dreams everyday of shooting all his coworkers but becomes an unlikely hero when another coworker beats him to it. Christian Slater gives one of those brilliant performances where you don't even realize he's Christian Slater anymore (he's the old guy on the cover), and William H. Macy plays a traditional William H. Macy-esque role. Elisha Cuthbert (also known as Jack Bauer's daughter on 24) is a horrible, horrible actress and unfortunately doesn't get eaten by a cougar. I didn't understand the ending, but I don't think anyone else did either.

Final Grade: D

Teens Unremorseful After Stealing From Girl Scout
Four visits required to make sure it's prostitution
Boy tries to buy baseball field for $5

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

After cheap sushi for dinner, Friday night was Game Night at Anna's, where we squeezed past the behemoth of a minivan to get to her front door for games of Hoopla and "How Many Different Excuses Can Ella Invent to Stay Up?". I won at Hoopla, mainly because it's one of those hippie games where everyone's on the same team and wins together.

On Saturday, I repaired a leaky toilet tank in my basement with my knowledge of basic plumbing and screwdrivers, did some pleasure reading, and then played Warcraft while Rebecca went off to the inner city for Indian Food Night. I'm not a big fan of Indian food, in which the three basic food groups seem to be spicy, smelly, or gooey -- instead, I made some shells and cheese (cheesy, cheesy, and cheesy).

Sunday was a pretty relaxing day. We celebrated the Super Bowl by taking down our Christmas tree and doing some kitchen measurements for forthcoming new cabinets in the Spring. Around 5, we joined the caravan of suburbanites on I-66 and went to Jack and Kristy's house for the Super Bowl with wings and chili. We also noted that Fergie sang so poorly that she knocked all of the lights out of the "V" in the giant LOVE stage.

'Death by GPS' in desert
Marriages Made in Tuition Heaven
Tracking down my online haters

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

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 or suggested by a reader. 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 its a prime candidate for a William Hung Greatest Hits album.

Chariest: (adj.) The most cautious, careful, or wary.

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

I intentionally limited myself in this excerpt to piano, because I feel like I've overused a lot of other sounds in recent Musedays. This one started cautiously and then gradually built in intrigue until I hit the time limit. From the fade out, it would either be amazing or devolve into something we would have listened to during Sunday dinners growing up, but no one will ever know for sure.

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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Questions Day

I don't have anything new to review today. While I rectify this shameful situation by ordering things on Amazon, you should ask me some questions. Whether it's trivia, recommendations, hypotheticals, or higher education, I'll pick the best ones and answer them next week.

If you can't think of any questions, then just take your favorite quote and put a question mark at the end of it.

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Friday, February 07, 2014

Facebook is 10 Day

Because Facebook turned 10 years old this week, they added a feature that converts your timeline highlights into a moving montage. Unfortunately, I don't have enough material on my timeline to get a free movie (I delete posts on a monthly basis so I can someday run for governor), and I had to come up with my own instead.

This movie was made with Windows Live Movie Maker in about an hour, because I've been meaning to learn Adobe Premiere for months but have not yet gotten around to installing it.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Mobility Day

On Monday night, Maia mastered the "rolling pin" approach to navigating the world.

By 8:46 PM, she was under the coffee table.

tagged as offspring | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, February 07, 2020

Maia Battle Report: Year 2 Month 7

Maia is another month older and wiser. She talks all the time and invents brand new sentences based on established concepts.

  • "We ever been here before, daddy?" - said when we go somewhere that we haven't been to in awhile.
  • "Don't say that, daddy!" - said when she doesn't like the song I'm inventing or I'm saying something that isn't true. She uses conjunctions like "don't" when talking to others but consistently uses "do not" when expressing her own thoughts and opinions.
  • "Maybeeee..." - said when she knows that there are multiple options to answer a questsion but expects you to list the options before she makes a decision.
  • "This is a bunk house!" - said when I added a 2nd floor to her house built out of blocks

Maia doesn't really want to watch TV anymore except for an occasional episode of Superwings. She will choose play time over TV time consistently, and often selects play time over ice cream as well. Naptime has become "poop and quiet time". She has napped only about 5 times since the beginning of 2020 but is content to play in her room by herself for 2 hours while everyone else recharges. Her primary activity these days is to build houses for bunnies out of foam yoga mat pieces and foam blocks.

She is enamoured with her Original Bunny and seems to live vicariously through it at all times -- she may not want me to Nose-Frida the snot out of her nose, but she'll let bunny do it. She doesn't want to go to the restaurant, but bunny will go (and she follows implicitly, of course). If I'm not careful, an entire afternoon can go by where I do nothing but draw more bunnies on scratch paper.

She is also excelling at puzzles, easily doing 12 - 24 piece puzzles, sometimes with the back facing up. She always puts on a show for the very last piece, crying out, "Where's the last piece at!?" to make sure you're paying attention before flourishing it into position.

We're getting ready to sign her up for pre-school through Loudoun County, which will entail 2 mornings per week for 3-4 hours each morning in the Fall. She visited the school twice and enjoyed the classrooms, mainly the sensory rice boxes.

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Monday, February 07, 2022

Ian Week #41 Battle Report

Ian is now 41 weeks old, just 11 weeks away from a full year (also, the longest year of my life).

Ian is the loudest child ever birthed. He sometimes wakes up crying. He cries when we put him on the changing table to change his diaper. He cries when we don't get him out of his carseat fast enough.

He started truly crawling at 39 weeks, which is great for being able to better entertain himself, but worse for keeping things like electrical cords out of his reach. He loves to pull himself on the coffee table, only to let go and bash himself in the face on the way, resulting in crying.

He likes playing with anything that has wheels most, followed by toys that make noise or motion. He also likes opening the glass doors of my 2000s era TV cabinet and slamming them shut.

Ian's language skills are improving. He will clap when we say "Yay!" and his most common utterance is either "DA!" or "a-DA!". His mouth is always open, so everything we own is covered in drool.

His favourite animal is Amber, who tolerates babies much more now that she is deaf. If given the chance, he will roll all over her (or her sleeping pillow), and Amber won't run away until Ian has grabbed her fur for the fifth time.

Ian eats a lot at every meal, preferring veggies over dairy-enhanced products like mac and cheese. He eats a whole banana (the big size) every day for breakfast, with other meals a mix of carrots, wheat, and ground meats. He loves puffs.

He naps twice a day, for about 1.5 hours each, which is a huge improvement over Maia, who only slept about 4 minutes during each day. However, when he's up, he's UP, demanding your undivided attention and chastising you for focusing elsewhere like a teacher from the 50s with a ruler for your knuckles.

Ian is unperturbed by TV, watching for a few seconds then moving on to find anything else in the room to move, shift, or slobber on.

Rebecca adds that he has a really nice laugh, which we elicit by disappearing and reappearing around a corner or with tickles. He's seen some of his contemporaries at daily exercise classes ("Stroller Strides") so he is not totally alone in these pandemic-affected days.

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

 

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