This Day In History: 02/08

Friday, February 08, 2002

This afternoon, four guys grouted, leveled, nailed, and assembled a pool table with their bare hands (and a few tools) in just under seven hours. There's going to be a pool party tonight, and I'll post pictures sometime this weekend. Since there's still felt and tacky glue on my hands and I haven't been home all day, it would probably behoove me to take a shower now instead of providing a more meaningful update to the page. Friday through Sunday updates are generally lightweight anyhow. Why buck the trend?

"Nothing can be more disgusting than an oratorio. How absurd to see 500 people fiddling like madmen about Israelites in the Red Sea!" - Syndey Smith

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Saturday, February 08, 2003

I finally posted the source code to the Monopulator on the Coding page (under Current Project). I never got around to the enhancements I wanted to make, such as implementing JSpinners and reducing the duplicated code between panels, since the Monopoly fad seems to have died out. Still, if you're a novice programmer looking for a cheap example of using ChangeEvents to update a GUI it might be worth a minute to download.

Now that my thesis is essentially done and my quartet is ready to send out, my next big project will be a crash course in XML and the Java API's that support it. I'm gearing up to do the major work on the Music Fundamentals applications that I planned out last semester, and hopefully that will propel me on into late March or so. After that, I'll be diving back into the alphabet soup of PHP, mySQL, and Servlets so I can put into action all the zany ideas I have for this site (sometime after I'm back in VA). If those clowns at Disney would stop cybersquatting all the variants on www.llamaboy, I could move sooner, but the names don't expire until the end of 2003.

I guess I could do some composing too. If I started now though, it would sound like Thesis, Part 1.5.

Colin Powell breaks honour code
Michael Jackson in support of evolution theory

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Sunday, February 08, 2004

I watched Lost in Translation this afternoon, a quiet, steady-paced movie that's not intended for impatient people. I thought it was interesting and good enough, but not the masterpiece that everyone lauds it to be.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    http://www.urizone.net/olio/arthur.htm, toll plazas in virginia, passacaglia shostakovich macbeth, nate shafroth, complex larry sonny

Courier banned for a worser font
I'm a boy and I'm superior
Blow your mind with a look at your beer

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

One British group that's currently pretty popular is The Streets, though I really don't understand what the big deal is. Take the guy from Cake, replace his band with synthesized drum beats and have him spout arhythmic prose with a British accent and you have The Streets. Maybe it sounds better when you're British, but to me it just sounds like a white boy with a speech impediment trying to rap. Here are some samples from the CD, A Grand Don't Come for Free on Amazon:

It Was Supposed To Be So Easy
Dry Your Eyes
Empty Cans

What do you think?

4 Year Old drives to video store
Sad that I knew the name of this song before I saw the video

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

List Day: Five Random BU Facts

1) Some people find the sound of jingling dog tags comforting. It annoys the poop out of me, though. Sometimes I ask the dog in question why s/he can't just sit in one place and pretend to be a topiary, but I never get a reply beyond the jingling. I have been known to use Scotch tape to tape tags together when dogsitting.

2) When I am deep in thought at the computer, I will subconsciously suck on the front of my undershirt. I hypothesize that there must be some hidden thought-nutrients in the cotton which my body is craving, the same way you crave an orange when you're lacking in Vitamin C. When I was a kid I used to clean my teeth with my undershirt, resulting in one very smelly undershirt. Now, I just leave a toothbrush at work.

3) My bladder is smaller than a two-year-old's and if I break the seal after drinking a lot, I will probably be peeing every fifteen minutes for the rest of the day. This forces me to forgo drinking at all when I take road trips. As a senior in high school, I had to go into D.C. for an interview at PEPCO for a computer science internship. Since I wanted to make a good impression and not be distracted, I ducked into a B. Dalton's bookstore in Northwest to pee immediately before arriving at PEPCO. What they didn't tell me beforehand was that all applicants had to take a drug test immediately upon arriving in the building. I spent fifteen minutes in the druggie bathroom with the pee-cup lady guarding the door before admitting defeat and submitting a sample cup that was barely 1/8th full. Yes, I just discussed wee-wee in a public forum.

4) If I am a guest at someone's home and use the bathroom, I will always peek behind the shower curtain to make sure there are no ghosts or serial killers back there before I go about my business. If a crazy knife-wielding lunatic is about to kill me, I'd rather he take me down standing up than on the pot. I do not want to be Elvis in my obituary.

5) When I was an entering freshman at Tech in my "eager, innocent, college-will-be-very-rewarding" phase, I sent little personalized e-mails to my CS professors before classes started, introducing myself and saying that I was looking forward to their classes (this can be found in the dictionary under "sucking up"). Only one of the professors replied, incidentally the teacher of a ridiculously boring computer science theory class which I attended religiously and napped in for the rest of the semester. Often times I would nap right on the aisle and hear him walking past me as he talked about binary subtraction or some other hogwash. On the final day before exams, he called out the names of people who had A's in the class (making them exempt from the exam) and finally matched my name and face to the e-mail. He gave me the most malevolent look I'd ever seen. In my fifth year, I sent him a note apologizing for sleeping through his class and invited him to my music recital to show that actually put forth a lot of effort in the major I cared about. He did not reply, or attend.

New LOST tonight!

This article was deleted! It must have been true! (LOST producers sick of Michelle Rodriguez's antics and want to kill her off)
The new excuse for everything: blame the paparazzi
A CIA agent's secret life of crime

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Synopsis Day

When we last left the show, Locke was talking to Hurley on the cliffside, trying to convince him that Claire's baby was neither delicious or nutritious, and that the island was merely making him see a crispy chicken sandwich.

Last night's episode picked up right where we left off, with Locke failing to calm down an increasingly unstable Hurley. Out of ideas, Locke removes a tub of Dharma Initiative ranch dressing and makes a trade. Hurley collapses to his knees in tears and then proceeds to down the entire tub of ranch dressing, only to discover a prize in the bottom -- a Dharma Initiative decoder ring made up of concentric rotating circles with the Numbers.

Meanwhile on the other side of the island, Sawyer faces down a massive army of attack penguins by shooting their leader with the air marshal's handgun, causing the others to scatter. Upon closer inspection, the dying penguin has been tattooed with a Dharma sign that the audience has never seen before: The Muffin. The Muffin turns out to be a geodesic bakery behind yet another hatch, where Dharma scientists experimented with utopian confections such as the Apollo candy bar.

Before Sawyer can explore the new hatch too deeply, he is kidnapped by the Others. In the final minutes of the episode, it is revealed that the Others are a band of modern day contestants from the show Survivor, and the survivors of Oceanic 815 are actually all dead in purgatory, but don't realize it. The Others are actively trying to make the 815ers realize they're dead so they'll leave the island for good, led by Juliette (played by Nicole Kidman).

The episode closes on a silent image of Walt, now 23 and too far beyond puberty to pretend to be a 13-year-old boy any longer, stepping out of the jungle and onto the beach.

L O S T

Auto repair shop robbed for the 29th time
Band leader reassigned after playing wrong anthem
First Person Shooters can improve your sight

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Fragments

hot to trot like a tater tot

♠ I saw this image over on Dad Gone Mad. Who knew that family planning had such an easy and eloquent solution?

♠ One problem with weekends is that most of the blogs in the sidebar get updated even less than they already do during the week. Shape up, people! We require more reading materials.

♠ This weekend, I'll be taking Rebecca to the airport at some ungodly hour on Saturday morning (before 5 AM is ungodly, after 5 AM is normal). I'll also be playing a little poker, doing my taxes, and going to Costco to buy an additional pallet of toilet paper.

♠ Even though it's crappy tree-bark two-ply toilet paper, I feel like it vanishes very quickly in my house. Either Booty is turning Amber into a mummy when I'm at work, or I've somehow become a consummate sleeppooper.

♠ In one of my thousand childhood books of logic puzzles and word games was the question, "What is the only English word with three pairs of double letters in a row?" The answer was bookkeeper. If someone ever asks you this riddle, you can now add a new answer, sleeppooper. This question may have also been in the old Infocom game, Zork Zero.

Zork Zero also taught me the word, machicolation. In fact, probably 65% of my knowledge comes from computer games (with another 5% from public schools). Among other lessons, you can jump higher if you shoot a rocket launcher at the floor, and if you are attacked by a moose you should Feign Death.

♠ In Warcraft, Plinkette is level 66 and about to move on to Nagrand from Terokkar Forest. Plinky is spending ridiculous amounts of gold to level up Engineering to maximize twink gear possibilities . Got any thorium bars? How about wheat?

♠ The new characters on LOST last night surely didn't come for the wheat. The latest twist seems like a brand new layer of obfuscation to worry about, but at the same time, it's also the first logical, sensible twist the story has seen, so I think it'll work out well. I liked that Locke asked about the smoke monster just as things in the new storyline were getting tense -- it felt like the writer's way of saying "Don't worry, we realize there are still old questions unanswered". I also liked that one of the new characters, Miles, has some semblence of blatant mysticism. The second season felt like everything was going to be wrapped up in neat scientific explanations, and it's good to see the weirdness returning.

♠ Have a great weekend! Don't forget that 12 of 12 is coming up next Tuesday!

Unmarried teen parents are sluts
Shootout averted at the Super Bowl
And wait'll you see all the closet space!

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

With the imminent threat of a wet, drippy mess on the roads leading to a similar mess in peoples' pants, the northern Virginia area essentially shut down at midday on Friday. I left work around 11 and stopped off to rent some movies, although the recent shuttering of our local Blockbuster means I have to drive an additional 0.5 miles to get to a backup Blockbuster. Unfortunately, that one had closed down as well, leaving us without a nearby outlet -- Blockbuster is never going to beat Netflix without the $30 a year I spend on movie rentals.

I spent the afternoon playing an old game, The Incredible Machine 2, and then did an exploratory round of snow shoveling on Friday night, clearing away the initial 4 inches to warm up for Saturday.

I did three more rounds of snow shoveling on Saturday, starting with a two hour bout at 6:30 in the morning when I couldn't sleep. For the rest of the day, I made further improvements to the URI! Zone, which will roll out tomorrow, and read about Puerto Rico (Spanish for "Chicken-shaped Islet") in preparation for our trip next month. In the evening, we watched the movie, The Big Lebowski, reaffirming my ambivalence to Coen Brothers movies.

We had just under 24" by Sunday morning, and woke up to the sound of a snow tractor equipped with a snowblower doing most of the heavy work on the road (the case for procrastinating). Unfortunately, spending so much time away from the computer and in the harsh UV rays of the sun gave me a head cold, so I stayed in for the Super Bowl, rather than braving the roads for the two Super Bowl parties we were invited to.

Cow tips man
Man arrested with 75 bottles of lotion in his pants
Sarah Palin reads answers off her hand

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

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 it could be the hit single from Glenn Gould Plays Tatu.


Usurious: (adj.) charging illegal or exorbitant rates of interest for the use of money

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

I'm still fumbling through Finale 2011, although it finally works with the new Asus Xonar DX sound card I purchased. This composition is a little bare, since my classic approach for learning newer versions of software is to try it the old way and then give up if the old way has moved. This rapidly accelerating fragment is for a woodwind quintet and percussion.

Payback: Upset Ex-Girlfriend Spams Boyfriend In Google Images
Steelworkers Cautioned Against Watching Super Bowl During Shifts
Turkmen leader orders beauty contests for horses

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture dates back to 1983. The bruise on my forehead was not from parental abuse -- more likely I was under attack by earth tones. I am wearing a hand-me-down sweatshirt from my sister, featuring the panda from Shirt Tales, and apparently I didn't get the memo that kneepads get ironed on where the knees are. Thinking back, most of my pants had iron-on pads about halfway down my calves rather than the areas that actually frayed.

Congressman thought parody article on Planned Parenthood was real
New scented jeans smell like raspberries

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Friday, February 08, 2013

Game Day: Settlers of Catan, Two Player Variant

Rebecca and I enjoy playing Settlers of Catan in spite of its ten hour setup time. The problem with this game is that it's really geared for four players. With just two, the pace is sluggish and there isn't much interaction between players, but whenever you have four, you never get to play the original game because everyone shows up with all of the expansion packs that let you ride dolphins or what have you.

To increase our enjoyment of the two-player version, we have invented and refined this variant on the standard gameplay. The changes make two-player games much more interesting and competitive, while still being close enough to real thing so you can remember how to play with the real rules when you go to your regional Settlers championships.

During Setup:

  • Before shuffling the tiles, take the Desert tile and one Sheep tile and turn them over to show the watery backside. Lay them out according to the normal setup rules. This will leave two ponds on your island.
  • Deal out the numbered/lettered pogs normally. The only change is that the 2 and the 12 pogs both end up on the same tile. Rolling either a 2 or a 12 will now get you this resource.

During the Game:

  • Increase the robber card threshold to 9.
  • On your turn, you roll twice in a row to get resources.
  • If you roll the Robber twice in the same turn, the second Robber is ignored.

By playing with these rules, we've found that we're more likely to build near each other or compete for road space, and we're not consistently overloaded with sheep. Enjoy!

tagged as games | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, February 08, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday night, we stayed in with some Domino's pizza (one cheesesteak and green peppers, and one mushroom and red peppers), Devil's Backbone Kilt Flashers, and the new Hannibal Burress comedy special. The latter third of this combination was underwhelming but the rest hit the spot.

On Saturday evening, we finally got around to seeing the new Star Wars movie before it vanished from theaters forever. We went to the Alamo with Amanda and found it surprisingly packed for a movie that's been out for two months now. In spite of the fact that it essentially rehashed plots from previous movies, I enjoyed it far more than the original trilogy.

On Sunday, Rebecca passed all of her tests to become an official yoga teacher, which means that she can reclaim her weekends and give people private yoga lessons, while I can tell everyone that I'm married to a yoga instructor. While she was doing that, I went to Jack and Kristy's for the Super Bowl and caught up on all of the news since the last time I saw them back in May 2015.

In the cracks between events, I played some Fallout 4 and started brainstorming my next programming side project. I'm thinking of something geospatial, perhaps related to mapping local open source data in some way.

How was your weekend?

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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 24 years ago, in February 1992.

As an eighth grader at Hammond Junior High, I was wearing the uniform of the Hammond Admirals concert band, ready to do our one performance per year on the football field for an awful JV football team. My sister was wearing the uniform of the high school flag corps, and my mom was wearing the pink uniform of moms of the 1990s. The main thing I recall about the uniform I was wearing was that I had the smallest size of each piece because I was tiny for an eighth grader. Thus, I had hat #1, jacket #1, and pants #1. The braids were one-size-fits-all.

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Friday, February 08, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

How to Ruin Everything by Watsky:
This collection of essays by rapper, Watsky, is pleasant enough but I noticed myself starting to skim in the last 1/3. Fun as book to pick up now and then, but not as good on a straight read-through. I did find it interesting that I heard the entire book in his voice as I read.

Final Grade: B-

Fyre:
This Netflix documentary is a fun, incredulous look at the disastrous Fyre Festival, with behind-the-scenes looks and interviews with many of the people involved. I haven't seen the competing Hulu documentary, but enjoyed this from start to finish. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Russian Doll, Season One:
This is a fairly high-concept series with some similarities to the movie, Groundhog Day. Equal parts crass, deep, and unsettling, it occasionally overreaches but has a nice compact 8 episode run (30 minute episodes). Natasha Lyonne is perfect in the main role and the season has enough of an ending to feel self-contained while leaving room for the next two seasons (already greenlit). Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A-

Strange New Past by Seth Sentry:
Seth's most recent album (2015) has a few good songs, especially Dumb, but it's not as good as the first album. The back half is pretty forgettable.

Final Grade: B-

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Monday, February 08, 2021

Release Day

2021 is off to a productive start with 2 completed side projects in my portfolio.

First up is a new Janny Wurts - Official Forum that finally replaces the ancient Perl-based forum that ran from 1999 to 2021.

The new forum is based on Discourse and was pretty straightforward to configure. The most challenging part of this move was migrating 17,000 old posts into the new software. These posts weren't in a nice tidy database, but 1,400 separate HTML files which allowed the forum to work without an additional database hosting cost. The company behind the old software actually went out of business in 2012, so I had reverse engineer the data format and write a data pipeline that cleans the old posts and then imports them into the new forum.

The second project is a new Interactive Map of Paravia, the world from the Wars of Light and Shadows book series.

The old map was written with Dreamweaver and used a set of static pages with imagemaps to display the map. I used scripted calls to Imagemagick to slice up a high-resolution copy of the map into tiles and then used Leaflet.js to set it up with modern map controls.

What's next? My final side project before kid #2 comes along in May is a makeover for the website of Janny Wurts' husband, Hugo-award-winning artist, Don Maitz.

tagged as website, programming | permalink | 1 comment

 

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