This Day In History: 02/17

Sunday, February 17, 2002

I'm a little relieved that Game Music Week is over; with all the extra graphics and fact checking, it took me a couple hours each day to do updates, rather than my normal twenty minutes. However, I did get good feedback from folks taking a trip down memory lane, so hopefully it was worthwhile. As an addendum to Game Music Week, here's the theme song from the Sierra game "Jones in the Fast Lane", as played on the PC internal speaker, an Ad-lib card, and a Roland SC8850.

    PC Speaker (MP3, 625KB)
    Ad-Lib compatible (MP3, 625KB)
    SC-8850 (MP3, 625KB)

Now it's time for tons o' fun, as there's a pedagogy test tomorrow, and other miscellaneous events throughout the week.

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Monday, February 17, 2003

I had my meeting with the Clearance Advisor this morning to review my thesis. If you're in the School of Music, you may want to know that all submissions have to be in an electronic format (even though the School of Music doesn't actually say that anywhere). Make sure you're aware of this before you pay the $30 binding fee and before you buy the special copier paper to print your stuff. Bastards.

I wrote a bunch of letters of recommendation for my students who were reapplying to live in the music country club next year. I've always been of the opinion that a letter of recommendation should be positive, or at the very worst, neutral. The whole purpose a student would ask for a letter is to be shown in a good light, and I've never understood people who write scathing letters which simply backstab the person in question. If you don't feel comfortable contributing a positive spin to a student, you probably don't have any business writing a letter. I would turn down a student before I wrote horrible things about their study habits and lineage.

The sudden change in temperature and the massive thunderstorm this weekend sealed all of my envelopes shut. I think it's a sign to stop writing letters and paying bills.

Yesterday's remix was the theme from the old Nintendo game, Rygar.

I don't live here right now.
It's easy to plant false memories
Yoko Ono still tinkering

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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

A social phenomenon that I've always found interesting is the day-after conversation that follows when two people cross paths. If a person happens to spot someone with whom he or she is reasonably familiar, but doesn't get close enough to say hello (driving in cars is a common example), that person will feel compelled to mention the sighting the next day at school or work. The viewer cannot just cite the viewing though -- he must first ask if the viewee was there at the given time, to ensure that it was no mistake.

If the viewee says yes, the viewer will then mention the sighting. At this point, the viewee is never satisfied with just a blanket sighting statement -- he will ask the viewer to pinpoint the exact location, like which aisle of the supermarket or which exit on the freeway. (Possibly, the viewee can't take his own word for knowing where he was at that time -- he needs reassurance that someone saw him there). Once it has been established that the viewee was actually somewhere and the viewer saw him, there is a general air of satisfaction, as if a hard math puzzle was just solved.

Backing up, if the viewee had said no, the viewer would still mention the sighting, but would say that he saw someone "just like" the viewee. Then, the viewee will pose the same questions about the exact location, just in case he was really there and forgot about it (again, as if asking the questions will change his response). The viewee will then tell the viewer where he was at that specific time, and the conversation will end on a note of satisfaction.

I've noticed this phenomenon as far back as elementary school, and I'm sure you have seen it at least once.

Florida-Mike almost got hit by a pimp yesterday .

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    "lead me away. i have been rash and foolish. i have killed my son and my wife. i look for comfort; my comfort lies here dead. whatever my hands have touched has come to nothing. fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust.", popcorn microwave bibliography science, maverin, roscoe conkling's stalwart republican machine, why do composers use sonata form, marry a goat india, farthest sharp to the right

Student sucks at concealing evidence
Cell jammers declare war on signal
"To be very blunt about it, we have more important issues to be focusing on."
The reason for spam law loopholes comes out

tagged as random | permalink | 2 comments

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Loudoun County real estate assessment numbers should be coming out pretty soon. I moved to Sterling about a year ago and got in for around $300,000. There's a house on my court which was assessed at slightly less than mine in 2004, and it's now on the market, selling for $475,000. With numbers like that, I don't know how much longer the working class in my neighbourhood will stick around.

Serial burglar caught on webcam
Alexandria home values up 21%

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday Fragments

Giving Canada, Australia, and the U.S. something to enjoy together since July 2005

  • I received the following note from Dave McKee (david.mckee @ yesterday:
      This spring, Dr. Allen Bachelder will retire from Virginia Tech. After almost 30 years of service, Allen and Florie will move to Michigan to begin life after work! The house is sold, the new house has space for the MGs, and they are excited. We are saddened for our loss, but excited about their future and ours! Dr. Bachelder will solo with the University Symphony Band on our April 20 concert. I have asked him to select a work and I'm going to also ask him to play "A Trumpeter's Lullaby". At that point, the fun begins - I'd like to invite YOU to join us for "Buglers Holiday," "Ad Futurum Formandum," the 125th anniversary anthem of Virginia Tech, featuring antiphonal trumpet choir, and "Shenandoah" an arrangement performed at the conclusion of many trumpet choir programs in the past! I'm in the early planning process, but I need your help asap. If you can take part in this - or simply want to know more - I need your contact information - snail-mail, e-mail verification, phone, etc. We need to make contact quickly!
  • I guess this means I need to start practicing trumpet again at some point. After November's Mikado gig, I successfully maintained a daily practice routine for two weeks before caving to the great God of Apathy. It's been a couple years since my last visit to Tech -- I hope I can remember all the speed trap locations on I-81, and how to navigate the ridiculously efficient bypass they built connecting the interstate to Route 460.

  • Looking up at those pictures of me from 2001, I now wonder why I parted my hair so violently. Maybe it was just the novelty of having any semblance of hair.

  • My hair has three distinct eras: obscenely short crew cut (through sophomore year of college), mildly long and parted or slicked back (through the end of grad school), and a hybrid of the two which is more fuel-efficient and requires a haircut once a month (a number two on the sides and the back and take an inch off the top, with tapered neck). Yes, I tell my barber to do a number two in my hair.

  • I always go to the same barber shop in the Sterling Park clock tower shopping center, owned by two Vietnamese people. I don't know why I continue going there other than inertia, since every trip is a rehash of the whole "What nationality are you? You don't look Korean. Let me try speaking a foreign langauge at you" scenario. You'd think people would pick up a little English over time, but after my two years of going there, I've noticed no improvement.

  • I've noticed than my English deteriorates when I'm in a restaurant talking to a server or some other service industry staff. Last week I was in a McDonald's I said "Thank ya" with a definite trailing off at the end to the cashier when he brought my food out. He was Indian, so it's not like I was trying to fit in. I am also the only person in the northern Virginia area that regularly says "Howdy" as a greeting. I think I picked it up from an online friend several years ago that lived in Texas.

  • I would like to be a Howdy-sayin' cowboy just because I think "dogie" is a funny word. If being a cowboy is anything like the movie, City Slickers, it's obviously a rip-roaring good time. I would not be a gay cowboy though, because I would like to come home to a missus that makes me flapjacks. Get along lil' dogies!

  • I had pancakes for breakfast at IHOP last weekend which is a double rarity, since I rarely eat breakfast, let alone go out to eat it. IHOP food is so tasty, but their hashed browns are not as tasty as McDonald's patented "fried slabs of potato" hash-browns. Someday I will go to IHOP and just order twelve sides of bacon. All that grease would definitely clear out my arteries and allow me to live an additional ten years. It's got a +10 to Life.

  • I have actually lost four pounds in the past month. I blame the Coke Zero, because I'm sure as hell not eating any healthier than I did before. Yesterday, I had two reheated slices of Pizza Hut pan pizza for lunch and a McDonald's #2 for dinner. I hypothesize that if I continue to drink Coke Zero, I will slim down to negative twelve pounds three years from now and look just like Nicole Richie, but hot, manly, and Asian. Isn't that a beautiful mental picture? I knew you'd say yes.

  • This weekend I plan to finish off my pizza, since there are four slices left, two for lunch each day. Tonight, I'll be renting and watching some of the multiple-Oscar-nominated movies to "study up" for my Oscar predictions week, except for War of Worlds which Kim says is "Absolutely horrid". I don't know if it's really HORRID, since I have seen The Thin Red Line, Broken Flowers, Matrix II, Star Wars I and Gosford Park, but I'll take her word for it, since she's a Netflix addict, and thus, quite knowledgable in this arena. Saturday I may throw together a last minute poker game, and Sunday I will start on my Java Certification (ha ha). Have a good weekend!

  • All the little girls in the room walk in front of me
    Making fatties, one dollar at a time
    Stolen stuff visable!

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 8 comments

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    Newsday Tuesday

    HOV Cheaters Run the Numbers

    HOV cheaters have a special, and dark, place in the hearts of area commuters. As motorists sit in stop-and-go traffic or pick up strangers to meet the minimum number of riders to use the free-flowing HOV lanes, cheaters blithely fly by in the restricted lanes. Alone.

    "Sometimes when you commute, you do some crazy, crazy things when you see all those red lights in front of you," said Aleta Joy Williams, a daily cheater who has racked up 10 HOV violations [...] "You need to be at a certain place at a certain time, and you are willing to do whatever it takes to get to where you need to."

    When asked if she had tried waking up earlier, Aleta Joy Williams demurred. "Changing my own habits instead of breaking the rules would be so un-American. Why would we set our clocks back an hour every year if we weren't supposed to sleep until it's light outside?"

    Karen Marie Livingston, [...] got six tickets during years of cheating, the last one a whopper. "I decided to stop when I had to tell my husband I got a $1,000 ticket," she said. "I cried for a week. But I couldn't blame anyone but myself. When you get a $1,000 ticket, it's a come-to-Jesus moment."

    Jesus could not be reached for comment about his stance on HOV lanes.

    Tragically, the Washington Post has devoted more ink to pitiful stories from self-entitled weenies, rather than address the more ominous conspiracy that the most blatant of the female HOV violators all have three names (and therefore, may be presidential assassins).

    During her cheating days, [Karen Marie Livingston] would sometimes take hooded coats and arrange them on the seats so it looked as if there were three people in the car. Sometimes that worked. She also talked her way out of four tickets. "I played one as a dumb female. Another time, I said I was pregnant and sick. The officer understood because his wife was pregnant."

    Jesus was unavailable for comment about dumb females, although his position on liars is set in stone.

    Cheaters hurt the system by clogging the lanes and making those who make the extra effort to play by the rules feel like suckers. Thousands of drivers a day pick up slugs, commuters who accept free rides from drivers looking to add passengers to qualify for the HOV lanes.

    Of course, being labelled as a "slug sucker" isn't the only way to legally ride in the HOV lanes -- you could drive alone in a Prius (because one clean commuter is equivalent to two dirty commuters in state legislative mathematics), or simply bring along your two kids and leave them in the car with a Little Mermaid DVD all day long (not recommended for parents whose children are susceptible to extreme changes in temperature).

    Ricci Angresano, with six convictions, said the enforcement and penalties made him change his ways. [...] Asked why he didn't take Metro, he said that he tried it but that it was difficult to get a seat on the commute home. And then there were all the germs. "Everybody's stacked up like sardines, coughing and sneezing and touching the poles," he said. "Then they turn up the heat in winter, and the germs just multiply."

    Angresano provided the same reasons when asked why he no longer frequented his favourite strip joint, which is why a consortium of private companies is funding an effort to combine carpooling and lapdancing. In a trial run of "Heels on Wheels", drivers paid extra to pick up strippers in the slug lines and arrived at work on time and in a good mood.

    Jonathan Krasnov [...] cheated every morning on I-95/395 for 11 years, or about 2,200 trips. He received six tickets in that time. [...] He stopped only because he received a $500 ticket after the fines went up. "You get to the point where you are so desperate you can't take it anymore," Krasnov said.

    Krasnov's admission generated interest in a new money-making scheme for cash-strapped local governments -- starting next Monday, repeat HOV offenders will be tailed from their homes all the way into the lanes by an unmarked cruiser, guaranteeing a conviction. After their cars are sold at police auction, they'll face a $2000 ticket and get dumped naked into the HOV lanes: at the mercy of the very slug suckers they cheated, in what can only be described as an "eye for an eye" scenario.

    Jesus could not be reached for comment.

    This is why you're fat
    Student arrested for stealing teacher's apple
    Maybe not a father at 13
    What's the best excuse to cheat with in the HOV lanes?

    I'm a dumb female. (4 votes, 50.0%)

    I'm pregnant and sick. (men only) (1 vote, 12.5%)

    I thought it was a "Heading Out of Virginia" lane. (1 vote, 12.5%)

    I just finished two Big Gulps. (2 votes, 25.0%)

    tagged as newsday, favourites | permalink | 5 comments

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Weird Search Day

    or "How I stumbled upon the URI! Zone"

  • alligator coverall mario

    In his alligator suit, Mario can eat enemies, flip Luigi to higher platforms on his snout, and turn into the Princess when the temperature drops below 86 degrees Farenheit.

  • "spanish poem" about the virginia tech
    Because I don't speak Spanish, here's one in French instead. Note that it actually rhymes.

    J'aime aller ? l'Institut Polytechnique
    de la Virginie et l'Universit? de l'Etat, c'est magnifique.
    Parce que "Wahoo" ressemble ? du "Waterloo"
    Et c'est o? Napoleon a perdu.
    Quand il perdes,
    Il dit "Merde!",
    Et ce n'est pas tr?s gentil.

  • costco shaman rugs

    Perfect for the OCD shaman who hates to drop elemental totems because "the bottoms get all dirty". Using the rug activates your 1 second global cooldown.

  • Cougars that like young lads
    According to scientists, most, if not all, cougars prefer young lads, because they are juicier, less stringy, and are a more satisfying meal than someone in their dotage.

  • benefits of smoking weed and trumpet embouchure
    I'm afraid I don't have the experience to answer this question myself, and it's very hard to find someone who would know. Maybe someone in my readership knows of a brass player who has also smoked weed and can answer, but it just seems like such an improbable scenario.

  • pets world witch sells things for giant african land snail
    This sounds like a good plot synopsis for a mashup of fantasy movies from the early 80s.

  • keeping an hoa newsletter religion neutral
    A good start would be to not mention religion. If you must mention religion because churches are the only groups willing to waste advertising dollars to fund your hand-stapled quarterly newsletter, make sure that all of the religions are allowed to promote themselves equally, except for the ones that are obviously cults or hard to spell. Also, make sure not to place undue restrictions on the Prayer to Prayer (P2P) page, and allow articles to mention torrents for at least 40 days and 40 nights before blocking them.

  • sterling virginia man to fix computers and ship to Ghana
    I'm not currently in the computer refurbishing business, but if I ever started such a humanitarian venture, hopefully they would make a movie about me.

  • Vandal caught tagging a building full of cops
    Trial starts in Argentina's "robbery of the century"
    Online dating gaining worldwide acceptance

    tagged as website, searches | permalink | 2 comments

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Award Day

    It's hard to take good pictures of glass, but this is what I won at work yesterday:

    Thankfully, I was not competing against Esperanza Spalding.

    Defector admits to WMD lies
    Transparent 'DNA' adhesives help police nab thieves
    Fans rally for Robocop statue in Detroit

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 4 comments

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    List Day: The First Songs I Heard (Which Led to Buying an Album)

    Food inspector deems bag lunch not healthy enough
    DC man's NO TAGS vanity plates earn him $20,000 in tickets

    tagged as lists, music | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, February 17, 2014

    Weekend Wrap-up

    Though I work today, I actually had Thursday and Friday off because of proposal overtime. It was just a bonus that the snow storm came through at the same time.

    On Friday, I spent two hours shoveling out our street parking. With the cousin living in the basement, we are a three-car family trying to fit into a two-car bag. For dinner that night, we had broiled scallops on a bed of pasta with Alfredo sauce, and watched the first episode of Season Two of House of Cards.

    I did my usual Costco run on Saturday, primarily to pick up Rebecca's work lunch supplies: Greek yogurts and sandwich bread so fancy and grainy that it tastes like a meadow. In the evening, the Ahlbins and the Miricks came over for a 222 Party which, because of responsible adult commitments and childrens' birthday parties, couldn't actually occur on 2/22. We let the five kids break up into separate fiefdoms, generally ruled by the girls, and discussed how much better the crust on Domino's Pizza has gotten over the years.

    On Sunday, I went grocery shopping, relaxed around the house, and went 8-15 in five rounds of Hearthstone Arena.

    How was your weekend? Do you have today off?

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

    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    BUriversity: Class Cancelled

    The MOOC lecture is cancelled today, because the snow is introducing static in the Internet tubes. Tune in next week for a class on binary machine code. Suggest future topics in the comments section!

    tagged as buriversity | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, February 17, 2016

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken twenty years ago, on February 23, 1996, just after the annual Band Banquet (and long before the popularity of portmanteaus would have turned it into a "Bandquet"). I'm wearing the denim shirt that counted as my "formal wear" (and which I owned as recently as 2010) and holding a trophy that says "Drum Major" on it. On my left is band director, Richard Dill, who commuted in every day from Amissville to teach us the finer points of performing McBeth's Chant and Jublio far too many times.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, February 17, 2017

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Travelers, Season One:
    Like Colony before it, this is a sci-fi show with a lot of potential that immediately gets squandered when the plot goes nowhere fast. The characters remain relatively flat, and little sparks of great world-building ultimately end up showcasing just how little actually happens in the first season. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: C-

    Finding Dory (PG):
    This is a fun revisit to the world of Finding Nemo although it never quite reaches the heights of the original movie. I enjoyed the ride, but I'm getting a little tired of the "bounce from one panicky set piece to the next" pattern of most recent animated movies. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

    Boogie Nights (R):
    This epic about porn stars in the 1970s feels a little self-indulgent by the time it's all over (two and a half hours later). It follows the typical "rise to fame and brought down by drugs" plotline you see in all of these grandiose types of movies but ends on a quieter, redemptive note that keeps it from being too depressing. If you enjoy long, single-take shots, you'll appreciate the artistry, and the soundtrack is solid (in spite of the fact that Heatwave's "Boogie Nights" isn't played even once). Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B-

    Michael Bolton's Big Sexy Valentine's Day Special:
    This is a collection of skits, parody songs, and cameos that works in spite of (or maybe because of) the fact that Michael Bolton is the most wooden presence in the show. Fun and over quickly, and not as bad as I worried it might be. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Monday, February 17, 2020

    DIY Day: Crawlspace Rejuvenation, Part I of II

    Since no one ever committed to manufacturing my idea for a smart mouse trap, checking the crawlspace for dead mice was a regular activity in 2019. I resolved to seal up the crawlspace in 2020 and finally got started this past weekend.

    Thursday: Evict all of the Christmas decorations and myriad boxes of Rebecca's high school memories to de-mouse-poopify. Shred several ruined rolls of excess carpet and throw in the trash.
    Friday: Tear out the atrophying remains of the external insulation.
    Friday: Locate the mousehole-to-hell and seal it with enough foam sealant to deter a small mammal.
    Saturday: Install new insulation, while styling the finest in AmazonBasics safety equipment.
    Saturday: Seal up the external insulation with a moisture shield. Use up the leftover insulation on interior walls for no good reason. Briefly consider installing an old-timey spyhole into the next room, disguised by a portrait of a Civil War general.
    Sunday: Cut and install the first 64 square feet of drywall in a space completely devoid of true right angles. Initially neglect to remember that the entrance to the crawlspace is much narrower than most of the drywall segments. Hand-wave away any irregularities by saying, "I'll spackle that gap later."

    Remaining Steps

    • Cutting and installing 80 more square feet of drywall.
    • 3 rounds of spackling.
    • Sanding, priming, and painting.
    • Move 80 tons of stuff we rarely use back into the space.

    Tune in on Friday for the thrilling conclusion!

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 2 comments

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021

    Time-lapsed Blogography Day: Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

    Twenty-five years ago today, on February 17, 1996, I went to James Madison University for my music audition.

    I have my JMU audition and we leave at 5:30 am. I don't know why I'm doing this audition because I don't plan on going to JMU.

    The trumpet half of the audition went fine although I don't even remember who the Music Composition professor was anymore. One interesting dynamic I do recall is that I would ask him questions about the program and he would mostly answer them to my parents instead of me. This also happened on my college tours at UVA and William & Mary, and was one of many reasons I finally ended up going to Tech -- the faculty at Tech consistently kept the dialogue between me and them rather than answering like I wasn't in the room.

    In the evening after we came home, I went over to Jack's house where we watched a Whose Line Is It Anyways? marathon I had recorded off of Comedy Central on two VHS long-running tapes. It was the classic edition hosted by Clive Anderson and featuring names like Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Tony Slattery, and Mike McShane. Then, I came home so Jack and I could play Warcraft II over the modem until 11 at night.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, February 17, 2023

    Kotlin Day

    One of my personal growth projects for 2023 is to become fluent in a new programming language. I've spent the past few weeks immersed in Kotlin by solving old Advent of Code puzzles.

    I like what I've used so far -- Kotlin gets away from the unnecessary strictness of Java boilerplate without straying too far into the "by convention" magic of a language like Ruby. When I need to do something new, the docs are clear and the end result looks logical. And when I'm in a hurry or don't want to reinvent the wheel, I can always fall back on the whole Java ecosystem of 3rd-party libraries called from within Kotlin code.

    Here are three features I'm really enjoying (which may be old hat for aficionados of other modern languages).

    1. Dramatically reducing boilerplate code with the use of data classes.

    2. Adding code to existing classes with mix-in extensions instead of heavy inheritance or static utility classes.

    3. Cleanly incorporating functional lambdas in procedural code without the stilted method chaining required in Java.

    tagged as programming | permalink | 0 comments


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