This Day In History: 02/20

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

I've arranged to rent a room at the home of one of my old roommates this summer in Chantilly, since it's about eight miles from FGM in Dulles, and completely avoids the Beltway. On weekdays, I'll stay there, and on weekends, I'll drive all the way to the real homefront, which should shave forty miles daily off my commute, and allow me to work a more reasonable shift than 5:30 - 1:30. It does seem rather extravagant to rent a room twenty miles from home while also keeping my place in Tallahassee unoccupied, but I think avoiding the Northern Virginia commute is worth the extra expense. It also helps that Florida has no income tax, so I'm being crafty by heading north for summer employment.

Istarted tutoring a girl in a non-majors music theory course today. It may be a little rough getting her on the right track to start with, but I think I may just be able to help her out. I've always thought it fun to teach music theory, because while the conventions of music may not always be logical, the procedures within it tend to be easily quantifiable.

"In the first movement alone, of the Seventh Symphony [by Bruckner], I took note of six pregnancies and at least four miscarriages." - Thomas Beecham

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Thursday, February 20, 2003

I put in a solid seven hours of work on my MFIT project yesterday and got most of the basic data structures completed. I'm going to try and do a lot this weekend and post an applet for you all to toy with on Sunday. At this point, it will do little more than create and view XML files for fake freshmen. By the way, MFIT stands for Music Fundamentals Instructor's Tool. If my acronyms were any more ingenious I might hurt myself.

My ploy with Google worked -- the URI! Domain is now ranked second on searches for my name. Some people might say it's cheating, but really, what else could you possibly be looking for when you put "Brian Uri!" in a search engine? By the way, FSU's SCI chapter is now the top match for "Society Composers Student Chapter" on the web and I didn't even pull any fast ones. Booyah.

I've put up a few snow pictures my dad sent me on the Photos page. Expand the first collapsible menu and scroll all the way down. That's my mom, the ninja, in today's news picture.

US Army as good with acronyms as I am
Stupid Americans continue to jump on the French-bashing bandwagon

SEND IT TO THE GLUE FACTORY!!! - scrawled on a sign advertising a cat for sale in my apartment complex

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Friday, February 20, 2004

It's time to play a game of "Design Brian's Living Room"! Print out the picture at this link and arrange the furniture in an aesthetically pleasing manner. If you have Photoshop, I've even made your job easier: you can download this image (682KB PSD) and drag or rotate the Layers around the floor plan instead of using archaic scissors. If you have an especially worthwhile design, take a picture or send me the PSD file and maybe I'll use it.

In the image, all the furniture is oriented towards the bottom of the image to begin, except for the end tables which point right. The couch and the chair need a little space in front to recline. The windows are 34" off the ground, so the stereo, TV, and taller bookshelf should probably not go directly in front of one. The stairs and the area directly below it should be unimpeded.

Think you can be on Trading Spaces? Put your skills to the test!

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    what are four hazardous gases that can easily be captured in a jar, mike's apartment full download

On the job training at its best
FBI fights piracy by putting stickers on the CDs that no one is buying
Piranhas reach England

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Weekend Thoughts

  • Linsday Jacobellis led the pack by 100 yards when she tried to show off on the last jump and bombed out, allowing some Swedish boarder to get the gold instead. Without a doubt, this is the best and most American way to inaugurate "snowboard cross" as a legitimate Olympic event. It would be like the ice dancers trying to fit in one extra twizzle and then faceplanting in the arena. Not that I ever watched any ice dancing. Nope.

  • I think it's funny that all of our winter athletes became U.S. citizens within the last three months, and they all have names like Ilyvana Petropavlovisk.

  • I lost $20 in poker on Saturday night and there's a picture of a snowman saying, "Remember the Poop" on my marker board.

  • My watch battery died on Friday morning and the date reset to the year I got it -- 1995, before flickering out for good. Eleven years seems to be a decent shelf-life for a watch battery. Until I go out and get a new battery though, I have to use the DERR DERR DERR DERR alarm on my clock to wake me up which is much less appetizing than the nearly inaudible beep-beep of the watch. I have twenty years of "waking up to a watch" experience which should please any future wives that might want to sleep late some day. I say "wives" because I may move to Utah to spice up these entries a little bit.

  • My house assessment went up by 50% this year, which means that I'm now very rich (should I ever decide to move away), but I pay an asscrack-load of taxes. Even though Loudoun County is reducing the tax rate this year, my overall property tax is still going to increase by over a thousand dollars. Do not be alarmed if you don't get any Christmas presents this year. It's amazing that my little plot of land, which is barely one-tenth of an acre could be worth 106,572 2-piece meals at Popeyes. I'm sure it has to do with the living room, which I rearranged this weekend to maximize the use of space (it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a serial rearranger, and I could make a joke about writing marching band scores of Schoenberg, but that joke is not universally appealing, and I'm only doing this for the advertising revenue, so I won't).

  • The last time Baylee the dog visited my house, we made the mistake of letting her chase the laser pointer around the living room. Three weeks later, she's fixated on locating that little red dot, and resorts to throwing herself against the walls and running around in frantic circles.

  • Ugly people are a drag on society
    When you can't scare anyone with a blow torch, it's time to turn yourself in
    You'd think people would learn their e-mail lesson by now

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 17 comments

    Tuesday, February 20, 2007

    Sixth Annual Oscars Week

    I've given amazingly accurate Oscars predictions for five straight years now, predictions made with such accuracy that the Academy called yesterday and told me to just fax over my '07 list so they wouldn't actually need to vote. As I sat down to write this year's list, I realized that I have absolutely no interest in making a sixth sequel in this series and would sooner lick a dog's nose than write all the HTML needed to format a list of movies.

    Not every tradition or saga needs to be held in perpetual perpetuity, and some, like another Rocky movie or shaking your keys on the third down in college football, should be gently led out into the retirement pasture and shot down gangsta-style. Trust me, as I am an authority on this style, which generally involves replacing the -er syllable with an -a on any noun that performs some action (i.e. playa, rappa, bass fishaman).

    So with the Oscas* off of the agenda, I suddenly had a week with no real updates mapped out. I decided to make them musically-inclined -- Tomorrow will probably be a Musical Musings Day, and Thursday will be an Audience Participation Day where you get to be the Barrymore to my Grant and write lyrics to a melody I provide. The fun never ends in the URI! Zone, unless I forget to pay my hosting bill this year.

    *: This is a more advanced, hardkore use of gangsta-style.

    Sorry for the delay in getting this posted -- yesterday afternoon I took a trip down to Manassas to visit Anna & Ben and parked in a visitor spot next to an ice-hump long enough to make any randy Eskimo happy. By the time I was leaving around 10 PM, someone had parked behind me, and I didn't have enough momentum to get out of my spot without the risk of hitting the guy in front of me. So with my car being a principal character on the Car-Tomb Network, I was forced to spend the night in one of Manassas' many crack dens, next to a doerdoa named Alfredo and a hobo who thought it was the Greyhound station.

    Hip Hop Outlaw (Industry Version)
    Science finds ways to regrow fingers
    Mama cat adopts rottweiler

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    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Name-That-Tune Day

    Them's The Breaks

    It's become a yearly tradition here at the URI! Zone to have at least one Name-That-Tune contest, with such oddball rules as "you can only hear the bass line" or "everything's from an 80s sitcom". For this year's contest, I've decided to make it a little more accessible to new players by extending the lengths of the snippets and weighting the scores for each one based on how difficult I think it is. The theme for this contest is "instrumental breaks": the parts of the song where the melody / chorus goes away and some clown solos for a few minutes to increase the running time of the song .

    How well do you know your breaks?

    1. (15 seconds, worth 1 point)
    2. (14 seconds, worth 1 point)
    3. (13 seconds, worth 1 point)
    4. (18 seconds, worth 1 point)
    5. (17 seconds, worth 2 points)
    6. (13 seconds, worth 2 points)
    7. (13 seconds, worth 2 points)
    8. (14 seconds, worth 4 points)
    9. (20 seconds, worth 5 points)
    10. (24 seconds, worth 5 points)
    11. Fun Tiebreaker Bonus:
    12. (10 seconds, worth 1 point)

    The Complete Rules:

  • Send me an email containing your guesses for each song title no later than February 27, 2008. The band/group/performer does not matter here but feel free to submit them if you want a pat on the head.
  • The entry with the most correct answers will win a $15 gift certificate to Amazon.com. The prize will be split during ties. You may also work with a partner and split the prize if your collective entry wins.
  • I will abuse dictatorial privileges if a situation arises that's not covered by the rules.
  • For the mathematicians in the audience, the highest score you can possibly get is 25 points. Good luck!
  • Ex-Homecoming Queen Beats Sister With Fake Leg In Trailer
    Human pelican guilty of drunk driving
    Ancient devil frog may have eaten the dinosaurs

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    Friday, February 20, 2009

    Friday Fragments

    all the booze that's fit to pint

    ♠ Rebecca says hello from Puerto Rico, where she is eating ice cream with her college friend, Alice, using up six days of leave that expire on March 1, and learning what it's like to be in a place that isn't quite a state (although this could also have been done cheaper with a trip to Alabama).

    ♠ With Future Wife #1 in Puerto Rico, I've spent the last couple nights adding improvements to the URI! Zone. I cancelled the Event Calendar idea because it was useless and derivative (and sites like Facebook do it better anyhow), but maybe I'll borrow something useful, like the ability to turn someone into a Vampire, or email notifications whenever someone visits the site or scrolls up and down.

    ♠ The most noticeable addition is the magnifying glass icon in the Comments section: . If you click on this icon next to any commenter, you will see a complete history of all the comments they've ever posted on the URI! Zone, going back as far as April 2003, which will likely be the 0th year of civilization when the aliens discover our planet in 3852 (after our apocalypse) and assign me some sort of godlike status after piecing together the last remnants of the Internet.

    ♠ Also, blogs which have not been updated in three weeks' time will automatically vanish from the Bloglog, but never fear, because they will also return as soon as new content appears. So if you're like Kathy, and have been too busy leaving me out of the acknowledgments section of your dissertation to update your blog, it will reappear as soon as you post something. Paige tried this out just yesterday!

    ♠ I have also created a BootyCam which will give you an up-to-the-minute look at what Booty is doing at any given time, as long as she is in front of the camera. If you reload the page, you might see many unexpected antics -- Booty is more exciting than any baby panda any day of the week.

    ♠ Remember when Tai Shan, the baby panda, was the size of a stick of butter? Now it's four years old with a dingy white coat, probably fat and surviving on handouts. That's what happens when you live in DC.

    ♠ For the first time in three weeks, my weekend plans don't involve going to DC or Maryland, although that might change depending on the status of a tentative Game Night. Sunday, as everyone is full aware, is 222 Day. In celebration, I will buy anyone in the Sterling area two 22oz of Steel Reserve if they can successfully pass a ten question oral quiz. Actually, the awesomest way to ring in 222 Day would be for Rosie to pop out a baby or two, if she hasn't done it already.

    ♠ I plan to celebrate 222 Day by setting up the next Name That Tune contest. Depending how far I get and how lazy I'm not, it may appear here as early as Monday! If you thought that the samples from the previous contest were too cacophonous, you will be pleasantly surprised this time around.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Why you shouldn't stick an air gun up your butt
    Men see bikini-clad women as objects
    Octopus survives 5 days on the run

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    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Presidents Day

    Because it's Presidents Day and I'm still working a ton, here are some rare political thoughts:

    • It is impossible to create a scalable solution for any problem from the federal level. No matter how well-meaning or well-documented it is, there are too many points between the top and the bottom where the money gets leeched or the message gets altered.

    • It is impossible to change the country from the grass-roots level. However, this is the only level where you can have an impact. The most effective approach would be for normal people to ignore the federal circus and start improving their local burgs while the federal government gets out of the way of solutions that are working.

    • Society would be well served by a healthier dose of skepticism -- not for the views of others, but for the views you already have.

    • I don't understand how there can be a liberal elite involved in a media conspiracy. Didn't the liberals use up all of their money trying to pay for Socialism? And since none of that money trickled down to the bottom, doesn't that just make Old Money richer?

    • It's amazing how many people still believe that elected officials at the federal level are accountable to normal people in any way. We squabble over which party is better when the answer is neither. Both sides will say whatever it takes to get elected (which is fine because that's how the game is set up), and the country is now too large to effect meaningful change on any issue with the least bit of controversy.

    • Voting for an independent candidate at the federal level is still a waste of a vote, no matter how you slice it. If the horse race is rigged, you won't change the situation or "show them" by betting on a squirrel you saw in the parking lot.

    • The Internet is bad for politics because people get put on the defensive for anything that smells like controversy. It forces those seeking election to always focus on the near-term, at the expense of the future, not unlike hiring a consultant to write your software. It also makes it much easier to find people and news sources that already support your world view without challenge.

    I vomited these out in about seven minutes this morning, so my apologies if any of them read like a kaleidoscope with one of the mirrors missing. I can follow up in the Comments section!

    How Companies Learn Your Secrets
    Piggyback Bandit banned in five states

    tagged as politics | permalink | 4 comments

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken eighteen years ago today, on February 20, 1995. I was a junior in the marching band and we were marching in the George Washington Day Parade in Old Town Alexandria. In addition to the ludicrous design of the uniforms as you see them here, each coat also had a cape that hung from just one shoulder, like it was designed by Superman if he only flew to his right.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Parks and Recreation, Season Five:
    Parks and Rec has managed to hit and maintain a consistent level of funny since it's awful first season, built on the strength of the supporting characters and the different permutations they can be mixed up in to stay fresh. There's not necessarily a lot of plot progression in this season, but for this show, that's just fine.

    Final Grade: B+

    Betas, Season One:
    This is an Amazon original series that's free with Prime, consisting of 11 episodes about the West Coast start-up culture. It occasionally veers too far into tech jargon and venture capitalism, but can mostly be enjoyed without that knowledge through the fun set of socially awkward characters (betas) trying to release the next big social app (a beta).

    Final Grade: B

    The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone:
    This book had the infamy of being given a one star review by Jeff Bezos' wife. While I can't judge the accuracy of the personal stories within, they do make for a compelling, and generally balanced story. What I found more interesting than the Bezos biography though was the evolution of the company itself, from books to distribution to web services and beyond. Amazon has tried everything at least once, and this book gives a nice orderly look at how each area was tackled, even the failures like the now defunct diamond selector that I used to get Rebecca's engagement ring for under 50% of the assessed value. To a techie like me, these parts of the book would have been just as compelling without the personal people stories wrapped around the edges.

    Final Grade: B+

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    Friday, February 20, 2015

    Random Chart Day: Real Estate Assessment

    I can't wait until this area has reached ridiculous Alexandria levels of inflation so we can sell out and move to Kauai. Remember, Loudoun County is only a few years of global warming away from being the new coastline of the Potomac River. Lock in your riverside views today!

    tagged as data | permalink | 2 comments

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    List Day: 20 Vetoed Baby Names

    • Brian Uri, Jr.

    • Lunchmeat Uri

    • Donald Uri

    • Papaya Uri

    • Creighton Barrel Uri

    • Popeye Uri

    • Bribecca Uri

    • Plinky Uri

    • Gonorrhea Uri

    • Stonewall Antietam Uri

  • Euwanimus Forsythia Uri

  • Michael Jackson Uri

  • Jedediah Ezekiel Uri

  • Virginia Tech Uri

  • Oedipus Uri

  • Garage Sale Uri

  • Null Uri

  • White Fang Uri

  • Axl Rose Uri

  • Genghis Grill Uri

  • tagged as lists, offspring | permalink | 8 comments

    Wednesday, February 20, 2019

    12 of 12 Fallout

    Here are all of the Washington Post front page headlines captured in my 12 of 12 photos between 2006 and 2018. It's hurricanes and Trump all the way down!

    • February 12, 2010: Blizzard rakes weary region

    • December 12, 2010: In higher education, lessons in equality

    • March 12, 2011: Japan reeling after 8.9 earthquake

    • November 12, 2012: At a loss in Red America

    • July 12, 2013: 'The world has left us behind'

    • September 12, 2013: US arms reach rebels

    • November 12, 2013: Wreckage stands in way of fast relief in the Philippines

    • June 12, 2014: Cantor's loss ignites House leadership fight

    • August 12, 2014: FBI will investigate shooting in Ala.

    • November 12, 2014: US and China announce climate deal

    • December 12, 2014: House passes $1.1 trillion spending bill

    • January 12, 2015: More than a million march in Paris

    • February 12, 2015: A cheating husband's worst nightmare

    • March 12, 2015: Economy faces a surprise risk: surging dollar

    • May 12, 2015: Texas bill would limit marriage licenses

    • August 12, 2015: How is Bernie Sanders doing?

    • November 12, 2015: GOP fissures on foreign policy

    • December 12, 2015: Small nations noticed in Paris

    • February 12, 2016: US, Russia agree to a halt in Syrian war

    • March 12, 2016: 'A love story for the ages'

    • April 12, 2016: Another river to cross: College

    • May 12, 2016: Islamic State strikes at Baghdad

    • July 12, 2016: Theresa May lands job as UK's leader

    • August 12, 2016: Clinton goes after Trump's pitch on aiding 'little guy'

    • September 12, 2016: Clinton falls ill at 9/11 service

    • October 12, 2016: Trump bashes GOP leaders

    • November 12, 2016: Trump team is hedging on some pledges

    • January 12, 2017: Trump concedes Russia hacked DNC

    • February 12, 2017: Greenland's uranium dilemma

    • March 12, 2017: Unlikely footholds for EU's far right

    • July 12, 2017: White House plunges into chaos as Trump fumes over fallout from son's Russia revelations

    • September 12, 2017: Irma leaves millions in the dark in Florida

    • October 12, 2017: Trump threatens to abandon Puerto Rico recovery efforts

    • November 12, 2017: Trump criticized for saying Putin is sincere in denial of election meddling

    • February 12, 2018: Scott Pruitt's travel practices -- secretive, costly and frequent -- distinguish his EPA tenure

    • July 12, 2018: Trump upends NATO summit, demands immediate spending increases

    • August 12, 2018: Seattle hijacker's plane heist, stunts, crash expose gaps in aviation security

    • October 12, 2018: Pope accepts Wuerl's resignation

    • November 12, 2018: Democrats signal aggressive scrutiny of Trump, resist impeachment calls

    • December 12, 2018: 'This has spiraled downard': Democrats introduce Trump to divided government

    tagged as 12 of 12, data | permalink | 1 comment

     

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