This Day In History: 03/06

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

The second composition candidate came today. I liked the orchestral piece he played in the afternoon, but wasn't too impressed with his morning teaching demonstration. He really just took the class through a step-by-step series of examples, presuming that the underlying concepts were already strong, and never actually explained any of the concepts he was supposed to teach. He also didn't seem to have very good classroom management skills, and his self-effacing manner hurt his presentation more than it helped it (in my opinion).

I finally got an e-mail from the SCI listserv which must mean I'm a member now. I registered back in November and the check finally cleared in January.

"I frequently compare a symphony or a sonata with a novel in which the themes are the characters. After we have made their acquaintance, we follow their evolution, the unfolding of their philosophy. Their individual features linger with us as if present. Some of these characters arouse feelings of sympathy, others repel us. They are set off against one another or they join hands; they marry or they fight." - Arthur Honegger

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Thursday, March 06, 2003

A couple days ago, I received an e-mail requesting to use my game, Augmented Fourth, in a collection of interactive fiction games. Apparently, someone is creating an IF interpreter for the Dreamcast and wants the game as part of its free provided collection. With my interest renewed in it, I finally got around to setting up Matthew Russotto's Zplet on my site, so you can play the game here without having to download anything. Go to the Games page and look for Augmented Fourth for more information. If you've ever played the old Infocom text games, like Zork, Deadline, or Trinity, you'll be right at home.

I've finished creating an electronic copy of my Master's thesis and I'll be getting all the paperwork signed today. If you missed it the first time around, here it is:

    Labyrinth for chamber ensemble (15:45, 14.5MB MP3)
    Score and Accompanying Notes (3.0 MB PDF)

Amazon sets prices based on your browser and astrology
Man arrested for 'peace' T-shirt
Mom blows son's cover
From the "We blew a grant on that!" department

tagged as games | permalink | 0 comments

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    nikole giraldi, jonathan shachter, dog 1922 meteorite, ada kitchen double door acting, edta color indicator fish tank, illegal hunt camels, emptymicrowave popcorn bags

Buy stamps for e-mail
"That belongs to Daddy," Humphrey says the older child told him, "but Mommy put it there."
Attack of the three-headed frog

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscar Wrap Up Day

Like a flipped coin that can predict the future, the URI! Zone accurately picked the winner in 12 of the 24 Academy Award categories (you can see the official list of winners here). This is a marked improvement over previous years -- take that, everyone who didn't believe my predictions!

On Sunday evening, I moseyed on down to a small Oscar party hosted by Chris and Kathy where I filled out a nominee ballot that actually had some sense of internal logic and managed to guess 14 of 24 categories correctly. I only stayed for the first two hours of the ridiculously long ceremony so I don't know if anything goofy happened after that, but overall, my opinion has not changed about the silliness of the whole charade. It's really nothing more than a four-hour circle of self-appreciation. Maybe it would be more meaningful if they let normal movie viewers vote, or got rid of Sound Mixing.

Here are some other thoughts that went through my head during the part I watched:

  • Jon Stewart turned out to be a decent host -- he spent most of his energy cracking safe film-related jokes instead of political jokes. Among his memorable lines (which might be paraphrased because of my horrible memory):
      [After Cinderella Man lost in the Makeup category] "Imagine how hard it was to make Russell Crowe look like he'd been in a fight... I'm getting pummeled after the show, aren't I?"
      [Presenting presenters, Jessica Alba and Eric Bana] "And if there were a nuclear holocaust, these are the two people that I would want to repopulate the Earth."
      [After another ridiculously stupid montage of memorable film moments] "I can't wait till later when we see Oscar's salute to montages. We are literally out of clips right now. If you have any clips, please mail them to us."
      "Piracy hurts all of these wonderful actresses you see here tonight. Take a look around, some of them can't even afford enough material to cover their breasts!"
      "Capote should be acknowledged for its courage in showing that not all gay people are virile cowboys."
  • Ben Stiller's Visual Effects presentation, in which he wore a one-piece green unitard and tried to convince people that he was a disembodied head on a green screen was quite amusing.

  • Dolly Parton is so skinny that she looks like a pair of boobies on stilts.

  • The commercials on Oscars night were so-so. It was definitely not a Super Bowl.

  • They had ambient music playing in the background of everyone's speeches to keep them short which was ridiculously tacky. It sounded like the entire ceremony was taking place in a hotel lobby or Kim's apartment building. When the head honcho of the Academy (who no one knows or cares about other than the actors sucking up to him) came out, the music mysteriously vanished and he talked as long as he wanted.

  • I didn't know that Rachel Weisz had a non-American accent, but boy is it hot.

  • Charlize Theron spent the entire evening getting attacked by the giant bullfrog on her dress.

  • The presenters mentioned DVDs and piracy multiple times throughout the night. Taken from POE News:
      "How many times did they mention that movies looked better on the big screen? They even had a montage of epics that only looked good on the big screen, including that timeless epic Smokey and the Bandit... Want people to watch movies in the theater? Don't charge $10 for a matinee before 6pm, have ushers throw people out who are making noise, and quit showing ads before the movies. It has nothing to do with the movies, it has everything to do with the quality of the experience, and often, I simply have a better experience at home. So Hollywood before you go blame the theater patrons, get your own house in order and fix the freaking theaters."
  • Every time an actor or actress mentioned how important Hollywood is to righting social and political wrongs, I couldn't help but think of the Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins puppets in Team America.

  • In one of the non-acting categories, the winner thanked the Academy for seating her next to George Clooney at the Oscar dinner.

  • On the red carpet, the ABC interviewers showed Felicity Huffman a tape from all her costars of Desperate Housewives wishing her luck and saying she was their best friend in the whole wide world. ABC must have spent a FORTUNE to get that little piece of fiction out the door.
  • What did you think of the ceremony? Did I miss any funny moments? Are you just glad it's all over? Let me know in the comments section!

    Pasport problems
    This bike is a pipebomb
    Dirty Love wins worst movie of the year

    permalink | 15 comments

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    Newsday Tuesday

    How long is too long for a movie?

    "I do agree you can't just make movies three hours long for no apparent reason. For a romantic comedy to be three hours long, that's longer than most marriages," Fincher said.

    This story on notes the recent trend of movies to stretch towards the dreadful three-hour mark, a trend popularized by the unfortunate "made-for-BBC-miniseries" trilogy, Lord of the Rings. It's a little known fact that the actress who played Gollum was originally a fresh-faced hottie plucked straight from the Disney afternoon lineup (to boost the movie's Hollywood appeal), but the movies took so long to film that she became the gaunt, spirit-crushed eyesore you see in the final cuts.

    There is always inner turmoil between my inherited "get your money's worth" gene and my "attention span's so short that they should show multiple movies in tabbed windows" gene, but in this case I side with the attention span gene. Movies today are definitely too long -- two hours is a reasonable and traditional length of time for a movie, and they should only be longer in very rare cases. One needs to look no further than Bad Boys II for an example of this phenomenon: a horrible movie which takes a whopping 144 minutes to explain why Will Smith and Martin Lawrence shoot stuff. In my rewrite of the movie, I managed to cut it down to 14 minutes, after which Smith puts Lawrence out of his whining misery with a bullet to the back of the head.

    As a public service, I have created a shortlist of rules to follow when determining how long your next movie should be.

  • Your movie should never be shorter than 90 minutes unless you plan on letting me watch it for free.

  • If your movie sucks, compassionately cap it at 90 minutes. Audiences will recognize that it's crap regardless, but sometimes a short, crappy movie can hit the spot. A long, crappy movie never does.

  • Romantic comedies and chick flicks should be less than 100 minutes. You should never pad them out with deleted scenes to make an Uncut DVD, especially scenes with unfunny jokes or scenes that lengthen the bonding time of the two romantic leads (exceptions allowed for montages).

  • Movies with subtitles should be less than 100 minutes as well. Otherwise we would go read a book.

  • Action flicks should be under two hours. If yours is running long, cut out an explosion, a chase scene, and a slow motion hand-held camera pan, in that order.

  • All other movies should be about two hours long. You are allowed to go over this amount by no more than twenty minutes if your movie is based on a true story, involves a war, or can be described by a reviewer with the phrase, "the lush cinematography is a character in and of itself". This extension is invalid if your movie can also be considered pretentious.

  • Three hours is far too long for a movie. No one wants to see any of the following for three hours: apes, hobbits, Muggles, pirates, the Mafia, ancient Greeks, Kevin Costner, or Ben Affleck. Cut, cut cut! If your movie fades to black more than twice, then maybe you should cut one or more of the endings. YOU GOT THAT, FRODO?

  • If your epic movie simply can't be any shorter, split it into two ninety minute segments and release the sequel a year later. If your movie is too long for one sitting but not long enough for the sequel approach, pad the running time with a bunch of uninteresting garbage and call it Kill Bill.

  • Happy Birthday Jay Morrison!

    Man hopes grenades don't explode under pressure
    Blame Book-It for fatties
    Teens take the fire out of ostrich's cracker

    tagged as newsday | permalink | 3 comments

    Thursday, March 06, 2008

    Review Day: Girls and Boys

    Girls and Boys is a CD by Ingrid Michaelson, whose music has appeared on XM Radio, Grey's Anatomy, and Old Navy commercials. It's a mix of styles from KT Tunstall to Jem to a non-annoying version of Vanessa Carlton, and was one of several mini-presents Rebecca left me when she went to Guatemala last month. I ended up liking the CD so much that I downloaded the whole thing online to support the artist through Amazon's sleek MP3 store.

    Music on the CD runs a gamut of emotions and is always pleasant to listen to even if you (like me) don't really listen to the lyrics. I had this CD looping in my car for about a week before loaning it to Anna, and only ever got tired of one song, December Baby, because it was too long, monotonous, and vampy, reminding me of Gemma Hayes' first CD which I disliked. Here are my thoughts on a few of the tracks, with audio samples:

    Die Alone

    The opening track reminds me a great deal of KT Tunstall -- if you gave her a younger, more innocent timbre, you might come up with a song like this. This is also the heaviest track on the album, and everything else is more acoustic and/or indy than this one. I like the purity of Michaelson's tone, and the way it gets stronger without getting harsher.

    The Hat

    This is one of my favourite songs on the album because of its unpredictable melodic patterns which make the lyrics almost stream-of-consciousness. It's easy enough to write a poem that rhymes, but it takes skill to lay out the words in a way that both highlights and blurs the rhythmic beat at the same time.

    Far Away

    Another favourite -- this one just exudes a pleasant nature from every note, much like the third movement of Sibelius' fifth symphony.

    Corner of Your Heart

    This is the obligatory moody, melancholy track, and it works very well -- it reminds me a lot of the instrumental track on the Cardigans' Gran Turismo CD which was the best set of music depression I've heard. I can totally picture some retarded Grey's Anatomy montage playing in slow motion over this song.

    Final Grade: A

    You can hear more samples at the Amazon store: .

    Man flies son to tennis to beat traffic
    French mayor tells locals not to die
    Burglars done in by doughnuts

    tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 5 comments

    Friday, March 06, 2009

    Busy at Work Day

    Haikus from the Ninth Grade

    In the evening sun,
    the little green lizard basks,
    on a garden wall.

    A river so still
    Images like a mirror
    Someone throws a rock.

    The ants always work
    Toiling all day and night.
    Don't they ever sleep?

    Llama is a beast.
    A llama has no llandllord.
    Llamas llike the lleaves.

    My grandfather clock
    makes a steady ticking. My
    grandfather does not.

    Life of a Kleenex
    is actually quite short.
    From tree to the trash.

    A chair is to sit.
    A carpet is to stand on.
    But where do you squat?

    The cookie is gone.
    Its life was taken by a
    man with a hammer.

    The eyebrow is not
    an eye or a brow because
    it is a hairline.

    There was an earthworm.
    Then there was a large fire ax.
    There are two earthworms.

    Each diagonal
    of a rhombus bisects two
    angles of rhombus.

    The fishstick is not
    a fish or a stick because
    it is a fungus.

    The Evil Weevil
    He lost his Boll in a storm.
    Now he is evil.

    The spider beside
    her ate peanuts and cider.
    It drowned in cider.

    The swan is graceful
    cutting a swath of water
    as it glides along.

    Without a thumb, we
    would be helpless and could not
    use the telephone.

    The clownfish dodges
    his predators in the strange
    sea anemone.

    Ladders bring you up
    in the world but underneath
    them leads to bad luck.

    This is why you take the chocolate eclairs out of the box when you propose
    Boy wins rights to tropical island
    Beards for style's sake

    tagged as random | permalink | 1 comment

    Tuesday, March 06, 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.

    Fluky: (adj.) obtained by chance rather than skill

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)

    I heard something repetitive and additive when I got this title from the random word generator. I don't do a lot with phase-y electronic patches, and this seemed an apropos place to start. The motive has a 75% chance of getting stuck in your brain.

    tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, March 06, 2013

    Snow Day

    This snowstorm is out of control. Hide your kids and hide your wife.

    EDIT: I spoke too soon.

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

    Thursday, March 06, 2014

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    My Name Is Earl, Season Two:
    The second season of Earl is a funny and often feel-good way to pass my exercise time, although they start to run out of ideas by the end of this season. Over time, the "good deeds for Karma" idea goes stale, but the show is buoyed by the supporting characters, especially Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner.

    Final Grade: B

    My Name Is Earl, Season Three:
    This season was just plain awful, like the fourth season of Community or the almost-final season of Scrubs where the episodes are in the wrong order. Earl goes to prison for a crime he didn't commit, but then gets back out almost as soon as the writers realize that the new setting doesn't give them any new story ideas. The last half of the season follows Earl in a coma, mocking tropes of 80s sitcoms in his coma dreams, and even a guest appearance by Alyssa Milano can't turn things around.

    Final Grade: D-

    Elysium (R):
    This sci-fi tale, from the creator of District 9 is set against the backdrop of a polluted Earth full of poor people, and an orbiting space colony of rich people who want for nothing. It was engrossing, and more sci-fi than action, although the plot gets progressively shakier as the movie rolls. The villain was fun, but a little too over the top.

    Final Grade: B+

    The Family (R):
    This was a sick night movie that I probably wouldn't have watched otherwise, featuring Robert DeNiro as a gangster in witness protection. His family has trouble staying hidden, because they always exact revenge when they've been unfairly treated. The movie drags a bit in the middle, and the bulk of funny moments cluster around the first third (many of them are in the trailer). Overall, it was pleasant enough for a sick night, but couldn't tonally decide whether it was going for comic action, tongue-in-cheek satire, or situational humor.

    Final Grade: C-

    The World's End (R):
    This was the third movie in the style of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, about a group of old friends trying to complete a pub crawl they never finished in their youth, until things go awry. Like all of these movies, there's an obvious shift when the movie changes gears, and I actually liked it more when it was just a buddy movie about going to the bar. The last half is fun but not as engaging, but it was over before it outstayed its welcome. Overall, I enjoyed it, but liked Hot Fuzz more.

    Final Grade: B

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, March 06, 2015

    Snow Day

    We survived in Sterling with about 8 inches of snow. I drove Rebecca to work so she could walk home like an Eskimo in the afternoon. I also shoveled around 2 PM, only to have my work completely erased, before shoveling again around 4:30.

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

    Monday, March 06, 2017

    List Day: Parenting Responsibilities

    5 Things I'll Excel At

    1. Dad jokes

    2. Logistics

    3. Babyproofing

    4. Patience

    5. Preparing meals with sufficient amounts of protein

    5 Things I'm Not Looking Forward To

    1. Playing make-believe

    2. General increase in ambient noise

    3. Reduction in personal free time

    4. Kid germs

    5. Chauffeuring to organized sports practices

    tagged as lists, offspring | permalink | 2 comments

    Tuesday, March 06, 2018

    Topanga Day 1

    Having a late lunch (fresh off the plane) in Topanga State Park in California.

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

    Wednesday, March 06, 2019

    Maia Month #20 Battle Report

    Maia is now 1 year and 8 months old and exactly 21 pounds. She can say individual words although they may not be intelligible to you unless you're around her all the time. Her recent obsessions are balloons, umbrellas, and really anything that is held up in the sky. She still likes reading books and has taken a particular liking to the Berenstain Bears books (we have a complete set from the early 80s).

    Maia is pretty self-sufficient now and enjoys sitting around the kitchen making "soup" with a pot, a spoon, and all of her animal magnets while we putter around above her. She's a fan of cars and trucks and having all of the stuffed animals in her bed. She HATES changing out of her pajamas when waking up in the morning, especially her seasonally-inappropriate Christmas pajamas. She also HATES coming inside and would stay outside exploring the yard forever if we let her.

    We've started doing more regular restaurant dinners as a family. Though not as cost-effective as grilling 3 nights a week, Maia enjoys the outings and is generally pretty well-behaved. It's hit-or-miss to get her to eat though, as her favourite foods rotate by the hour. One day she ate about 18 grape tomatoes at grandma's house and then let the next box we bought spoil on the counter. Another day, it was all of the strawberries.

    I'm really looking forward to the Spring, so we can wander through the woods again, and hope that there are at least a few days in the year where the ground isn't a permanently soggy morass of rain and melted snow. Dad hates cleaning muddy shoes.

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

    Friday, March 06, 2020

    Maia Battle Report: Year 2 Month 8

    Maia is now 32 months old and 26.6 pounds of joie de vivre. She regularly talks about herself as if she is the Original Bunny that she carries everywhere, like "Bunny wants to go to the payground". If Maia doesn't want to eat vegetables, sometimes Bunny does, providing a useful loophole in the logic. Bunnies are her obsession, and I have drawn far more bunnies in the past three months than anyone should.

    Maia understands cycles like days of the week and the sun and the moon. She likes to consider things in order and regularly asks what comes "after" whatever I just said. She is in the "what" phase of annoying questions which sometimes feels like she wants to ask "why" but doesn't know any of the other Five W Words. She can consistently get Alexa to play "The Goodnight Song", "Let It Go", "Under the Sea", and "Bunny Foo Foo" (except the one time Foo Fighters played instead).

    A couple nights per week, we'll watch 15 - 30 minutes of TV together, usually Mr. Roger's (her current favourite), Sesame Street, or Superwings. When she plays with her stuffed animals, she has no problem pretending and has even taken to reciting dialog from the perspective of the animals. On Wednesday, I bemoaned the lack of horses in our pasture. She said, "Maybe Flower Bunny will dress up like a horse" and proceeded to call that animal "Flower Horse" for the rest of the day.

    Maia's naps have been replaced with quiet time in her nursery. She seems to enjoy the downtime which also gives us a chance to recharge between our morning-to-evening childcare handoff. She sleeps 12 hours per night, although a few times recently, she's woken up around 2 AM and talked to herself for about an hour before going back to sleep.

    All is well on the parent front. We're looking forward to warmer weather to increase the amount of outdoor time we can have (especially in our new screen porch)!

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

    Monday, March 06, 2023

    Weekend Wrap-up

    Dinner on Friday night was quick-broiled shrimp over a bed of liguine alfredo.

    On Saturday, Rebecca went off to her weekly yoga class in the morning while the kids and I cleaned and organized the living room and hall closets. Maia's assistance was limited to building a cave in the hall closet out of spare paper towel rolls, while Ian's assistance was limited to building a paper towel tower (a paper tower), knocking it over, and saying "Uh oh!"

    After a run to the grocery store midday, we mopped the kitchen and then relaxed around the house on Saturday afternoon. We made a big stock pot full of vegetarian lentil soup. Our friends, Tammy and Patrick, came over for dinner followed by pints of Ben and Jerry's for desert.

    On Sunday, Rebecca took the kids to church as usual while I got some extra work done on a deadline. The weather was super nice so we spent the whole afternoon outside, reattaching hoses for the springtime and making a fire in our rapidly decaying firepit. Maia made grass-based foods as a Baking Show contestant and garnished with 2 of the 3 white daffodils we had in on our woods trail.

    Dinner on Sunday was burgers with sauteed mushrooms. Ian serenaded us with several rounds of "Jesus Loves Me" after which we gave the kids a bath and put them to bed. Sunday night was reserved for 2022 taxes and putting up TurboTax's annoying cadence of "We're going to look to see if you qualify for this benefit! You don't qualify for this benefit!"

    How was your weekend?

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

    Wednesday, March 06, 2024

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken 9 years ago today, on March 6, 2015.

    Fresh off an extended weekend spent working overnight to analyze Weblogic memory crashes, and nonstop studying for my very first AWS cloud certification, Rebecca and I headed out of town for the weekend to Hopkins Ordinary B&B in Sperryville. We stayed in the smallest room ("Oregano") and enjoyed complimentary beers from the basement brewery. The next day, we hiked White Oak Canyon because recent snow had made an Old Rag hike untenable.

    We enjoyed our experience so much that we went back 3 more times in the next 10 months, and then twice more in the coming years (once with Maia during the very first weeks of the pandemic).

    tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments


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