This Day In History: 03/08

Friday, March 08, 2002

Since it's the last day of classes before Spring Break, everyone is out and about, driving off to their island paradises for the week. Most of the undergrads seem to have left yesterday, with the exception of music majors, who had to stick around for exams given by their heartless professors. Hopefully the fat-ass upstairs with the video game that requires jumping will be away all break too. You'd think that after his daily regimen of video-gaming (during my specified hours only, of course) he'd sound a little bit lighter by now.

I don't have any big plans for the week, although there's a lot of work I plan on getting ahead in. By the end of the week, I'd like to:

    1) Do my pedagogy presentation
    2) Make parts for Outlooks, I and II
    3) Get closer to finishing Movement III
    4) Complete the Ewazen MIDI accompaniments I started last semester
    5) Work ahead through a few Fugue assignments
    6) Do my Jazz History final project
    7) Start analysis for next month's pedagogy exam
    8) Add a page on DOOM to this site

Of course, I consider four of eight to be an unusually productive week, to take distractions into account. Depending on my mood, I may not update this News page everyday -- updates might end up being sporadic, erratic, or uninteresting.

"A woman accused of hitting a homeless man with her car, driving home with him lodged in her broken windshield and ignoring his pleas as he bled to death in her garage, is not the monster being portrayed by prosecutors, her attorney says." - from the "Lawyers who have their work cut out for them" file

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Monday, March 08, 2004

The scene is a crowded parking garage. The villains peel out in their getaway car just as Sydney and Vaughn burst out of the stairwell in pursuit. After scanning rows of tightly-packed double-parked cars, Sydney spies a good pursuit vehicle and screams to her partner, "Get the F-150!".

The camera centers on the Ford F-150 logo below the driver's side mirror before panning across its Quiet Steel frame as the spies hotwire the car and use its hemi to knock a Ford Explorer out of the way. In their (longest lasting most dependable) F-150, they pursue the villains (who are driving a Ford Mustang) through the parking garage. The villains ultimately get away, but not before ramming a Ford Focus into oncoming traffic.

After the show, fade to black with the message "Tonight's episode of Alias has been brought to you by the new F-150" over the Ford logo.

True story.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    nuclear launch detected., fudge said the judge jazz, drum major band hace, burneal forest

Driving a Girl's Car
Chickens sell out marijuana farmer
Yes, honey, I am in the office
The Two Towers in Engrish

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Package Day Redux

Two weeks ago, I posted about my latest Amazon bundle of treats and toys . Today I will post short reviews of all the goodies, so you can better spend your tax refunds on useless middle-class garbage.

  • The Complete Ramona Quimby Series: The Ramona books came in two boxed sets of four books each, although they were obviously packaged as an afterthought, since some of the books have different cover styles. Whoever decided to box them up did a horrible job with the order -- the fourth book in the series is missing from the first boxed set, so you really have to buy both sets to read them all in order. The stories were as comforting and nostalgic as I thought they would be, and it only took an hour or so to read each one. The most surprising twist in my Reading Is Fundamental adventure occurred when I started reading the eighth book and realized that I hadn't read it before. Ramona's World, it turns out, was not written until 1999, fifteen years after the previous book. It "feels" a little different from the rest of the series, and even seems to have incorporated a little modernization for young readers. The best part of the boxed set is that they retained the original pencil drawings, which will surely trigger some memories from your youth if you read these as much as I did.

  • The Complete Ralph S. Mouse Series: Just as good as I remembered. I had to make a Mouse and the Motorcycle diorama in Mrs. Hutt's third grade and remember obliterating a ping pong ball in a failed attempt to make a crash helmet for a mouse. I also loaned Mrs. Hutt my copy of the book so she could put it on the overhead projector to trace one of the illustrations onto a giant classroom poster. The heat from the transparency bulb melted the glue in the binding and permanently destroyed the book.

  • KT Tunstall: Eye to the Telescope: This is an excellent CD -- probably one of the first CD's I've completely enjoyed since Muse's Absolution in 2004. Despite her occasionally interesting pronunciations, KT has a solid, agreeable voice, whether she's singing high or low, on ballads and over beats. If you think of Norah Jones as the jazzy-blues Norah Jones, then KT would be like the country-blues Norah Jones -- slightly more poppy with nothing ridiculously avant-garde, but all solidly done. Here's one of my favourite tracks from the CD (besides the radio-happy Suddenly I See) called Heal Over (2MB MP3, reduced quality). By the way, people think of me as the hip-hop-funk Norah Jones.

  • Alias Assumed: Some of the articles are interesting, some are self-serving, and some are no better than the crap you can find on the Internet (see also, the URI! Zone). A decent enough coffee-table style book, but not one that I plan on reading from cover to cover.

  • The 4400: Complete First Season: I already talked about this a couple weeks ago -- an all-around excellent show that really needs to release its second season on DVD already.

  • Tales of Symphonia: The story is silly and the battle system is nonsensical to non-Japanese gamers such as myself. This is a game that I might waste some time with on a slow afternoon, but it's not one that I have any urge to play regularly in order to see what happens next. Paper Mario is an all-around better RPG for the GameCube. Still, this game was only $19.99 -- a bargain is a bargain.

  • 24: The Complete Third Season: The problem with starting a season of 24 is that you are then compelled to see it through to the end. We haven't started watching this yet, but probably will after Anna's caught up on the last season of Friends, the second season of Arrested Development, and the second season of Scrubs.

  • Sally Lockhart Trilogy: These were some of the last books I checked out of the Burke Branch Library in Alexandria before running out of new material to read and shipping off to college. The final book in the trilogy was actually released during the time I was reading the first two, and I marvelled at the fact that there were actually NEW books in the library. Fragments of the stories came back to me as I read, but it was still fun deciphering all the mysteries again for the first time. The stories are mystery/suspense tales spun against the backdrop of London in the late nineteenth century. Somehow, the author manages to weave bigger issues like opium, war and peace, immigration, socialism, and the Industrial Revolution into the story without making it feel like a sermon, and never talks down to the reader. I enjoyed these books just as much today as I did when I was in high school. A+: Would read books by this author again, and I'll probably order up the rest of his books the next time I'm trolling Amazon for needless purchases.

  • Missing link between Muppets and Sebastian found
    Jake Gyllenhaal has fun at the Pre-Oscar party
    The Headless Deerman

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    Capsule Review Day

    There are no spoilers in these reviews.

    Half Nelson:
    An artsy film about an addict history teacher trying to teach dialectics at his inner city school. Interesting and strong enough to warrant Gosling's Best Actor nomination, but forgettable overall. Rated R, probably for drug use, sexuality and the death of a kitty from old age.

    Final Grade: C+

    Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap (GBA):
    A classic Zelda-game that plays like the kindred spirit of A Link to the Past (SNES). This is as close to an old-fashioned Zelda experience as you can get, and it's still quite playable on the DS. Where the original game used the Light and Dark Worlds as a way to breath a double life into a single game map, Minish Cap employs a chicken that sits on Link's head (and looks like a cap) which will shrink him to tiny sizes. The game is huge, especially for a handheld title, and only rarely gets frustrating.

    Final Grade: A-

    Stranger than Fiction:
    This movie was the second half of a double-feature (the first being Half Nelson) intended to end the evening on a lighter note. Surely everyone's seen the ads -- Will Ferrell is a boring accountant who wakes up one day and discovers that his life is being narrated by a voice in his head, which might lead to his ultimate death. There are no laugh-out-loud Will Ferrell moments, but the entire movie is amusing at the chuckle-level and surprisingly meaningful by the end. This is the type of movie Jim Carrey would have tried to do four years ago and destroyed beyond recognition. Ferrell actually pulls it off with a bit of class and pathos.

    Final Grade: A

    Yoshi's Island (DS):
    This game had so much potential to be great, but completely wasted it. It employs at least two of the "Things I Hate in Video Games" (an entry I'd planned to write last week, but which will probably be pushed off until next week). Yoshi's Island is an old-fashioned 2D platformer with Yoshi as the main character. Yoshi can carry babies on his back, like Mario, Donkey Kong, and the Princess, and each baby gives him a different power, like running fast or floating through the air. He beats enemies by eating them and pooping out an egg, which he can then throw at other enemies.

    At this point, the game sounds great, like a flute recital before the first song. It's only when you start playing the game that you realize just how frustrating it is. The control scheme works just fine, but you don't immediately die when you get hit by an enemy. Instead, the baby falls off your back into a floating bubble, bouncing around the screen on a random path and crying incessantly. By the time you get the baby back, it's probably floating over an enemy, which means you'll just lose the baby again immediately and have to repeat the process. While the baby is floating, your stash of collectible stars drains away, and when it hits 0, the baby gets kidnapped in an uninterruptible cutscene and you have to start over. Meanwhile, your collectible stars are also necessary to meet some of the goals in each level, so some might argue that dropping your baby in the game has even worse consequences than real life -- you'll have to restart the level! Only get this if you're a masochist -- you will want to throw your DS at your cat at least once per level.

    Final Grade: C

    The Prestige:
    Similar movies always seem to come out in groups (see also, Armageddon and Deep Impact, or Requiem for a Dream and Bambi). This is the sister movie to The Illusionist -- both movies are about turn-of-the-century magicians. The Illusionist was a love story with Ed Norton as the magician who proved that sleight-of-hand wasn't just a term to insult Middle Eastern thieves. The Prestige tells the tale of two rival stage magicians and their back-and-forth attempts to sabotage and outdo the other's act. This movie was very engrossing to watch, and I did enjoy it, but after it was over I still preferred the other movie. The payoff of the last third of this movie is neat, but seems to be only tangentially related to the thrust of the main theme. Still, it's worth a rental.

    Final Grade: B

    Half-ton man leaves the house
    Blues Traveler reforms as Gun Runners
    Refrigerator will toss you a can of beer

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    Monday, March 08, 2010

    Translation: If you plan on falling, please do so with pizazz!

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

    Tuesday, March 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.

    Asunder: (adj.) apart or widely separated

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)

    This excerpt is for piano, celeste and a mix of percussion and woodwinds. It gets a little unfocused towards the end -- I had planned make the rhythmic elements more discombobulated and asunder, but didn't have quite enough time before the hour was up to polish it. Plus, there were Cornish game hens in the oven to be eaten.

    Crew builds the UP! house in real life
    Russian spy Anna Chapman in from cold, out on web
    Sick note: Faking illness online

    tagged as museday | permalink | 2 comments

    Thursday, March 08, 2012

    Review Day: Horizon T202 Treadmill

    Back when Anna lived here seven years ago, she got a recumbent exercise bike, which we hoped would be the solution for exercising while watching TV (mainly the episodes of 24 where Kim fights mountain lions). The problem with exercise bikes, though, is that you can just stop pedaling. Over time, the bike transformed from a place to burn calories while watching TV to a place to sit with a beer while watching TV -- not unlike a couch with pedals.

    Fast forward to 2012, where there is now a $700 treadmill by our basement TV which makes exercising an easy habit to get into. I set myself an initial goal of walking/jogging/running for 2 hours a week, and have ended up doing far more without any prodding. This exercise has already made me lose 4 pounds, which shows that my metabolism has not yet slowed -- it was just hiding.

    We ordered the Horizon T202 through Amazon for painless scheduled curbside delivery and then navigated it into the basement with my parents' help. It was easy to assemble (requiring more than a single person because of its weight) and slightly less easy to calibrate. The T202 is a folding treadmill, which reduces its profile, but doesn't really give you much more space. It's very sturdy, but we are tiny people, so even plywood is sturdy underneath us.

    You can set up workouts based on time, distance, and calories, or just go into manual mode and control the incline (up to 12%) and speed (up to 12 MPH). There are also iPod controls and speakers, which I never use, and a heartbeat monitor, which I'm not sure I trust. Apparently you can create long-term fitness goals as well, but all I really use it for is a mechanism to keep me moving for bit every day.

    Other than an annoying, ear-shattering beep when the treadmill is turned on, I've found no faults with this unit in the two months I've been using it. I would definitely recommend it.

    Final Grade: A

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 4 comments

    Friday, March 08, 2013

    Rorschach Day

    We will be driving to a town somewhere in Virginia this afternoon. This is an aerial map of the area, with main roads in blurry black. The name of the town has 3 syllables, but is much funnier when pronounced with 4. We had planned to do a very specific activity nearby, but it is closed today and will probably still be closed tomorrow.

    What town are we visiting?

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

    Tuesday, March 08, 2016

    Adoption Day

    Since today is the 13th anniversary of adopting Booty at the Petsmart in Tallahassee, here is a visual history of her story.

    The Early Years, 2003 - 2005

    The Fat Years, 2006 - Present


    tagged as cats | permalink | 2 comments

    Wednesday, March 08, 2017

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken 27 years ago in 1990. I'm wearing my President's Physical Fitness Challenge T-shirt from my brief encounter with Arnold.

    As a Boy Scout, I really got into fishing during my first foray into summer camp at Camp Sinoquipe. As whim hobbies were wont to progress in the Uri household, I had a full tackle box filled with rubbery and shiny lures and my own titanium fishing rod before the summer was out. This is a stalker photo of me fishing on the Potomac River opposite the Washington Sailing Marina.

    The problem with fishing is that interest does not directly equate to catching fish. I never caught a single thing in the one or two years I tried fishing, even with worms dug up from the backyard.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 3 comments

    Thursday, March 08, 2018

    Topanga Day 3

    Sunset in Topanga Canyon at the end of Muerdago Road.

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

    Friday, March 08, 2019

    Shaky Cam Day

    Or, "why you should put the camera out of reach during your yoga session"

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, March 08, 2021

    Maia Battle Report: 3.666667 Years

    Maia is 4 months away from turning 4. In the picture above, she is learning Italian by rote through her Let It Go Elsa doll (she figured out the multi-step sequence to change the doll's language settings).

    Maia usually wakes up around 7:30 these days -- the days of 9 - 10 AM are a wistful memory. Once, dreading another 7:30 wake-up, I told her at bedtime that "the bunnies" wanted her to sleep late, even to 9. She said, "I'll try but that seems like a long time." She got up at 7.

    She goes to her pre-preschool three times a week from 9:30 - 12:00 and is still in a masked class with about 4 other kids. She likes "long" school, probably because she doesn't have to hang out with us all day long. We have her enrolled in a Tuesday / Thursday 4 hour preschool class in the Fall, but Rebecca is considering changing that to Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

    She's not reading yet, although she has memorized many books and can locate words based on their first letters. She can count to somewhere in the twenties. If we are talking, she will quietly interject, "Hey, I have something to say." She didn't want to go with Rebecca for grocery pickup because "grocery pickup takes a lot of patience".

    Her biggest love at the moment is Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a game which I gave C- to, but is a perfect activity for her to watch and offer directions and suggestions in. (I also let her hit A to open chests). She likes solving shrines so we can get more Stamina Vessels and loves finding hidden Koroks in the world. (She and Rebecca also made a Korok mask). She retains knowledge of every single puzzle we have ever solved (and proudly helped the Smith kids solve a shrine that we had solved over three weeks ago).

    I have a massive Zelda strategy guide that weighs 5.07 pounds and Maia has claimed it for her own. She reads through it and bookmarks pages with her favourite pictures. After we play a bit, she'll go to the book and find the pages where we were. We draw maps, do imaginary games that involve shooting different types of arrows, and invent new shrines related to daily activities like the "Blah Kolive" shrine that probably baked our pizza. When nothing better is going on, she likes to take the book to Rebecca and just flip through it to explain what the pictures and tiny font are all about.

    We'll obviously play less as the weather gets warmer, but the activity has been a lifesaver for this pandemic-laced winter!

    tagged as offspring | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, March 08, 2023

    Maia's Art Day

    Notable artwork from February 2022

    Maia's artwork is increasing in output and starting to remind me of my own early art.

    The cat is sad that the bunny ate all of her carrots.

    Technically the truth.

    A Valentine's caterpillar.

    Looks like Maia will be adopting the lesser known MM/YY/DD format, using snowflakes as a divider.

    Maia is really into Number Blocks right now.

    These sea things were drawn using a "How to Draw" book I got her.

    Highly accurate mapwork.

    tagged as media | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, March 08, 2024

    Review Day: A Lion's Pride by P.L. Stuart

    There are no major spoilers in this review.

    A Lion's Pride is the fourth book in The Drowned Kingdom saga by P.L. Stuart. I absolutely love where the story takes us in this book, the midpoint of the series. However, I found myself frustrated by aspects of the writing that stalled the momentum.

    King Othrun of Eastrealm seems to have attained a period of stability for his fledgling kingdom. He has acquired considerable political capital from his past strategies and hard-earned reputation as a warlord, but still can't always resist the urge to step straight into trouble (especially when it involves a pretty face). Othrun's growth as a character continues to be a compelling thread -- he faces hard truths about his destiny to spread the faith of the Single God in spite of the incongruous mysticism he has experienced during his time in Eltnia.

    The previous book, Lord and King, acts as a fulcrum point and springboard, allowing the first part of Book 4 to fly out of the gate with wonderfully intense showdowns, unexpected reveals, and a deepening of the interesting lore around the witches and druids. There is a fair amount of repetition in this first part, but I appreciated that these asides jogged my memory about far-flung events from earlier books.

    The second part of Book 4 is where the pacing stumbled for me. There's an overwhelming amount of introspection and recapping -- the constant reminders about who the characters are and how Othrun feels about them arrests the forward motion of the plot and left me feeling like one of Othrun's warhorses moving timidly across muddy terrain. I felt like I was sitting in on a D&D session where every player was constantly reciting the top traits from their character sheets before taking an action.

    I generally enjoy reading from Othrun's perspective and hearing his inner monologues but I felt that there was just too much introspection that didn't provide any deeper knowledge than I already had. If Othrun's opinions of characters had changed over time or (even better), if Othrun's opinions changed the way I felt about the characters, the amount of introspection might have been more successful. And that definitely happens in a few key scenes! Outside of those rare examples, though, I felt like the supporting characters had become a little flatter from over-repeating their most well-known qualities.

    The ending is satisfying: exciting, triumphant, and tragic all at once. The final scene involving menacing alliances in the north definitely gave me "big screen adaptation" vibes and I'm still very excited to see where the story goes in the next release, A Pack of Wolves.

    Final Grade: B-

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments


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