This Day In History: 03/11

Monday, March 11, 2002

My cable was finally fixed yesterday. Apparently, the Comcast technician who visited the complex two weeks ago unscrewed some connections, and when he reset everything he left mine hanging loose, just connected enough to get a weak signal. I hope they don't charge me for the tech visit -- all they had to do to fix it was rescrew the cable.

More MIDI fun... Here's the "Love: A Virtue" theme from Ultima VII as originally arranged, and then mixed for acoustical instruments on the SC-8850. Even without any musical knowledge, I think you'll hear a drastic difference in the quality of the recording. I especially like the flute patches on this billy. I'm having fun making up arrangements of these old soundtracks, even if I don't stray too far from the originals.

    Soundblaster Version (MP3, 370KB)
    SC-8850 Version (MP3, 388KB)

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Tuesday, March 11, 2003

The worst part about the first day of breaks is that some clown in the building always leaves town and forgets to turn off their alarms. Luckily this week's model citizen had an alarm that shuts itself off after a couple hours, and never plans on waking up until 11:04 AM.

We went out to the Wakulla River to go canoeing yesterday afternoon (pics up on the Photos page). The river was running high from the plethora of rain we'd gotten this weekend so paddling upstream was a chore, but that meant we made it back to the dock in record time.

I think I may call my new kitten 'Booty'. It works on so many levels.

What do you get for the guy who has everything?
A police detective says it looks like Thomas Seeds "just had a little problem with his judgment."

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Thursday, March 11, 2004

A couple days ago, I arranged for my new phone installation online. Yesterday, I got an e-mail from Verizon asking me to call their Welcome Center. It turns out that they couldn't find any credit history for me, and the lady on the phone asked me to fax them all sorts of paperwork like employment history and driver's license.

BU: "So why exactly do I have to submit all this paperwork?"
Verizon: "Well, since we can't locate your credit history, we have to verify that you are who you say you are. We cannot provide phone service without some proof of identity."
BU: "Would an existing utilities account be sufficient if I don't want you to have all that paperwork?"
Verizon: "Yes, just provide us with the name of the company and your account number with them, and we can verify it by phone."
BU: "Okay, my current phone service is provided through Verizon. Look me up under the phone number I put down as my "old phone number"."
Verizon: "... Oh."

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    michigan law hydrants crocodiles, tanana tribe lifestyle, coprolalomaniac arachibutyrophobia

interesting article on the Command Line
Gator goes for a ride
Swedish Chef fired for cooking too well; Muppets plan strike
Teacher bets student to jump out window to prove evolution

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Newsday Tuesday

When Mom or Dad Asks To Be a Facebook 'Friend'

More and more moms and dads are signing onto Facebook to keep up with their offspring. Not only are they friending (or attempting to friend) their sons and daughters, they're friending their sons' and daughters' friends.

Apparently "friending" is a legitimate dictionary gerund now, and for Facebook neophytes who are unaware of its meaning, this paragraph might be seen in a more menacing light, suggesting that the parents of America are a bunch of perverts.

Some, like Matt, take the requests in stride. He ultimately friended his dad. Others are less sanguine, voicing their dismay via online groups that decry parental intrusion and offer tips on how to screen out mom and dad. ("Just go onto their computers and delete their accounts." "Just don't add them as a friend or any1 that is a co-worker with ur parents duh.")

Based on the popularity and success of these tips, a cottage industry has sprung up catering to students who wish to keep parents out of their lives. One Facebook group suggests that you can keep your parents off the Internet by installing viruses on their computers. Another suggests that to keep your parents from visiting on College Parents' Weekend, you should "just go in their car and delete their spark plugs LOL".

"I do not know if this has happened to anybody, but this morning I log on to Facebook and I have a new friend request!" wrote 19-year-old Mike Yeamans, a sophomore at James Madison University, on one of several "No Parents on Facebook" groups that have popped up on the site. "I am excited to make a new friend so I click on the link. I could not believe what I saw. My father! This is an outrage!"

Actually, I can see where this guy is coming from. I too would be ashamed to friend my parents if my profile picture depicted me as some kind of Roman pimp like the actual profile picture shown here. Not only is it historically inaccurate, since these shades of cloth were probably not creatable before 476 AD, but no real Roman pimp would choose to dress up like another pimp. The Roman whoring business model would never thrive if Superfly Flavinius dressed exactly the same as Sexontop Sextilius, because potential customers would have no way to judge which one was better.

Lily Goldberg, 17, a junior at Gaithersburg High School in Montgomery County, said having parents on Facebook just seems weird. "It's like having them walk into my room," she said.

Honestly, I'm amazed that a high school student could have enough dirty secrets at that age, but at the same time, be ignorant enough to put these secrets on their Facebook page. Unless you're a member of the "I keep my weed in the top drawer next to my underwear" group or the "Firsthand accounts of teen pregnancy" group, there's probably nothing on your pages that your parents actually care about. And if you're stupid enough to post your underage drinking pictures in an album called "ME WASTED LOL" then you're pretty much in need of parental intervention anyhow.

Today, the fastest-growing segment of Facebook's estimated 66 million users are people 25 and older. More than half of the site's users are out of college. Whether that will have an impact on Facebook's coolness quotient remains to be seen.

I remember when it was a big deal on Facebook that you were born before 1980. Now, at least ten of my coworkers are on the site, with more joining every day. Instead of trying to corral users by age, Facebook could be greatly improved by simply adding a two-question quiz to the registration form:

  • Are you going to put more than ten applications that automatically spam your friends on your page?
  • Are you going to send Vampire Bites to all your friends?
  • Answering affirmatively to either question would automatically redirect the new user to

    Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

    Vatican updates the seven deadly sins to include dog poo
    Man creates radio station for cats
    Girl's party leaves dog in coma

    tagged as newsday, mock mock | permalink | 3 comments

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    Review Day

    There are no spoilers in these reviews.

    This is the Life:
    Amy MacDonald is a Scottish singer with a rich, commanding tone that's completely opposite of singers like Lily Allen or Nina Perrson. Her songs aren't going to change the world, but they're upbeat and mellow -- I don't dislike any of the songs, although two of them suffer from a little too much repetition (#4 and #10). You can listen to online samples here -- my favourites would be #1, #2, and #7.

    Final Grade: B+

    Trick to Life:
    The Hooisers are my latest band obsession. They steal from every source available and end up like the lead singer of The Darkness mixed with a less-quirky Mika mixed with a less annoying Hives, mixed with a more upbeat Keane, mixed with any number of 80s new wave bands. I've listened to the CD continuously in my car and have yet to get tired of it. You can listen to online samples here -- my favourites would be #1, #2, #3, and #12, and #10 is a good example of his falsetto at work.

    Final Grade: A+

    Married Life:
    This is a slow-burn kind of drama, favouring character over plot (although you know what kind of movie you're getting when you see the little olive leaves on the cover surrounding some sort of film festival award). The story explores themes of communication and infidelity, but with more sympathetic, less repulsive characters than Closer. It was entertaining to watch for its brief 90 minutes, although Rachel McAdams does not make a good blonde, and did not remove a single article of clothing.

    Final Grade: B-

    Pineapple Express:
    This is the only item being reviewed today that doesn't have the word LIFE in the title. I found this movie amusing but a little overhyped, and having watched it at the same time as Zack and Miri, I've now had enough Seth Rogen to last for a few years. Funny enough, but slightly too long.

    Final Grade: B-

    Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

    Kangaroo terrorizes sleeping family
    Cocaine in Spain is hidden by a sprain
    Assemblyman menaced with dead goat and poor Spanish

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 6 comments

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Review Day: Muse in Concert

    Before flitting off to Puerto Rico on our $230 direct flights out of Dulles last week, we went to the Muse concert at the Patriot Center with Ben (of Ben and Anna). Here are my thoughts on that concert.

    Because we were unsure about what it would take to get a good standing spot in General Admission, we lined up in the cold around 5:30 for the 8:00 concert (others had arrived at 9 AM). This put us about halfway back in the line, and we ended up getting good spots about 6 rows back from the front for the cost of frozen toes and three hours of being bored. Since Muse spent most of their concert on giant pedestals in the sky, being in the very front would have been overkill (and horrible on the neck). Sixth row was a good spot for my first concert, but in the future, I'd probably go for a nice seat and show up five minutes before 8. It was also nice to see almost everyone in the crowd (even those with seats) standing, dancing, and participating throughout the concert.

    The Silversun Pickups opened and played loud music with a wash of identical timbres and no dynamic shape. If you were to record their music and look at the waveform, it would resemble a tapeworm. I tried to get into them but the lead singer's voice really irritated the snot out of me -- he consistently sounded like a slightly put-upon Smurf in a production of RENT.

    The theatrics of the Muse portion of the concert were ridiculously over-the-top, from laser light shows to giant crowd balloons painted like eyeballs, but it matched the bombastic nature of their music which they seem to take proud ownership of whenever anyone compares them to Queen. SSPU performed on a very tiny stage dwarfed by three giant skyscraper props. For Muse, the props became giant screens alternating between shots of the band and artistic eye candy to go with the songs, and Muse descended out of the innards of the props (much to the relief of the ticketholders who had seats behind them). In at least one song, the drums were hooked up to various window lights on the skyscrapers.

    Muse played for two full hours, using a set list of 17 songs and 3 or 4 impromptu interludes. The songs were weighted towards their most recent stuff, which was expected, and their musicality was just as effortless and polished as what you hear on the albums. Two of the things I dislike about live performances (bad singing and sloppy technique) were nowhere to be found, and it's amazing to hear GOOD live falsetto. I also like how "clean" the drums sounded -- SSPU could have learned that there are more instruments available than the crash cymbal. The band closed with Unnatural Selection which is almost as good of a finisher as Knights of Cydonia, and then came back for an encore of four more songs (using Cydonia as the final finale).

    Final Grade: A+, especially when the tickets were $55 and I didn't have to listen to U2

    Washington Post concert review
    WeLoveDC concert review
    Unnatural Selection on YouTube

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Friday Fragments

    more razzle, less dazzle

    ♠ Our weekend at Brightwood Farm last weekend was a ton of fun. It's a working organic farm, and also has a wooden cottage nestled on a cliff over two merging creeks. We sampled a bunch of farm wines (including a few made from elderberries), and enjoyed the company of sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, donkeys, guinea hens, three giant guard dogs, and a herding dog that knew how to chase chickens back into the coop without eating any. We will definitely return!

    ♠ While driving out into the countryside, we learned that the Nissan Pavilion is now named the Jiffy Lube Live Pavilion (and has been for at least a year). I'm not saying that the old name was any better for an outdoor concert venue, but "Jiffy Lube Live" really doesn't get me any more excited to sit in the parking lot with my engine idling for 6 hours to see a 2 hour concert. Unless Jiffy Lube is bringing their 20 minute oil change concept to their parking attendants, this was probably a waste of sponsorship on their part. "Lube Live" would probably draw a bigger crowd, but for all of the wrong reasons.

    ♠ I found this logo in a Jiffy Lube press release about the sponsorship. Apparently, they do their graphic design in 20 minutes or less as well. I suppose that the edgy typesetting of the word "live" appears dangerous and makes it seem like anything could happen in this venue, and the failed justification of "a Live Nation venue" implies that something is "not quite right" here. Were I in charge of the art department, I would just use the Jiffy Lube logo followed by "live", and make jokes about olives.

    ♠ Blogging is far easier when there is something to mock. And there's always something to mock!

    ♠ Plans for the weekend include a dinner with friends, some finalization of our slow-moving kitchen planning, and the selection of a beach house for our summer vacation. Tomorrow is 12 of 12 as well, so perhaps I'll take 12 pictures of me inside of Costco.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Millions of fish dead in Redondo Beach
    India catchs 57 drunk pilots and grounds 11
    Bank robbery thwarted when teller says no

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, March 11, 2013

    Weekend Wrap-up

    We continued our tradition of going out of town for a relaxing weekend on the same weekend as Daylight Savings Time, because apparently we have not learned that staying in a Bed and Breakfast when you spring ahead is one hour less cost effective than a normal weekend.

    Our original plan was to head to Waynesboro, VA (correctly guessed by Kathy last Friday) and then do some hiking on the Appalachian Trail. The 15 inches of snow in and around town changed our plans just a bit. After a stop at the Pollak Winery on Friday afternoon, we checked into the Belle Hearth B&B (complete with 2 inn cats), and had an excellent dinner at the Green Leaf Grill in town.

    On Saturday, we parked near the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway and hiked up the road itself, since the trails were invisible under the snow. We went two miles up and two back down, although it felt more like six miles with the wet, melting snow underfoot. We followed the hike up with trips to Afton Mountain Winery (forgettable and expensive), Cardinal Point Winery (decent and laid back), Veritas (so filled to the brim with swell-dressed UVa weekenders in buses that we immediately left), and Flying Fox Winery (also decent). None of Saturday's wines compared with Pollak, though.

    We tried to hit a Greek restaurant for dinner, but after wandering around town (on foot) for several blocks and not discovering the location it had moved to, we ended up back at Green Leaf for a second delicious dinner. This is definitely the place to eat for all of your Waynesboro vacations. The breakfast portions of the B&B were also great, and almost too filling. Overall, a definite thumbs up!

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

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

    Random Photo Day

    Another shot from this past weekend's fun times. We're eating Kirkland imported Brie on Kirkland crackers paired with Kirkland Cabernet Sauvignon.

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

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken thirty years ago in June 1985. My sister is on the left, and my kindergarten-girlfriend, Gina Moore, is in the middle. The lush greenery and chain link fence provide clues that this was taken in our backyard, near the typical 1980s playground set that would get covered in slugs and spider webs every morning.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, March 11, 2016

    Alt Text Day

    I take a yearly refresher course in information security, much like everyone else doing computer work around this area. This year, they released the course with a text supplement for people that couldn't use the website, including image captions that some poor technical writer had to invent for 508 accessibility compliance.

    Why take the course when you can get the gist from reading the alt text of the briefing images?

    • Image Alt: Three unknown men sitting in chairs
    • Image Alt: Three criteria for an authorized recipient - "Eligibility" is a thumbs-up, "Requirement" is a "Need-to-Know" key on a keyboard, and "Agreement" is a signature on an NdA.
    • Image Alt: A collage of three classified documents, an American flag, and a face.
    • Image Alt: A collage of a man holding a clipboard and a checklist.
    • Image Alt: Various security measures (e.g., security sticker, security guard, cipher lock, shredded paper, circuit board.
    • Image Alt: Collage of an emergency scene, the cover of the WMD Commission Report, and radiological symbols.
    • Image Alt: Six arrows labeled with each category showing a schematic, coffins, a foreign national, money, flags, and a statistical pie graph.
    • Image Alt: Collage on newspaper articles and Soviet hammer and sickle.
    • Image Alt: Cover of Time magazine with headline, "Carnage in Beirut."
    • Image Alt: Collage of newspaper article and Soviet limousine.
    • Image Alt: Newspaper article with images of Richard Welch.
    • Image Alt: Collage of 60 Minutes expose and images of Curveball.
    • Image Alt: Collage of Walter Cronkite, Jack Nelson, and sound waves.
    • Image Alt: Collage of Ted Koppel, Walter Cronkite, and Tom Brokaw.
    • Image Alt: Collage of newspapers, the Newspaper Association of America logo, and the National Newspaper Association logo.
    • Image Alt: Collage of a Newsweek magazine featuring Katherine Graham, the Washington Post building, a Washington Post headline, and a young Katherine Graham.
    • Image Alt: Collage of a newspaper headline, money, the Soviet hammer and sickle, and a Soviet limousine.
    • Image Alt: Collage of a person blowing a whistle, a dollar symbol, and a road sign with arrows pointing to "High Road" and "Low Road."
    • Image Alt: Judith Miller behind bars.
    • Image Alt: Collage of a whistle and the cover of the Federal Whistleblower Laws and Regulations.
    • Image Alt: Collage of a governing document, Judge Harvie Wilkinson, and Supreme Court Justice Byron White.
    • Image Alt: Uncle Sam pointing at learner.
    • Image Alt: Collage of man looking through prison bars, a contract being ripped in half, and an employee packing up his desk.
    • Image Alt: A shocked man looking at a social networking site.
    • Image Alt: Collage of a handshake, governing documents, the Capitol, and eyeglasses and a pen on a contract.)

    Once you have successfully completed the training, you can also pick your favourite one and use it as a Creative Writing Prompt.

    tagged as random | permalink | 2 comments

    Monday, March 11, 2019

    Weekend Wrap-up

    We spent the past 3 nights at a VRBO rental in Harpers Ferry, just on this side of the Shenandoah River. While we had a nice stay, it was nowhere near the top of our list for best rentals. Two key features we weighted our decision on were unavailable: a fireplace and WiFi. In spite of that, it was nice to arrive in the snow and leave in the spring. Maia enjoyed the small playhouse in the back.

    There was a classic Brookstone-style massage chair in the den which actually worked quite well.

    Jessika and Hannah came out for parts of the weekend with us and we passed the time cooking, trying to repair the WiFi, and doing a 1000 piece puzzle. On Sunday, we took a trip into Old Town Harpers Ferry, but the city (nestled in the valley amongst a ring of fog) did not get the memo about 60 degree weather everywhere else and we spent most of the morning shivering in the cold.

    How was your weekend?

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, March 11, 2020

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Counterpart, Season One:
    This spy thriller featuring J.K. Simmons as two different versions of himself has sci-fi elements, but leans more into character development than world-building. It has some interesting ideas and great performances, but feels very slow between the interesting parts. My brain was sometimes removed from the flow of the story by having to figure out which version of each character I was seeing in each scene -- the show could have taken some pointers from Awake to differentiate scenes better. Overall, I appreciated the character development of the principals, but worry that the story itself is not moving anywhere very quickly. Season Two will be a "watch if nothing better is on" show for me. Free on Amazon Prime.

    Final Grade: B-

    Superstore, Season Two:
    Superstore continues to be a zero-investment comedy that's perfect to close out the evening. Characters are still pretty one-dimensional, but the show has the right balance between heart and absurdity.

    Final Grade: B

    Yesterday (PG-13):
    The movie depicts an amateur musician who one day wakes up in a world where no one else remembers The Beatles. With a focus on the ensuing hilarity rather than how it all happened, it's able to tell a nice, intimate story with a satisfying conclusion.

    Final Grade: B

    Game of Thrones, Eighth Season:
    The strongest part of this final season is the fact that all of the main characters are finally together and acting off of each other. The show no longer needs to spend five seconds on a single character before compulsively jumping to another continent. Otherwise, the season feels pretty weak overall -- plenty of plot holes, actions that are poorly telegraphed with the audience no longer privy to characters' thoughts, and incredibly dim lights. Everything feels rushed, as if the writers were just tired of the show and wanted to move on as quickly as possible.

    Final Grade: C+

    If you haven't watched Game of Thrones yet, here is a visual recap of the final season. See what you've missed so you can skip it and move on to something better:

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, March 11, 2022

    List Day: Currently...

    • Currently listening to... Hadestown: Original Broadway Cast Recording.

    • Currently reading... Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldtree.

    • Currently playing... Fallout 76.

    • Currently considering buying... a permanent sliding cover for my work laptop's webcam so I don't have to keep cutting out Post-it notes.

    • Currently creating... nothing.

    • Currently planning... a trimming strategy to allow our new-kid-on-the-block fig tree to gradually take over the space occupied by ugly box hedges.

    • Currently watching... earlier seasons of Silicon Valley again.

    • Currently anticipating... a Spring Break trip south to see the Ahlbins, Edwardses, and Hickses.

    • Currently exercising... about three hours per week.

    • Currently weighing... 141 pounds.

    This update was sponsored in part by LiveJournal.

    tagged as lists | permalink | 0 comments

    Monday, March 11, 2024

    Easy Photos Day

    Guys on the Silver Line, heading to Ballston and back.

    Ian mixes and matches some vehicles.

    Maia goes to the Baltimore Aquarium with the grandparents.

    Maia's new bud, Dolphinita.

    New playground in Alexandria #5 of 7000.

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


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