This Day In History: 03/17

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Well, it's the last day of Spring Break, and there's now only twenty-five class days left in the semester. Course signup for next fall begins on Tuesday so I'd better start looking into what still needs taking. This week was pretty productive -- I completed five of the eight tasks I set out to do. When not working, I caught up on my list of unseen movies that people have recommended in the past. This included: Score, Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Reservoir Dogs, and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, the last of which was especially good.

I think that my string quartet is finished now. Feel free to give a listen and e-mail me your comments.

    Outlooks I: The Cynics (MP3, 6:00, 5.6MB)
    Outlooks II: The Optimist (MP3, 4:38, 4.4MB)
    Outlooks III: The Freewheeler (MP3, 4:37, 4.4MB)

Here's a few links that have been building up on my News to-do list all week:

President continues to put foot in mouth
Gamespot: Melodies, Where Have You Gone? Part 2
The Fightin' Whites

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Monday, March 17, 2003

It's interesting to see how much chronology is affected by surroundings. I lived in a single place all the way through high school, and for those years, I have a very clear chronology of world events, politics, and personal events. In college when I was moving around yearly, I have a recollection of events, but it becomes much harder to associate them with a particular calendar year. It's like the living place is the constant against which I can mark time. Events in my early life follow a stately progression, while the past seven years are more of a couscous of random happenings.

Yesterday, Booty got annoyed that I'm on the computer so much, so I let her create her own webpage. You can see it here (415KB).

"I guess he IS a good-looking guy... in a dumb, big, dumb, brainless kind of way."
The weapon: a South American fly that divebombs ants, decapitates them and eats the contents of their heads.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I think it's interesting that no major news source has really devoted much space to Michael Jackson and the ancient art of pedophilia, ever since his sister stole the show with her mammary malfunction. Family conspiracy?

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    scrapbooking page ideas music and piano recital, popcorn microwave toxic fumes, sitcom clock secret passage, cattlebruiser maps, eaten by a lemur dog

Laid off worker wins lottery
Little girl likes little girls
Alias star recruits for the CIA, because the show is just like real life
It was unclear whether the man was seeking assistance for his injury or help in nailing down his other hand.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy Saint Patrick's Day. This particular iteration of St. Patrick's Day (the 25th Edition) was relatively uneventful for me. We took the new cats and their poop to Pender Vet for a check-up and de-worming treatment, and then I came home, did some work involving submission statuses, threw a corned beef in the crock pot, and cleaned up the kitchen. The only real interesting facet of this entry is that I actually had to count up from 1979, because I couldn't remember how old I was.

St. Patrick's Day was usually hard for me in school, because my colour-blindness resulted in a paucity of green attire. Generally, I taped a dollar bill around my finger and called it a day. In honour of exciting St. Patrick's Days, here are some things I've done in the past:

  • 1994: Went to the funeral of a high school crew coach who died from complications in a sledding accident at the Masonic Temple
  • 1995: Took three tests: physics, vocabulary, and history. 11th grade vocabulary tests were always easy because they were multiple-choice and the teacher thought she was clever by spelling things like UNCOPYWRIGHTABLE and POUCHFITZGERALD with the answers. Apparently she couldn't think up any other recognizable words because she alternated with those two every couple weeks.
  • 1996: Went to a Crew Open Boathouse and then had corned beef for dinner (It was a Sunday).
  • 1997: No recollection.
  • 1998: Played trumpet at Convocation at Tech, the first movement of my trumpet concerto, The Hero.
  • 1999: Nothing notable.
  • 2000: Home for spring break and spent all day working on an aborted IF game, Robin Caruso (see the Archive for details).
  • 2001: Nothing notable.
  • 2002: Finished composing a string quartet and went to a bar for some pool.
  • 2003: Hung out with friends in Florida at a bar while Booty made a web page (see the Archive for details).
  • 2004: Nothing notable.
  • 2005: How will this holiday compare? Only time will tell.
At the race, the petite woman racer caused yet another upset by beating off her fellow 12 Proton teammates -- all of whom are men -- much to the delight of the small group of female fans watching from their part of the segregated stadium.

tagged as lists | permalink | 9 comments

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday O'Fragments

with guest appearance by Molly O'Malley the Llama

  • "Fecundity" looks so much like "feces" that there's no way I can ever associate it with positive connotations.

  • Paige (Oompa Loompa Girl on this humble site) will be moving indefinitely from Texas to Spain tomorrow so husband-Matt can pursue his position at Exxon. That's a whole 'nother country! They've already boxed up all their crap and put their house on the market, so she will now spend her days attempting to learn Spanish and starting a travel-blog so she doesn't have to write emails to everyone. Good luck Paige!

  • I've often considered what it would be like to pick up and move out of the U.S. The reason I never would is because I'm quite comfortable where I'm at, and inertia toys with me like a fat kid on a bicycle. Plus there's that whole "other language" issue. I have four years of French under my belt, and I spent pretty much every single class period finding out new ways to insult my friends. My new French neighbours probably ne m'aime pas.

  • I would conjugate that into super future picture perfect, but I forgot all of my conjugations long, long ago. Je ne sais rien.

  • Our textbook in French I - III was called On y va! which literally means "Let's go there!" but has a more colloquial French meaning. The French teacher spent the first day of class trying to explain what a colloquialism was when all she wanted to do was teach us how to order an Orangina. Finally, she threw her hands up in the air and told us to forget about the title of the book because it didn't matter. As if that would ever fly with a bunch of eighth graders. What the heck is an Orangina anyhow? Shut up with the Orangina. Je voudrais un diablo citron. Elle a le nez du chien.

  • The only reason I'd ever want to visit Europe would be to experience really old stuff. Living in the U.S. means that nothing is really that old, and living in Virginia means you've automatically exhausted all of the oldest places, like colonies, battlefields, and excavated outhouses. It seems so piddling that Alexandria archaeologists spend hours scraping off pottery shards in an outhouse to determine that they're 300 years old, when there are places in the world that have seen constant action for thousands of years. I don't give a rat's ass that Beethoven lived here or there, but I would appreciate the relative ancientness of the towns and landscapes.

  • When I was a kid I wanted to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones. On the north side of our house was a small patch of shady dirt where grass never grew because of a lack of light. Rather than admit botanical defeat, we called it a dirt pile and I was allowed to dig the heck out of it all year long. Once, I found animal bones wrapped in tin foil.

  • Eighteen weeks until the beach. I cannot wait to dig a big fat hole all day long, and then sit back and say, "Hey, I dug a hole." Digging holes is somehow therapeutic for me.

  • I also plan on visiting Australia at some point in my life, preferably in my schooner so I can kidnap a koala bear and a kangaroo and bring them back to the States. I cannot confirm or deny that I would put boxing gloves on the kangaroo if I had one.

  • As kids, we owned the game, Kangaroo for the Atari 2600, which featured a kangaroo with boxing gloves ascending an oddly-plagiaristic Donkey Kong world. Our joysticks always had one broken button, so I never got past the first level. Actually, I don't think I got past the first level of any games on the Atari 2600.

  • The lamp on my office desk has gone through four lightbulbs in the almost three years I've been working full time there. Using them only twenty-five hours a week, that seems to be a rather low life expectancy. The more alarming observation here is that I'm almost at my three year anniversary. I didn't get anything for two years, but I think I get my choice of a solid gold doubloon or a wench for three years.

  • Do you visit all the blogs I post in the sidebar on the left and on the Links page? You should. Some of them definitely require more updates though. Get with the program, Jim Barry!

  • My nose is perpetually itchy and the sun is now cresting the horizon when I go to work at 5:45 AM every morning, so Spring is almost here! I don't understand why I didn't develop pollen allergies until after I graduated from college. Maybe it's the fault of all that Spanish moss in Tallahassee. What a fake plant that is.

  • I'm having a few folks over for a low-key St. Patrick's Day dinner with seven pounds of corned beef this evening (except for Kim who doesn't like corned beef -- what the heck! You Irish-heathen) and then will be spending the rest of the weeking doing Java certification stuff. I hope to have this certification wrapped up by my annual review in mid-May so I can get another hefty pay bonus to waste on drugs, blondes, and rock star life stylings. Tomorrow is Andy Norton's birthday. Happy Birthday!

  • Happy St. Patrick's Day! This holiday discriminates against people like me who can't see the colour green and never owned any green clothing, because why would you wear clothes you can't see unless you're an emperor? Pinch this.

  • Jessica Simpson snubs Bush
    Man sues himself for vehicle damage
    HIV Joke backfires

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 7 comments

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    List Day: What Your HMO Can Do For You

    My health insurance at work is HMO-based, because the only time I ever go into a doctor's office is when I run out of lollipops. The driving principle behind HMO care is that if you make it difficult enough to get to the expensive doctor, no one will ever get that far, everyone will die, and the company makes millions of dollars. You have to get through the first line of defense, the hard-to-schedule general practitioner visit, and then get a referral to the specialist you need.

    Recently, CIGNA added a zeroth line of defense: a toll-free Health Information Library number you can call to get encyclopedic information about whatever illness or disease you have. After dialing the number, you punch in a four digit code from the seven page directory they used your deductibles to print and mail. Here are some of the topics they have created automated recordings for:

      3007 Constipation
      3020 Hypothermia in Older Adults
      3102 Allergy Proof Your Home
      3316 Club Drugs
      3325 Drugs in the Workplace
      3335 Incest
      3339 Masochism
      3348 Pedophilia
      3368 Voyeurism
      3196 Ingrown Toenail
      3180 Shoes: Proper Fit Prevents Problems
      3244 Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis
      3504 Brain Tumor (self-diagnosis may not be a good idea here...)
      3700 Alcoholic Parent
      3703 Attitude - Make it Positive!
      3709 Burns in Children (burns ON children must be another code)
      3716 Dating Concerns
      3762 Rules: How to Live With Them
      3783 Undescended Testicle
      4008 Constipation (in case 3007 didn't answer your question)
      4101 Aerobic Dance Injuries
      4220 Something In Your Eyes (it's not just a song)
      4307 Child Spacing (we recommend standard double-spacing)
      4434 Touching in Renewing Sexuality
      4437 Water: Essential for Good Health
      4703 Dealing with Feelings About Food
      4651 Bathroom Safety
      4900 Animal and Human Bites
    Accident ruins 800-lb date
    Hansen: Centenarian celebrates with women, wings
    At least it's not blood

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    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Museday Tuesday

    1. The composition can be for any instrumentation. It can have an actual score or be a pure synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.
    2. It must not be longer than thirty seconds.
    3. It does not necessarily have to have a start, middle, and end -- it can just be a fragment of something grander.
    4. It should be composed in thirty minutes or less. If time runs out, I post whatever I managed to finish, be it good, indifferent, or makeup on a corpse.
    5. The title of the piece must be a word from a random word generator, although this word doesn't necessarily have to be incorporated in the piece.

    Reptant: (adj.) Creeping or crawling.

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)

    The problem with the random word generator that I use is that if I ask it for an unsually uncommon adjective, it just spits out biology definitions. I think this one is related to reptiles. I started with the initial motive played by a bassoon, since it is the scaliest instrument outside of an All-District audition, and the rest just fell into place.

    Man walks again after spider bite
    Rip Van Winkle can't sleep
    Spider smuggler had 164 spiders and 45 boxes of roaches

    tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Green Media Day

    Pictures from our recent trip from Puerto Rico, as well as older pictures from snOMG can now be found on the Photos page.

    We did not get a picture of the ramshackle bar in Fajardo (a city which sounds unfortunately close to "hard on") which was named "DRINKERS Irish Pub" and adorned with a Spanish leprechaun, but it would have been appropriate for today's holiday.

    One of these days, I'll get around to writing more about Puerto Rico, but this week is a little busy!

    Briton is recognised as world's first officially genderless person
    New Jersey mom aspires to be the world's fattest woman
    Man used penis to assault female police officer

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Review Day

    There are no spoilers in these reviews.

    Eloquent Ruby by Russ Olsen:
    I reviewed the prequel to this book, Design Patterns in Ruby back in 2008, but still have not learned how to program in Ruby. I know enough to survive in a foreign Ruby country where I could decipher the signs to find the bathroom, but not enough to speak fluently to the natives. In spite of this lack of knowledge, I was able to understand and enjoy this follow-up book, even though it's a little more Ruby-centric. As I said in my Amazon review, "Russ has a knack for distilling concepts to their simplest, understandable form while maintaining a breezy, friendly writing style that invites readers to share in his excitement about Ruby." It's definitely worth a glance if you do any Ruby at all in your programming job.

    Final Grade: A-

    The Office, Season 2:
    Emerging from the shadow of the awful first season, the second season of The Office does everything right, and is funny from start-to-finish without relying completely on uncomfortable situations. Even though Dilbert did it first, every episode seems to find a fresh aspect of the workplace to mock while maintaining mostly likable main characters.

    Final Grade: A

    Only two reviews this week? I really need to start buying some expensive stuff before I lose the right to call myself an American. This is also the case for playing World of Warcraft -- the money you blow on your subscription or transferring your characters to your friends' servers is easily made back because you stop spending money in every other arena of social entertainment.

    Girl learns hard lesson of sales
    Fears raised over "Glastonbury" royal camp
    The magic of North Korea: a disappearing plane

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

    Monday, March 17, 2014

    Weekend Wrap-up

    • Friday
      • Grilled Glazed Salmon for dinner with episodes of House of Lies.

    • Saturday
      • Costco run for orange juice, Irish beer, and smoked gouda.

      • Car wash at home to remove four months of accumulated snow salt since the last car wash.

      • Anniversary dinner at Maggiano's with both sets of parents.

      • St. Patrick's Day party at Carolyn's, complete with fake moustaches.

    • Sunday
      • Lounging around the house, reading, and playing Hearthstone with Rebecca.

      • Afternoon lost to a migraine.

    • Today
      • A solid 8.5" of snow covers the town. Time to telecommute.

    • tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 5 comments

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015

    Cat Day

    I'm busy writing about all of the things we can put in the cloud today, so here is a picture of Cat #3 to tide you over until tomorrow.

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    Thursday, March 17, 2016

    Fallout from Metro's Emergency Safety Inspection

    Yesterday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority executed an unprecedented shutdown of the entire Metro system in hopes of inspecting a bevy of aging power cables before they exploded in someone's face. Thankfully, they did a great job of keeping disgruntled riders apprised through their Twitter feed.

    Mar 16 12:01 AM
    Inspectors are walking the 100 miles of underground track on the system, checking power cables for potential issues. #wmata
    Mar 16 12:23 AM
    FOUND at Greensboro Stn: Badly deteriorated cables. Huge safety impact if anyone actually got off here. #glasshalffull
    Mar 16 1:05 AM
    FOUND east of Georgia Ave Stn: Body of alley cat by 3rd rail. Apparently choked on a rat eating pizza.
    Mar 16 1:42 AM
    Just discovered that Bechtel forgot to install power cables at Wiehle Stn. #thenhowdidtrainrun #ghosttrain
    Mar 16 2:25 AM
    FOUND at Foggy Bottom Stn / Kennedy Center access: Punjab lasso and strange, white mask. Homeland Security notified in case of terrorism.
    Mar 16 3:14 AM
    FOUND at Vienna Stn: 3 skeletons. Probably people who fell asleep on Orange Line and tried to walk back to East Falls Church.
    Mar 16 4:35 AM
    LOST north of White Flint Stn: 4 safety inspectors. Reports of disturbed subterranean evil unconfirmed.
    Mar 16 5:06 AM
    Reports of riders falling over escalator gates into stations. #metroisCLOSED #putyourphoneaway
    Mar 16 6:13 AM
    FOUND at Eastern Market Stn: Restroom left unlocked #oversight #neverhappenagain
    Mar 16 7:31 AM
    FOUND east of Pentagon Stn: Secret entrance to CIA black ops division, APO. Still operational.
    Mar 16 9:05 AM
    FOUND south of Wheaton Stn: Cache of missing parts from multiple out-of-service elevators throughout system. #repairmanjobsecurity
    Mar 16 10:54 AM
    Smoke in tunnel at Nat'l Airport Stn caused by persecuted smokers pushed farther and farther away from their departure gate.
    Mar 16 12:32 PM
    Evacuating Benning Rd Stn after reports of explosives and cryptic German instructions to make 4 gallons of water with 3 and 5 gallon jugs.
    Mar 16 2:11 PM
    We will be removing good power cables from Blue Line to repair other lines until further notice. #rushplus #socialismworks
    Mar 16 3:24 PM
    FOUND at Archives Stn: Ancient shield with directions to find the cup that held the blood of Jesus Christ.
    Mar 16 4:09 PM
    Someone has stolen all power cables at Greenbelt Stn and replaced with jumpropes. #policenotnotified #justgreenlinethings
    Mar 16 5:15 PM
    FOUND north of U St Stn: Bunker with 425 surprise delegates that Bernie Sanders plans to unleash on June 13.
    Mar 16 7:30 PM
    FOUND at Woodley Park Stn: Mysterious safehouse stocked with red panda food and a scrawled map leading to "FREEDUM".

    You might also enjoy these tweets from the opening of the Silver Line in July 2014.

    tagged as mock mock | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, March 17, 2017

    Stuff in My Drawers Day

    I drew this picture in April 1986 at the age of 6.

    I was fresh from a trip to the Petersburg Battlefield, south of Richmond and the site of the longest battle in the Civil War. Having traveled to every battlefield in Virginia by the time I could do simple mathematics, I was oozing Civil War knowledge like a first grade know-it-all. Pictured here, is the use of sappers during trench warfare between the North and South. This strategy failed when the sappers dug too deep below their intended exit point and completely missed it. The tunnels then collapsed and everyone cried. Screw ups!

    I'm not actually sure if Robert Lee himself was a sapper, but if he was a good leader, he would have taken a turn at the trowel.

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021

    How Toddlers Are Like a Denial-of-Service Attack

    My brain is like a web server that accepts network connection requests from the world.

    It has a pool of dormant connections, waiting for sounds. When a potential conversation begins, my brain has to spin up a new connection by identifying the speaker, confirming that an actual conversation is occurring (rather than distracting background sounds), and then dedicating the line to listening intently.

    After the conversation concludes, my brain sends the signal for the connection to close. The connection gets freed up and returns to the pool to be reused for the next conversation that comes along.

    Conversations with Maia are more challenging. Because she is still refining her speaking skills, a simple statement may require multiple repetitions to complete. Something like, "Do you think we should have olives for dinner?" will come out as, "Do, do, do, do you, do you, do, do, do you, do you think we should, we should, do you, do you, do, do, do, do you, do you think we should have olives for dinner?". (The last half of the sentence always pours out flawlessly -- there must be a scientific reason for this).

    In trying to parse this information, my brain will quickly open up a new connection for each of Maia's attempts. This immediately uses up my pool of connections and overloads my brain.

    Of course, my brain soon realizes that most of these hanging connections can be canceled and reclaimed. However, I am an introvert. I have a very small pool of connections to begin with and each one takes a long time to free up after use, sometimes as long as 24 hours.

    The end result of conversations with Maia (amplified by pandemic quarantine conditions) is that I am constantly operating with a reduced capacity of pooled connections and they often don't get fully cleaned up or recharged before reuse. I may end up hearing things without actually understanding them or misassociating different social stories from different people in my memory because of the jumble.

    This is one reason why learning a new game is less likely to be something I want to spend free time on -- the intensity of focus needed to learn a new ruleset is a waste to me if my brain is already filled to capacity processing basic conversations and remembering baseline logistical household needs, especially if I won't play the game again in the near future!

    tagged as offspring | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, March 17, 2023

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Top Gun (PG):
    Would you believe that neither Rebecca or I had never seen this movie before? We figured that we should probably watch this before watching the new one and were generally underwhelmed. The action scenes are uniformly unnecessary and hard to follow and all of the characters are fairly interchangeable. At least the director got his money's worth out of reusing the song, "Danger Zone", in four different scenes.

    Final Grade: C-

    Bruises by Dia:
    I bought this album hoping for more light pop songs like Isabella, but this is a more introspective "blanket of sound" album that wasn't very memorable after my first few listens.

    Final Grade: C-

    Kirby and the Forgotten Land:
    I bought this game to play with Maia so she could practice navigating a video game with a 3D camera perspective. She's getting there slowly but it's still frustrating enough that she eventually gives up and lets the game automatically teleport her character to mine. (Thankfully, she will never have to learn 3D controls with Mario 64 like us old-timers did). Game-wise, it's very shallow with far too many weapon options, collectibles, and side goals as distractions. Controls are very imprecise, yet the game is littered with time trials that require precision to unlock extras. We only play it now when Maia remembers it, but I'm fine moving on to the next game.

    Final Grade: C+

    Everything Everywhere All at Once (R):
    This multiverse movie is ridiculous in a good way and doesn't take itself too seriously. That said, the fact that the wild part of the story is grounded in a very simple familial relationship story helps give something to care about. Fun, but not necessarily the best picture of the year.

    Final Grade: B

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments


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