This Day In History: 03/20

Wednesday, March 20, 2002
    FGM on Winning Team for Defense IT Contract Worth $2 Billion
    DULLES, VIRGINIA - March 19, 2002: FGM, Inc. announced today that they are on a winning team for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) "Encore" procurement worth $2 billion over seven years. The nine contracts awarded are for information technology services, hardware, software, and enabling products to support areas including command and control, intelligence, mission support, and the DISA's Global Information Grid (GIG). FGM is part of the Northrop Grumman Information Technology Systems team that will provide worldwide support to the Department of Defense (DoD), other Federal agencies, state and local governments, and U.S. Allies through this contract..

That's where I work! Whee. In less heroic news, however:

    Missing 'Asteroids' champ found dead in California
    The world record holder for Atari's classic arcade game Asteroids was located by game record keeper Walter Day of Twin Galaxies after nearly 20 years of searching. Unfortunately, the Asteroids champion, Scott Safran of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, died in 1989 after falling off a roof during an attempt to save his pet cat .

My presentation on first-movement concerto form went pretty well this morning. I've posted the text of the handout on the Writings page under Music Research for anyone interested. I believe that should be the last major presentation I have to do for many years to come.

There's nothing new on the composing end right now... I'm just busy editing and proofreading scores and parts for Outlooks so I can start soliciting performances. This morning I planned out most of next semester. It looks like I'll be taking eleven credits -- 6 of thesis, 2 of trumpet lessons, and 3 of an elective class (possibly Instrumental Forms). After next semester I'll have finished Masters work, with about four semesters worth of work left for the Doctorate.

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Thursday, March 20, 2003

No update today.

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Saturday, March 20, 2004

Painting.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

While listening to a CD of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at my parents' house last night, I was struck by the plethora of nonsecular music that has accumulated over the last thousand years. We have millions of songs and hymns about Jesus and dreidles, angels flying high, and chariots swinging low. It seems like there's a piece composed or invented for virtually every important religious scene or feeling and every religion has a few ditties that you can sing on the street which everyone will join in on. However, there is one religion that, sadly, does not have any uplifting music to go along with it. What is that religion? Scientology!

I thought at first I must be mistaken, because every religion has some variation on the theme of Buddha Loves Me, so I did a quick search of the Internet and only came up with three matches: One Man: A Scientology Music Video Celebrating L. Ron Hubbard's Birthday , We Are The Auditors -- A Scientology Music Video , and The Road to Freedom, with selections performed by John Travolta, Frank Stallone, Chick Corea, and L. Ron Hubbard himself . This is a very sad state of affairs, because as everyone knows, when people are shopping around for a religion to convert to, they always check out the tunes first. If composers don't feel the spirit of the religion enough to put it to song (see also, The Vatican Rag by Tom Lehrer 685KB MP3) then why should any layman be interested in what that religion has to say?

I, for one, would be very interested to hear the workday hymns hummed by the early Scientologists as they rocketed out of the volcano. To fulfill this aural need, I've decided to put my composer skills to work. Here is an excerpt from my first major work, We Shall Overcome Xenu (138KB MP3). I can't publish any more than this right now, otherwise the Church of Scientology might sue my ass.

The next movement is called ARC of Life and is written purely with a Tone Scale.

20-Year-Old Tuba Player wins Symphony Gig
SNAKES ON A PLANE!!!: The absolute worst movie trailer of the century
Hip-hop pirates foil pirates despite seizures

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Media Catch-Up Day

I haven't uploaded new pictures since the beginning of 2007. This is a horrible state of affairs and not just for all of my illiterate visitors (a recent pictograph survey found that 28% of daily visitors are illiterate and only come for the pictures of hot chicks). I have several gems in my collection that deserve uploading, like the time Kelley drank 12 Pabst Blue Ribbons and passed out on the toilet during the Super Bowl. To rectify the situation, and hopefully provide some positive connotations to a word that would otherwise sound too much like "rectum", I have gone through three months of photo backlog for today's news update. Enjoy the pictures and turn in your Name That Tune entries by noon today!

The evolution of my living room:

The only piece left to do in this room is the curtains. If you are of the female persuasion or a male house-husband living in New York City, what colours should I make the curtains in this room?


A neat tree picture from one of February's ice storms.


If you wash a quilt for the first time in three years, and your lint trap is 100% empty when you start, you may end up creating a brand new life form after a single dryer run. I would like to add that I wouldn't have had to wash this quilt if Kathy's cat, Lake, hadn't decided to honk on my arm while I slept on the couch.


If you are about to engage in a dust-creating home improvement project and you need someplace to temporarily store the thingy that keeps your messy spoons off the stovetop, don't store it in the oven, even if you think "no one will be using the oven between now and tomorrow" because someone will use the oven and then you'll end up with a melted piece of plastic that will do naught for messy spoons. However, you can probably add a beak and three legs to make a zopilot.


Someone doesn't want to share a bed.


So far, Amber knows Roll Over, Play Dead, and Fetch the Paper.

I added several more pictures than the ones you see above to the Photos archive. See more new pictures from this year here. If you only care about kitties, go here .

Sissy parent sues over grade that hurt 4.5 average
Playing Name That Tune makes you smarter (paraphrased)
Hooters heading for Holy Land

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Audience Participation Day

Words of Wisdom

Life lessons come from all sorts of disparate sources, from instruction manuals and schoolyard hearsay to the fifth time we spun around a pole so many times we threw up. Because humans are usually a social creature (except for those from San Diego, who are SoCal creatures), much of what we learn comes from the people around us.

I'm sure I've learned a good deal from everyone who reads this page, but what, in your opinion, is the most critical life lesson you have taught me? What sort of knowledge could complete a phrase like "Now that BU knows that _____, I can die happy"? If you've never actually met me or don't think I've learned anything from you yet, what life lesson would you WANT to teach me? You can treat this seriously or facetiously, so feel free to go wild.

Share your thoughts in the Comments section!

She can't run fast but she sure poops fast
A month in jail for taco theft
I'm really hungry, man

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Fragments

it's time for your sea sponge bath

♠ Congratulations to Kathy Smith who successfully defended her dissertation and is now a doctor! I don't know what her research was on, so I'll presume it was on The Overuse of Vowels in the Lyrics of Modern Music.

♠ "I went to a doctor... all he did was suck blood from my neck. Don't go see Dr. Acula." - Mitch Hedberg

♠ Now that Kathy knows everything there is to know about music, she's going to have to find something else to do with her time. I recommend pitching a dramatic sitcom like Grey's Anatomy but with people from music academia. The music history geeks would sit at their own table in the cafeteria, and the angsty theorists would constantly misdiagnose scores and think they'd discovered a very rare chord. Meanwhile the handsome composers would hook up with all the first-year music majors. The show would either be called "Piston's Harmony" or "Schenker? I Barely Know Her".

♠ Walter Piston's harmony book is another waste of money book on my shelf that I've never actually opened. Computer-related textbooks may be far more expensive, but at least I read all of those cover-to-cover -- except for the classic Rapid Development text. I already went through puberty, so I figure, why bother?

♠ Q*bert was one of about four games we owned for the Atari 2500 in the early 80s. You played as the spawn of Gonzo and Pac-Man and had to hop around some cubes to change their colours. I bet (and hope) that there was at least one adult-themed rip-off of the game called Pubert. Would the game's protagonist have been an actual pube, or would Gonzo Jr. have hopped around changing the colour of various pubes?

♠ "Pube" is a funny word.

♠ The concept of an adult-themed game in early video game history is unintentionally amusing. While doing research for Wednesday's post about old games (because even non-Doctors do research sometimes, and not just typing something in Google a second time), I came across "Softporn Adventure", an early text-only adult game from the company that would eventually become Sierra On-line. In fact, that's Roberta Williams, creator of King's Quest, on the far right in the hot tub. I guess a text adventure would leave more to the imagination than trying to create naughty graphics with only four pixels.

♠ There are no hot tubs involved in my weekend plans, although there may be some parties and Mike's LovePoker, although poker is dependent upon Mike (of Mike and Chompy) being able to correctly read a calendar and determine which date he chose. In the past, this has involved a success rate of about 22%.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Middle schoolers have a new form of peer mediation
Reconstructive crocodile surgery is a waste of money
Eating produce could be hazardous to your health

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Tuesday, March 20, 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.

Plushy: (adj.) characterized by luxury, wealth, or ease

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This excerpt is written for soprano sax over strings and piano. I think the definition of "plush" as "comfortable" caught my mind more than the luxury or ease of the word.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stuff In My Drawers Day

This picture and accompanying story were created in Mrs. McClung's first grade class in the first half of 1986.

I'm Brian Uri.

Check out my contractions. That's some Mystery Sneakers-level grammar.

My freinds are Tony C, Micheal B, Josh R, and Micheal R. I like my things.

Typical American. Has all of these friends but likes his things.

I won the Halley Comet Trivia (I got a T-Shirt). This summer, my sister and I are going to our Grandma's house. (Our parents won't be there). Our parents will be going to Wisconsin, Texas, Canada, Niagra Falls, and Ontario.

Parentheses and a correctly spelled Wisconsin? Obviously I would go far in life.

Grandpa's cat is about 20 lbs.

Just in case you were wondering.

We're going to stay there for 4 or 5 weeks.

Five weeks is a long time to take some kids off their parents' hands. How did they survive?

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Witcher 2:
I picked up this well-reviewed, meaty role-playing game in a Steam Sale, but never made it through the endless tutorial at the beginning. Endless is both literal and figurative here, as a bug in the first combat tutorial had me practicing a killing move on an invincible enemy that wasn't actually supposed to be invincible. I stopped playing right there.

Final Grade: Not Graded

My Name Is Earl, Season Four:
Better than the third season by half a football field, but still not as inspired as the first two seasons. Stop after season two, and you'll enjoy the series much more.

Final Grade: C-

House of Lies, Season Two:
The only similarity between this and House of Cards is that Don Cheadle occasionally talks to the camera. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about this show and there's minimal character development, but it's got some funny lines mixed into all of the nudity and swearing. I was constantly distracted by the guy who looks and acts just like Chandler from Friends -- if Matthew Perry had been twenty years younger, they probably would have cast him instead. Matt Damon guest starring as a really awful version of himself was a highlight in the season.

Final Grade: C+

Mozart in the Jungle:
This is a free Amazon pilot about classical musicians in various New York ensembles. It shows promise, and gains a few points simply by being about subject matter that would never pass muster on any network show. Though fairly unbelievable, it hits a few right notes with the musical asides, and I would watch a few more should the show ever be made.

Final Grade: B

The Rebels:
This is another free Amazon pilot about a widow who inherits a football team and hijinks ensure. There was not a single scene of actual football in the pilot, but it still managed to be funny enough to hold my attention and moved right along.

Final Grade: B

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Friday, March 20, 2015

No Update Today

Writing more about clouds. What are you doing this weekend?

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Data Day: When I Sleep

My sleep schedule has been pretty predictable since I was a kid. Before college, I would wake up with my dad at 5:42 AM and had a bedtime that slowly grew to 10 PM by the time I was a senior. In college, I would stay up super late partying in my room alone until midnight, and often got a full 8 hours of sleep -- I never once pulled an all-nighter. Finally, since joining the workforce, I have kept my wake-up time pretty consistently around 5:30 AM with a nice, early 10 PM bedtime.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 36 years ago, in 1983.

This is the tail end of one of our regular weekend road trips to a battlefield or regional park -- you can tell because my parents' coffee travel mugs have been tossed in the trunk of our constantly failing Chevy Citation. I'm not totally sure what's depicted on the front of my shirt. It looks like a thief in a ball cap jumping a fence?

This picture was also taken before my nose became permanently scarred from falling out of a tree, an event that would happen in the following few years.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Costello Music by The Fratellis:
I don't know how I missed the debut album from this Scottish rock band, especially since Chelsea Dagger was one of my jams in 2011. Each song is a catchy, high energy germ with a little storytelling woven in.

Final Grade: B+

How to Destroy a Tech Startup in Three Easy Steps by Lawrence Krubner and Natalie Sidner:
First up in my self-quarantine reading queue, this book tells of a lead developer's experience at a NYC startup. Like Dan Lyon's Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble (which I gave a B), Krubner paints a great picture of toxic management and software development personalities which will feel exaggerated until you stumble across that one you've actually encountered yourself in the wild. Tech jargon is kept to a minimum and well-explained for non-developers, and software developers may experience a sympathetic rise in blood pressure during some of the more true-to-life scenes.

Final Grade: B+

Better Call Saul, Season Four:
This season was very "good" in the way that "good" is understood by cinephiles, but it did not noticeably move the story far beyond what had already come before. The entire thing felt a little low energy and sometimes Jimmy McGill seemed like a B-story in his own show. The backstory behind Gustavo Fring's empire is still the most boring part to me -- I would rather see more of Jimmy's exploits than spend 8 episodes digging a hole in the ground. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Lady Bird (R):
This was a perfectly pleasant coming-of-age story that didn't really stick with me after it was over. With snappy dialogue and believable characters, it's a good movie for nights when nothing else is on. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B

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