This Day In History: 03/24

Sunday, March 24, 2002

"He has no genitalia, and he's holding a sword." - Dustin Hoffman, describing his Oscar to the audiences

It's time for the URI! Domain's Horribly Uneducated Picks for the Oscars?! Since I've actually seen very few of the movies nominated this year (the ones with dots next to them), I'll do what any good statistician would do -- make things up, rely on natural prejudices, and go on gut instincts. Feel free to e-mail me if you blatantly disagree with a pick, or I've overlooked one of your all-time favourite movies.

Best performance by an actor in a leading role

    The Nominees:
  • Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind
    Sean Penn in I Am Sam
    Will Smith in Ali
    Denzel Washington in Training Day
    Tom Wilkinson in In the Bedroom

    What will happen?
    Russell "Let me recite my poetry" Crowe's recent spat with another awards group is probably fresh in everyone's mind (and he got one last year), and Will "Soon Tom Hanks will be taking the parts I turn down" Smith has yet to learn any humility. In the Bedroom isn't quite mainstream enough, so the award will go to either Denzel or Sean Penn. In this post-terrorist "feel good movie" environment, they'll choose a protagonist character over an antagonist, putting Sean Penn in the spotlight.

Best performance by an actor in a supporting role

    The Nominees:
    Jim Broadbent in Iris
    Ethan Hawke in Training Day
    Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast
    Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
    Jon Voight in Ali

    What will happen?
    I haven't seen any of these movies, but every review I've read about Sexy Beast raves about Gandhi's burning intensity in his role as a gangster. Ben Kingsley will take this one home.

Best performance by an actress in a leading role

    The Nominees:
    Halle Berry in Monster's Ball
    Judi Dench in Iris
  • Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
    Sissy Spacek in In the Bedroom
    Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones's Diary

    What will happen?
    It was tough enough getting a comedy on the ballot, so Zellweger won't get any more favours today. In such a visible category they'll choose a young attractive actress with more drawing power, so Halle Berry will get her first Oscar. Moulin Rouge will do well in other categories but it's not quite mainstream enough to be "allowed" to get many awards.

Best performance by an actress in a supporting role

    The Nominees:
  • Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind
  • Helen Mirren in Gosford Park
  • Maggie Smith in Gosford Park
    Marisa Tomei in In the Bedroom
    Kate Winslet in Iris

    What will happen?
    Gosford Park had far too many characters for any one actress to stand out, since all British characters look the same to American viewers. Kate Winslet was in Titanic so she needs to spend a few more years in movie purgatory before she can get an Oscar. Since Marisa Tomei got an Oscar for My Cousin Vinny which was a comedy, no less, Jennifer Connelly will walk away with the Oscar.

Best animated feature film of the year

    The Nominees:
    Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
    Monsters, Inc.
  • Shrek


  • What will happen?
    Shrek wins hands down. Jimmy Neutron was the movie that no one went to, and everyone thought Monsters, Inc. was just another Toy Story.

Achievement in art direction

    The Nominees:
    Amélie
  • Gosford Park
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings
  • Moulin Rouge


  • What will happen?
    Gosford Park could have been set at any other generic British setting with its cookie cutter Hallmark Hall-of-Fame made for TV castle. Though it will be close, Harry Potter will edge out Moulin Rouge for the award.

Achievement in cinematography

    The Nominees:
    Amélie
    Black Hawk Down
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    The Man Who Wasn't There
  • Moulin Rouge


  • What will happen?
    Moulin Rouge, the two-hour music video, will easily take home the statuette.

Achievement in costume design

    The Nominees:
    The Affair of the Necklace
  • Gosford Park
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge


  • What will happen?
    Costumes in period pieces are boring. Affair of the Necklace could have reused the costumes from any Shakespeare remake, and Gosford Park could have borrowed the costumes from Clue and still been successful. While we're on the subject of borrowing, Gosford Park should have borrowed Clue's plot too. Moulin Rouge will just barely edge out Harry Potter.

Achievement in directing

    The Nominees:
  • A Beautiful Mind
    Black Hawk Down
  • Gosford Park
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    Mulholland Drive


    What will happen?
    Lord of the Rings won't win -- having appeared in fifty categories this year, it will start to blend in on the ballot and voters will think it's just a watermark. Besides, that director has two more chances to get an Oscar in the coming years. Hopefully Robert "Point the camera at a wall and hope someone walks by" Altman of Gosford Park will go home disappointed too. Mulholland Drive was too long ago to remember, so A Beautiful Mind will get the nod, despite the accusations that the real-life man written about in a book that was fictionalized for a movie may have been gay.

Best documentary feature

    The Nominees:
    Children Underground
    Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton
    Murder on a Sunday Morning
    Promises
    War Photographer


    What will happen?
    This will be the award where everyone fills the popcorn bowl and empties their respective bladders. Even the newspaper journalists won't remember who wins it when they write their articles tomorrow. To determine the winner of this category, I approached a panhandler on the street who chose Murder on a Sunday Morning, because of its salacious title. I'm sure the Academy will do the same.

Best documentary short subject

    The Nominees:
    Artists and Orphans: A True Drama
    Sing!
    Thoth


    What will happen?
    No other movie but Sing! could win this award. The reason? It ends with an exclamation point! That makes it better! It's carrying on the tradition of Hello Dolly!, Swing!, George M!, and Adolf Hitler: The Comedy!. Hot dog!

Achievement in film editing

    The Nominees:
  • A Beautiful Mind
    Black Hawk Down
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Memento
  • Moulin Rouge

    What will happen?
    Really, how can you judge this category without seeing what was deleted in the super-duper special-edition five-dollars-more DVD? I would choose Memento just because, but the award will go to Moulin Rouge since rumour has it that Ewan "Belty" MacGregor sang for fifteen more minutes in the uncut edition.

Best foreign language film of the year

    The Nominees:
    Amélie
    Elling
    Lagaan
    No Man's Land
    Son of the Bridge


    What will happen?
    There will be a tie between Amélie and Lagaan, because one has an accent égu and one has two consecutive As. Amélie will take the trophy, because voters will recognize its name from the other categories it's nominated in.

Achievement in makeup

    The Nominees:
  • A Beautiful Mind
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge

    What will happen?
    They must have used a lot of makeup in A Beautiful Mind, because as you know, schizophrenics look different from normal people. Moulin Rouge carries this category too.

Achievement in music in connection with motion pictures

    The Nominees:
    AI
  • A Beautiful Mind
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    Monsters, Inc.


  • What will happen?
    I've heard great things about the Harry Potter soundtrack -- that it manages to be John Williams-y without being Raiders of the Lost Ark-y, and that it's a very mature and appropriate body of music. So why not choose it?

Best original song

    The Nominees:
    "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc.
    "May It Be" from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
    "There You'll Be" from Pearl Harbor
    "Until" from Kate & Leopold
    "Vanilla Sky" from Vanilla Sky

    What will happen?
    Voters seem to like the cutesy "friends 'til the end of time" songs from animated flicks, and judging from the title, Monsters, Inc.'s song fits that bill perfectly. This has got to be the most boring assortment of titles. Ever.

Best motion picture of the year

    The Nominees:
  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Gosford Park
    In the Bedroom
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge

    What will happen?
    In bizzaro world, where I controlled the votes, A Beautiful Mind would get the nod, or Memento would be added to the list. I would also be taller. Since this is the real world, Gosford Park will win, because it's "deep" and "innovative" and no one wants to be ashamed in front of their peers for "not getting it". Moulin Rouge was great, but not best picture material, and Lord of the Rings is a fantasy flick, putting a few strikes against it.

Best animated short film

    The Nominees:
    Fifty Percent Grey
    For the Birds
    Give up Yer Aul Sins
    Strange Invaders
    Stubble Trouble


    What will happen?
    I'm going on titles with this one, so Stubble Trouble will win this award. How can you go wrong with that title? It sounds like a light-hearted romp with zany cowboy hijinks, but with a foreboding undercurrent of dissension and black politics (hence, the "trouble").

Best live action short film

    The Nominees:
    The Accountant
    Copy Shop
    Gregor's Greatest Invention
    A Man Thing
    Speed for Thespians


    What will happen?
    Gregor's Greatest Invention will take this award. Nobody (I hope) wants to see a movie short about a man thing, and straight-laced voters will think Speed for Thespians is a documentary on drug use in the alternate sexuality counterculture.

Achievement in sound

    The Nominees:
    Amélie
    Black Hawk Down
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge
    Pearl Harbor


  • What will happen?
    Either Black Hawk Down or Pearl Harbor will win, because things blew up pretty nicely. I'd choose Black Hawk Down because it didn't have Cuba Gooding Jr. trying to act.

Achievement in sound editing

    The Nominees:
    Monsters, Inc.
    Pearl Harbor


    What will happen?
    Who cares? I'll play the Cuba card again and choose Monsters, Inc..

Achievement in visual effects

    The Nominees:
    AI
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    Pearl Harbor


    What will happen?
    Voters will choose Lord of the Rings over AI because it's been passed over for so many other awards and deserves a booby prize.

Screenplay based on material previously produced or published

    The Nominees:
  • A Beautiful Mind
    Ghost World
    In the Bedroom
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    Shrek

    What will happen?
    The source material for Lord of the Rings was only good because it was the first high fantasy tale of any kind. Shrek was funny but not "best" material, unless The Cookie was in the original. For this one, I'll choose In the Bedroom because it too has been passed over for bigger awards.

Screenplay written directly for the screen

    The Nominees:
    Amélie
  • Gosford Park
  • Memento
    Monster's Ball
    The Royal Tenenbaums


  • What will happen?
    Even though other screenplays may be more deserving, I choose Memento as my number one draft pick, simply because it's one of my favourites. Since the Academy has a six-month memory, Monster's Ball will win, because its the only one not set in a pretensious period setting.

In other news, Freddie Got Fingered was voted as the worst movie of the year, earning five Razzie Awards at the ceremony .

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Monday, March 24, 2003

My Oscar picks were dismal -- I correctly prophesized four of the twenty-four categories. That's the last time I let Booty have any input on the matter. Booty has new pictures on the Photos page, by the way.

I finally finished reading Victor Hugo's Les Miserables again this week, after diving into it at the beginning of January. Despite Hugo's frequent tendency to get off on political and social tangents, the story of the characters is really well-done and ties together quite nicely. I hadn't read it in about five years, but it still ends the same way.

TV networks use Keyhole technology
First Stop, Iraq
Optimus Prime deployed to the Middle East
Takara has no plans to develop a similar device for cats. "They are too unpredictable," Kajita said.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The new Reston office is not a bad space. I'm sharing an office with high-school-Jack and we have a window facing east overlooking a small grassy courtyard fertilized with copious goose poop. The Northrop Grumman building looms on the other side of the courtyard (about four stories higher), but our window is close enough to the corner to have a view of the sunrise over Reston (until it eclipses behind NGIT).

The offices are slightly smaller than Dulles and the corridors are like a rat's warren, but there's still not a cubicle in sight. As an added bonus, going to the restroom from my office is a straight shot, unlike the Yellow Brick Road spiral I had to traverse in the old building. The restroom is much more industrial feeling and has automatic sensors on everything. Flushing the toilet could suck a small child or a puppy out to sea in about 0.2 seconds, so you need to make sure your toilet paper has no hanging chad before you flush or tragedy could strike.

The network is still a little flaky -- I've been downloading a JDK for a project since I got in this morning and it's going at a healthy 1.3KB/sec. Only ten hours left...

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    operating a toll plaza, percussion cadence "word up", sailor moon poring in bed, hypnotism laws in san diego, maryville high school graduate 1994, hold on - kristy mcnichol, hindemith chord tension, fun fog facts

Delta loses Grandpa
Customer subdues robber with a sledgehammer
Oregon county bans all marriage

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ruby Tuesday's redone their menu again and they now have some great Chicken Tenders with mild wing-sauce. Their fry seasoning still sucks though. After dinner, we went out to show Anna's associated relatives the townhouse in Manassas.

I've moved the calendar to the right side of the page, reducing the black hole count by one. I broke down and threw some HTML tables into the code because my CSS books are all at work. Tables get the job done so much faster when you don't plan on changing the site anytime soon. Besides, the W3C validator says my page is perfect in every way, so who am I to argue with standards?

This weekend, I'll add a daily random picture to the news page.

Chili is now finger food
When there's nothing else to do on a Friday night and you won't take your meds
Sue your prof

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Fragments

You need a Chiquita Banana sticker on your forehead

  • Yesterday at the gas station, a crazy animal lady with bumper stickers all over her car and one pants leg rolled up to her knee decided to warn me about skyrocketing gas prices as I got out of my car.

  • Why does every single person in the latest Old Navy commercial look like they're anorexic? All I see are a bunch of vaguely human-shaped torsos with spindle fibers for limbs, dancing in performance fleece. How is performance fleece different from regular fleece? If it doesn't involve tap-dancing sheep, I'm not really interested in the answer.

  • There are now rumours that Isaac Hayes never actually left South Park, but that he has been recovering from a stroke and the Scientologists quit for him. I wouldn't put it past them.

  • If you missed the South Park farewell to Chef, here is a plot summary. If you don't want to know, skip ahead to the next fragment. If you enter the dark cave, turn to page 213. On Wednesday's South Park episode, Chef was impaled after falling off a burning bridge into a canyon, then eaten by a mountain lion and a grizzly bear. Chef had turned his back on South Park to join the Super Adventure Club which taught him to be a child molester, brainwashing him to say things like "I want to make sweet love to you children with my salty balls in your rectum" (using blatantly choppy sound bites from previous shows), and Kyle reminded everyone at his funeral that Chef was cool, but "that fruity assed club he joined" was the thing we all should be mocking. The final scene shows Chef being reincarnated in a Darth Vader suit by the Super Adventure Club.

  • I owned all the Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid, but I always cheated and dog-eared the choice pages so I could read every ending. I would rather back up one page in the story than have to read the same introduction over and over again. The funny part about CYOA books as they became more mainstream was how they phrased the endings. In the early books like Cave of Time, you can get clubbed to death by a caveman and DIE. By the time you reach book 88, you are knocked unconscious or "fail the mission".

  • I stumbled onto Hot Mom Central while running errands last week. I went to Chik-fila in Sterling around noontime on a weekday, and roughly 80% of the clientele consisted of young, hot moms with kids using the Playland. The Hot Mom Club must have daily Hot Mom meetings there where they discuss their babies over waffle fries and chicken strips -- none of them could have been older than about 30. If you have been searching for hot moms to date without success, try Chik-fila -- maybe some of them are single!

  • We started the third season of 24 last night. It's good so far but they should still get rid of Kim Bauer, or at least give her a better wig. Three years have passed since the last season -- surely she could have fallen down a well or been eaten by a mountain lion in the intervening period.

  • There are only three songs by Michael Jackson in my MP3 playlist, yet all of them seem to play whenever I randomize the list. I think it's a conspiracy.

  • Paige Update: Paige made it to Spain in one piece and successfully navigated two Spanish conversations with the natives.

  • This weekend, the plan is Java Certification, as usual. Last week I wrote the database and this week I'll be tackling the client/server protocols. I will also be interfacing the gleep-gloops and the bim-bops. Before I get to that though, tonight is Movie Night, which is key. I'm not hosting any poker this week, but if you want to, then feel free to invite me and all my brethren.

  • Have a good weekend!

  • Try out for Jeopardy online
    Intellectual Property Run Amok
    Teach your son that people will smile when he pees on them

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    Monday, March 24, 2008

    Wii Reject Day

    The Wii has risen above the naysayers who predicted that no one would enjoy its unique control scheme, and kooky games on other systems like the karaoke Singstar, Rock Band, and Guitar Hero have continued to show that the population's thirst for innovative games has not been quenched. However, not every game is an automatic success! Here are three Wii games that never made it out of Quality Assurance.

    Photograwii:
    Players move around a simulated world as a photojournalist, with quests like "Take a picture of Farmer Brown's Prize Swine". By holding the Wiimote like an Instamatic and saying "chk chk" into the microphone, players take fun and artistic shots and then upload them to be judged against the shots of other players across the world. The loading screen warns, "Make sure there is nothing you might trip over before you cover up your eyes with the Wiimote. Do not use near stairs.".

    PeeWii:
    Hold your Wiimote at waist level and try to fill up an onscreen urinal without any spillage. Tutorial mode shows how you can adjust the angle of the Wiimote to acheive greater distance on the later levels, where the urinal moves farther away, or oscillates from left to right. Make sure to jiggle your Wiimote to get out the last few drops when you're all done!

    Wii Tethercat:
    Based on the 1988 Far Side comic, this game was originally going to be one of the sampler games shipped in Wii Sports. Two players face each other holding their Wiimotes and execute a slapping motion any time the animated cat swings around the onscreen pole. The game would also have shipped with dog masks, because it's not cruel when cats are tortured by dogs, just hilarious for the entire family. The loading screen reminds players to "securely adjust the Wiimote wrist strap to prevent accidents and to make sure that the eye holes on the dog masks are lined up with your pupils".

    Giant marine life found in Antarctica
    Arrested for cataplut anti-car campaign
    Terrorists contemplate the use of "dirty cats"

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    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    Stuff in My Drawers Day

    I wrote the following story for the city-wide Reflections contest in 1995. The theme and tagline of this contest was "Just Open Your Eyes...", but I doubt they expected it to be treated in a snarky manner. In spite of this, I got second place and got to shake the hand of one of our esteemed City Councilmen.

    The Ant

    Deep in the savannah, there lived an ant. Now this was not your everyday ant. He resided in a cairn of pebbles at the base of a plant. Since he lived in the savannah, he had seen many wild and majestic beasts. But one day he told me that he'd never seen an elephant.

    So after tidying up his home, he packed his bags and left his plant in search of an elephant. Being an ant, of course, he had trouble seeing things that were high above the ground. He wandered through the savannah for several days and finally came to a halt at a spring.

    "Excuse me," the ant said to the monkey who squatted by the water's edge, "I am looking for an elephant. Do you know where I can find one?"

    The monkey swallowed a draught water and replied, "Head away from the water's edge towards those foothills and you shall find a herd of elephants. You cannot miss them."

    The ant thanked the monkey and went on his way. He soon left the pleasant atmosphere of the savannah and entered a jungle. These trees had trunks which were much thicker than any the ant had seen in the savannah. And being an ant, of course, he couldn't tell how tall the trees were since they were so far above his head. He wandered through the jungle for several hours, and after so much walking, he felt that he deserved a quick nap. So he crawled to the base of a tree and slept. When he woke up, he stretched, yawned, and wiggled his antennae.

    About this time, a beetle happened by the ant. "Excuse me, beetle, I am looking for an elephant. Do you know where I can find one?"

    The beetle looked at the ant for a moment and then pointed up. The ant nodded. "I see, The elephants live up in these trees. Thank you for you help." But the beetle had already left, evidently in a hurry to get his errands done.

    The ant crawled up a tree trunk in search of elephants. Vines occasionally swished past the trees. Sometimes, he could feel the air disturbed by the steady swaying of vines. At the top, he found himself on a gently rolling plateau.

    This tree must have brought me up to a cliff, thought the ant. So he continued his search, but found no elephants. By now, he was getting cross at the monkey and beetle, who had led him astray. A grey bird settled on the plateau near him and the ant scurried closer.

    "Hey, grey bird," the ant said somewhat shortly, "do you know where I can find an elephant. I have been lied to by a monkey and a beetle who said that I could find one up here."

    The grey bird looked at the ant in surprise and trilled a sudden laugh. "Ant, you were not led astray. The elephant is right before you."

    The ant swiveled his head around but saw nothing but the plateau and the bird. "You are lying! I see no elephants, only a plateau and you, grey bird."

    The bird cocked its head to one side. "It is right before you. Just open your eyes and see."

    "I am! And I see no elephants anywhere!"

    "Ah, but that is because you are only seeing what you wish to see. You are blind to that which is right before your eyes." And with those words, the bird flew away.

    The ant was angry. "I have journeyed for days and climbed trees to find elephants, but all I have found is the mendacity of my savannah neighbors! All of my hard work has been for naught. I'll bet that there is no such thing as an elephant."

    And saying this, the ant climbed back down the elephant's leg and returned to his home in the savannah.

    Award for parrot that warned of choking baby
    Student suspended for bus gas
    Quirky regional dictionary nears finish

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    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    (In-Hold-Out) Release Day

    DDMSence (pronounced "dee-dee-em-Essence") is the result of three months' worth of unpaid work, and the prime reason why I don't hang out with you anymore (besides the foul odor you call a deodorant). It is an open source Java library (released under the LGPL license) which supports the . A complete technical write-up of the library can be found at the DDMSence website.

    For the uninitiated, DDMS is not what girl gamers experience once a month during their tabletop games -- it is a specification which defines a consistent set of "card catalog" details for any resource you might want to make available or discoverable. If everything has a common set of metadata, ordered in a common format, search engines can support this discovery, even if it has no idea how to handle the resource itself. So, you could add a seven pound leg of lamb to a collection of non-fiction books, and as long as they are described in the same way in the card catalog, people will still be able to find your leg of lamb and eat it.

    DDMS is written in XML (which is like an anally pedantic set of HTML tags), and my new library converts this XML format into Java objects, essentially allowing DDMS to be easily used in any Java-based environment.

    If you have no intention of working for the Department of Defense at any point in your life because of your meth habit, or that hitchhiker you ran over last summer, just know that this is going to be bigger than Booty's homepage, and will probably make me a household name in my house.

    UK library receives 45-year-overdue book
    Sex shops with movies are not cinemas
    Alaska teens' pizza heist brings out SWAT team

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    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    Review Day

    There are no spoilers in these reviews.

    The Office, Season Three:
    The third season of The Office introduces the characters from the Stamford branch to keep things fresh. There is a tendency to overuse Ed Helms, who's really only funny in small doses, but the pairing of his character with that of Dwight Schrute makes for some good comedy. As usual, the deleted scenes are almost as good as the final cuts, and some episodes have nearly as many deleted scenes as actual run time.

    Final Grade: B+

    Hi, How Are You Today? by Ashley MacIsaac:
    I first heard Sleepy Maggie on XM last year around St. Patrick's Day, and picked up this CD to provide additional Irish ambience to our St. Patrick's Day dinner. It's an interesting mix of celtic and rock (crock), with a few more traditional sounding fiddle pieces thrown in. It's not a CD you'd want to listen to every day in the car, but it's a fresh change of pace.

    Final Grade: B

    Prehistoric Garbage Piles May Have Created 'Tree Islands'
    Surveillance robots know when to hide
    Fruit flies could hold the key to Internet future

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    Monday, March 24, 2014

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Friday evening, we took an abnormal trip into Arlington for a "Beers + Burgers + Bacon" party to celebrate Marv's birthday. The party took place in one of those modern Arlington houses that builds straight up as a pillar supporting the firmanent and makes all of the surrounding houses look like serf sheds in comparison.

    On Saturday, I ran errands, like buying a leg of lamb at Costco for a yet-to-be-determined dinner this week, and closing all of the gutter screens on the roof that had flipped open in the most recent wind storm. In the evening, we went to the Smiths for Game Night, where a round of Telestrations flipped "no brainer" into a man with a pet crocodile eating an Airhead candy.

    We picked up Bonchon for dinner (our first Bonchon experience), and were satisfied with the Korean-style fried chicken. As part of the assortment we got 5 wings in the hot sauce, but no one could completely finish any of them. Out of Chris, Ben, and Rebecca, Rebecca got the farthest, but even she had to discard part of the crust for protection.

    On Sunday, I did my latest online course homework and then watched the Veronica Mars movie with Rebecca. The evening was spent eating leftover Bonchon, playing Diablo and Hearthstone, and starting Veep, Season One.

    How was your weekend?

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    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

    Spring Break Day

    I decided to take the rest of this week off from work to restore some life-work equilibrium. Here are the things I expect to accomplish in the next 6 days.

    • Take the Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect exam.

    • Get my safety and emissions inspection complete for my Accord, which is only driven 6000 miles per year.

    • Do my annual Spring Cleaning and Organization on our Hanford Homestead.

    • Migrate DDMSence to a new project hosting site, now that Google Code has added to the reasons why you shouldn't depend on Google applications for long-term purposes.

    • Learn how to cook tapas at a cooking class with Kathy.

    • Pick up all the winter storm sticks in the backyard.

    • Start researching things for our summer trip to Switzerland.

    As motivation, if I don't complete at least 71% of these tasks, I will give a random reader a $5 gift certificate to Amazon.com. Let's get started!

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    Thursday, March 24, 2016

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Bridge of Spies (PG-13):
    This is a very "safe" Spielburg movie that hits all of the marks you'd expect it to hit. The first hour is incredibly slow-paced, like foreshadowing the Industrial Age with cuneiform, but it gets passably more interesting once the setup is out of the way. It's a little on the long side.

    Final Grade: B-

    Justified, Season Six:
    This show was never really about the plot (which tries one too many double-crosses here) -- it was all about the character interactions and crackling Appalachian dialogue ("I'm so hungry I could eat the ass of a low flying duck"). The cast in this final season is solid (although no one really likes Mary Steenburgen in anything), and the ending is a good one. I actually bought the series set after finishing this up, as it's one of those shows I'll enjoy watching again in a couple years.

    Final Grade: A-

    The Great Gatsby (PG-13):
    This movie was unnecessary, sporadically interesting, and a case study in over-the-top Baz Luhrmann tropes. Tobey Macguire played his typical role with minimal acting involved, not unlike a white Cuba Gooding Jr., and Leo seemed to be simultaneously channeling the Wolf of Wall Street and the Talented Mr. Ripley. This opinion is coming from someone who actually liked Moulin Rouge (of which there are about 4 of us), so it's not just unselective Baz hate. Conversely, Rebecca liked this movie a lot.

    Final Grade: C-

    Master Apache Spark by Mike Frampton:
    This book is chock full of useful code examples for Apache Spark, but is weighed down by too much transitional prose. The author spends so many lines restating his intent for the current section or telegraphing what's coming in the next section that it distracts from the core content. I also felt like there could have been a beginner-to-intermediate chapter added on the Core API, so you should probably read the official Spark docs before diving in here.

    Final Grade: B

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Arrival (PG-13):
    The exposition of this movie is way too long, as if the director took the classic movie maxim, "Don't show the shark too soon," and turned it into a Mahler symphony. It eventually gets somewhat interesting but then goes off in weird sci-fi directions at the conclusion. I liked the movie the most in the middle 3rd when it was all about linguistics. Skip it.

    Final Grade: C-

    I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore (NR):
    This is an interesting indie flick co-starring Elijah Wood as a weird neighbour who joins the lead in a quest to find the people that robbed her house. In spite of a few moments of weird for the sake of weirdness and the ever-escalating violence, I enjoyed it. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

    Sausage Party (R):
    I'm not really sure of the target market for this movie. It feels like someone put Judd Apatow in cryostasis for ten years and then he tried to make an edgy cartoon that would resonate in 2007 -- this is made more impressive by the fact that Judd Apatow isn't even involved. The movie is a continuous stream of cartoon sex jokes that might be funny if you're extremely high, yet there's a loose real-world moral weakly wrapped around the story that seems silly to include because it's not a cartoon you would ever show your kids. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: D

    Henry:
    This Virtual Reality movie about a hedgehog that can't make friends because he's too prickly to hug actually won an Emmy last year. It's a silly 20 minute Pixar-like cartoon that's made more visceral by the fact that you sit in the middle of the action and the movie plays around you in 3D. It's charming and well-created although it works better as a taste of what a VR movie could one day be than a work of art on its own. Free on the Oculus Rift.

    Final Grade: B+

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021

    Vignette Day: Emerging Empathy

    BU: "Looks like we're going to need some more milk pretty soon."

    MU: "Put it on the list, Daddy."

    BU: "Done!"

    MU: "I will have a waffle for breakfast tomorrow."

    BU: "...Okay?"

    MU: "Then Mommy can have the rest of the milk on her oatmeal."

    BU: "That's very nice of you to think about Mommy."

    MU: "Take a picture of me on my horse."

    tagged as offspring | permalink | 0 comments

     

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