This Day In History: 03/25

Monday, March 25, 2002

Nine of twenty-four correct categories in the Oscars isn't bad for a neophyte such as myself. It's too bad, though, that Memento didn't get nominated more or win anything.

I had a pretty good lesson today -- Dr. Wingate was impressed with the last movement of the string quartet. Now that scores and parts are taken care of, I guess I should start soliciting performances. If their litigious problems have been solved, I can check with the Audubon Quartet up in Blacksburg, as well as the student quartets here.

Operatic vibrato has got to be the most horrible affliction the human voice can suffer.

Man pins burglary on 'evil twin brother'

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Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Last Thursday, the City of Tallahassee fixed a street lamp right outside my window. They arrived in a ground-shaking subwoofer of a truck at 2 AM and spent a half hour replacing the bulb. I didn't even realize that there was a streetlight there, since it hasn't worked for the entire year and a half I've lived here. Now I get a nice motel-sign effect illuminating my room when I go to sleep at night.

Judging from the sudden upsurge in banners, the fraternities and sororities on my street fully support the war with Iraq. The obviously intelligent girls of Tri-Delta even went so far as to paint an American flag across two sidewalk blocks so students could show their patriotism by walking all over it.

The latest edition of Zelda for the GameCube arrives tomorrow.

A smattering of responses from my midterm course evaluations:

  • What is the most helpful in-class activity? nothing Least helpful? everything
  • I have to work with my classmates cause I still don't have a book.
  • Is Practica Musica helpful? Yes (unfortunately) | No! Absolutely not!!! | Yes, but the interface sucks.
  • Rate the instructor (1=Poor, 5=Excellent): 6 da heezy!

New Booty pics on the Photos page -- I definitely uploaded them right this time.

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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Last night I watched Dirty Pretty Things, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as a Nigerian immigrant and Audrey Tautou as not Amélie. It's a decent thriller, and was nominated for an Original Screenplay Oscar this year.

I've added a couple new pictures of my new office to the Uri! Pictures and a couple house pictures (including one of the American Dream desk) to the House Pictures.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    pentachlorophenol year it was discovered, michigan tenth grade biology book, the urizone has you, ada holland

"Backyard Wrestling Babes" was not a high-class venture
Attacker tells blind man, "Watch where you're going"
Scottish man should have done it in Texas
Zoning puts preschoolers by adult bookstore
Herb Wesson and the Balls of Steel

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Friday, March 25, 2005

There's now a randomly rotating picture on the overleaf of the calendar. You too have a chance at being the centerfold of the minute!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Punchy: (adj.) being or appearing vigorously effective; forceful.

My Composition (0:27 MP3)

I stopped the random word generator on this word since it is also the intended name of Kathy and Chris' cat, who is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Titan. To me, there is nothing punchier than a minor ska tune.

Excessive email and texts are an illness
Meanwhile, Salisbury could not even relax on his porch swing -- someone took it.
Fleeing shoplifter leaves behind DNA evidence

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Memory Day: Dr. Patel

Dr. Manu Patel was the AP Physics teacher at TC Williams in my senior year. I've briefly mentioned Dr. Patel in previous posts here and here, but he's always been a supporting character. The time has come for him to get the full day's update that he deserves.

I first met Dr. Patel in 1990 when my friend, Daniel Bethancourt, and I (as the two top students in our class) were extricated from the sixth grade for a day to experience a full day of science courses at the local high school. This might have been one of the most idiotic field trip ideas ever, since one of the classes we visited was taking a test, and another had a substitute. The only high points were a class where the students were testing out their toothpick suspension bridges by hanging weights from them, and Dr. Patel's physics class.

As soon as we came in, he waved his own class away and told them to "work on something to make you smart", and then took us to the back of his physics classroom to entertain us with all the props from the various physics labs. When he learned that we were from Polk School, he proudly proclaimed that he was one of the original donors back when it was built, and sure enough, his name was prominently displayed on the playground plaque.

Flashing forward six years in a LOST-esque fashion, Dr. Patel was my teacher for AP Physics B (B was the physics you can see, and C was all the atomic garbage that you can't see). Each class period consisted of a physics lesson mixed with philosophical maxims and peppered with the occasion dismissal of anything irrelevant to physics as "garbage!". Not only was it his goal to bestow his wisdom, it was also his goal to make everyone work towards a 5 of 5 on the AP exam.

Just after Christmas time, he broke his leg and the doctor said he'd be out of work for at least two months. Angry at his infirmity, he had all the students come into the faculty lounge for a conference call, where he laid out his game plan for the remainder of the year and warned us that we would end up in the gutter begging for money if we didn't work hard enough at physics. This was followed by weekly physics sessions at his house in Fake Alexandria, where we all sat in a circle around him eager for knowledge.

Contrary to the wishes of his doctor, he was back at school in just over a month, burning through the remaining materials for the AP exam as if it were a terminal case. The reward for our 5s was to watch the entire Star Wars trilogy in class instead of learning about atomic physics, which Dr. Patel interrupted only once, to say that Yoda had stolen "There is no try, only do" from him.

Dr. Patel was also the school coordinator for the Science Bowl, a yearly competition invented so that Thomas Jefferson students could have more trophies mailed to their houses. We held our own, and even beat TJ in one round, but double elimination destroyed us soon after. After a particularly sound beating of a perennially losing school (perhaps it was Woodson?), Dr. Patel hobbled right up to the TJ team in front of the entire audience and chastised them (and their coach) for their arrogance and unsportsmanlike conduct, something to the effect of "Being smart is not enough! You must work hard and be good people or you will be garbage!"

By the time I'd left college five years later, I'd easily taken four full years worth of physics, an almost Kathy-esque amount, and could do linear momentum problems in my sleep. I never did see Dr. Patel again, although I presume that he'll still be teaching out of a wheelchair at the age of 110 and ranting about all the chipmunks.

Beekeeper murdered rival to steal honey
Teen paints 60 foot phallus on roof of house
Shame causes Cock shrinkage, but Wang is on the rise

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Project Recap Day

It feels good to have carried a project all the way to a phase where it can be considered "done". I'm always on the lookout for new projects to do, like last summer when I toyed with writing interactive fiction again or December, when I thought I'd finally sit down and learn the Ruby programming language. Most of the projects I start with voracious verve trickle away long before anything tangible is completed.

Among other abandoned projects in my orphaned concepts folder: at least six cancelled games (2 in BASIC, and 3 in Netscape-era JavaScript), 4 chat rooms written in C and CGI (the boring kind, not the Avatar kind), one of which only worked when two people were in it, an endless number of musical compositions, and an ear training program called Auricle.

Back in January, I was searching for a project to do during the cold, snowbound months, and settled on migrating my photo albums to Picasa. I soon realized that it would be much easier than I expected, and started working on DDMSence even while the photo album transition was going on. I wanted a project that would be useful, had a finite problem area to solve, and was a mix of new material to learn and old technologies I already knew.

I have no problems giving up on side projects when they're no longer fun, and I came close a couple times, but soldiered through, even reading about XML in Puerto Rico while lying on the beach. The work finally reached a critical mass of about 80% a couple weeks ago, and I've been doing nothing but that ever since. I'm a decent multitasker, but when I'm really invested in something, I tend to do that one thing to the exclusion of everything else until it's complete -- this is why it's pointless for me to buy new books that just get read in a single day, and why I can watch a whole season of Prison Break in one weekend.

Now that this project has been "released", I'll still work on it regularly for enhancements and bug-fixing, but I can go back to devoting a little more time to this website and personal grooming. I may open the weekend with some outdoors time (cleaning the shed, my car, and weeding the planter boxes) mixed with indoor time (watching Weeds, working on the Paravia Wiki, and writing Musedays).

Speaking of projects, Katie Morton has redesigned her blog as a lifestyle blog, with tips on organization, getting things done, and eating Doritos. Take a look!

GameCrush: Pay to play--with girls
Child vampire hunters sparked comic crackdown
Man flu is no myth

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Kitchen Day

Our new kitchen cabinets and countertop have been ordered. As you can see from the image, we're going for a pure 1950s look: all black and white with minimal shading.

South Korea identified as prime bacon waster
Judge upholds title loss for taco queen
Obituary: No flowers, just beat Obama

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

Friday night is always yoga night for Rebecca, which means that it's always video game night for me. After her return, we had a Safeway pizza and watched the movie, This is 40, starring Paul Rudd as Paul Rudd. Stay tuned for the review on Thursday!

I worked on a side coding project for much of Saturday, in the grey area between being useful at work and not billed to work (archiving JIRA projects). On Saturday evening, we went out to Ben & Anna's for dinner and a round of the caption game. Ella is turning 6 in a couple weeks, which should now make you feel old if you've been reading the URI! Zone since her birth.

On Sunday, I drove out to my parents' for the first oil change in the new Accord, which I've only driven for 5600 miles since last May. In the afternoon, we watched Rain Man because Rebecca had never seen it, and then close out the night with a delicious meal at Ford's Fish Shack in Ashburn. We are now 2 for 2 on satisfying dining experiences there.

How was your weekend?

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Weird Search Day

or "How I Stumbled Upon the URI! Zone"

  • hadoop for laymen
    After searches for ear training cheats and reviews of my office chair, "hadoop for laymen" has become the third highest search term because of my class summary for a Hadoop training course. The only anomaly in this situation is that 100% of the searches originate from India. Therefore, I presume that an entire generation of Indian programmers is learning about Hadoop solely through my four paragraphs of impeccable pedagogy.

  • catchy caption for french fried chicken

    This ad campaign from Popeyes might be considered to be minimally clever, except for the fact that they (rightly) presume that Americans aren't going to understand French pronunciation. So below this sign in the restaurant they make sure to spell out the joke in the description: Get up and geaux ("go") with our healthy leaux ("low") calorie chicken!

  • sentence fragments. I bought a calendar watch. Which is running fast. Last week I had sixteen days.
    This sounds like a Steven Wright joke translated through Google Translate and read off a teleprompter by William Shatner.

  • what type of anitations go on during hell week in a frat at URI?
    No need to worry about them, since you obviously won't get past the spelling bee portion of the pledge process.

  • hotties at URI

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    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Spring Break Status Update

    Things I Did on Tuesday:

    • Shredded a year's worth of archived files

    • Organized the upstairs closets and drawers

    • Studied Amazon Web Services

    • Got my car inspected

    • Watched the first 3 episodes of Community, Season 6 (free on Yahoo, if you can stomach the horrible video player)

    • Dodged the VDOT crews needlessly repaving our neighbourhood and bought groceries at Safeway

    • Did a cost-benefit analysis of moving the URI! Zone INTO THE CLOUD

    Also, twenty one years ago today (in 1994), I purchased Ultima 8, one of the first recorded examples of a game series run into the ground as the result of a buyout from Electronic Arts. This game would grind the family 486 into a pile of smoking circuits and continue to disappoint the gamer in me, for all of the reasons logically laid out in this 30 minute rant-review.

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

    Friday, March 25, 2016

    Stuff in My Drawers Day

    I took these pictures 25 years ago, in January 1991, as a requirement for the Photography merit badge. This was long before digital cameras and color printers, and the negatives were developed in our basement darkroom.

    The badge required a set of black and white photographs that demonstrated good and poor lighting, with no penalty points docked if your family was less than enthused to participate.

    This merit badge really drove home the importance of lighting, as you can see. On the left, my dad just looks my dad, but put him in the shadow of a menacing deciduous tree and he could be the "mysterious stranger hanging around the lake when all of those co-eds disappeared last summer".

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    Monday, March 25, 2019

    Recipe Day: Leftover Chowder

    Based on the classic "chips n' cheese" cycle, this recipe combines the leftovers which perpetually exist in uneven quantities in our fridge into something delicious.


    • 1 Packet (1 oz) Onion Soup Mix, from the time you made Sour Cream and Onion dip in 2017 and the box contained 2 packets.
    • 1 Box (about 20 oz) leftover Chicken Broth because slow cooker recipes never take exactly 1 box.
    • 1 leftover Vegetable Bouillon cube, from the time in 2018 you were cooking meals for your vegetarian house guest.
    • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder

    • 1 Packet (4 oz) Instant Mashed Potatoes
    • 7 Stalks Celery (chopped), because the celery bags contain 8 stalks and every other recipe only requires 1.
    • 1/2 old white onion (diced) that has continued growing in the fridge for the past three weeks

    • 2 teaspoons flour
    • 1/2 Box (about 4 oz) Heavy Whipping Cream or Half & Half, whichever is leftover from the last time you made gravy or a reduction.
    • Whatever shredded cheddar cheese is left in your fridge.


    1. Combine onion soup mix, broth, and garlic powder in slow cooker. Supplement with vegetable bouillon cube and cold water until slow cooker is 2/3 filled.
    2. Add mashed potatoes, chopped celery, and diced onion to slow cooker.
    3. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours to convert the celery into something you won't notice eating.
    4. Combine flour and whipping cream in a small bowl. Stir thoroughly then add to slow cooker and stir.
    5. Cook on LOW for 30 minutes.
    6. Reduce slow cooker to KEEP WARM and stir in cheddar cheese until melted.

    Delicious, and has the side effect of cleaning out your fridge!

    tagged as recipes | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    List Day: 8 Ways We've Passed the Time During COVID-19

    1. I've run 1 - 2 miles each day while watching Better Call Saul and iZombie.

    2. Rebecca and Maia have gone to the park many times, but often seem to run into our parent friends with the same idea.

    3. I've gotten hooked on playing Elder Scrolls Online, after trying World of Warcraft again and getting bored almost immediately. I also have Borderlands 3 in my queue but the first 20 minutes felt identical to the previous 2 games so I haven't gotten any further yet. I'm looking at Half-Life: Alyx but am unsure whether I want to lug my computer downstairs for VR all of the time.

    4. Rebecca and I have played a lot of the 2-player board game, Patchwork, on loan from Larry and Janice.
    1. I'm wrapping up work on the 20th anniversary re-release of Augmented Fourth (April 1).

    2. Maia has only watched 30 minutes of television during the entire quarantine, because she's so happy doing other things.

    3. Yesterday, I finished adding the penultimate Wars of Light and Shadows book into the Paravia Wiki, closing out a task that started 13 years ago.

    4. On Monday, I finished the cartoons for the 6th issue of the Uri Tech Primer, on open-source software.

    How are you keeping busy and/or sane?

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

    Friday, March 25, 2022

    Maia's Art Day

    Here are some of the pictures that Maia created during the month of February.

    In the left picture, the bunny is receiving a 2nd place trophy. On the right, is a fine representation of Olaf.

    Maia went through a phase where two people were having birthday parties together, with one older than the other (The first party was for Elsa and Anna). Here, Ori and Ku (from Ori and the Will of the Wisps) are turning 4 and 2 respectively. This also functions as a low-budget colour-blind test.

    Maia also makes maps. "The blue is the water, the red is lava, the yellow is beach, and the green is trees."

    Maia painted this bunny after watching Encanto. He lives in the casita and his magic power is to make delicious birthday cakes.

    tagged as offspring, media | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, March 25, 2024

    Ian Year 2 Month 11 Battle Report

    Ian is just 1 month shy of turning 3 and, jokes about "half his life" aside, it feels like he's been 2 for longer than 50% of the dynasties in imperial China.

    Ian is full of big emotions and very aware of how he feels, but struggles to adapt when things don't go exactly as expected. We can be having a perfect afternoon and then he'll fixate on something that isn't quite right and have a tantrum. He averages 1-2 tantrums per day at the moment. We're working through it patiently and we hope it improves in year 3.

    He naps well and sleeps well. As soon as he's up, he runs to the living room to recite scenes from his tractor DVDs while driving trucks around. He likes to play by himself until he realizes he's playing by himself at which point he'll come find me or Rebecca and tell us he misses us.

    He is rigid in his routines, from asking us, "What's after that?", for each phase of the day to always wanting to watch his John Deere tractor DVDs before nap time. He wants to read the same books over and over again (I once read Berenstain Bears Learn about Strangers 10 times in 6 days) and wants the Duplos positioned exactly as he left them (even if he doesn't want to play with them anymore).

    He's got a great arm for throwing things and a great sense of pitch for singing his favourite songs, the John Deere theme song and Tractor, Tractor. He's also a whiz at identifying car makes based on the company logos, and loves taking the stroller to preschool (instead of the car) so he can identify myriad parked cars along the way.

    He's figuring out how to mash up the English language to convey ideas -- when he wanted more water out of the faucet, he asked me to "turn it louder", and when he tasted a plain yogurt instead of his preferred mixed berry, he said, "I can't feel this yogurt, I want another one".

    Here is Ian at preschool. He's learning to wave for the camera gradually.

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


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