This Day In History: 03/26

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

With Jazz History cancelled and sunny skies, Kathy, Mike, and I went down to Marsh Sands beach for the afternoon. Of course, the clouds rolled in about an hour after we got there, but it was a fun jaunt nonetheless. There was the normal assortment of wildlife, including several mating horseshoe crabs and some dead fat-ass jellyfish. I took a few pictures of the beach and Mike's dog, but probably won't get around to putting them up until the weekend.

My trumpet playing has steadily improved since I went back to "twice a day" after break, so hopefully Badinage will go well in three weeks time. I still hear the Hummel guy practicing the same trumpet measures as s/he was a few months ago without improvement. Also, the practice rooms were scrubbed and cleaned by Tau Beta Sigma last weekend. It's nice to see a music organization do something -- at Tech, TBS just sat around gossiping and acting bitchy.

I finished off the last of the sonata forms for my pedagogy analysis this evening, so now I just have to do the rondo forms before the test on Friday. Luckily, I remember several of the outlines from my sophomore level HAMS class, so I can quickly refamiliarize myself with them, even though I no longer have my original marked up anthology.

Man drives into Florida mosque: It happened not two miles from here, and yet I don't hear about it until it's on the national news...

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Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I'm having computer issues so it might be a day or so before the next update.

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Friday, March 26, 2004

We saw Cold Creek Manor last night. In length, it was the Bad Boys II of suspense movies, and in suspense, it was the Adventures of Milo and Otis. The purported ghost story spends an hour and half setting back story and building tension, then squanders the last half hour on a paint-by-numbers ending with no twists, no ghosts, and several plot holes. The climactic battle is a hand to hand fight between a guy with a hammer and a guy with a stepladder. Skip it.

I finished reading Debugging: The 9 Indispensable Rules for Finding Even the Most Elusive Software and Hardware Problems by David Agans. It's a brief, easy-to-read book that doesn't bring much new information to the table, but helps codify best practices you might forget in the heat of debugging. The style of the book is quite conversational and has many real-life anecdotes to support the text. It goes a little overboard in the "my tech book must be funny to sell" department, but the humour is easier to take here than in the Guerilla Programming book I mentioned a few months back.

Also on my "in-progress" book list are a study book for the Java 2 Developer's Certification Exam, and To Ride Hell's Chasm, Janny Wurts' latest standalone novel.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    ghostly possession, the urizone has left the internet, exercises for voice modulation, florence nightingale carried owl

Bionic hiker's goal thwarted by previous bionic hiker
Cat will hear twice the mice
Richard Simmons slaps ultimate cage fighter
Something fishy about the Norwegian ninja

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Time-Lapsed Blogography Day

It's always seemed to me that the education system should gradually increase in difficulty and effort as you progress (see also, any arcade game from the 80s). In American society, the scale seems skewed, with high school entailing high stress and a mad rush to prepare for college, and college being a collosal waste of time (this imbalanced buildup and letdown is also reflected in the Matrix trilogy). I can't remember either phase of life being particularly hard, but I do remember that my schedule in high school was far more packed than it ever was in a year since.

For example, put on your baggy time-jumping pants and jump back with me twelve years to March 26, 1995. I was a junior in high school with big glasses and even bigger dreams1. Despite my social malfeasance, my calendar was regularly booked 100%. In 1995, the 26th was a Sunday, and I opened the day by spending four hours working on Jack Wilmer's Eagle Project. I can't remember what his project was anymore, but it probably had to do with kidnapping children and stealing their fingerprints, or diverting the flow of an arbitrary creek to increase erosion near new subdivisions.

Following the Eagle Project, I went home for lunch around 1, then turned right around and went to the Boathouse on the far side of the city for a Crew Open House. Our cadre of nine took one of the new shells out on the water to do some stunts for the visiting parents (common stuff like "glide on the water" and "dive to one thousand fathoms"). From Crew, I went back home (we lived in a pretty inconvenient place for a Crew family) and biked the four miles to the high school to play Ultimate Frisbee with the Frisbee Club. I did a lot of biking back then, because Virginia does not allow fifteen-year-old midgets to get anywhere near a steering wheel. Once frisbee was over, I biked back home and had dinner with the parents, playing the role of sullen teenager who hates being the center of attention ever since his sister left for college. After dinner I went up the street to take care of the neighbour's chihuahua, Rusty, worked on my vocabulary worksheet for Chapter 20 of American Civilization (only retard teachers assign vocabulary in a history class) and finally wrote all of this up in my secret diary around 9 PM.

Now take off your pants and put on your time-warp helmet as we fast forward four years into college.

March 26, 1999 was a Friday in my third year of college. The glasses and Members Only jacket had given way to contacts and a pompadour, and I was living with Nathan Egge in East AJ. At this point, I was taking 19 credits of classes: Operating Systems (slept through it, got an A), Applied Combinatorics (this wasn't the woodpeckers-in-pigeonholes class, but it was equally as insipid and sleepworthy, got a B), Contemporary Music Literature (sat in a room listening to Jon Polifrone talk about how much he liked Rolling Rock, got a B), Symphony Band (3 hours a week of sitting around waiting for the oboes to learn their part, got an A), Jazz Arranging (never had class because Chip McNeill was always out of town, got an A-), trumpet and composition lessons (got As), and Probability and Statistics for Electrical Engineers (this class was so nondescript that I didn't even remember taking it, A-). Besides this harrowing courseload, I went home every other weekend to harass hometown honies -- extended trips that usually started on Thursdays and ended on Mondays.

According to my secret diary (which will soon be published as A Million Little Asians by the same company that published James Frey's book), the only thing I did on the 26th was to play Starcraft all day long with Philip Barbie. And not even the challenging variety -- we would just make maps with ever-increasing amounts of super-hard computers and see how long it took us to win cooperatively.

How did your schedule evolve as you grew up?

1: This will be the ad copy when Disney makes a feel good movie about my high school days.

These U.S. Raids In Iraq Look Real, But They Aren't (burma shave)
Return addresses minimize the anonymity of stalking
Pimp of the Year gets 23

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Europe Day

an occasional post about finding the way to Europe

The maps are printed, the reservations are made, and I've researched Rick Steves' back door more than I'd care to admit. We have tickets and passports and we've gotten the special immunization shots that will prevent us from inexplicably become French. All we have left to do is pack our bags, dispose of the cats in a suitably plush living area, and head for the airport on Monday!

If you want to play at home, you can use Google Earth to stalk us along this itinerary:

  • 4/1 - 4/3: London
  • 4/4 - 4/6: Paris
  • 4/7: Versailles
  • 4/8: Carcasonne
  • 4/9: Collioure
  • 4/10: Back in Virginia for Mom's Birthday
  • 4/11 - 4/14: Barcelona (a very special edition of 12 of 12)
  • 4/15: London
  • Pulling this trip together actually wasn't too difficult, especially since Rebecca did most of the research while I sat on a divan eating various seeded fruits. Once we actually flipped from "we should go to Europe someday" mode to "okay, let's go to Europe" mode, the abundance of information in library guide books and the Internet made it reasonably easy to set things up.

    Even though it makes me feel like a Dave Matthews fan in 1997, I'd have to recommend the ubiquitious Rick Steves guides for the granularity and usefulness of their information. We also looked at some Fodor's and Lonely Planet guides, but found ourselves continuing to return to Rick Steves for the final word on things.

    I will try to post the occasional pictureless update while in Europe, and I might even post them in Morse Code if I am sufficiently moved by some European World War monument. The last regular update will be this week's Friday Fragments column, and then you're on your own for two and a half weeks!

    In the meantime, if you have any last minute suggestions or recommendations for travel, please share them in the Comments section!

    Visitors stranded on the London Eye
    Knut is a publicity-addicted psycho
    Alaskan couple married in swimming pool

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    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    List Day: Ten Rejected Wedding Ideas

    1) Save-the-Date announcements will take the form of one hundred individually tattooed gerbils, boxed and delivered by First Class Mail. We take no responsibility for the (permanent) settling which may occur in boxes delivered to a destination more than two days away.

    2) Invitations will be printed on 100% recycled post-consumer content, taken directly from the nearest Loudoun County septic tank.

    3) We will be registered at Popeyes, BMW of Fairfax, Long & Foster Realtors - Fiji Listings, and your attic. You may also make a donation in our name to the decaying urban jungle that is Detroit, Michigan.

    4) Ceremony music will be provided by an antiphonal brass choir, pitting Blue Ribbon Brass on stage left against Quantum Brass on stage right. Musicians will be paid in advance of the ceremony with an all-you-can-drink tour of the winery.

    5) The theme of the reception will be "Pimps and Ho's". Guests should dress accordingly.

    6) Wedding favours will be miniature statues of the couple, painstakingly carved from a lifetime of collected toe cheese (for that personal touch) and shellacked for permanence.

    7) The reception will be catered by US Airways.

    8) Instead of the Chicken Dance or the Electric Slide, the entire ensemble will be invited to participate in a choreographed routine to Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights.

    9) Upon exiting the reception, the couple will run a gantlet of wedding guests armed with paintball guns (because rice is environmentally unsound).

    10) Everyone is strongly encouraged to accompany us on the honeymoon.

    Deathbed Confession man charged after making a recovery
    Women called Nutt overrun by squirrels
    Komodo dragons kill trespasser

    tagged as lists, favourites | permalink | 17 comments

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    Friday Fragments

    less weekend rain, more weekend grain

    ♠ On Wednesday night, we had a late dinner at a little Lebanese restaurant in Sterling's excuse for a clock tower shopping center called Sahara. It was fairly inexpensive and tasty -- I'm finding that saffron rice is slowly approaching the "like" levels of my usual rice proclivity: a bowl of soy sauce topped with medium-grained white rice. We would definitely go back again.

    ♠ I started using Yelp to review things at the end of last year, but stopped before too long after reading about all the seedy extortion they're involved in. I'm currently trying to find a successful business model for the URI! Zone that involves extortion, but unfortunately all the embarassing photos of the people I know are already widely distributed.

    ♠ Contrary to expectations, the URI! Zone does have a sound business model in place: it involves spending $250 a year on hosting and domain registration, and then giving another $20 a year to my mom for winning caption contests.

    ♠ It's been a while since I had a contest here, so perhaps one will materialize in April. I can't think of any innovative Name That Tune ideas though, so maybe I'll have to have a contest where you identify the tune based on a video of the visualization in Windows Media Player.

    ♠ Despite having both Windows Media Player and iTunes around, I continue to use a ten-year-old version of WinAMP (v2.7) to play all of my MP3s. I also run AIM 5.1, which is the last version compatible with the free version of DeadAIM for tabbed windows. I hear the newest version has tabbed windows built-in, but no one likes change unless they're a parking meter.

    ♠ Plans for the weekend used to include vacuuming all the dead spiders out of the shed, weeding, and washing my car, but with the onslaught of party-pooping precipitation, I'll probably just stay in and read the backs of cereal boxes. Someday, I will host poker again, since apparently that fled with the marriage.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Dog in squad car attacks ordered to canine classes
    Wisconsin college to save money on all the users still printing their emails
    I check the breasts of my workers on my own

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    Monday, March 26, 2012

    Ten Years Ago Today

    On March 26, 2002, the undergraduate-level Jazz History class I was taking to fulfill a graduate requirement was unexpectedly cancelled, leaving the entire afternoon free. Rather than waste the opportunity, we piled into Kathy's RAV-4 with Mike's new dog, Ginger, and hit the nearest beach, which was only 20 minutes away from Tallahassee. Marsh Sands Beach was more of a nature spot than a sunbathing spot, and had a small sandy island, dubbed Briland, that was only accessible at low tide.

    The beach that day was swarming with humping horseshoe crabs, and I built a turtle out of sand. That was also the day that Ginger learned that it was fun to run away from Mike. The LL Bean backpack shown in the upper right lasted me all the way through seven years of college and grad school, and is currently gainfully employed by Rebecca for her physical therapy schooling.

    There will be no update tomorrow, as I'll be on a business trip to sunny Norfolk (pronounced "Nuffuck" by the local weatherman).

    tagged as memories | permalink | 10 comments

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    Caption Day

    recent highlights from rounds of The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Game

    "Well, I guess we know where the wild things AREN'T..." - Anna

    Billy's attempt to sneak out by blending into the night failed when the lights were on in the living room. - Rebecca

    poopie on the head - Rosie

    "At least I get our 14 kids!" - BU

    "But judge, my client did not inhale!" -Ben

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    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture has been my desktop background for many years. It's the view through a hole in the seawall, across the harbor at the beach town of Collioure, taken on April 10, 2008. Although my knee had been destroyed from all of the walking in Paris, we still managed to make it up to the fort on the mountain top.

    Collioure would be a good place to retire, if I knew a little more French.

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    Thursday, March 26, 2015

    Spring Break Status Update

    Thirteen years ago today (in 2002), Returned Mike, Kathy, and I took a midday trip to Marsh Sands Beach, where Chompy practiced running away continuously until we buried her. Behind her is the LL Bean backpack I wore through high school, which later took Rebecca all of the way through PT school, and still hangs whole in the closet today.

    Things I Did on Wednesday:

    • Passed the AWS Solutions Architect exam with a less impressive, yet functional 77%

    • Picked up all of the winter detritus in the mud pit I call a yard, helped slightly by the results of a game played by Anna's kids two weeks ago called "Drop Sticks In This Puddle"

    • Had Domino's for a lunch of luxury

    • Resecured the molding around our sliding closet doors, which suffers from our superhuman strength when we slide them open with unstoppable force

    • Changed the air filter in the HVAC

    • Cleared out a backlog of Hearthstone quests

    • Took a 1.5 hour nap with Booty then ran 3 miles on the treadmill while watching Lie to Me

    • Went to a Cookology class with Kathy, and made tomato polenta, prosciutto-wrapped pears, and chocolate melty truffles. Learned that Rebecca is pro-level for wrapping things in proscuitto.

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

    Monday, March 26, 2018

    Happiness: It Is Known

    tagged as offspring, media | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, March 26, 2021

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    SIXKIWI Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers for Bedroom, 3L 30Hours Essential Oil Diffuser for Large Room,Easy Top Fill&Clean,Never Leak,Whisper-Quiet,Auto Shut-Off for Home Office Baby(White&Grey):
    Cementing Amazon's lead in becoming the #1 "giant flea market full of counterfeit goods where every product title is stuffed full of search keywords" is the humidifier department. None of these humidifiers last for more than a year or two, and by that time any past research into humidifiers is moot because all of the companies have retired their products and replaced them with slightly different knock-offs and a brand new batch of 5000 fake positive reviews.

    The nice features of this one are that it has a single dim light which can be covered with electrical tape, and it can be filled from the top. The con: a single fill will only last for one night because there is only one setting, "MONSOON". As soon as you crack the knob out of the OFF position, the humidifier begins spewing dank clouds of moisture like dry ice in an 80s rock video. There is very little difference in output if you continue to rotate the knob another 359 degrees, although the MAX setting will cause the water horse from Frozen 2 to appear and gallop off into the distance. Would not recommend this, even for your Home Office Baby.

    Final Grade: D

    Good Girls, S3:
    The third season of Good Girls immediately discards some of the most interesting ideas birthed in the last season finale. The whole season treads water and plays it safe, as if the writers really don't know how to evolve the characters. I liked the sideplots involving the changes to Ruby's family dynamics but the other leads felt wasted. There are many individual scenes full of funny dialogue, but it's not quite worth slogging through the plot to get to them. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: C

    Tongue-Tied by Earl:
    A collection of catchy songs from a female vocalist in the vein of Caro Emerald and the electroswing movement. The title track is a good representative track.

    Final Grade: B

    Coming 2 America:
    The first fifteen minutes of this movie are weighed down by obligatory call-backs to the original (including repeated old jokes), but it eventually manages to work on its own terms. Old fans will appreciate it more but Rebecca liked it in spite of having never watched the original. Free on Amazon Prime.

    Final Grade: B-

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments


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