This Day In History: 03/29

Friday, March 29, 2002

Yesterday I finished creating the accompaniment MIDI to the second movement of the Ewazen trumpet sonata. It was easily the most difficult one to do musically because of the rubato nature of slow movements. Using the Gekker-Ewazen recording as a model, I timed the piece measure by measure and adjusted MIDI tempos accordingly. Also, there were a large number of pedal markings that had to be manually inserted into the score every half a measure. If I have time, I'll finish off the third movement this weekend.

This past week, I reread Peril's Gate. I always try to reread good books a few months after getting them to take everything in more methodically. The first reading is usually a barn-burning page-turning, and the second always reveals details I didn't catch on the first try. The book is still very good, but towards the end, the plot necessitates a review of all the major events from the earlier books. Like flashback episodes on sitcoms, it's fun and helps to get new readers up to speed on the story, but in this case I think it was just a little too long.

Here's a couple space-related pictures that have been making the rounds and ended up in my mailbox:

    Shuttle payload (257KB)
    Earth from space at night (96KB)

"I realize you may think I'm nuts, but anyways, I am getting paid for doing this." - professor, after noting that there's probably Grails floating around inside the "holey" spaces in a student fugue

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Saturday, March 29, 2003

At the behest of others, I submitted three of my original maps to Blizzard's Warcraft III Map Contest. I probably won't win, but the selected maps end up in the Expansion Pack and the mapmakers appear in the credits and get a free copy for themselves. Even though I don't play the game anymore, I figure it's at least worth an entry.

I took Booty on a trip around town this morning in hopes of getting her more used to the cat carrier. We saw the State Capitol and the scenic Best Buy before we turned around and came home. She cried for the first half of the trip but seems to be getting better. Last night, she met the big grey cat from two doors down -- the two of them sniffed at each other through the window screen for a few minutes.

Intelligence analysts warned senior Pentagon officials [...] that Iraqi paramilitary units would fight back... Good sleuthing.
People in power still unclear on the separation between church and state
Man goes crazy after getting spade

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Monday, March 29, 2004

I'm fully moved into the new house now, after a four-hour stint of Rte 28 trips on Saturday through the light but insistent pitter patter of rain.

My seven mile commute took ten minutes today, and the sun was up when I left the house.

I hope to get Internet up and running at home in the next couple days.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    lycomaniac, how do you write a good battle for a story, lightbulb loved a cellar wall, wainscoat baseboard, acid rain lab bromothymol blue

'Kills <x> Dead' not always a good housecleaning slogan
Big and small stars
Obscene caller has unlisted number
Canadian moonshine

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Po Po Platter Day

List Day: One Things I Learned About Birds

  • If you go to the store and buy a bag of mixed bird seed for your bird feeder so your cats have something to watch all day long while you're at work, it will not attract a panoply of different birds. Instead, you will get one type of bird and they will eat the one type of seed they like while throwing all the rest on your porch for you to sweep up. Then they will poop on your stoop.
  • Movie Review Day
    Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown was "okay" -- not groundbreaking and not horrible. My ass informs me that it was about twenty minutes too long (my ass often informs me of such things) and I think Natalie Portman was a better "quirky love interest" in Garden State than Kirsten Dunst was in this movie.

    Musical Musing

    The timbre of Beth Orton's voice makes me want to take my migraine medicine in an intravenous drip turned all the way up. Her shaky vocals are literally the musical representation of car sickness (718KB MP3). I cannot understand why so many people went to hear her at the 9:30 Club or whatever local venue she recently visited. It's not that the music is so bad, but goodness, couldn't there be better singers out there somewhere?

    Newsday Wednesday
    A local plumber on a month long quest finally discovered a $20,000 engagement ring that had fallen into an auto-flush toilet by prying up a manhole. First, kudos to the plumber for his dogged pursuit. He is like the Javert of missing expensive crap flushed down the toilet. Second, $20,000 for an engagement ring? Really? Isn't the rule of thumb "two months salary" (or make it out of trumpet pieces if you are an unemployed trumpeter still in school in New York)? I guess it's feasible that a former professional baseball player turned high school teacher could make $120,000 a year. I know I don't. Finally, the fianc? is now my hero for joking at the critical moments of loss, "Is your arm caught in the toilet? Because if it's not, stop crying. Well, that was a short engagement." That takes major balls since you never want to mess with a woman and her engagement ring.

    Wednesday Fragment

  • My family never separated its laundry when I was growing up -- everything was dumped into the washing machine on the Cold/Cold cycle with no special treatment. As a result, all of my underwear was a dinghy grey, and my $74 Crew Anorak was perpetually pink.
  • Cat Media Wednesday
    Even if you hate cats, you will love this video, submitted by Anna (2MB WMV). There is inherent comic value in any movie where babies get beat up by cats, in my unbiased opinion. In fact, I will train my future child from an early age to eat catnip and chase Booty around the house and then submit it to America's Funniest Videos for the big cash prize. For good measure, here is a video of me pissing Booty off with a feather on a string (1 MB WMV). There are also new cat pictures at the bottom of this page and non-cat pictures from Poker Night and St. Patrick's Day: . I only have a few, not because my friends are so unphotogenic, but because they are highly recalcitrant when it comes to being happy go-lucky photo subjects.

    New LOST tonight!

    Lawyer adds 'litigious' to his dating profile
    Part I: City official with 22 years of experience tells operating system company to stop hacking his government
    Part II: City official tells journalists to turn off the Internet

    tagged as random | permalink | 7 comments

    Thursday, March 29, 2007

    Musical Musings

  • I picked up three new CDs this month. The first is Acoustic Extravaganza by KT Tunstall, and contains a batch of new acoustic works, as well as some new renditions of her old stuff. The best song on on the CD is Girl and the Ghost which seems to capture her style to a fine point. Also notable is her reworking of Universe and You as a quieter, more intimate piece. It's very rare that I like an acoustic recording of a song after hearing the "full" version, but I think I like this one just as much as the original -- it also highlights how little the power of her voice depends on the surrounding orchestration.
      Girl and the Ghost (516KB MP3)
      Universe and You (original) (501KB MP3)
      Universe and You (acoustic) (545KB MP3)
  • The next CD, Long Distance by Ivy, is something of a departure for me. The music is a lighter, atmospheric blend of electronica and simple patterns, and I picked it up on the strength of two songs, Edge of the Ocean, and Worry About You. These two songs turned out to be the best songs on the album, and while the CD is still good background music, I didn't find anything noteworthy on the rest of it. Plus, the heavily accented English of the French-born singer can get a little distracting sometimes. You have probably heard some of Ivy's music at some point -- they're liberally borrowed for TV shows like Grey's Anatomy, Alias, The 4400, and every car commercial ever made.
      Edge of the Ocean (515KB MP3)
      Worry About You (672KB MP3)
  • The final CD is a British import, Alright, Still by Lily Allen. Her songs are about as deep as a wading pool, but they shine in their catchy beats and infectious hooks, ranging a gamut of styles from rap to ska to dance. Her style is best self-described at the beginning of her LDN video as a "sort of punky electronica kind of grime, kind of like new-wave grime, kind of maybe like more broken beats, like kind of dubby broken beats, but a little bit kind of soulful...". There's a couple weak tracks towards the end, but overall it's a fun CD, and only costs $10.
      Smile (remix) (397KB MP3)
      Shame for You (525KB MP3)
      Knock Em Out (429KB MP3)
      Alfie (343KB MP3)
  • There was an article on the other day documenting the incredible success of Nickelback, obviously one more sign of the impending apocalypse. It looks like Chad Kroeger is going to develop a Bono-complex and start aiming for the TIME Man of the Year award. I still don't understand how anyone can find it pleasant to listen to the sounds of a trachea being forcibly ejected in musical form (160KB MP3) -- I'd sooner stir seagull guano with my pinky and then stick it up my nose.

  • New on my playist this month:
    • Badly Drawn Boy, Once Around the Block
    • Dirty Pretty Things, Bang Bang You're Dead
    • Joss Stone, Tell Me 'Bout It
    • Miri Ben-Ari f. Scarface & Anthony Hamilton, Sunshine in the Rain
    • Ordinary Boys, Lonely at the Top
    • Todd Rundgren, Onomatopoeia
  • Take that to your next rain dance
    Prepubescent purity balls
    Dumbest moments in business

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    Monday, March 29, 2010

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Friday night, I spent the entire evening reading a sixty page document called "XML Data Encoding Specification for Information Security Marking Metadata" for pleasure, after eating a Totino's pizza and vacuuming the house.

    After that rollercoaster ride of excitement, the rest of the weekend was pretty low-key. Saturday opened with a trip to Costco for critical steak supplies and the chance to walk past Fans Blowing Heat. In the afternoon, I did some work better suited for an electrician and assembled a new-old bed frame in our guest room. We decided to have an impromptu Game Night on Saturday with Rebecca's work people, and ended up playing multiple rounds of Catchphrase and Balderdash before all the married people got tired and had to go home.

    On Sunday morning, I got up early and implemented "security rollup" in my project, which isn't half as interesting or sugary as a fruit rollup, but has more enterprise applications than one. Following Shells and Cheese time at lunch, DVD time, and My Sister is Having a Baby time, we ended up at Foster's Grille in Herndon for dinner. They make a very satisfying charburger which I can still taste a little bit as I type this.

    Overall, it wasn't the busiest of weekends, but with 5 of the 8 weekend days in April already booked, I'm sure we'll appreciate the downtime soon!

    Russian roulette wedding speech goes badly
    Father shoots daughter's boyfriend after catching them in the act
    Channels showed porn, not his comedy

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

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Recipe Day: Latin Pork Chops


    • 4 bone-in pork lion chops (3/4" inch)
    • olive oil (with extra virgins)
    • 1 tablespoon cumin
    • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
    • 1 tablespoon chile powder
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • salsa


    • Crush the coriander in the mortar and pestle you received as a wedding gift but never have a chance to use. Mix it with the other spices in a wide bowl to make the rub.

    • Lightly coat the pork chops with olive oil and rub the rub on the grub.

    • Heat a grill up to medium heat and rub down the rack with olive oil.

    • Grill the pork chops for four minutes per side, flipping them once.

    • Serve with rice and salsa and a bottle of 13.9% alcohol viognier.

    Men more likely to overrule satnavs than women
    Dirt: the Filthy Reality of Everyday Life
    The Pentagon and Its Bogus Bomb-Zapper: A Love Story

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    Thursday, March 29, 2012

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Season One:
    This is one of the free Amazon Prime shows that I've been watching recently. I wasn't expecting to like it, because there's really a finite set of things you can do in the Terminator universe before you start repeating yourself (T3 and T4 were completely unnecessary). However, after the first episode which is painfully derivative, the show manages to carve itself a nice niche with interesting stories to tell and less of a need to adhere to any kind of Terminator bible. From a "going along for the ride" perspective, this is an enjoyable show to watch.

    Final Grade: B+

    Semantic Web for the Working Ontologists by Dean Allemang and James Hendler:
    This book has been my Cliff Notes over the past two months as I try to keep up with subject matter experts in the field of semantic web. It's a surprisingly gentle introduction to semantic web technologies and languages, and couches theory in a practical wrapper so you have immediate context to the usefulness and viability of each lesson. The good news, though, is that you'll probably never need to read this book unless your job regularly involves heated discussions about the usefulness of taxonomies versus ontologies.

    Final Grade: B+

    Malcolm in the Middle, Season Seven:
    Malcolm went out strongly, and I enjoyed the final season as much as previous ones. It's free on Amazon Prime and has at least a couple laughs in every episode, so the series as a whole is good dead-time filler. The series finale was note-perfect for the show as well.

    Final Grade: B

    Hugo (PG):
    We went into this movie knowing nothing at all, except that it involved Paris and CGI. I enjoyed the movie as a light, whimsical Amelie-like story, but didn't think it was Best Picture material. There were great performances throughout, especially from a surprisingly restrained Borat. We didn't watch it in 3D because 3D is lame.

    Final Grade: B+

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    Friday, March 29, 2013

    End-of-the-Month Media Day

    I've taken the day off to work on the next version of DDMSence and celebrate the first quarter of 2013. In the meantime, enjoy a few new pictures in my Life, 2013 album!

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    Tuesday, March 29, 2016

    Tech Day: A Year in the Cloud

    The URI! Zone has now lived in the cloud for a full year now, and the experiment has been a resounding success. After making the decision to move, I was up and running on Amazon Web Services less than two weeks later.

    Here is what the website looks like in the cloud my butt today. It's very easy to spin up new subdomains and bring them down when they're no longer relevant, and I have an "almost one-click" deploy process to push updated code out to the application server. I've never had a problem using the base "micro" tier of services, especially after doing some caching/tuning of the most resource-hungry piece: the PHP-based Wiki software.

    Cost-wise, prices came in slightly under my estimates, thanks to the AWS Free Tier which saved me about $20 per month. I used some of those savings to get the multi-domain SSL certificate, which ensures that what you're reading here was not inserted by a stalking hacker trying to impersonate me. Now that my Free Tier year is coming to an end, I can opt to switch from on-demand servers to a reserved yearly or 3-yearly profile to maintain the same savings.

    I also make use of AWS alarms, which keep me apprised of my costs over the course of each month. For the most part, my server costs ran at about $10 per month until I started working on Sparkour (Apache Spark requires a little more power than the URI! Zone does). Even then, I can save money by turning on the Sparkour servers for a few hours a day (at $0.12 per hour) rather than investing in extra home computers or leaving things on all day long.

    Besides the newsworthy AWS 5-hour outage last September (which was resolved by the time I woke up), service has been very stable. I'm satisfied and would migrate to the cloud again!

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    Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken 28 years ago, in the Fall of 1989.

    As newly popular eighth graders, my sister and her friend, Laura, are showing off the finest in early 90s apparel from the Gap. I'm wearing my brand new Boy Scout shorts three sizes too large because no JC Penney's in the National Capitol area carried my size.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, March 29, 2019

    End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

    New photos have been added to the Life, 2019 album. Google Photos sucks.

    • Events
      • Had a rainy, family dinner at Chuy's on F 3/1, just in time for the free queso bar.

      • Sara and Karl came to visit from Minneapolis on S 3/2 (through S 3/6). Had Car & Ben over for dinner that evening.

      • Went to Tammy's for lasagna on S 3/3.

      • Had tacos and beer with Karl, Sara, and her parents on T 3/5.

      • Drove out in the wintry mix to a rental house in Harpers Ferry on F 3/8.

      • Hosted Jessika and Hannah at our rental house on S 3/9 and had a pasta dinner with giant meatballs.

      • Visited Old Town Harpers Ferry on S 3/10 and had smothered pork chops for dinner.

      • Returned home to the real world on M 3/11.

      • Went to Lake Anne with Maia on early warm days, T 3/12 and W 3/13.

      • Visited the BU grandparents on H 3/14, and Maia got to visit one of the many esteemed Alexandria playgrounds.

      • Family night out at Lake Anne on F 3/15 with dinner at Cafe Monmartre.

      • Maia and I went to Miller's for dinner on S 3/16 while Rebecca did a yoga workshop in Lovettsville.

      • Did our taxes on S 3/17.

      • Went to the dentist on M 3/18.

      • Got my car inspected, then took the family to Frying Pan Park for Maia's first tractor ride on T 3/19.

      • Cooked a family dinner of bison burger with blue cheese and caramelized onions on F 3/22.

      • Had a date night at Pizza Paradiso in Old Town Alexandria while my parents watched Maia for the night on S 3/23. Had a flight 8 beers, one of which smelled like s'mores and tasted like merthiolate (Trash Panda).

      • Had a solo dad dinner at Miller's while Rebecca and Maia went to another dog's birthday party at Ghazaleh's on S 3/24.

      • Got a flat tire on M 3/25.

      • Family date in Herndon with dinner at Jimmy's Old Town Tavern on W 3/27.

      • Afternoon funeral for one of Rebecca's extended family on S 3/30. Maia and I met up at Tysons Corner for an extended family dinner at Brio's after her nap.

      • Friend Dinner with Jessika on S 3/31.

    • Projects
      • Finally wrapped up the overtime proposal at work.

      • Outsourced the time-consuming job of getting roof replacement estimates to my dad.

      • Upgraded the URI! Zone to t3.micro instances for the next 3 years of web hosting on S 3/31.

    • Consumerism
      • Play no games this month. Did get back into reading though!

      • Enjoyed watching the first four seasons of Bosch.

      • No new albums of note this month, although we did discover Lunch Money Lewis.

    March's Final Grade: B+, finally had time to get a little bored and think of new project ideas again

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    Monday, March 29, 2021

    Weekend Wrap-up

    Thanks to the advances in science known as "vaccinated grandparents", Maia got to spend her first weekend away from home in over a year. They have better cereal options than we do.

    On Friday night, Rebecca and I had Panera for dinner and watched Music and Lyrics for the first time since our first date in 2007. On Saturday, Rebecca worked in the afternoon while I did some website work for Don Maitz, tamed more of the wilderness and trash in the common area behind our house, tried playing DOOM: Eternal, and watched the impenetrable movie, Tenet. Kathy stopped by in the afternoon to drop off her cats before an OBX beach trip so we are now up to 3 felines.

    Meanwhile, Maia helped the grandparents plant their bulbs and then took a walk to Ben Brenman Park, which did not exist when I was an Alexandria resident.

    How was your weekend?

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 2 comments

    Wednesday, March 29, 2023

    Data Day: 13 Years of Annual Finances

    Chart Notes

    • With the exception of two years (2018: The Year of Stay-At-Home Dadding and 2022: The Year of Having Two Kids), I've consistently made more than I spent. This is intentional so the graph looks more like a brontosaurus.

    • Life is definitely more expensive post-pandemic. My grocery bills have spiked from an average of $60 to $100 per trip, and only $10 of that is fresh berries that the kids immediately devour.

    • I'm looking forward to September of this year, when that boring mortgage line finally goes away for good, freeing up resources to buy a jetski or an exotic reptile.

    tagged as data | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, March 29, 2024

    End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

    New photos have been added to the Life, 2024 album.

    • Events
      • Date Night at Local Provisions on F 3/1.

      • Rebecca and Maia went to see a middle school production of Seussical Jr., while Ian and I went to Wegmans to watch the train run around the ceiling on S 3/2.

      • Our old neighbors (Vanessa and Chloe) came for a visit in the afternoon on S 3/3.

      • Maia spent a weekend with the grandparents (and went to the Aquarium), F 3/8 - S 3/10.

      • Ian and I rode the Metro from Innovation Center to Ballston and back on S 3/9.

      • Solo dad dinner at Local Provisions on W 3/13.

      • Family trip to the Algonkian playground and dinner at Bungalow Lakehouse on H 3/14.

      • Day trip out to Dirt Farm Brewing with the family on S 3/16.

      • Open House St. Patricks Day with Jack, Larry, Janice, MJ, Taje, and kids, Annie, Justin, Jessica, and Tobias on S 3/17.

      • Went out to the Whitmers on S 3/23 because Abby was in town.

      • Spring Break in Bethany Beach with the Smiths, T 3/26 - S 3/30.

    • Projects
      • Sheared back the encroaching wilderness in the HOA common grounds on H 3/7.

      • Did the annual woodchip spread on our homegrown trail through the forest behind our house on F 3/8.

      • Did our taxes on T 3/12.

      • Migrated a 12-year old online store to a new platform on F 3/15.

      • Got an EV Charger installed on the side of the house on M 3/18.

    • Consumerism
      • Bought a new phone, a Samsung S23, after the previous 5-year-old model ended up cracked in the washing machine. (It still worked, but I didn't want to take chances!)

      • Enjoyed reading Children of Memory this month. No amazing new shows, movies, or music to report.

      • Not playing any games at the moment.

    March's Final Grade: A, continued productivity balanced with fun family times

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


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