This Day In History: 03/30

Saturday, March 30, 2002

These past couple days have been Reich days. I checked out the 10-disc retrospective of Steve Reich's music from the library and I'm almost done listening to disc 10 right now. I'll try to post my thoughts on the set and particular songs tomorrow. In my quest for more familiarity with modern composers, I also wanted to check out the 10-disc boxed set of John Adams, but the library seems to have lost it (like the fifty other odd CDs that "just don't seem to be on our shelf anymore"). I'm not sure how you lose a 10-disc set -- it's not like you can hide it behind another CD or run it over with your car without noticing, but I guess when you work in the library, anything's possible.

Here's another revamped MIDI theme which I finished last night -- The Llama Fanfare (MP3, 734KB). Oldtimers will recognize it as the theme song from this website from 1996 - 1998. New visitors would hear the entire fanfare, while repeat visitors would be welcomed back with a personalized greeting and one of four short variations on this theme (thanks to clever use of cookies).

I was doing a little tinkering with the code of my puzzle applet yesterday, so for kicks, here's a puzzle for Mike. Click on any tile next to the white space to move it

tagged as music | permalink | 0 comments

Sunday, March 30, 2003

With most of my school responsibilities done, I'm going to have to work harder at finding interesting things to write about. I could always go back to last year's idea of having specially-themed days -- no doubt everyone would love an all-Alias week (new episode tonight at 9, by the way). Alternately I could have an all-Booty day, but seriously, every day is Booty day. In fact, there's thirteen new pictures up on the Photos page. Be the first on your block to look at them all.

There was an SCI-sponsored composers' concert last night which reassured the world that composers still support the status quo.

The next Movie Night selection
Big fat viruses
Saudi ambassador not murdered, just happened to die naked in a pool of blood.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning, scrubbing, and vacuuming the apartment for a check-out inspection today. The Elms at Centreville was definitely a good place to live, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a home. The staff is always helpful and maintenance is super speedy and rarely needed. The only downside to the place is that the walkways outside doors drip mightily even in the smallest rain shower, so you always get wet if you don't have an umbrella. On the upside, you may get a discount if you say I referred you. (Or maybe I get the discount).

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers really do work on wall smudges and pencil marks, but they disintegrate like nobody's business. I got a pack of 8 for six bucks and used up five just scrubbing the apartment.

Tonight, the plan is to set up the Home Network (no shopping allowed), finish painting a bathroom, and install some more blinds.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    jennie geisner, murders and historical information about steamboat springs colorado, signatures that start with e's, dave day virginia tech, dirty littered overgrown gardens

We all have a need to decorate Mother Nature because it belongs to all us.
Akron defends its title as the happeningest town in the USA
Dannequin returns

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 4 comments

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Randy Scouse Git

There's an article on CNN about the prevalence of profanity in society and the percentage of males and females who disapprove of it. To me, the context-appropriate use of a swear word is a wonderful thing -- it crystalizes your immediate feelings on stubbing your toe or falling down a well in a universally understood way that crosses all social boundaries. A comedian who delicately inserts appropriate profanity at key points in his shtick is guaranteed to be funnier than someone who tells the same joke without it.

I have no problems with people who swear around me, and don't even flinch at gangster movies which have perfected the art of converting single swear words into every part of speech and dangling participle known to man. Of course this doesn't mean that I swear in front of small children or polite society, because while I wouldn't mind a bit, I know that it's more an issue of other people getting offended. But what is the root of being offended? It's just an ingrained response learned from your parents and your environment that has little bearing on anything relevant. If you flinch when you hear a bad word, it's because you've been taught that the word is bad, even though it's just an arbitrary string of letters and syllables that could have all sorts of other connotations. One of Anna's sisters' toddlers made up an imaginary friend whose name was a swear word -- he had never heard the word said in life, he just put together a word from his imagination and it happened to be naughty.

The best thing to do would be to just let profanity run its course until the naughty words are no longer naughty. All words evolve, and the words that see frequent use are the ones with the most ephemeral connotations. Consider the word 'gay' which started out as 'merry' and became a slur against homosexuality, before becoming a legitimate term to describe homosexuality to the point where dictionaries regularly have this definition as the first one in the entry. Everywhere you go nowadays, you hear people say "[My teacher/my job/playing trmpet/this situation] is so gay", and offended bystanders get up in arms about how denigrating it is to associate homosexuality with negative connotations. I bet that in a vast majority of those cases, the word "gay" has simply morphed into a general-purpose word of negativity and has nothing at all to do with homosexuality, or that person's views on gay people.

Another good example is the word 'rape' which has become universally forged into a word that video gamers use to describe how well they did against other opponents or enemies in a game. "I just raped you in that game of Starcraft!" These kids are not trying to trivialize real rape -- the word just has a branched evolution and they're using a tamer game-oriented version of it. To make a big deal out of it would be as useless as bringing up slavery when another gamer says "You just got owned at NFL Blitz 2001!"

The solution here is obvious. We need to bring back Roseanne, the first show that dared to utter the word, "bitch", on primetime television and write an episode called "The One Where Roseanne Has Tourettes Syndrome". Once Roseanne says every possible naughty and off-colour word out there, all barriers will fall and twenty years later those words will be part of our daily vocabulary. After we've reached the point where there's absolutely no shock value left on television, the world will enter a new Golden Age of Enlightenment and all will be good.

Life is too short to get offended over anything you cannot control.

Does the world really need an Ocean's 13?
Proceeds of your heart disease contribution will go towards a dominatrix
Buy a useless bus today

tagged as newsday | permalink | 9 comments

Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Fragments

it's that time of the month again (the end of it)

♣ Work has continued on the home improvement front this week as I tore up two layers of linoleum flooring dating back to 1978 in the kitchen. This is a dangerous job for the anemic, since the sharp edges have given my hands more nooks and crannies than a fork-split English muffin. With the help of URI! Zone readers, like Diana, who can see more than two and a half colours, I also picked out some gold-yellow curtains for the living room, which really accentuate the Asian geopolitical undertones of my house.

♣ Once the kitchen floor is redone, I'll need to find a new place to stash Anna's piano, which is about to celebrate its third year anniversary in my house from a lack of people willing to move it. Pretty soon its 401k will be 100% vested. I also need to paint the trim in the kitchen, though the Nougat-branding of the walls is complete all over the upstairs now.

♣ At work this past week, they painted the stairwells with a thick, shiny coat of industrial grey paint. The air is such a swirling miasma from the lack of ventilation that my twice-daily trip up and down the five flights from the office is now a cost-effective way to attain a temporary state of euphoria.

♣ Speaking of swirling miasmas, I've been playing the new Sam and Max games, the episodic sequels to the funniest computer game ever made (Sam and Max Hit the Road, 1993) and enjoying them enough to laugh out loud on occasion. The game (and original comic) features a dog and bunny detective team fighting crime and spouting non sequitors. Telltale games is releasing a new "episode" every few months for $9 (or you can get all six for $35) and they're definitely worth the price if you like absurdist humour.

    Sam: I'm Sam. He's Max. We're in a race against time.
    Max: And we're barefoot.

    Max: Sam, either termites are burrowing through my skull, or one of us is ticking.
    Sam: Oops, oh yeah. [pulls out the time bomb] Max, where should I put this so it doesn't hurt anyone we know or care about?
    Max: Out the window, Sam. There's nothing but strangers out there.
    Sam: [tosses the bomb out the window and ducks when it explodes] I hope there was nobody on that bus.
    Max: Nobody we know at least.

♣ Speaking of ticking, I can't stop watching Harry Potter and the Mysterious Ticking Sound on YouTube. It's a nonsensical clip in the vein of the classic Bulbous Bouffant skit which I've referenced many times in the past (3MB MP3), and it's made twice as amusing through its use of puppets. The puppets are key, especially Naked Time Dumbledore.

♣ My weekend will be slightly, but not very, active. On a Lucky Charms busy scale from star to clover (where star is the laziest and clover is the busiest), I'd say it's a moon. On Saturday night, I have plans to go to the Old Dominion Brewery with Rebecca and some of her friends -- a place I've never actually been to, despite living within three miles of it for the past three years. I did pick up Chris and Kathy from a Beer Festival there once when Kathy was HAMMERED. On a hammer scale from ball-peen to claw, she was probably a sledge.

♣ On Sunday morning at 10 AM sharp, my dad and I are installing the laminate flooring in the kitchen / dining room. Sunday is also Cheryl Sherling's birthday, and April Fools Day. I haven't done much for April Fools Day in recent history though -- four years ago, I changed every single word on my page to "bork" and automatically loaded a repeating MP3 of the Swedish chef and then gave my sightsinging students a ridiculously difficult dictation example to scare them all into wetting themselves.

♣ Have a great weekend!

Students abstain from Facebook for Lent
You don't want to bite the ears off of this one
Ten best April Fools jokes

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekend Wrap-up

The weekend opened with a round of emergency babysitting for Ella, who spent four hours making prank long-distance collect calls to Guam and smashing houses made out of foam blocks like a petite Godzilla. In our time together, I taught her that 3 + 3 = chicken, couches are for back flips, and girls are bad at math and science.

On Saturday morning, my dad dropped in for the final round of tile-laying. I had originally planned to tile the basement bathroom back in 2007 when we did the other two, but just never quite got around to it, much like the marathon I had planned to run in and the testicular cancer I was going to cure. We were only short by one tile at the end, which meant that estimation skills have improved over a two year period (since we had an entire box of tiles left after the upstairs bathrooms).

We finished in the bathroom around midday, after which I steam cleaned the upstairs carpets to make it less hobo-y and more homey. For dinner, we met up with Marc, Annie, and Erica in Herndon. The restaurant we were aiming for, Sweet Basil Cafe, turned out to be closed, so we ended up at a Thai restaurant underneath the ridiculously fake Clock Tower instead. Afterwards, we watched a repeat of Saturday Night Live, which was mostly lame with a chance of inspiration.

Sunday was Tax Day, where I signed up for several thousand dollars in refunds and tried to convince the IRS that Hurricane Katrina had a second part and that it hit Sterling in 2008 so I could claim the disaster relief credit. The weather was so pleasant that we then decided to go on a bike ride up the W&OD trail towards Ashburn, but by the time we'd finally gotten off our asses, a thunderstorm was brewing. We only made it about four miles out before we had to turn around to avoid lightning strikes. After warming up, we started working on our Wedding Registry, which will not be lame and full of crap that no one ever uses.

For dinner, we had shells and cheese, and all was good in the world.

'DNA bungle' haunts German police
Man uses urine-soaked coins to pay fines
A bobcat walked into a bar

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Museday Tuesday

As part of this feature, which I started in 2007, I compose a very brief work (under 30 seconds) inspired by a randomly generated title from an online word generator. The composition can be for any instrumentation, and could even be a purely synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.

I work on the excerpt continuously for an hour and then post whatever I've managed to complete, even if it's a poorly constructed slum of a song supported by a foundation of droning double stops and abused tubas.

Sylvan: (adj.) consisting of or abounding in woods or trees; wooded; woody

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

As tempting as it was to write a song about a woody, I stuck with the adjective-approach and crafted this little orchestral fanfare. The original idea started with nothing but clarinets, but I had to swap out the bass line after the MIDI bass clarinet refused to perform at the same tempo as the rest of the ensemble. I did not expect a synthesizer to so closely emulate the real world.

Historic sex toys sold for 3,600 pounds at Essex auction
Man tries to revive dead opossum
Man Tells Police He Ripped Through Meat To Save Chubby Girls

tagged as museday | permalink | 4 comments

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken in 1988 at a fair full of balloon penises.

Actually, given my penchant for Ultima at the time, I had probably requested a sword, but I don't know why my sister would have wanted a dagger. I'm wearing my ugly James K. Polk Elementary School sweatshirt, with mascot art that looks like a cross between a Siamese cat and an alien (definitely not a wise old owl). My sister is on the cutting edge of late 80s fashion, with a sweatshirt that could double as a fat person's smock, and Keds with the laces taken out.

Whistle-blowing witch grounded by TSA
Broken heart burns like hot coffee
Tanzanian 'miracle' pastor Mwasapile calls for a break

tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, March 30, 2012

End-of-the-Month Media Day

A new photo album has been added with 2012 pictures. Enjoy!

tagged as media | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up

I spent much of Friday and Saturday doing cloudy things, including the creation of this colourful diagram, the migration of all of my open-source projects out of Google Code, and research into server hardening techniques (servers could take a lesson from Safeway bagels, which start to harden as soon as you scan them in the checkout line). On Friday night, we grilled swiss-n-mushroom burgers and started the first chapter of the Tales from the Borderlands episodic game series. On Saturday, Rebecca was in and out throughout the day, taking her friends to yoga class and seeing an environmental movie about oyster farming in DC.

On Sunday, we went on a 5.5 hour, 14 mile hike along the Appalachian Trail between Weverton Cliffs and Gathland State Park. Although the weather report promised temperatures in the 50s, it actually struggled to get above freezing all morning long, until about 1 PM when everything around is suddenly thawed into a muddy vichyssoise of slippery traction.

After the hike, we stopped by Crooked Run Brewery and Fire Works Pizza for an early dinner, did laundry, and then fell asleep on the couch during the Jon Favreau movie, Chef.

How was your weekend?

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Time-lapsed Blogography Day: Twenty Years Ago

Twenty years ago today, on March 30, 1996, I woke up at 5 AM and drove down to the TC Williams boathouse in Alexandria for a "friendly, not friendly" race against Robinson HS. The lightweight boys boat raced first as I coxed them through heavy fog to row 1500m in 5:00.5, with the Robinson lightweight boys straggling in 19.26 seconds later. Even though only two schools were involved, Robinson didn't win a single race that day, and probably went home to sell their rowing gear on that new Internet site, eBAY.

After briefly celebrating the shut-out, we went back out on the water for another unnecessary hour of practice, because that's how overzealous TC was about Crew back then. I finally got home around lunchtime and spent the afternoon writing up study guides for my prospective marching band drum majors to learn from.

In the evening, I went with Jack, Dutton, and Mike Schoen to the Kurt Russell movie, Executive Decision, which I reviewed succinctly with one sentence: "It was pretty suspenseful."

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, March 30, 2018

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2018 album. Google Photos sucks.

  • Events
    • Survived a crazy wind storm on F 3/2.

    • Rebecca took an exam in Aquatic Therapy and then Marc came over to join Rebecca at yoga on S 3/3.

    • Dropped Amber off for her stay at the Smiths on M 3/5.

    • Flew for 6 hours with a tiny human on T 3/6.

    • Went hiking along the Pacific Ocean at Corral Canyon then had dinner with the Edwardses at The Stand on W 3/7.

    • Ran wedding errands and went to a Maggiano's rehearsal dinner on H 3/8.

    • Went to Annie & Mike's wedding in Topanga on F 3/9.

    • Ate pizza with out-of-towners on S 3/10.

    • Took care of sick Rebecca in LA on S 3/11.

    • Successfully made it home to VA on M 3/12.

    • Picked up Amber from the Smiths where she didn't not have an okay time on T 3/13.

    • Visited my parents on W 3/14.

    • Had a Babys R Us date and then had St. Patricks Day corned beef with my parents on S 3/17.

    • Took a solo dad date at Millers on S 3/18.

    • It snowed about 4 inches on W 3/21 then melted as soon as I had shoveled.

    • Alice came to visit from SC on F 3/23 and we had a game night with Evil Mike and Taje.

    • Alice and Rebecca went to a wine and paint class in Herndon on S 3/24.

    • Alice and Rebecca went to a Farmer's Market at the Mosaic on S 3/25 and got hen-of-the-woods mushrooms.

    • Alice departed on M 3/26.

    • Visited my parents on W 3/28.

    • Going to the Smiths for a Game Night on S 3/31.

  • Projects
    • Started a course of self-study in linear algebra on M 3/19.

    • Renewed the SSL certificates for the URI! Zone on M 3/24.

    • Started gathering the various supplies needed to protect a crawling baby.

  • Consumerism
    • Got to level 1087 in Overwatch. Haven't played the Switch (except for Snipperclips with Rebecca) all month.

    • Enjoyed watching Big Little Lies, Season One. No notable new music this month.

March's Final Grade: B, good to see old friends but March was long as hell

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

Monday, March 30, 2020

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2020 album.

  • Events
    • Earned my first Microsoft Azure cert on S 3/1. Had London Broil for dinner with Tammy in the evening.

    • Voted in the primary on T 3/3.

    • Dad-daughter dinner at Marumen on W 3/4, followed by free S'mores at Cascades Overlook.

    • Had the Uri grandparents over for steak dinner on F 3/6.

    • Visited Larry and Janice and kids in Rockville on S 3/7.

    • Family dinner at Burton's on S 3/8.

    • First dinner on our screen porch on M 3/9.

    • Started self-quarantine on H 3/12. Numerous delivery / take-out meals and family dinners on the screen porch through the end of the month.

    • Relocated our self-isolation zone to Sperryville for two nights, F 3/20 - S 3/22. Had delicious microbrews and take-out dinners. Hiked the Furnace Springs Trail with Maia.

    • Had a virtual game night with Anna, Ben, Larry, and Janice on F 3/27.

    • Had a virtual game night with Sara, Karl, and Michelle on S 3/28.

  • Projects
    • Screen porch completed on T 3/3.

    • Pushed out another minor release of Sparkour on S 3/7.

    • Did our taxes on S 3/8.

    • Finished the Paravia Wiki after 13 years on T 3/24.

  • Consumerism
    • Playing Elder Scrolls Online.

    • No amazing shows this month.

    • No great new music, although I'm enjoying revisiting the bands I liked a decade ago to see what I've missed.

March's Final Grade: B-, Self-quarantine is weird, but I got a lot done this month and have spent lots of valuable time together with Maia.

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2022 album.

  • Events
    • Rebecca taught more yoga anatomy, this time at Easy Day on S 3/5. Went to the grand reopening of the Sterling Community Center on S 3/5 - 3/6.

    • Maia went to the Uri grandparents for the weekend, F 3/11 - S 3/13.

    • Got our last round of snow on S 3/12.

    • Went to the HOA meeting on W 3/16 and became an official board member.

    • Went to Fiona's 5th birthday party (with pony) in Falls Church on S 3/19.

    • Went to Leyla and Dominic's 5th birthday party at HyperKidz on S 3/20.

    • Went to Zelda and Angelica's birthday at Algonkian Park on S 3/26.

    • Maia got croup over the weekend and Ian caught it. Took him to the doctor on T 3/29.

    • Planning to do our taxes on S 3/30.

  • Projects
    • No new projects this month.

  • Consumerism
    • No amazing new shows, movies, or music this month.

    • Still playing Fallout 76 at Level 86.

March's Final Grade: B-, the days when we're not sick or cold are slowly diminishing, but they're still more numerous than the days when we're warm or well.

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

 

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