This Day In History: 04/03

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Steve Reich: WORKS 1965 - 1995, Part III of V

The fourth and fifth discs of the Reich set contain Music for Eighteen Musicians, Eight Lines, and Tehillim. These works didn't really inspire positive or negative reactions in me. There was nothing innovative or wowing, but at the same time, I didn't dislike them at all. The only minor note I made was that the ensemble's makeup on Music for Eighteen Musicians grew wearisome towards the last quarter of the work (which is seventy minutes long).

Disc six was The Desert Music (1984) for amplified chorus and orchestra. The work is a text setting of poetry by William Carlos Williams, and it's definitely not vanilla Minimalist music. I found it to be a very attractive piece -- the harmonies are a little more unsettling than in earlier works, and the forces are mixed and contrasted well. I especially like the interplay between the voice as an instrument and the voice as an English line throughout. Of all the works on the first six discs, I think this would be my favourite, and I've listened to it in its entirety (fifty minutes) several times since.

To be continued...

I finished off the five-movie "Jersey trilogy" this past weekend by watching Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It has some great moments, but falters a bit because of its constant self-referential humour. It was definitely more rewarding to watch after having seen the first four movies (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma).

Yesterday afternoon, I saw a sorority girl raking leaves by the shrubbery in front of her House. She was using the rake like a shovel, and pushing it rather than pulling it across the ground.

I don't think that anecdote needs a punchline.

tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, April 03, 2003

I'm still working on the MFIT project on the side -- last night I successfully opened up an entire class of mock students and stored their progress. All that's left of the Instructor's Tool is to write the various "views" so an instructor can see the data by activity or by student, and other fun paradigms.

I'm anxious to get this project done and get started on updates for the URI! Domain. I still plan on moving onto a better (but no longer free) webspace by the end of the year, and I've got lots of fun things planned for the update. Among the innovations I'm planning: news comments, a message board, and easier navigation. In the eighth edition of the site, you will be able to add blog-style comments directly to this news page so people will be able to read your thoughts and get immediate feedback on all the stupid stuff I post. There will also be a full scale message board so people can keep in touch and talk about random stuff. Beyond this, pages like the Photos page will be much easier to use, with "Next" and "Previous" buttons to move between pictures, rather than requiring you to click on every single picture individually.

I'd also like to update several of the sections, including Reviews and Music. There'll be a lot of fun improvements, and you're welcome to suggest your own too! As a side note, I will probably go back to updating on a weekly basis this summer so I can actually make all these changes. Unlike last summer though, I'll actually update since I'll have internet access all the time.

New Booty pictures are up. Go get your booty-on.

tagged as website | permalink | 0 comments

Saturday, April 03, 2004

At Applebee's tonight, there was an old lady who complained that the light over her table was too bright. She forced one of the busboys to unscrew one of the bulbs and replace it with a lower wattage.

I've put up some pictures from Poker Night in the Uri! Photos and some backlogged cat pictures in the Cat Photos sections.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    kristi kirby, vintage chamber pot cornell, choice of cola cans with figures and tables, nate shafroth, jaood

Girl charged with posting nude photos on Internet
It's the most bizarre incident that ever struck our lives
Smart Harvard prof scams money from pals to pay Nigerian prince
DC Camera nabs 788 speeders in 2 days

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Tag Day: Six Weird or Unusual Habits

I was tagged by Anna on Friday. It's becoming increasingly hard to come up with things that aren't already on my 222 Things About Me page but I'll give it my best shot. And by "give it my best shot" I mean I'll kick that ball so far over the fence that the little kids will be crying for hours. Here goes...

  1. If I pet a dog, I will obsessively wash my hands afterwards so they don't smell like dog. Then I'll probably pet the dog again two seconds later, and have to repeat the whole procedure like a Pavlovian test subject who also has the misfortune of being OCD. This doesn't apply to any other animals -- I once licked Booty's nose as the result of losing a bet.

  2. I am an avid bathroom reader. I have gone into the bathroom just to read on more than one occasion. I guess I could have just taken the book out of the bathroom, but I'm sure I'll be vindicated when the nuclear holocaust arrives and I am saved by the structural integrity of my loo.

  3. I never get mentally nervous about public appearances or speeches (I'm actually more comfortable talking to a large group of people rather than a one-on-one conversation), but in the moments leading up to them I will still get symptoms of physical nervousness like shaky hands and fluttering heartbeats.

  4. Whenever I buy a TV show on DVD, the first thing I make a beeline for is the Bloopers. I am a blooper connoisseur -- the only true blooper is one where things go horribly awry. You can't just take five minutes of actors unable to recite their lines because of laughter and call it a blooper. I used to watch the deleted scenes, until I realized there's usually a very good reason those were deleted.

  5. I am almost as cynical about everything as Mike Catania, but it doesn't show as well. I read most of the print edition of the Washington Post every single day. No matter how heart-warming the story is, my brain will reflexively think about the most cynical angle of the story first. When I read about the high school walkouts supporting immigration last week, my first thought was, "They all just wanted to get out of school just like the Million Man March in 1996". Except for Animal Watch -- animals are never cynical.

  6. I will consent to watch any and every movie, even the really, really bad ones, unless the movie is more than about 140 minutes of running time. Anything below that I can justify as a couple hours of entertainment, but any more than that makes me think of how much time I'm wasting by watching a movie. Because of the highly skewed ratio of female to male acquaintances, I've probably seen more chick flicks than any guy I know.

Now, in an effort to promote cross-blog pollination, the six people I'm tagging are Kim , Mike , Rob , John , Kathy, and Rachel. The last two don't have blogs, so they can answer in the comments section. If I'd picked more people from my list of bloggers, then the other four might get P.O.'d for stealing the people that they could tag.

Happy Birthday, Tim Galyen!

Making money off of Daylight Savings Time
Daddy, the only thing I found out today is I don't want to be Jewish
Masturbation as 'intent to litter'

tagged as tags | permalink | 12 comments

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Newsday Tuesday

McLean Students Sue Anti-Cheating Service

Two McLean High School students have launched a court challenge against a California company hired by their school to catch cheaters, claiming the anti-plagiarism service violates copyright laws. The lawsuit . . . seeks $900,000 in damages from the for-profit service known as Turnitin. The service seeks to root out cheaters by comparing student term papers and essays against a database of more than 22 million student papers as well as online sources and electronic archives of journals. In the process, the student papers are added to the database.

I haven't seen something this cut-and-dried since my dishwasher turned emo during the heat cycle -- obviously the company is archiving, using, and display other peoples' work for commercial purposes, without even providing any mechanism for opting out. The fact that the students put copyright notices and "Do Not Archive" notes on their essays is classic, and I'm hoping that they get the $900,000 instead of a cheap settlement and an apology.

Being a stereotypical middle-of-the-roader with occasional conservative tendencies who comes across as a flaming liberal online, I'm of the opinion that Turnitin and other companies of their ilk are completely worthless for three major reasons:

  1. Everything has already been said in every possible permutation: (I knew that Applied Combinatorics class would come in handy). Good students are taught to paraphrase encyclopedic information in their papers, but there are only so many ways you can paraphrase a statement before you start to repeat the work of another paraphrasing student. As more and more papers are added to the system, the amount of similarities to at least one of the papers will continue to increase until students are forced to use an eclectic mix of Pidgin and vulgar finger gestures to convey their points in a non-plagiaristic way.

  2. In today's society, everyone plagiarizes everything: I'm guessing that plagiarism hasn't necessarily blossomed with the advent of the Internet -- instead we're just more aware of it occurring since it's so easy to catch now. Of the millions of daily visitors to the URI! Zone, almost 50% of them arrive via Google while searching for essays and analyses of the poems, "One Art" and "Storm Warnings" (another 30% searched for "naked dancing BU"). Apparently my lackluster high school essays are now the #1 hit for Google searches, and I have no doubt that they've been resubmitted many a time in the past eight years. I don't particularly see a problem with using the work of people before you, especially if you have some confidence in their reputation. Plagiarizing is a time-saving measure too. By plagiarizing, I was able to free up some time this weekend, and Jamie and I headed over to Christine and Erick's for some ping pong and nerf arrow shooting. Although the fire pit was not full of burning furniture we did have a good time out in the country.

  3. Plagiarization is orthagonal to learning: The fact that someone plagiarized doesn't mean that they didn't learn a thing while doing it. People argue that today's plagiarizing kids are losing the power of critical thinking, but how much critical thinking is really used when you're rewriting multiple sources in your own words? Sure, some people will cut and paste without reading or learning, but they probably wouldn't have learned anything regardless. The students who actually read and understood the material will still understand it if they copy the text wholesale. For a true test of the students' knowledge or critical thinking skills, just have handwritten essays in the classroom. Unless one student has Keats tattooed on the back of his neck, there will be very little room for cheating in this setting.

Note that today's post did not get into the tangent of proper citations and footnotes, which is a whole 'nother ballpark. We might as well do away with those too -- no one ever checks them unless they're writing a Music Theory paper. Real academics steal their work!

Happy Birthday Tim Galyen!

Take me home to West Virgina
Five-year-old makes mud angels
15 Worst Video Game Covers

tagged as newsday | permalink | 3 comments

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It's Day Three, and the final day in London! We've seen every museum, church, pub, and tube station around and will be leaving in the morning for Paris.

We have plenty of stories to tell, like the meeting with the sweatpants-wearing lipstick-wearing Brit who was obsessed with the Lacquer Box at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and our world-premiere interview with people in Hyde Park.

Hope everyone is having fun at work!

tagged as travel | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday Fragments

like a fragmentation grenade filled with FUN

♠ The weather has been damp and rainy all week, to the point where my lawn is so oversaturated that I sink two inches into the turf when I go out to get the newspaper in the morning.

♠ Speaking of oversaturation, if I have to hear Metro Station's "Shake It" on the radio one more time I'm going the shake the moles right off the lead singer's face. Any time your song repeats the same word five times in a row, you need to learn more words.

♠ Worse than "Shake It", though, is Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" which not only has a mind-numbingly repetitive chorus, but also uses Autotune. I honestly believe that this song is just an inside joke of the sound technician who makes "poker face" sound like an obscenity in the robotic middle section.

♠ If I had a robotic middle section, I would trick people into chest-bumping and send them flying across the room. I would also incorporate a 100% efficiency waste recycling organ that would permanently eliminate the need to take pit stops ever again. They would have to rename the book, "Everybody Poops, Except BU".

♠ I really don't understand why the Everybody Poops book is so popular. It has no overarching storyline, is full of exposition without conflict or resolution, and the characters are usually full of it. In these regards, it's kind of like the third season of LOST.

♠ LOST isn't great right now, but it isn't bad either. I haven't been surprised at all in the past few episodes, and I feel like they're taking too much time explaining the time travelling aspects of the story to the viewers, but I'm still going along for the ride. The smart bets are currently on the last season of LOST devolving into metaphysical chaos like the end of the Blazing Saddles, and the LOSTies will jump through time and end up in the ALIAS universe fighting Melissa George's eyebrows (except for Sawyer, who accidentally skews off and ends up on Gilmore Girls).

♠ There are no big plans this weekend, although there are only 183 days until our wedding. That's enough time to redo fifth grade and still have a few days saved for snow.

♠ Have a good weekend!

Man brings home the bacon
Man coughs up nose-nail
Man cries after failed robbery

tagged as fragments | permalink | 2 comments

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Random Picture Day

This is what my office looks like when I'm hard at work.


When growing nephews, there's a very short window of ripeness, during which they must be firmly plucked from the earth.

tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Tomato Day

We now qualify for farm subsidies.

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

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Veronica Mars (PG-13):
Since this movie was birthed on Kickstarter by fans of the old TV show, it's clear from the opening moments that it's for fans only -- new viewers will not find enough to appreciate in the series of neverending cameos, callbacks, and continuity. The movie plays out like an extended TV episode, brimming with familiar actors and staying open-ended enough for future expansion. It had been a few years since I watched the show, but I was mostly able to recall all of the characters that kept showing up -- the ones that I didn't recognize didn't impact my enjoyment. The "case" being solved during the movie is good enough, but you'll probably want to watch it just to spend more time with your favorite characters.

Final Grade: B+

Newsroom, Season One:
This is a show about a news program that decides to stop pandering to the audience and only report the facts. The show relies upon a sea of flawed, human characters and witty banter as it walks through notable news events of the past few years. At times, it's almost as emotionally manipulative as the media it skewers, and it's not quite clear whether this is an intentional, ironic choice or not. Overall, the season kept me amused for ten episodes, and I would watch more, but I wouldn't stand in line in the rain for it.

Final Grade: B

La Roux by La Roux:
This is a CD of electronic dance music featuring a female vocalist. I really liked Tigerlily and Bulletproof, but the rest of the songs are forgettable. I felt like most of the songs featured too many timbres in her higher octave, which was annoyingly thin and reedy, like an unsure oboist in concert band.

Final Grade: C+

Yes! by K-OS:
A catchy hip-hop album by the Crabbuckit guy. Some songs are more successful than others, and his experimental stuff falls kind of flat.

Final Grade: B-

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, April 03, 2015

Cloud Update

Update: As of 3:15 PM, the URI! Zone is now IN THE CLOUD! Let me know if you run into any issues.

I'm actually very close to finishing up this cloud migration, as shown in my plan below (after step 7, the URI! Zone will officially be floating through the stratosphere with little fluffy wings akin to a Windows 3.1 flying toaster screensaver).

I reduced some of the server costs by opting to not roll my own JIRA installation, and used the savings to invest in a site-wide SSL certificate. This will give you a +1 to trusting me, and also pave the way for The URI! Store, where I'll sell llamas and llama paraphernalia over HTTPS.

I'm hoping to finish up tonight to bring the site good luck, because there are thunderstorms in the local forecast, and the cloud is more tangible when it's raining. The actual switch-flipping point from old to new should be seamless, but seamless things never truly are, so apologies in advance if there's a bit of downtime!

tagged as website | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, April 03, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

On Saturday morning, we descended upon the Just Between Friends consignment sale, featuring two hockey rinks full of used baby gear. We managed to spend less than a typical trip to Costco, yet still walked away with tons of items at greatly reduced prices. Afterwards, we went hiking with Sara on the Bull Run trail.

Although the bluebells were just starting to come out in force, the trail west from 28 was a treacherous bog filled with wet sock hazards because of Friday's monsoon. Still we made it over a mile in before arriving at a point where the entire path was washed out by a new tributary, Oregan Trail style. Instead of fording, we went back to 28 and hiked a bit in the opposite direction, racking up about 4.5 miles total.

Sunday was a day to get stuff done around the house. In the afternoon, Rebecca and I played a new VR game, Keep Talking and No One Explodes, in which one person has to disarm a bomb while the other person (people) talk the disarmer through it, Mission Impossible style, via a complicated bomb disarming manual -- neither party can see what the other sees, resulting in miscommunication hijinks. Afterwards, we had a meal of comfort food at Cheng's, followed by ice cream at Coldstone, and then retired early to prepare for the week.

How was your weekend?

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

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 11 years ago today, on April 3, 2008.

It was our last day in London and my right knee had just become painful to walk on after two full days of tourism. I strolled through the city lock-knee'd for the remainder of the trip and seriously considered purchasing an old man's cane at one point.

We started the day in search of the Theatre Museum, which we found had moved somewhere on the other side of the city. We abandoned our plans to visit and ended up in this outdoor market instead. This stroll was followed by a trip to the Transport Museum, and additional walking across almost every bridge over the Thames -- it felt like we were trying to solve some "longest path" math word problem.

In the evening, we had a quintessential dinner at Marquis of Wellington, where we ate giant pub burgers, drank London Pride beer, and listened to Morrissey bitch about his life on the radio.

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, April 03, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

iZombie, Season Five:
The final season suffers from too many factions muddling the plot momentum. It also has the same problem as season four -- when your main character takes on a different personality every episode, any serious character development feels arbitrary and unearned. Watch this season for the many funny scenes with characters you've grown to like, and ignore the plot nonsense. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Discover by Lenka:
This is the sister EP of Recover, an unnecessary album full of covers. I've listened to Discover several times now and nothing has stood out -- it's very muted background music rather than something quirky or catchy.

Final Grade: C+

Brittany Runs a Marathon:
The plot of an overweight woman who gets into running seems like it's been done so much that there's no new ground to cover. While it doesn't go in an amazing new direction, it does earn its ending and qualifies as a decent quarantine feel-good movie. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B

Jay and Silent Bob: Reboot (R):
An awful, cringeworthy movie. It reminded me of Ken Jeong's comedy special where he spent an hour reminding everyone that he was in The Hangover. The fact that Reboot's plot is identical to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is intended to be ironic and tongue-in-cheek but just comes across as unnecessary. While there are a few laughs, you really need to be a huge Kevin Smith movie trivia fan to get all of the cameos and inside jokes. I liked his movies 20 years ago but this movie squanders any of that nostalgic goodwill almost immediately. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: D

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