This Day In History: 04/06

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Death of a game addict

Shawn Woolley loved an online computer game so much that he played it just minutes before his suicide. The 21-year-old Hudson man was addicted to EverQuest, says his mother, Elizabeth Woolley of Osceola. He sacrificed everything so he could play for hours, ignoring his family, quitting his job and losing himself in a 3-D virtual world where more than 400,000 people worldwide adventure in a never-ending fantasy.

On Thanksgiving morning last year, Shawn Woolley shot himself to death at his apartment in Hudson. His mother blames the game for her son's suicide. She is angry that Sony Online Entertainment, which owns EverQuest, won't give her the answers she desires. She has hired an attorney who plans to sue the company in an effort to get warning labels put on the games.

This is exactly the type of attitude that enforces peoples' misconceptions of gaming. Doom doesn't make kids open fire on their classmates, and online roleplaying games cannot take all the blame for a person's death. People unfamiliar with gaming find it easy to make games into the scapegoat for all problems. The truth of the matter is, mentally healthy people understand the difference between reality and fantasy. A person who lets a fantasy game govern their real life probably should have gotten help long ago.

That's not to say that deaths are incidental or trivial; just that blaming the games is a fallacy which is constantly reinforced by sensational media and stupid Congressmen. The proof is in the numbers: for every social unadjusted fellow who makes it onto the news, there are thousands of other people throughout the country who have been playing video games for over twenty years with no misanthropic tendencies. Gaming is a lot more mainstream than many people believe as well, with sales of the popular computer game, The Sims reaching over 6.3 million copies worldwide in two years. That's enough to give one copy to every person in the state of Massachusetts.

It will be interesting to see if people can be convinced that online roleplaying games are addictive in the same manner as drugs and cigarettes, and how many types of games would get warnings. Would they all be issued by the Surgeon General?

tagged as newsday, games | permalink | 0 comments

Sunday, April 06, 2003

I finished another milestone on the MFIT project: Student records can be pulled up by class and sorted according to name, SSN, or class section. This afternoon and evening, I'm going to write the part that allows the viewing of a student file in depth, and tomorrow I'll do the part that lets you sort results by activity. You can see what the application currently looks like below.

I learned how to play Spades again yesterday too. It's one of those games that I pick up every few years and then never play again, resulting in a total loss of rules knowledge.

Circus News: "If she can handle lions and tigers she shouldn't have trouble with a 20-year-old man"
"Girls Gone Wild" Busted in Panama City
Anti-social mobile phone users could be punished with an electric shock if prototypes from a design company go into production.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I almost forgot to update today. I was back out at Bailey's Crossroad this morning, and then took the afternoon off to sort through a million books to stick on the fifty shelves throughout the house. I had to divide them into such categories as genre, author, size, topic, and books to put in the front room to increase the respect that visitors have for you.

The moon in Herndon on the way to work is much bigger than it ever was in Centreville. I think it has something to do with property taxes.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    party at the urizone!, tonsatz tone, ten most common pizza toppings, broodwar ghosts carriers

Bach's missing score found in Japan
Robot conducts Beethoven 5
The Hambone Test

permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I added a very simple polling system to the URI! Zone today -- you can see it on the right sidebar underneath the calendar. This will allow you readers to express your opinions on a wide variety of topics such as cheese consumption and whether or not Michael Jackson used the lead pipe in the Conservatory. Abuse of the poll will result in a poll tax.

At some point, I'd like to update the Comments script to show how many comments have been posted on any news update. Are there any other modifications you'd like to see? Let me know through the comments button in the lower right!

I will not reduce the number of exclamation points!

The drama came as the plane [...] prepared to take off [...] for the second time after an earlier fuel scare halted the planned take-off.
Harvard to Librarians: Look the Part!
Star Wars fanatics camp outside of the wrong theatre

permalink | 2 comments

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Musical Musings

  • I'm liking The Cardigans, especially the syrupy nature of the lead singer's vocals, as heard on Erase/Rewind (469KB MP3). I also like the vocal acrobatics and the sheer musical audacity of The Darkness, as heard on One Way Ticket to Hell (511KB MP3). They do camp in a good way.

  • Three worst songs I've heard on the radio this week:
    • Gwen Stefani - Crash (346KB MP3)
      She's obviously forgotten what a melody is and her beat sounds like the kid in marching band who didn't have enough rhythm to play the snare drum so they got the triangle. If the movie, Crash, had used this for a theme song, you never would have seen them in the running for the music Oscar.
    • Cheeky Girls - Cheeky Song (511KB MP3)
      This song is about four years old now but it's still embarassingly bad. These girls didn't make the cut on the British American Idol... I wonder why.
    • TATU - All About Us (447KB MP3)
      From the patented TATU department of "rush through the verse in broken English so you can get to the horrible chorus that really wasn't worth rushing towards in the first place".
  • Hearing foreign singers attempt to phonetically sing English really irritates me. I suppose it's as bad as when all our American sopranos try singing other European languages. I would rather hear some Italian chick singing well in Italian and not understand a word she's saying than hear her mangle English.

  • I was originally going to use Katie Melua's Nine Million Bicycles (513KB MP3) as an example of why pop singers shouldn't cover show tunes. Then I learned that the song is actually an original -- I can't decide if that's better or worse. Normally this is the kind of voice that I really enjoy listening too, but something about her delivery is just way too sterile to enjoy. Another annoying thing about the song -- every verse, she removes more and more syllables from the word "bicycles" until it's virtually monosyllabic.

  • Funny song of the moment: Moonlight Special by Ray Stevens: (629KB MP3)

  • The funniest CD I own is not a CD full of funny songs. Instead, it's Mancini Rocks the Pops, a collection of 80s pop songs arranged for orchestra by Henry Mancini who also conducts. Were I the parent of some budding musician who paid a billion dollars to see my kid through Oberlin, only to have them land a gig playing the piccolo part to With or Without You I think I might be a wee bit disappointed. See if you can recognize any of these classics:
    • (292KB MP3)
    • (187KB MP3)
    • (141KB MP3)
  • On a note closer to home, here's a recording of my first public solo performance as a trumpeter, playing Mira by Vander Cook in seventh grade (93KB MP3). It wasn't until three years later that I realized that every single one of Cook's songs sounded exactly the same (see also, Jim Swearingen).

  • Everyone seems to be head-over-heels for James Blunt these days. I like exactly two of his songs. The rest sound like he forgot all the words and is just making stuff up on the fly in a ridiculously stilted meter. I would like to hear Goodbye My Lover on double speed as if sung by the Chipmunks -- it might be an improvement.

  • Also new on my playlist this month:
    • Shaggy - Angel
    • Barenaked Ladies - One Week
    • Cardigans - Don't Blame Your Daughter
    • Jet - Look What You've Done
    • The Darkness - I Believe in a Thing Called Love
    • McFly - Ballad of Paul K
  • I've never liked a single song by Oasis simply because the lead vocalist was too annoying to listen to. For some reason though, I like Champagne Supernova enough to listen to it all the way through (515KB MP3).

  • KT Tunstall's CD still hasn't left my car. Go buy it.

  • Discuss.

  • Three Act Season Three of LOST
    He didn't like Led Zeppelin or The Clash but I don't think there was any need to tell the police
    A donkey is like a housewife

    tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 14 comments

    Friday, April 06, 2007

    Friday Fragments

    ♣ Congratulations to Anna and Ben who had their first daughter, Eleanor Grace Ahlbin, this morning at 4:41 AM! She weighed seven pounds twelve ounces and was twenty inches long. I do not have any pictures of the nooblet yet, so here is a picture of a twenty-inch trout. If this trout weighed roughly the same as a kid's bowling ball, it would be a good candidate for Eleanor-replacement (in case Indiana Jones was trying to steal her off a pedestal in the hospital). Note, though, that they probably don't look anything alike.

    ♣ I could be pardoned for mistaking a baby for a fish though. I went to my optometrist on Wednesday afternoon to update my prescription (since there's a kooky Virginia law that says your prescription must be less than a year old to purchase new glasses) and discovered that the glasses I've worn for two years were not quite the prescription he gave me -- the axis was off by 50 even though the hump of the curve was correct.

    ♣ If you missed the link on Wednesday, here is Alanis Morrisette covering My Humps. The original is easily in the Top Fifty Worst Popular Songs of the twenty-first century, but the parody and accompanying music video definitely redeem Alanis just slightly, despite her never having looked up the word "ironic" in a dictionary. It's bananas! (B-A-N-A-N-A-S)

    ♣ On the subject of music videos, you can always count on Muse to accompany their great music with the most ridiculous videos that have nothing to do with anything. This video to Knights of Cydonia could be the craziest music video ever -- it's like Blazing Saddles meets Star Wars meets Firefly meets Kung Fu Hustle. On the other hand, I think the video from Invincible is especially clever (and even kind of cute) though the song's not quite as good.

    ♣ My weekend is looking to be pretty busy. Apart from baby visits and grocery shopping, I'll be contributing more to the Paravia Wiki, and trying to figure out why my website has been flaky for the past two days (you might not even get to see this update for months or even years if they don't get FTP working soon). I also have plans for various birthday dinners and cow tippings and Poker Nights.

    ♣ Tomorrow is Rachel McKenzie's birthday, the long-disappeared Aussie who used to get into long arguments with Americans about driving and hurricanes and other liberal conspiracies in my comments section. Sunday is Ben Ahlbin and Diana diBiase's birthday. Happy Birthday to all!

    ♣ Have a great weekend!

    21 Biggest Tech Flops
    Wheelie Bins get you high
    Woman makes poop angels

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 4 comments

    Monday, April 06, 2009

    Weekend Wrap-up

    The gay kitty brothers have come over for a week while Kathy and Chris head to Key West. In payment, we had a barbeque extravaganza from Famous Dave's which included ribs, chicken, brisket, pulled pork, corn, beans, fries, and Alex.

    My neighbour two doors down has never heard of metric wrenches, so he used brute force to take off an old license plate. That's seriously going to affect the resale value.

    It's a Booty bag. Booty does not like other cats.

    Booty is online, looking for kitty porn. Actually, she's looking for scraps from the leftover barbeque I had for lunch on Sunday.

    Rebecca's wedding girls come over to go bridesmaid dress shopping. These dresses are possibilities for flower girls. Afterwards, we had rosemary lamb for dinner.

    It's obviously springtime in Sterling, since the inaugural trip of the Ice Cream Man occurred on Sunday afternoon. I'm guessing that it doubles as a short bus on rainy or cold days.

    Happy Birthday to Ella!

    Barry the gross giant sea worm
    White supremacy party was an honest mistake
    Police break up pillow fight

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

    Tuesday, April 06, 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.

    Mussiest: (adj.) the most untidy, messy, or rumpled

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)

    This excerpt was written for whatever sort of patches I decided to throw into the hodge-podge. Today's Museday was a family affair, with Rebecca writing a story for the hour while I wrote music!

    Woman starts tripping over her vagina
    KFC's Bacon Sandwich On Fried Chicken "Bread" Starts Killing People Nationwide April 12
    Robber locks bank workers in vault, leaves package

    tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, April 06, 2011

    Arkansas Travelogue, Part II of II

    Friday night in Arkansas was an early night, with an informal Southern Barbeque on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the scenic lake at Dardanelle, and the not-quite-as-scenic nuclear power plant puffing steam clouds of serenity into the night sky. Rebecca got to catch up with all of her college friends (who are used to traveling long distances since they all went to school in Iowa). After a day of travel and dodging the large herds of deer on the mountaintop, no one in our cabin made it past 11 PM for any wild partying.

    The next morning, we decided to hike the trail that stretched for four miles around the edge of Mt. Nebo, appropriately named The Rim Trail. Hiking on a rim is definitely the way to go, because it's mostly flat and there's always a nice view off to one side. Later in the day, we also did a waterfall hike that was quite short but forced us nearly straight down the side of the mountain, and then back up again.

    The feature event of the weekend was the wedding of Baylis and Richie, which took place at 4 PM on Sunset Point, a promontory that curiously faced southwest (Arkansans probably subscribe to the magnetic north). The ceremony was short and sweet, with no accidental trips over the rim, and the reception took place in an old wooden pavilion on yet another cliffside. A large number of Richie's family was able to make it up from El Salvador, so toast-time became a game of "how many sentences can I get through in Spanish before I turn the mike over to the translator". The translator won.

    Following a light brunch the next morning, we returned to Little Rock around midday and had lunch at The Flying Saucer, a bratwurst place on the Arkansas River. I had a roast beef sandwich with Guinness au jus dipping sauce while we enjoyed the pleasant 70 degree temperatures, and then found out that almost every flight out of Little Rock was delayed. Our 5:26 departure crept forward in thirty minute increments until it finally came to rest at 7:55. This pushed our arrival time in Atlanta after 10, and made us miss our connection back to the fake South of Virginia. This must be a regular occurrence now, because you can now claim meal and hotel vouchers through automatic scanning booths throughout the terminal, probably so you don't have the opportunity to yell at anyone.

    We arranged for kitty-care through Anna, and then spent the night (a total of 5 hours) at a decaying Country Suites, only to get back up at 5 in the morning to catch the next connection to Dulles. We didn't even have time to use up all the money on our food vouchers, since $12 in greasy eggs and bacon probably wouldn't have made for a comfortable plane trip. I tempted fate anyhow with my $5 "bacon omelette combo", which consisted of a lattice of tightly-woven bacon wrapped in egg product with tater tots on the side.

    We got back to Dulles without further drama and were home by 11 AM on Monday. Now it's time to plan the next trip, which will be Sam and Kristen's wedding in May!

    Teen suspended for outing porn star school secretary
    Online vending machine solves thinness problem
    Software firm wants naked coders

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

    Monday, April 06, 2015

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Friday night, we used up one of our annual DC trips to visit Annie, eat pecan-covered salmon, and dye Easter eggs. One of the future-facing dye kits contained a tie-dye feature resembling an iron maiden for eggs, but the level of effort to tie-dye a single egg far outweighed the pasty, muddled colours that resulted -- for dedicated hippies only.

    On Saturday, Rebecca went on a giant 14.6 mile hike, this time with a backpack and load comparable to what she'd have in France. Meanwhile, I stayed home to put the finishing touches on moving this website INTO THE CLOUD and wore clothing comparable to what I'd wear slacking off around the house (roughly 0.8 pounds of gear). In the evening, we got carryout from Joe's Pizzaria and had a low-key night at home.

    Sunday was Easter, and we drove out to Linden for an afternoon with Rebecca's cousin, Elizabeth, and the associated family. Rebecca's uncle is now into maple syrup tapping, so our new task is to tag any maple trees in our woods for next winter. We got home around 7 after some grocery shopping and a rare speed-trap-free drive down I-66.

    How was your weekend?

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

    Wednesday, April 06, 2016

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken 8 years ago today, on April 6, 2008.

    As part of our first European tour, we were in Paris and touring the Rodin Museum. We also walked through the smelly, subterranean Sewer Museum earlier in the day, although the Catacombs were closed for repairs. The weather was surprisingly frigid for April, and we even ducked into a McDonald's near the Arc de Triomphe solely to warm up and use the bathroom at the cost of 1 order of small fries. We were also pretty stingy about food in general, so our meals mainly consisted of bread, cheese, fruit, and wine bought a la carte in the various bakeries.

    Later in the afternoon, we pondered what sort of vehicle would be powered by Assouline. Probably one with an explosive acceleration.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, April 06, 2018

    Maia Week #39 Battle Report

    Maia has made it to 9 months on the dot, so she's been out almost as long as she was in. Over the past two weeks, she has perfected her army crawl which is mainly an elbow-based method of mobility. She can also open bottom drawers and pull herself up on them (though she can't get herself from a crawl to a sitting position yet). Lastly, she makes clicking sounds with her tongue constantly like she's learning a tribal language.

    To stay one step ahead of her, the house has slowly been baby-proofed. Outlet covers have been on since Ella came over to visit in 2007 so that was a no-brainer. The stair gate went up in early March and strategic barricades have been erected between her and various power strips or oily treadmills. I also installed a stove anti-tip brace, TV anti-tip straps, and carry-out dinner anti-tip protection. I'm currently going room by room to anchor top-heavy dressers to the wall.

    This weekend, we're taking her up to Rhode Island to visit her 3 cousins. Our 90 minute direct flight to Providence feels like it will be easy mode compared to LA, and the presence of young kids up there means we can travel with mostly just the clothes on our back!

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

    Monday, April 06, 2020

    Maia Battle Report: Year 2 Month 9

    Maia is now 26.8 pounds and about 34" tall. This month, she gained the ability to use the toilet for all waste management needs and now wears underpants all day long instead of diapers. (With coronavirus keeping us at home, we figured now was a great time to practice, and she had it down pat after just a single day).

    Self-quarantine has made this month very different for Maia. Just For 2s school is cancelled and she hasn't seen her best friend, Nolan, in over 3 weeks (other than a video chat). She seems to get that things have changed in some way but has no opinion one way or the other. The answers to her usual morning questions of "what day is it today?" and "what are we doing today?" have normalized into nothingness since every day is pretty much the same. She also does video chats with the grandparents but gets bored pretty quickly.

    We have a routine of 2-3 nearby parks with accessible trails and neighborhood parking (since entrance gates are closed now) so Maia still gets regular outdoor time. She actually prefers being inside (building houses for bunnies) so it can be a chore to convince her to hit the park. All it takes to get her in the backyard, though, is the promise of bubbles.

    Maia now picks Berenstain Bears books over all others, and will reenact sequences from the books, like hiding behind the curtain for "Stage Fright" and building a clubhouse for "No Girls Allowed". Surprisingly, we've watched very little TV other than Library Storytimes recorded by the Loudoun libraries.

    Games that Maia enjoys include:

    • Grocery Store: where she fills a baby carriage with foam blocks representing foods ("this daddy's magic hat beer") and pushes them down the window seat / conveyor belt, then swipes her credit card.
    • Obstacle Course: invented by Rebecca to drain energy by running her around the basement and climbing on things.
    • Making Houses for Bunnies: Self-explanatory. She now has 7 named bunnies (like dwarves) after we discovered one more in a box of donated toys: Original, Flower, Purple, Grey, Fluffy, K'nuffle, and Peter.
    • Wearing All the Clothes: Layering up with 2 - 3 outfits covered by a pretty dress.

    She only napped twice this month, but still does quiet time in the afternoons. She also gets up after we put her to bed at night and plays in her room for another solid hour before consenting to sleep. This has led to some late nights and early mornings (sometimes as little as 10 hours of sleep in a day) but hopefully that's just a phase brought on by COVID-19 boredom.

    We are taking it one day at a time (because that's how time works) and hoping that we'll still get to go to the Outer Banks in July!

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

    Wednesday, April 06, 2022

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken twenty years ago, on April 7, 2002.

    For reasons still unknown to me, I would sometimes wake up before the sunrise on the weekend in grad school and take the 37 mile trip south out of Tallahassee to Mashes Sands Beach, a beach facing directly east across the Gulf. (I also remember this beach as Marshes Sands Beach, but Google Maps is trying to convince me that this has always been wrong).

    I would take a picture with my 0-megapixel camera, stand around for a minute or two, then run out of things to do at this postage-stamp-sized beach and return home. I almost never saw anyone else out at this hour other than horseshoe crabs and seagulls.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

    Thursday, April 06, 2023

    Vacation Day

    Palpable excitement on Maia's first sunrise hike to Kaylor's Knob. She was so excited that she woke up an hour early for the hike (at 5:30 AM).

    I was at the cabin sleeping in as long as possible, which was 7 AM in Ian hours.

    permalink | 0 comments


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