This Day In History: 04/07

Sunday, April 07, 2002

I took a trip out to Marshes Sand Beach this morning to catch the sunrise and poke around the beach at low tide. Although the sky at the beach was clear, it seemed incerdibly hazy on the horizon, so I figured that the sunrise wouldn't be particularly spectacular. As the pictures show, it wasn't very colourful at all, but it's still interesting since the shape of the sun is clearly visible through the haze. Those pictures have been added to the Photos page.

At low tide, the surf drops away at least one hundred yards from the normal beach site. It was a little too chilly and blustery to go shoeless, but there was plenty of wildlife in the areas that I could reach without wading. Apart from the usual breakfast birds, I saw quite a few translucent baby horseshoe crabs (probably the result of last week's Crab Fling), some live clams, and hundreds of gelatinous blobs that might have been baby jellyfish.

It seems like it's become a tradition now to post a new SC-8850 file every weekend, so here's one to prolong the trend. This is the gospel/rock/funk theme that used to play on the Photos page. It was probably one of my favourite Domain themes, followed by the theme from the Art page. You can tell from all the set parts in this era how much I used the hi-hat (MP3, 933KB).

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Monday, April 07, 2003

I'm up to sixty-one hours of MP3s that don't suck. Most of the collection is pretty incestuous, since I took a lot from my own CDs so I could have a nice mix of songs to listen to at work, but the fact that I have music constantly playing whenever I'm working or sitting around necessitates a nice big list. Normally, I can put the entire thing on random play and hear everything in under a week.

I've decided that my knowledge of popular music from the last forty years is pretty inadequate, so to remedy that, I've been trolling random top 100 lists like this one and listening to everything on them. For every few stupid ones there's a few good songs that I didn't know before, and I can virally expand my musical horizons by listening to more songs by the same group. I've also been reading and listening to the notable groups on for various genres of rock music although that's taking much longer. Give me a few more months and I'll have an encyclopedic knowledge of every musician ever conceived.

Virginia Tech restores affirmative action
Hair-obsessed man gets 8 years in jail
Dead people for sale at K-Mart

New Booty pics are up.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I'm itching to get a new game. Recently, I haven't had any time to devote to gaming, and it's been a while since I played a good, engaging game. The last game I bought was actually Prince of Persia back in December. I hear there's a new FPS out for the PC, Far Cry, and a couple interesting titles for the GameCube as well. Any recommendations?

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    minnesota grape hyacinth wilting leaves, "insect collector" wealthy, jaood, fb key signature

"I have not been defeated. I'm victorious," Battle said after the sentencing. "I still turned out as a winner."
"We always have planes in the air; people should be used to seeing F-16s in the air above Washington."
City Councilman Gary Boren said last year that painting the house purple was "a sissy way to deal with something."
Doctors switching to cash-only payments

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Google has a fun new tool for all you stalkers out there. They quietly released the beta version of their mapping tool, a while back, and have now added a satellite imagery overlay to the equation. Now, you can punch in an address and then see a fairly clear satellite snapshot of the area. Here's a map of Tallahassee, when I lived two blocks from school:

Now all Google needs to maintain their supremacy is the ability to send a pizza to anyone's house through a point-n-click web interface.

Life is like a box of file cabinets
Fatty sheriff tracks down letter writer
POPEMAN to the rescue

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday Fragments

Rachel gets to be in the tagline because it's her birthday today

  • Banquet Chicken Pot Pies have cost-cut, and now their pie tin is made of cardboard instead of aluminum foil. This is not good news for the crust-taste, which is 95% of the reason you eat a pot pie.

  • The essay portion of the Java exam was about as exciting as the staid one-story testing facility I took it in on Herndon Parkway. I did have to share the testing room with some guy taking a different test, and I'm sure I distracted him with my machine-gun style of typing on a keyboard, especially since the spacebar had years of accumulated human filth on it and would almost stick with a satisfying click after every word. Luckily the four essay questions only took about twenty minutes to answer so I was out of his hair quickly. I could have stayed for the full two hours.

  • I want to see Inside Man because I like heist movies, or any movie with intricate puzzle-like details.

  • Now I get to wait for four to six weeks for the results of my exam. In the meantime, I will start logistical planning and syllabus-writing for a Java course I'll be running at work starting in the Fall. If I pass the certification exam, I think I'll pretend to be one of those arrogant self-righteous professors that everyone's had to deal with in academic settings. I'll get a little button made and wear it in class and then demean and ridicule the adult students until they snap and bring a gun to work.

  • Did you have a parachute in elementary school gym? About once a month or so, our physical education classes, led by Mrs. Joyner and Mrs. Balthasar, would whip out this brightly coloured defective tablecloth and force the kids to stand around it. For the entire period, we would have to shake it up and down, raise it up and then duck underneath it, or just try to make a dodgeball roll through the hole in the middle. Occasionally we'd try to run in a circle so the parachute would spin, but people would always end up stepping on other people and collapsing. To this day, I see zero health benefit from shaking a parachute. Why was this such an integral part of gym?

  • We warmed up for gym in elementary school by running barefoot around the edge of the room jumping over cones while the greatest dance hits of the 80s played off of records over the loudspeakers. The gym served a double purpose as an auditorium, so whenever the parents had to come in for back-to-school night, the entire room reeked of foot odour from two hundred sweaty, nasty prepubescents.

  • Eminem divorced his ex-wife, Kim, three months after remarrying her. Who didn't see this coming?

  • I got a voicemail on Wednesday night from Shac, who resurfaced out of the past like a sperm whale on holiday. What the heck are you doing in Arkansas, Shac?

  • If you missed yesterday's comments section, you can hear James Blunt sings Goodbye My Lover as Alvin the Chipmunk, provided by Rob . It really distills Blunt down to his bare soul, which apparently is, "let me sing a lot of words in falsetto using only two and a half pitches". I was very tempted to add a techno dance beat underneath it, but then realized that simpler is better, and requires less effort.

  • I finished Book I of the His Dark Materials trilogy, and it was quite the satisfying read. It's not fantasy in the typical sense, because it also mixes in healthy doses of the modern world, religion, and science.

  • Happy 25th Birthday to Rachel today! Happy 27th Birthday to Ben Ahlbin tomorrow! Happy 24th Birthday to Diana diBiase tomorrow! April is really a watershed month for acquaintances' birthdays. I know what YOUR parents were doing in August! Eww.

  • My mom's birthday fast approaches and Kim's follows soon after. This is a good thing because then she (Kim) can no longer make fun of me for being old and crotchety without being in the line of fire herself. In the Line of Fire was a great movie, but why do Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen only make movies where chicks swoon over them?

  • No major plans this weekend, although it's getting warm enough to begin doing domesticated things like mowing the lawn soon. Last weekend, I cleaned out my shed with a shop vac and sucked up all the mouse poop from the determined mouse that resisted all my winter traps and destroyed a tarp.

  • Have a good weekend!

  • Eva Longoria's so fat, planes could land on her belly
    Lazy mole rats that get fat to have sex
    Rich women want hot men

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    Tuesday, April 07, 2009

    Museday Tuesday

    1. The composition can be for any instrumentation. It can have an actual score or be a pure synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.
    2. It must not be longer than thirty seconds.
    3. It does not necessarily have to have a start, middle, and end -- it can just be a fragment of something grander.
    4. It should be composed in thirty minutes or less. If time runs out, I post whatever I managed to finish, be it good, indifferent, or makeup on a corpse.
    5. The title of the piece must be a word from a random word generator, although this word doesn't necessarily have to be incorporated in the piece.

    Oleaginous: (adj.) Unctuous; fawning; smarmy.

    My Composition (0:28 MP3)

    I kept being interrupted by post-workday work while composing this one, so I didn't get to smooth out the kinks as much as I would have liked -- I envisioned a short, pudgy, used-car salesman type with a forced levity, who waddles around spouting perfectly agreeable answers that are just a little bit off. Listening to it this morning, the only memorable aspect of it is that the vibraphone lick in the middle somehow sounds like it should be on Wheel of Fortune.

    Pineapple robbed of video camera
    Woman divorces husband for cleaning too much
    Odd shorts from Europe

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    Wednesday, April 07, 2010

    Slack Day

    I've reached the point where I have too many projects going on at any given time, as you can see by the pie chart on the right, which shows what I did for the six and a half hours I was awake last night after I got off work. As you can see, "planning a post for my website" received 0 hours.

    Eventually, I'm going to reach the point where I have to reduce my output here to only 4 days a week (which is still an absurd overuse of the keyboard in modern day blogging, where you only update daily when your posts consists of pictures of ferrets talking in English or people falling off of bicycles). However, that's a slippery slope to start on, since I will soon realize that updating four days a week is that much easier than five days a week, and will unilaterally move to updating zero days a week. For now, I'll simply throw in a guilt-free day (like today) every now and again where I post about not posting.

    Proper nouns coming to Scrabble
    Women try to smuggle body on to flight
    Prostitute sign confuses motorists

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    Thursday, April 07, 2011

    List Day: 10 Easy, Popular Ways to Avert a Catastrophic Government Shutdown

    1. Increase corporate income taxes by $1.1 trillion dollars.

    2. Embark on a Five Year Plan to completely pillage Alaska's natural beauty for resources, and then regift the Goldrushed husk of a state to Canada. All it does is mess up map symmetry.

    3. Apply an EZPass-style tax whenever an SUV is driven more than 0.2 miles with less than 3 people in it.

    4. Force Amazon to collect sales taxes.

    5. Convert to a bicamelal legislature, where budgets are approved through the preference of two camels, and then rub one of the proposed budgets with date preserves.

    6. Completely abolish Social Security for anyone turning 65 in 2042 or beyond. Thirty years should be plenty of advance notice to up your IRA contributions.

    7. Consolidate most of the red states into three new states, Montidahwyutizona, Dakotabraskansas, and Biblebeltasaurus, reducing the number of possible dissenting votes in both the House and Senate. Dissent has no place in a democracy.

    8. Add lead, pufferfish venom, and nicotine to most foodstuffs, bringing the national life expectancy down to a more manageable 40 or 50 and eliminating the need for Medicare.

    9. End all combat on foreign soil, and privatize US defense to Southern rednecks (service is strictly BYOG). Completely end all defense spending, except for Department of Defense Metadata Registries and any cool research involving night vision or invisibility.

    10. Increase funding for the arts and legalize recreational drugs, because weed-smoking hippies are more likely to jam on the guitar than rob a bank, thus, decreasing future prison populations.

    Please contact your representative today with these BU-tiful suggestions.

    Elderly woman cuts all Internet access to Georgia
    Sex after field trip yields scientific discovery
    U.S. volunteers help toads with mating

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    Monday, April 07, 2014

    Meanwhile Back Home...

    Raw but amalgamated footage of what Booty and Amber did during our extended weekend at the Greenbrier Resort.

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    Tuesday, April 07, 2015

    Cloud Finale

    I finished the final steps of the migration to the cloud last night -- importing five years worth of DDMSence issues into JIRA Cloud and updating all of the links. The whole move to AWS and related services was much less painful than expected, and helped by the wealth of available documentation that AWS provides.

    The final setup looks something like this:

    • I had a mail server running for a couple days, but I tore it out after seeing how much of a pain it would be to deal with spam.
    • I got a free license to JIRA Cloud from Atlassian since DDMSence is an open-source project, saving me $120 per year.
    • Server load is even less than expected and I've never gone over 10% CPU utilization yet. I'm not going to need to scale up the servers anytime soon, saving even more money. The load only spikes when I deploy a new update (with Amazon CodeDeploy), or around 5 AM when all of the zombie botnets in AWS start indexing all of my pages.

    I'm expecting the final monthly cost, including the SSL certificate, to be around $32. All in all, this was a fun, painless migration that acted as a good homework assignment to keep my AWS skills from immediately flying out of my head. If nothing has blown up by the end of the month, I'll be cancelling my Kattare account and living in the clouds for good!

    Next up on my agenda is to make the site more mobile-friendly. Google is changing their ranking algorithms to bump up sites that treat you like a near-sighted AARP member through giant fonts, brain-dead iconography, and hamstrung functionality, so I'll finally have to jump on the "Responsive UI" bandwagon. I've done just enough now to pass Google's mobile test, but want to continue fine-tuning it as time permits.

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    Thursday, April 07, 2016

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Dope (R):
    This movie is about a nerdy group of friends obsessed with 90s hip-hop culture who inadvertently get caught up in a drug deal. Hilarity ensues although the movie teeters on the edge of being too serious sometimes. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

    Imitation Game (PG-13):
    I enjoyed this movie about World War II codebreakers although it wasn't rigorously factual. It does a good job of explaining the encryption problem in simple terms and keeps the plot moving. Benedict Cumberbatch does a good job being an asshole, while Keira Knightley has a mostly empty role designed to keep the movie from being a sausagefest.

    Final Grade: B

    The Big Short (R):
    I didn't care much for this movie, maybe because I watched it too close to Margin Call. The movie is stylish and I understand the framing device of using distracting cinematography to compare to how everyone was distracted when the mortgage crises was actually happening, but no amount of talking down to the audience will ever make the dry details of the underlying scam interesting.

    Final Grade: C+

    Self-Explanatory by Classified:
    This is a fun CD by a Canadian hip-hop artist with 3-4 catchy tunes on it. The album is hindered by the fact that it's supposedly a Choose Your Own Adventure story where you skip to different tracks at certain decision points. However, this just pads out the CD with unnecessary dialogue, and I'll probably never listen to the songs in album order once it's on a USB drive.

    Final Grade: B-

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    Friday, April 07, 2017

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Modern Family, Season Six:
    We burned through this season pretty quickly after the fifth season's long stall -- it recaptures some of the lighter, wholesome fun of the earlier seasons without letting any one character overshadow the show.

    Final Grade: B

    The Climb:
    This retail game for the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch controllers allows you to go climbing and bouldering in exotic locales like the Alps, the Grand Canyon, a fjord, and a tropical cliffside. It really sells the depth of vision and illusion of 3D, especially when you're dangling by one arm and happen to look down into a raging river. My arms are actually tired after playing a round. The controls can sometimes get fidgety if you turn a bit too far from your sensors, but this is just a minor annoyance.

    Final Grade: B+

    Expanse, Season One:
    This is one of those sci-fi shows I regret watching after it's all done. Billed as a strong follow-up to Battlestar Galactica (which I also got bored of during the first season and never proceeded to the second), it has impeccable visual effects but is marred by forgettable characters that don't really compel you to care about anything. It feels like every other sci-fi show ever made, which may be exactly what you want if you're into sci-fi shows. However, the slow pace will make watching it a drag -- the content of a single strong episode is generally spread over two. Watch only if you're starved for sci-fi. Free on Amazon Prime.

    Final Grade: C-

    Rarities and B Sides by Delerium:
    I know absolutely nothing about Delerium, but really liked their collaboration with the lead singer from Metric, Stopwatch Hearts. I purchased this on the strength of that song but ended up only liking about four total songs on the album (two of which featured the same Metric singer). The rest of the album is forgettable electronica from the era where you could play a muted dance beat for six minutes and call it music.

    Final Grade: C+

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    Wednesday, April 07, 2021

    Shot Day

    I received my first dose of Pfizer through the county yesterday morning.

    I registered in early March and got pinged to make an appointment this past Sunday, even though I'm not in a specific priority group. There must have been doses to spare -- western Loudoun vaccine hesitancy?

    The whole process took place in the old Nordstroms at Dulles Town Center. The parking lot was packed to capacity, the operation sprawled across both floors of the Nordstroms, and the center was overflowing with helpful volunteers. I had a 20 minute wait in a constantly-moving line and one of the volunteers mentioned that they expected to do over four thousand shots that day. Soreness in my arm is comparable to a typical flu shot.

    All in all, I'm a satisfied customer as long as I get the gift of flight, or maybe telekinesis, after the second dose.

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    Friday, April 07, 2023

    Vacation Day

    Enjoying the petting zoo, following a brief pony ride.

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