This Day In History: 04/15

Monday, April 15, 2002

Last night's concert went well if a little too long. With fifteen works on the program, it weighed in at about two and a half hours. There were some nice points to the music though and everything went pretty well. It was also nice to see several freshmen getting their works performed, and most of the ones I heard definitely had something to work with for the coming years.

Badinage went pretty well, although there were a few spots that I could have done better. Generally, I've received positive comments about the structure of the piece and the performance, but I'll wait until I can listen to the recording before I make any judgements of my own. Apparently, Professor Kubik's words on the matter were, "That's an ambitious piece," which can be interpreted several ways.

On the MIDI side, here's an MP3 of my first jazz-band funk chart, Neckbone, from 1995. Though not musically profound, it was fun to write and play, and got plenty of airtime back in high school. The "Hip Hop" drum set adds a lot to the MIDI recording (MP3, 3.2MB).

Here's a few news stories that have caught my eye this past week:

    Man's self-heating shoes cause airport scare
    24-hour video game channel set to launch (from the "Network execs don't realize that most gamers are ugly and won't make good TV stars" file)
    College Drinking Study is Intoxicating Scam
    Schemes and Loopholes: Tales from the IRS (from the "Can I deduct my cat?" file)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2003

The final Tallahassee Winds concert is tonight at 7:30 in Ruby Diamond. Your semester won't be complete until you've stood for the national anthem, heard the obligatory Sousa march, Gillingham-esque contemporary work, and crowd-pleasing Spanish work, followed by a rousing cheer for the ladies of the Better Living Retirement Home. Come on out.

There's a plethora of new Booty pictures on the Photos page. I also found an interesting cat story, but the site requires a login. Here's the story for your reading pleasure:

    Cat spends 35 days trapped inside couch

    Leia, Rosa McCormick's orange, white and black tabby, was trapped in the family couch for 35 days en route from Oahu, Hawaii, to Oklahoma City. With her husband, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Earl Gordon McCormick, scheduled for deployment to Korea for 18 months, she decided to move back to Oklahoma City to be closer to her family. While the family packed, Leia went missing.

    All the racket the movers made did not sit well with Leia, who sought refuge under the couch. It was there, McCormick said, the 2-year-old cat probably found a hole in the netting and hid. "We drove around for a week looking for her," McCormick said. "One of our friends joked that we'd packed her up."

    More than a month later, after their couch crossed the Pacific Ocean by boat and was shipped from California to Oklahoma City, the McCormicks found out their friend was right. "I heard a 'meow' come from the garage," Rosa McCormick said. "I told my husband and he said, 'It can't be her.'" He followed the noise to the couch, ripped open the netting and found Leia inside, she said.

    "We took her to the vet immediately," Rosa McCormick said. "He said she was a little dehydrated, but fine."

An elderly fellow stopped me in Wal-mart yesterday to ask if the "red beer" was any good (Killian's). He said he'd never had it before and was thinking about giving it a try. There was also a new employee working under supervision at the check-out line who had to be reminded not to bag loaves of bread with canned soups.

Boss teased suspect about being serial killer

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Besides installing extras in my roommate's new computer, like a TV card, 512MB more memory, and a CD writer, I spent yesterday finishing off my filing. All my paperwork is consolidated from the numerous travel bins to a single metal file cabinet. I also found all my wall calendars from the past eleven years, except for 1998 which is missing in action. Maybe I can post witty anecdotes about what I was doing ten years ago, much like the flashback series going on over in Mike's Journal at the moment.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    leonardo imprisoned, in the play antigone what do haimon believes that authority rests with, nefarium, inside of a dog it's too hard to read, cattlebruiser micro

Batmobile recalled
Wagner bad for driving

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Cookies are a sometimes food .

I think by this point in history, it should be common sense that eating the wrong foods will make you fat, and feeding the wrong foods to your kids will turn them into little whining beachballs. Hopefully, McDonald's remains an anytime food.

Nonsense paper accepted at conference
Bush has privacy concerns, endorses Patriot Act anyways
Where not to hide your confession

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Memory Day: Fifteen Years Ago Today

On Friday, April 15, 1994, I was fourteen years old, and a stalwart tenth grader at T.C. Williams High School. With public schools slowly migrating away from the "junior high" system, tenth graders were at the bottom of the high school caste (and freshmen had a school all to themselves like some sort of prepubescent syphillis quarantine). Here are a few memorable moments from this day, taken from the journal I kept at the time.

♠ Homeroom was a hodge-podge amalgamation of students who weren't actually classmates -- anyone who took Art at some point during the day might end up in the Art room for morning announcements. As such, I was at a paint-splattered table with upperclassmen, Kathryn Danaher, Diana Polson, and Emily Roberts, reading my book while they talked about field hockey and other chick stuff. A very young Matt McGuire (long before his present day woes) had a crush on Emily, and chose today to try out his intricate plot to accidentally on-purpose bump into her. During homeroom, he came in and nonchalantly asked in a campy voice, "Hello Brian, do you know if we have English today? Oh hello there, Emily!" Given that we had English every day, and that Emily knew of Matt's secret love, this was as painful for me to watch as it was for you to read about.

♠ Fourth period was Biology BSCS (an utterly worthless suffix that didn't actually stand for anything, but does rhyme with buenos dies if you ever need to write about it in a Spanish poem). With eight weeks and eight chapters left in the book, Lois LaPlante divided the class into groups so we could teach ourselves while she continued to get paid. Her trouble-meter must have been on the fritz (not the Fritz in the class) when she allowed me to group up with Jack Wilmer, Ben Seggerson, and Jenny Holland (before she got famous and changed her name to Ada). We were told to get started on The Immune System, but spent the entire period making smart-ass remarks instead -- when she asked Jack how to alphabetize a table in WordPerfect, I'm sure she didn't want to hear, "Well you start at 'A'...".

♠ When the weather was nice, I spent fifth period lunch under the trees in front of the school, eating with my junior high friends like Jennie Geisner and Cheryl Sherling. Michelle Cao came out to eat with us today, since taking fifth period Photography gave her free reign to wander around the school for an entire period, pretending to take pictures of questionable artistic merit. Like no one has ever taken a picture of the flag pole FROM RIGHT BELOW IT before...

♠ I spent sixth period Art doing preliminary sketches for my surreal locker scene, which still hangs on the wall in my office to this day. Our school did not have wooden floors, but the picture looked dumb with shiny floors, and dumb art is dumb.

♠ After school came Crew. With clowns like Ben Seggerson, Tim Shaw, and Dutton Hauhart, I was on the 3rd 8, which translates into "all the rowers that weren't good enough to be in the top sixteen slots" and we brought the concept of mediocrity to roughly the same old levels. Because it was a Friday, we were spared our normal workout. Instead, we were "allowed" to do a three mile run and ended up at the Lee Street Park where we played ultimate frisbee until it got dark and I bummed a ride off the nearest rower with a car. This was followed by a "boat party" at my house to pump us up for Saturday's race. My hosting of the party made little sense since our boat also had a surplus of bad coxswains, and I wasn't the one in the race. Even so, I diligently woke up the next morning at 6 AM for the races, partially for moral support, but mostly for all the girls in spandex.

Fir tree sprouts in man's lungs
Man trapped in blueberry waffle mix
Honda unveils dog-friendly car

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

List Day: 5 CDs that Grow on You

Like a soul patch on a beatnik, these five CDs grow on you. I enjoy them more now than I did when I first listened to them, and have them in regular rotation in my static-marred car CD player. The links will take you to the Amazon MP3 pages for a sampling.

  1. The Trick to Life by The Hoosiers:
    I originally described The Hooisers with "They steal from every source available and end up like the lead singer of The Darkness mixed with a less-quirky Mika mixed with a less annoying Hives, mixed with a more upbeat Keane, mixed with any number of 80s new wave bands." and this all still holds true. This album is very much an ALBUM, with the songs working together as an artistic whole, and the brass on the bonus track is a nice touch.

  2. The Age of the Understatement by The Last Shadow Puppets:
    This CD is what the Arctic Monkeys might have sounded like in the 1960s. I originally took points off for it being only 35 minutes long, but now feel like this is a very well done album. A few extra songs would never harm it, but the musicians get in and get out to say what they have to say, and no one gets hurt.

  3. One Way Ticket to Hell (and Back) by The Darkness:
    Another shortie, which sometimes ends before I can get from Sterling to Arlington, but every song on this CD is catchy, fun to listen to, and tightly performed.

  4. This is the Life by Amy MacDonald:
    Amy MacDonald excels at upbeat toe-tapping music, and the folksy nature of this CD makes it a fun car listen. With the exception of the last song, where she overuses the phrase "Footballer's Wife", I could listen to this CD ad nauseum.

  5. Lessons to be Learned by Gabriella Cilmi:
    This CD isn't quite as good as the others, but it has a pleasant alto timbre and a mix of contrasting styles holding it together.

I'm currently listening to the new Wallis Bird CD, New Boots, and my first impression of it is "raucous and unexpected". However, it's too soon to determine whether that's good or bad.

World's deepest undersea vent discovered
US power infrastructure vulnerable to ospreys
Little that's funny in North Korean comedy show

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Answers Day

the natural sequel to Questions Day

"What kind of bear is best?" - Doobie

The Asiatic Black Bear, because it is black yet also yellow, and looks like a really awful Halloween costume. Plus, beets do grow in China.

"If you were a Veggie Tales character, which would you be and why?" - Ex-Roomie

Qwerty the desktop computer. Vegetables suck.

"Will your new kitchen have automatic stainless steel cat food dispensers?" - Mom

Nope, but it will have a lazy susan, a drawer that hides a trash can, and zero tiles with apples on them. In fact, this kitchen may be too fancy for cats -- they can eat in the laundry room from now on.

"Who will be the next celebrity to have a gigantic public meltdown?" - Evil Mike

I think Charlie Sheen should have another one. That's what you'd call "bi-winning".

"Why pick Alliance over Horde?" - Evil Mike

Better flight paths.

"Where is a good place to go for Korean BBQ?" - Evil Mike

There aren't any places in the U.S. yet where it's acceptable to eat Koreans yet.

"What would a combination of a pug, turtle and eagle look like?" - Evil Mike


It would look ugly, because of the pug DNA.

"We all know BU, but when can we expect JU(nior)? " - Evil Mike

Not in the next two years, yet sooner than the next twenty.

Canada politician wants to torpedo Sheen's smoking
Walking Dead billboard causes controversy
The Real Housewives of Wall Street

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend, I started work on a new pet project, , a free open-source Issue Tracker. I was looking for a way to rejuvenate my web development skills, which were running on the fumes of technology versions released when I was still single. I also spend enough time complaining about other Issue Trackers that I wanted to put my money where my mouth is and see if I could do any better. As you can see, I already have a better name and logo than most existing software on the market, and that's easily 95% of the development challenge right there.

It's actually pretty challenging to write a web application these days, because there are more libraries and frameworks and toolkits available than ever before. Every time you research a library, you stumble across four more you need proficiency in and a swarm of Internet cowboys advocating alternatives. It's amazing that anything useful besides additional frameworks ever gets written.

When not sitting on the back porch with my laptop reading about embedded databases, I was at La Cote D'Or Cafe in Falls Church for Rebecca's dad's birthday. I ordered the "butter with a side of frog legs" -- although it was my first time eating them, they were unremarkable when compared to chicken wings because of the overwhelming amount of butter applied.

We also started the second season of Game of Thrones on Sunday, putting us a year behind the rest of the world. Thankfully, there is no WW2 shortage of "boobies on TV", because this show devours its ration in a matter of minutes. For dinner on Sunday, we returned to Delmarva's Taphouse, whose Yelp reviews now resemble a descending staircase. Our second visit can be easily summarized: Great selection of beers on tap, passable food, and minimal service.

How was your weekend?

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DIY Day: Badminton Net

After being burned by a crappy badminton net that literally death-and-decayed during the first rain of 2013, leaving bits of paper all over the lawn, plan to build your next net from scratch. Start with a complex, to-scale engineering drawing. Blue paper and slide rule optional.
Buy 20 feet of 3/4" PVC piping and two end caps at Home Depot ($6.00) and a high quality net on Amazon ($34.00). Drag out all of the tools you never use and mark off the cut / drill points.
Use the miter saw to cut the piping, nonchalantly sweeping the PVC shreddings under the deck.
Whip out your 1995 TI-85 graphing calculator to calculate a good angle for the ends that will let the pole double as a digging implement. Abandon that plan and cut them at 45 degrees after finding that the miter saw maxes out at 45 degrees.
Sit on the poles and drill holes for the guide ropes. Do not hold the pipe where the drill bit will burst through (apply the rules of bagel cutting).
Twist the pointed end of the poles into the ground until you have blisters. If the Loudoun clay prevents the full 14" depth, cheat by cutting a couple more inches off.
MacGuyver a needle-thread device for running the ropes through the pole, using a drill bit and some electrical tape.
Tie off the ends for maximum tension. You now have a regulation height badminton net with a minimum of mowing obstacles!
Enjoy with a friend.

Still To Do:

  • Replace all of the "almost square knots" with adjustable Boy Scout hitches, long since forgotten.
  • Set up a hook system on the outer tension line, so the net doesn't stand at maximum tension for the whole season.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Memory Day: Snapshots

I took this picture in June 1983 at the age of 3, as you can tell from the low-earth perspective. My dad was always impressed at how steady and well-composed the shot came out, given the fact that the camera probably weighed as much as I did. However, the photographed subjects do not look very patient with the whole process.

Update: My dad says that this was at one of the James River Plantations (possibly the Shirley Plantation).

tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, April 15, 2016

Accomplishments Day: This Week in Review

  • Mounted a collapsible hanger over the dehumidifier for Rebecca's clothes that are too good for the common dryer.
  • Reported a potential water main break on our street which didn't get checked out for 18 hours, after which they fixed it loudly all night long.

  • Played Overwatch and captured these fun Plays of the Game as Mei:


  • Wrote 2 new Sparkour recipes, one on setting up VPC Endpoints in AWS, and another on using broadcast variables to determine how many Costcos are in each region of the US.

  • Heard from Anna that Sydney is doing well in the new house, although Kitty looks like a POW in this picture:

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Old Internet Friends Day

Towards the tail end of the URI! Zone's first decade of existence, Rachel from Australia was a regular visitor, often arguing for hours in the Comments section with Beavis, Kelley, and Tree about societal problems without any sort of understanding of the problems' unique American causes. I met her playing Warcraft III and lost track of her somewhere around 2006 with only a few sporadic emails since then.

Last week was Rachel's 37th birthday, so I did my usual one-way shout into the void to wish her a Happy Birthday, only to find that her email had finally expired from inactivity. It's a peculiar feeling to completely lose a connection to someone from your past, especially in this era where everyone is on five different personal and professional social media networks and crosspost what they had for breakfast on Twitter and Instagram.

Treating this as a warning shot, I dug into my old mail and chat archives for other people that featured heavily in my ancient online life before they become unreachable forever. I kept up with tons of people during the simple days of the World Wide Web, back when "making online friends" was unheard of, safe, and wholly unique (the rose-coloured world that predates my current impression of the Internet).

I was actually successful in finding several old friends from aged, incomplete information, without even resorting to reinstalling ICQ or AIM. Some are in the same towns, some have kids a plenty, and everyone is pushing 40 alarmingly fast. I didn't want to restart friendships so much as I just wanted say hello and share a moment -- even if our lives don't intersect anymore, it's comforting to know that they're still out there living in parallel when I'm not thinking about them (we're all NPCs in someone else's game).

Any friends from your past you haven't thought about in a while? Reach out and say hello today while the opportunity is still there!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

List Day: Currently...

  • Currently listening to... Eyes Wide, Tongue-Tied by The Fratellis.

  • Currently reading... Network Attacks and Exploitation by Matthew Monte.

  • Currently playing... Elder Scrolls Online.

  • Currently considering buying... some delivery for dinner.

  • Currently creating... a work training session on using Slack.

  • Currently planning... to digitize my CD collection.

  • Currently watching... Money Heist, Part Four and Undone, Season One.

  • Currently anticipating... the reopening of the Outer Banks in the summer so we don't lose our beach house money.

  • Currently exercising... about four hours per week.

  • Currently weighing... 139 pounds.

This update was sponsored in part by LiveJournal.

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Friday, April 15, 2022

Farmhouse Day

Friday is our last full day in the Culpeper area. We'll be back north on Saturday!

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