This Day In History: 04/22

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

There was a great vocal jazz concert this evening in Opperman, featuring the twenty-voice "After Five" vocal group and Leon Anderson's small jazz combo (not together). Leon even sat in on a few tunes to show off his rockin' drum acrobatics.

  • Soloists who aren't plagued with thirty-second note envy
  • Solos with a tune and a direction
  • A good bari sax player
  • Trumpeters who can sound like they're playing flugelhorn
  • Small group jazz vocals
  • Unpretentious solos
  • Closed position vocals planing chromatically
  • Male soloists that don't come off as cheap lounge singers
  • Fun tunes
  • The font

  • When a concert is an hour too long because everyone solos on every song
  • When the bass player goes harmonically kooky in his solo
  • Songs obviously written just for soloing
  • The fact that there are no male soloists that don't come off as cheap lounge singers
  • Drum solos that go for more than a phrase
  • Clapping after every single solo like it's the State of the Union address
  • Singers who just don't have that definitive quality of voice for jazz vocals but still do it
  • Male soloists who can't dance trying to dance, or male soloists that don't know what to do with their hands and look like Eminem on uppers
  • Male soloists doing anything by Gershwin
  • Hell, any male singer singing live outside of an ensemble setting.

tagged as lists, music | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Yesterday, I puttered around town comparing features and prices on various grills and lawn mowers. I also started looking into pool tables for the downstairs rec room. I tend to be an impulsive buyer, but not in the classical sense: I rarely ever buy things on a whim while window shopping, but once I've decided that I definitely want something, I'll move very quickly from research to purchasing.

I also took a trip to Petsmart, which has its own rotunda and cherry-blossom-lined walkway. You know you're in Loudoun County when the number of aisles for "Horse" matches the number of aisles for "Cat".

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    rock poont, pet duck housebreak -dog, ucalegon neighbor

The persons on the picture have nothing to do withe the actual story.
Senator's wife in super mulch melee

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Friday, April 22, 2005

There's really nothing new to report today, so have a bunch of news stories instead. Also, Happy Sunday Birthday to Philip and Andrea!

Be the first on your block to squat the Pope
After naked flushing, distraught owner "had a couple of peanuts".
Drive-by Sausaging
Making "voices in my head" a valid defense tactic, one step at a time
You say bomb, I say bong.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Euro-tic Adventure, Part II of X

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Refreshed after our siesta, we took the Tube to South Kensington, passing a street performer playing "The Lonely Goatherd" on an alto saxophone to a "Best of the Sound of Music" Karaoke CD. We visited the Victoria and Albert Museum near closing time which was uninspiring except for the collection of old musical instruments tucked away in the back. We also power-walked through the rather boring collections of ancient furniture, where we were accosted by a crazy guy in lipsteak and sweat pants who told us that we simply must visit the Lacquer Box because it was brilliantly beautiful. We edged away as quickly as possible, and later encountered him in another room mumbling to himself (we never did find the Lacquer Box).

The museum closed at 5, so our next big adventure was to take one of the big red double-decker buses to Picadilly Circus so we could walk around the more tourist-y areas in the evening. We arrived at Trafalgar Square, home to eight million pigeons and an enterprising Asian who was earning pence by balancing a soccer ball on his head. He was accompanied by a muscle-bound British guy whose job it was to restart the CD whenever the music ran out -- eventually he felt left out of all the attention and did a couple back handsprings to make sure that we noticed him. After this, we proceeded to walk a giant circuit: across the Golden Jubilee bridge over the Thames, past the London Eye, back over the Westminster Bridge, past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, and then back to Trafalgar Square.

Americans are naturally sedentary, so all this walking made us pretty hungry. By now it was almost 9 PM, and some of the restaurants had stopped serving food. We finally ended up at the nonsensically-named "Lord Moon of the Mall" pub (which, incidentally, is also the title of the next Final Fantasy game). I ate sausages and mash with a Guinness, while Rebecca had the cottage pie and a Festival Sampler ale, and we both marvelled at the advertisement for imported Coors Light which was just slightly cheaper than a Guinness. The food was bland and not too tasty -- in fact, the cottage pie made Rebecca nauseous so we headed back to our room.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

After a plain but filling (and free) breakfast of cereal, toast, juice, and coffee at our hotel, we hit the ground running with a trip the the British Library's "Rare Documents" room. While Rebecca geeked out over the first editions of various great works of literature (like Alice in Wonderland and The Pelican Brief), I admired the musical manuscripts. At the far end of the chamber was a computer with one of Mozart's theme sketchbooks digitized, and each fragment in the book was tied to a sound file so you could hear what it sounded like in its draft form. The Library also housed a massive collection of stamps, but stamp collecting is about as useful and interesting as collecting the lids of margarine containers: sure this Country Crock lid might be Calcium-enriched, but at the end of the day, you're still collecting a bunch of useless objects that all look the same.

Our next stop was the inapproriately-named "British Museum" where none of the artifacts actually came from Britain. Every exhibit was well-documented and included justification as to why it was okay to plunder former British colonies of their heritage. We spent several minutes in the Greek wing looking at the Elgin Marbles, a collection of sculptures and bas reliefs depicting various centaurs humping people, and marvelled at the fact that the wee-wees were missing from every single statue. No doubt, somewhere out there is an archaeologist's family whose treasured heirloom is the stone penis of Hermes.

Because it was the off season, many of the wings of the Museum were closed (including the North American wing -- I would have liked to see what they thought of us). We did get to see two special exhibits: one on the history of money, and one called "Life & Dying: Cradle to the Grave" (which I always thought was just a movie starring DMX and Jet Li).

To prevent museum-fatigue so early in the trip, we had a couple pints in North London and relaxed for a bit. I also saw an advertisement for an upcoming run of Spamalot, starring Alan Dale as King Arthur. Alan Dale is also the actor who plays Charles Widmoore in LOST, so it looks like we won't be learning anything new from him for several episodes (at least until the Spamalot run is over).

Enroute to our next stop, the John Soane Museum, we stumbled across a real find that wasn't in any guidebooks: the Hunterian Museum of science and surgery . It was absolutely free and contained thousands of gross things pickled in formaldehyde, from frogs to tumors to gunshot-shattered bones, as well as paintings of rare conditions like Siamese twins and dwarves. After that find, the John Soane Museum was interesting but not amazing -- over the course of his life, he bought one of everything and stuck it in his house until it looked like a museum, and then had it turned into a museum as-is after his death.

The evening was concluded with the traditional Fish and Chips meal at Sea Fresh which turned out about as tasty as the one at Red Robin and came with bonus ice cream. After dinner, we hit the Prince of Wales pub near our hotel where we sat at the bar for a few hours talking with the locals and listening to their novelty-filled accents. We tried the long-pull beers tonight: Taylor, London Pride, John Smith, and Strongbow Cider.

To Be Continued tomorrow...

'Calendar Girls' fundraising plan backfires
Pope cops snatch beaver
Neighbour pins two thieves to the ground

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Memory Day: Learn2Drive

My first driving experience (outside of steering on my dad's lap) came at the Go Kart Raceway after sixth grade, at the birthday/going-away party of the occasionally mentioned Daniel Bethancourt. The track workers were leery of letting someone so small drive a go kart, and after getting stuck on the tire-barriers twice, they drove me back to the beginning and told me to go wait in the video arcade.

Three years later, I took the classroom portion of Driver's Ed during 10th Grade Summer Gym, since it was offered freely to all public school students in Alexandria. The quality of the offering matched it's price, since the entire session consisted of old reel-to-reel films about accidents (and not even any gory precursors to the Saw franchise). Unfortunately Asians age much slower than those around them, and I was only 13 at the time of the course. This meant that I wouldn't actually be able to drive for another 3 years.

In the summer before my senior year, my parental training consisted of three full laps around the NOVA campus parking lot before taking it to the next level with Interstate 395. After proving to my dad that I could drive in a straight line, I took the test to get my learner's permit. I failed two questions -- one on blood-alcohol limits and another on types of license penalties, and then passed the practical test with an Examiner who didn't care about my driving as much as he cared about having a new audience for his governmental conspiracy theories.

With learner's permit firmly in hand, I set out to acquire the mandatory "seven hours of road driving" required to become a full-privilege driver in Virginia. Although today I realize that seven hours is barely enough to master the radio, at the time I hated it because it seemed like such a long period, especially when stretched into seven hour-long sessions. We went with Keith's Driving School, probably because there was a discount involved, but also because Keith looks like an upstanding not-at-all-shady individual who would also be able to sue for millions and protect our rights if we got in a car accident.

My instructor ended up being Big Mike, an overweight fellow with rainbow stickers on his car who asked me if I had a boyfriend. During the hours driving around Hybla Valley, he would play demo tapes of his amateur recording sessions on country guitar. One of the songs he'd written had the chorus "You're the only man I'll ever love". Then he'd get hungry and force one of the drivers to take him to 7-11.

Money well spent.

Maus' argument is that he did not guarantee conception, only that he would try his hardest.
Record attempt reaps 217k text messages
Jack Thompson shut down by Supreme Court

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

A Curious Thing by Amy MacDonald:
As a sophomore follow-up to This is the Life, this is a very safe album. It feels more like a side B than a new effort, and the toe-tapping infectiousness of the first album is replaced with a mellower Coldplay style of running eighth notes with one chord per bar. In spite of a few overly trite sets of lyrics, it's harmless and pleasant, but not as catchy as the first album.

Final Grade: B-

New Boots by Wallis Bird:
On the other side of the spectrum, this follow-up album to Spoons is daring, and an organic evolution of the old sound. She continues to employ shifting rhythms and time signatures, and bounces into double time just to mix things up. There are fewer quiet songs here, and the first and last songs on the album just prove that when she gets too raucous, her voice no longer sounds good. However, the middle eight songs are great, and will definitely experience a pubertic growth as I listen further.

Final Grade: B

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves:
I borrowed this from my parents because Rebecca had never seen it, and Alan Rickman plays the Sheriff of Nottingham. How did Kevin Costner get to be such a big deal when he's as good an actor as Keanu Reeves? How come he can't speak with an English accent? This DVD was also burned from an old VHS tape, which means that watching it on a 50"+ TV makes me feel like I forgot to put my glasses on and it's impossible to tell what's going on more than five feet from the camera. On the nostalgic side, the VCR auto-Tracking feature appeared on the screen several times throughout the viewing, reminding me of the days when we owned both a Beta and a VHS player.

Final Grade: B+

Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card:
This follow-up to Ender's Game was "okay". The author tended too much towards introspection when evolving the characters, resulting in endless pages of inner monologues, and it's still impossible to picture the main characters as young, brilliant children -- when a main character is nine and acts seventeen, how is it relatable? It only took me two days to burn through, though, which is why I'm fairly forgiving in my book reviews. Also, "hegemon" sounds like a hedgehog-based Pokemon.

Final Grade: C+

Breast milk satisfies
Some at MoMA Show Forget "Look but Don't Touch"
Man loses license after drunk-driving in toy Barbie car

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Random Chart Day: URI! Zone Trends

Note the popularity convergence of Alias, Chompy, and Doobie in 2007. This leads to a hypothetical entry for the next Questions Day: What would a combination of Doobie, Chompy, and Jennifer Garner look like?

Burger King launches the Meat Monster in Japan
Special delivery from your postman
Reasonable doubt cast on speed cameras

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

Our weekend opened with sushi and sake from Wegmans, which is still the best "cheap, pre-packaged" sushi we've found in the area. We ate shrimp tempura while finishing the second season of Game of Thrones, which was good but felt a little unnecessarily drawn out.

On Saturday night, we took one of our annual trips into D.C. where we parked at a meter that was etched with "Monday through Friday, through 10 PM" and augmented with a sticker reading "Also Saturday, through 10 PM" underneath a street sign that said "Monday through Sunday, through 6:30 PM". Not sure who to believe, we paid the meter at the exorbitant rate of 25 cents per 8 minutes. We then walked over to Annie's townhouse to celebrate Marc's 30th Birthday with meats and beers.

Sunday was the lazy day -- I mowed the lawn, watered the tomatoes, and said hello to all of the neighbours who were also out doing yard work. I hadn't spoken to any of them in three years, since the only time we bond with neighbours is when it snows appreciably and the street comes together to shovel.

For dinner on Sunday, I had the prime rib dip and a Guinness at Red Robin, paid for with the ridiculous tax refund debit card that the state of Virginia forced upon us. We then watched Zero Dark Thirty, which was mostly boring, and went to bed.

How was your weekend?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Random Chart Day: Finances

Now that I have over a decade of financial history to mine, I will be posting occasional charts and trends. Data is fun.

Annual Salary over 14 Years

I would add the salaries of my Florida State teaching assistantship, but that would require a logarithmic Y-axis to not be mistaken for 0.

Phone Bill over 10 Years

All phone service has been through Verizon. I had a landline in Florida too, but those records were long lost in a hard drive crash.

Cable/Internet Bill over 10 Years

I had Cox in Fairfax, and then Adelphia in Sterling, before they were bought out by Comcast. In Florida, I paid $29.95 for dial-up service through the 90s era "Toast.net" in addition to cable, but those bills are long lost as well.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 21 years ago in 1994, my junior year of high school. This was the T.C. Williams jazz band, and we swung about as well as the majority-share of white guys in the ensemble would suggest. One of these guys is now in a reggae band in Richmond, while another is in jail for soliciting minors. I am wearing a clip-on tie as I normally did back then for formal situations. I talk to zero of these people today, although (as is the custom) two are silent Facebook friends.

This picture will never get recreated for a "Where are they now?" Internet meme, because T.C. Williams was torn down a few years ago and rebuilt in the adjacent vacant lot. I doubt that Staci Bradley, whoever that might have been, made the cut to be migrated to the new facility.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, April 22, 2016

Overwatch Day

I'm busy working on proposals today, so here are some short movies of my Overwatch Plays of the Game in lieu of a real update.





Also, here's a video on the history of Blizzard's failed game, Titan and how it morphed into Overwatch, which should be interesting to anyone who's played any Blizzard games over the years.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Picture Day

We had planned to host a toddler Egg Hunt on Saturday morning, but Rebecca unexpectedly got sick the night before. Instead, Maia and I joined the Uri grandparents at Lake Newport in Reston for a walk around the lakes. Here are some pictures my dad took on the hike.

Maia starts her public relations internship at Twitter:

Maia prepares to go belly-and-feet-first down the long slide:

On the Blue Trail in Reston:

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Time-lapsed Blogography Day: Half-Decades

Fifteen years ago, in April 2005, I remodeled the basement guest room to its current scheme: Pebble Beige on the walls and a dark red carpet with kitschy decorations and bedsheets from Target. I was heavily invested in the forth season of Alias (featuring Mia Maestro as Sydney's sister) and helping Anna pick out her wedding music while avoiding the "With Ocean Sounds" genre.

Ten years ago, in April 2010, I had just published my first open-source library, DDMSence. Rebecca got her new red Honda Civic which she still drives today. We took regular 3 mile forest runs in Claude Moore Park at dusk and there were no mosquitoes to be found.

Five years ago, in April 2015, I had moved the URI! Zone into THE CLOUD and was preparing a multi-week training course about THE CLOUD for my division at work. THE CLOUD. Rebecca was training for her European hike in the Alps and we would regularly do segmented hikes where she'd hike 10 miles on the AT while I'd drop out for a pint at a Harpers Ferry pub around the 4 mile mark.

This month, in April 2020, my biggest challenge is finding the mathematically shortest path through the grocery store when each aisle is a one-way street. We have made some tasty meals from scratch and also ordered copious take-out and delivery from local restaurants (including a brewery!).

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Friday, April 22, 2022

Maia's Art Day

Here are pictures that Maia drew during the month of March.

"Daddy Bunny is going to work for a meeting. His car has a moonroof. He is dressed fancy but you can't tell because he's facing the background."

These are the days that Original Bunny gets home-schooled in my office while Maia is at pre-school.

A short series about bunnies playing sports.

The Berenstain Bears sitting around their dinner table.

One afternoon, the family spent an hour sitting around our dinner table drawing different monsters. 7 of these are by Rebecca and I while the rest are by Maia, who decided that having an extra eyeball is pretty monster-like. The monster that looks like an Ice Castle lures Elsa in, then eats her.

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