This Day In History: 04/27

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Tonight is the penultimate night of new Alias episodes for season two. Next Sunday, ABC will be showing the last two episodes of the season back to back. Watch.

This afternoon is the annual theory/comp department gala, where grad students and professors team up for three-legged drinking games and sumo wrestling. It will be followed by the annual steel drum concert where various pan players warm up the stage for the weird fruit-slicing gamelan ensemble that follows.

I have the hardest time spelling the various forms of the word "occasion". No matter how many times I look it up, it always looks wrong and I end up double-checking.

My future plans (III of V):
I'd like to learn how to play the violin and guitar. Trumpet is all well and good, but as I've said before, the amount of time you don't practice directly influences the quality of tone you produce. I'd like to play an instrument that you can drop for a few weeks and only lose facility rather than basic tone production. Plus, it's hard to practice trumpet in an apartment.

I'd like to pick up violin simply because I've never played a string instrument before. It would be useful to have some basic ability so that I have more confidence in the next string quartet I compose for a nonexistant competition. As for guitar, it'd just be nice to be able to play a rhythm instrument. No doubt I would become the life of the party.

Clever homeless person wins
He denied band members' accusation that it was underhanded of him to lock their instrument closet, saying the athletic department needed to impose "inventory control" during the transition.

New Booty pictures on the Photos page. This week, Booty fights a clone of herself.

tagged as random | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The new proposed Iraqi flag could easily be the corporate logo of a failed dot com in the nineties. It just doesn't have an authoritative enough design to represent a country. Even the flag from the Republic of Booty has more oomph than it does.

The president of the Japanese end of McDonald's died yesterday of heart failure, just days after the American president went down from a heart attack. I smell a Burger King conspiracy with fries.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    i was at the urizone and threw up, cattlebruiser

Even blind old ladies terrify the cops
Teenager who burned cross didn't realize its impact

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

If you've been living under a rock, (or alternately, under Iraq in a country such as Somalia which may not broadcast US shows), you won't know that Lost is coming back for its last five episodes of the season, starting next week. Lost is arguably one of the best ensemble cast TV shows this year, but it's hard to follow if you haven't been watching all year.

Tonight at 8, ABC is showing a one hour recap-show of all the events to date, so tune in if the show intrigues you but you never got around to watching it. In general, I think clip shows are stupid, especially clip shows that disguise themselves as new shows (see "The One Where They Were Too Lazy to Write a Real Story" from every year of Friends after year two, or Joe Millionaire Finale: Not Really the Finale But We Fooled You Ha Ha, or even every other night of American Idol for examples of these atrocities). However, this particular clip show could be a good way to refresh our collective memories about a show that's taken more months off than a tenured professor at any institution of higher learning.

I also cleaned up some broken pages and refreshed the Links section last night.

Will 'Lost' recap help viewers find some answers?

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

My cul de sac used to be a juvenile wasteland, where all the neighbours were old, Hispanic, or old Hispanics. Sometime between last summer when Anna and Kathy moved out, and the beginning of Spring, children began emerging from some hidden child dispenser, biking up and down the court or playing firmly in the way of oncoming traffic like ineluctable locust swarms. There are now at least ten children from age three to thirteen who congregate daily under the shadow of the portable basketball hoop and the deft tones of poor dribbling echo through the pavement into the foundation of my house for three hours every evening.

Playing the role of the neighbourhood hermit (which involves unhygienically crouching over a typewriter in the back room with the lights out, poring over tomorrow's web update), I never noticed that all of these families had moved in. I suppose this means that I'll soon have to write checks to buy cookies from the Girl Scouts and cheese and sausage from the local marching bands.

Yesterday, I happened to be outside mowing the cancerous growth of my lawn (the result of four inches of rain in the past week) when the kids got tired of running around in circles while the big kids played basketball. They all formed up in a friendly driveway, organized by one of the older boys, and took turns in a battle of wits. And by battle of wits, I mean they had a "your momma" joke contest. Granted, all the jokes were pretty stale, and some of them just got weirder as the kids got younger (one four year old said, "Your momma's so fat, she falls on the wall.") but it's a good sign for the future when kids can form themselves into teams to sling insults at each other. Everywhere you go these days, you hear people complain about the youth of today, how they're rude, ignorant, or feel like they deserve everything without work. But if the kids on my court are any indication, their parents are at least doing something right.

Years from now, when little baby Thor Uri! goes running up the court into oncoming traffic, he's going to be the pro momma jokester that organizes the other children into pun wars. I will be proud.

Happy Birthday Jonathan Shachter!

Talking toilets in prison
You've got to have goals in life
Who needs karate when you're a magician?

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 6 comments

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Fragments

by gum, it's still Friday

♣ I decided to try the Mike Catania timetable of posting, in which the post for a particular day can go up anywhere from one to seven days after the actual day, as if he were on a mysterious island so far from the International Date Line that the line is a dot to him.

Actually, I was in the DISA Lab at Bailey's Crossroad shooting trouble (POW). I left for work yesterday morning at 6 AM and didn't get back here until late this afternoon, so I didn't have the time or a computer upon which to write today's entry. I still don't have very much time because I am being attacked by cats who have not eaten in thirty-two hours, and my dinner is cooking in the oven, but thought I'd toss a little pulp up for the ADHD visitors who have been checking back all day for an update. I CARE ABOUT YOU!

♣ I don't care enough to actually write a real update though, so I'll just mention that today is Shac and Ben Mitchell's birthday, and tomorrow I'm going down to Colonial Beach for the "All the birthdays in April" celebration of the "We're Catholic and taking over the world through reproduction" Spellerberg extended family. Sunday will be "Finish off the Hall Bathroom" day and "Rebecca comes home from a two week cross-country road trip" day, and Monday is my day off, because every month should end with a day off.

♣ Have a great weekend!

Philip Barbie makes fruity beer
Robbing pizza delivery men for tux money
Woman tricked into sex to apply penis cream (and news website replaces the word penis in the URL with ******)

tagged as fragments | permalink | 3 comments

Monday, April 27, 2009

Overtime Day

I worked all day and all night on Friday and came home at 1 PM on Saturday. I then slept through the night to Sunday. On Sunday, I did not write anything for you to read today, but we did have sushi for lunch, and then a whole roasted chicken with barbeque sauce for dinner, which we ate on the back porch in the toasty warmth.

I've consumed too much bacon in my lifetime to get the swine flu, but the overabundance of pollen in the air is making my nose itch. It's not as bad as my last month in Blacksburg back in 2001, when I couldn't stop coughing for two continuous weeks, even while sleeping. I think it was prolonged exposure to my roommates.

I have nothing else to say today so I'll leave you with a story. Two years ago, one of our users at work decided to create a "Planning and Operations" domain to hold all their data. After months of uploading thousands of metadata artifacts, the domain was presented to the people who might be interested in using it. For some reason, no one took it seriously, possibly because the chosen abbreviation for the domain was PLOP.

Today, it is called PLAN.

Mannequin freaks out city council
Milky Way might taste like raspberries
Mom-to-be hit by car while fleeing bear is OK

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

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Newsday Tuesday

Plans to allow women and gays, ban smoking shake world of Navy submarines

Imagine 150 fraternity brothers packed into a container the size of a three-bedroom house. Announce you are breaking hallowed traditions by taking away their cigarettes and admitting women. Then lock the doors and push the container deep into the sea, for months at a time. That's what the Navy, after decades of contemplation and controversy, has decided to do with its Submarine Force [...]

Not every sailor was buying into the controversy though, since many were aware from their junior college years just how rank a fraternity house can get. Said one petty officer, "I heard that chicks are pretty good at cleaning stuff." In other news, the Fox network announced plans to install hidden cameras on the submarines for their new reality show, Going Down for Love.

"The Silent Service is right now very much a boys' club," said Joe Buff, a military commentator and the author of six pulp fiction thrillers involving submarine adventures.

The Navy's normal spokespeople, Lance Ripped and Blake Throatstomp, were away on active duty and could not be reached for comment. However, the thorny issue of women on subs has been highly publicized in popular culture through television shows like LOST, where every episode involving both submarines and estrogen have been among the worst of the series.

One active-duty lieutenant said he personally supported the changes but worried about the effect on crews, who have long relied on tobacco and male banter to ease the boredom of serving in a confined space. "There's very few avenues of stress relief," he said, [...] "You can smoke, or you can hang around and get creative with the conversation."

When asked to provide specific examples of activities that might offend the fairer sex, the lieutenant offered, "We try to incorporate "seamen" into as many contexts as possible." His Lieutenant Commander was quick to clarify that Navy terminology was always eligible for Double Word Scores in the game of Scrabble.

[...] The complaints often fall into two categories: first, that female sailors will invariably become pregnant, potentially compromising missions during which submarines can remain submerged for months at a time; and second, that submarines are not built for the mixing of the sexes, given the tight passageways, shared berths and lack of privacy.

Actually, submarines must periodically resurface for supplies and most subs don't carry more than a couple months' worth of food. This leaves only three scenarios: 1) the woman is already visibly pregnant and can invariably be left on the dock, 2) the woman learns she is pregnant onboard, and invariably debarks at the next port, or 3) the woman got knocked up on the sub, a biological hazard that invariably involves the willing participation of seamen.

"Hormones do not shut down just because you go out to sea and submerge for many months at a time," wrote [John A.] Mason, 53, of Comer, Ga. He said sailors rely on various coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of extended deployments, including man hugs, rear-end patting and other rituals; another veteran cited a tradition in which submariners who cross the equator for the first time are required to strip to their underwear.

Mason's comments placed into stark relief the fundamental differences between Navy personnel and the rest of the general public. When polled, most American males agreed that all of the Navy rituals would actually be more fun with women involved.

"Serving on board a submarine is not a place to be if you are self-conscious or have any doubts about your sexuality," Mason added. "Silliness, male-bonding, and what might be considered inappropriate or 'politically incorrect' behavior in a civilian environment are all useful techniques that allow a sailor to endure the difficult living conditions and time away from their families and mainstream life."

Mason neglected to mention an alternate experimental approach which is thriving in the Pacific fleets: each sub is equipped with the movie, Ben Hur, a copy of War and Peace, and the complete Harvest Moon video game series. In fact, test crews were generally halfway through their tours by the time the movie ended.

"I'm worried that if you add women and remove smoking, some people will say, 'Too much is changing; this isn't what I like, and I'm going to get out,' " he said.

He noted, with some consternation, that submarine crews are likely to receive little sympathy from the general populace, since most American men who want to get away from their woman and smoke have to do it in the garage.

"I don't think you can remove cigarettes and add women and it not have some effect on the retention rate."

This off-the-cuff hypothesis was handily disproved in an episode of Mythbusters, where it was discovered that the new regulations actually increased the number of computer nerds interested in serving. Said one, already used to the tight passageways, shared berths and lack of privacy in his parents' basement, "A smoke-free environment filled with girls that can't run away? That's the best dating service ever!"

In other news, Fox is suing the Discovery Channel for infringing upon their reality show idea.

In another episode, SpongeBob's pal Patrick tries to perform a "slimelick" maneuver by reaching around a clam
Top ten fantastic and surreal creatures
Google Street View stalks women

tagged as newsday, favourites | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recital Day

Part II of IV

Promotional concerns for the URI! Recital took on as much importance as musical ones, since you can even make a musicologist's recital sound good if you advertise it with enough verve. The poster in yesterday's post was created with the help of Paige, who took fifty pictures of me in various poses which I then Photoshopped together. Since this was one of my first photo-editing outings, my original idea of showing a huge trumpet choir on stage was nixed when the shadows became too difficult to manipulate.

The first promotional poster went up in August before the recital, and a new one came out each month, like a comic book for music nerds. I used the posters to learn all about Photoshop, although I still probably don't do things the easiest or correct way. By the end, posters had simulated flames and crazy effects, and had there been another two months to go, I'm pretty sure the next posters would have required 3D glasses.

The programs were even more ostentatious -- rather than the standard department template with a back cover calendar advertising the upcoming sackbut concert and an advertisement for incredibly useful music fraternities, my program spanned 20 pages, contained excerpts and explanations of the music, and even ended with an order form where you could buy URI! Recital refrigerator magnets. Thankfully, no one ordered anything, since I hadn't actually made any. And while all of the other music majors were at home for spring break, making enough money at Subway to cover their final meals at Owens, I was holed up in a conference room, sorting Kinkos copies and binding them all together with one of those plastic binding machines.

Today's musical download is Loneliness, a song for voice, trumpet, and piano. For quite some time, my vocal specialty was deeply depressing songs beyond the reach of copyright law, and this 1911 poem fit the bill perfectly.

    Loneliness (4.0MB MP3)

♠ I love both the vocal and piano lines in this song. The trumpet part flat out fails -- I would rewrite it today for a less voluminous sound like an English Horn, but this piece was a commission for a trumpet/voice recital, so the best I could do was to not use the trumpet for the last third of the song. Even in the recording, you can tell that it overpowers the other parts.

♠ Also, if you write a trumpet part with quintuplets, your trumpet player is going to be all over the place on the recording. Damnit Shac!

♠ This piece had the misfortune of bonus exposure when I was at Florida State for grad school. During one of their composition professor searches where they eventually hired Dr. Callender, the faculty asked composers to bring in an "older work with obvious deficiencies" so it could be evaluated one-on-one with the candidates, and the faculty could see their teaching styles. This one-on-one morphed into a giant congregation of faculty and grad students, where they ended up ONLY using Loneliness because it "had some great obvious problems in it". As such, we got to hear it on loop for about two hours while various traveling composers tried to win a new job by pointing out its faults.

To be continued tomorrow...

Austrian authorities reveal find of buried treasure
Mansion that may have inspired The Great Gatsby torn down
Foster children would be allowed to get clothing only from second hand stores

tagged as memories, music, media | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, April 27, 2012

Proof Day

Proof that I was a calculator hacker, and not just in my own mind. Courtesy of my sister, who obviously takes far better care of her calculator than I do.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday night, Rebecca and Annie had Girls Night, during which they turned the living room into a lady cave, ate Thai food, and watched the HBO show, Girls, in which all of the main characters are girls and whine about life for 30 minutes at a time. I retreated to the man cave and continued work on the 200 training slides for my upcoming AWS training class.

Saturday was a lazy day with minimal external travels, but it prepared us for Sunday when we woke up at 6 AM and drove out to Sperryville to hike Old Rag.

We arrived at Old Rag around 8 AM to find surprisingly few other people there (maybe 4 other cars) and enjoyed a nice 9-mile hike in solitude, with sandwiches at the top. Unfortunately, Rebecca is too in-shape after her continuous training and felt like Old Rag was a cakewalk compared to our previous visits. She seriously contemplated hiking up nearby Robertson Mountain, whose trail goes straight up to a point 5 feet higher than Old Rag, but instead, we went to Narmada Winery and ate samosas instead.

In the evening, I grilled gouda-burgers and we continued watching Halt and Catch Fire before retiring early to rest up for the week to come.

How was your weekend?

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

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 20 years ago today, on April 27, 1996.

It was just after a mid-season, untitled crew race on the Occoquan Reservoir. The day started out unfortuitously when the school bus went off the road and skidded into a ditch, stranding us in Lorton long enough to prevent any pre-race practicing. In the lightweight race, we came in second by 7 seconds behind TJ but handily beat Woodbridge, Robinson, and Yorktown.

I haven't talked to any of these clowns in years, with the exception of that brief two-week period around 2007 when everyone was adding everyone else on Facebook to pretend that they still had things in common.

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, April 27, 2018

Extra Baby Picture Day

For everyone who wants more baby pictures.

This week, Maia pulled herself up onto our low-rider coffee table (by way of an even lower footstool). It lasted mere moments until she tumbled down, unphased and instilled with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Kilroy was here.

This is Maia sitting in the grass at Claude Moore Park, performing science experiments with sticks and gumballs. The temperature that day was a pleasant 72 degrees.

tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, April 27, 2020

List Day: 10 Pandemic Business Ideas

  1. Magic Pandemic Balls: Ask the Magic Pandemic Ball a question when you need trustworthy advice on adhering to competing local, state, and federal pandemic guidance.

  2. Peek Costco: Take all of those "watch an eagle raise a family" webcams abandoned since 1999 and point them at Costco entrances. Charge people for online access to the camera at their local store so they know when the lines are shortest.

  3. Flop Ten: Use an algorithm to unearth 10 awful TV shows that your streaming company really needs to recoup losses on, then advertise them on your homepage as "Top Ten in America Right Now!".

  4. NO U REVERSE: A smartphone app that allows you to reverse the direction of one-way arrows in grocery store aisles so they're more convenient. Engage in a $0.99 microtransaction bidding war when someone is on the other end of the aisle trying to do the same.

  5. The New Normal: Novelty protractors that show a right angle to be 91 degrees.

  6. Player Two Has Entered the Game: Hire from a pool of people who have recovered from coronavirus (and hopefully have some level of immunity built up) to do your shopping and other errands. It's like Uber with zombies.

  7. Eye Poppers: A real-time filter for Hangouts and Zoom that cuts out your pupils and repositions them so it looks like everyone is looking directly at the camera at all times.

  8. Open Woundz: Easy-to-apply, reusable cosmetics that make you appear to have gaping, bleeding wounds so people are more likely to respect your social radius.

  9. Krispy Kar: A portable deep fryer that plugs into the cigarette lighter of a car, allowing food delivery employees to finish cooking food in "the last mile" of the supply chain, avoiding the sadness of steamed sogginess.

  10. Flatten Your Curves: A health and weight-loss program where an online consultant (probably Marie Kondo) provides recipes that exploit the dregs of your pantry. You cannot get more groceries until you've eaten everything previously purchased, including that two-year-old congealed block of raisins.

tagged as lists, inventions | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Ian Year 1 Battle Report

At one year of age, Ian is 22 pounds and has 3 front teeth, two on top and one on the bottom. He is an excellent crawler, raiser, and supported stander/walker. He's been going up stairs for weeks and is now comfortable going down stairs the right way (feet first rather than bodysurfing).

He hates being on the changing table and cries excessively when the world is not revolving around him. For most of his public-facing time though, he's super happy. Ian likes waving at people and swaying back and forth in his high chair. He says many syllables and particularly likes "DA". We can't tell if he is legitimately saying the word, "DADA", or if he's just lucky stringing syllables together in the right amounts.

His sleep schedule has been pretty erratic, probably because of incoming teeth. Some nights, he'll wake up 1-2 times in the middle of the night. We're hoping these disruptions go down to zero soon, because we have enough problems with Amber the cat waking us up at 5 AM.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of our two kids in their first year.

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

 

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