This Day In History: 05/06

Thursday, May 06, 2004
Friday, May 06, 2005

Much to the chagrin of heavy metal bands everywhere, a recent retranslation of the New Testament has identified the Devil's number as 616, and not 666 . Apparently the Devil has been hanging out in Grand Rapids with Elvis all this time, lazing on the back porch and drinking "pop".

Specific theological debates aside, this is one of the issues I have with treating ancient texts as dogmatic fact or basing a belief system around them. No matter how true the middle man tried to be to the intent of the author, the receiver is never going to be left with the exact same ideas that the original messenger intended. The game of historical telephone is exacerbated by dead languages, mistranslations, honest mistakes, and middle men intentionally warping things for their own purposes. If any link in the chain is fallible, you cannot truly have 100% faith in the end result.

Three thousand years from now, expect to see people worshipping dung because of misrepresentation of the "Shit Happens" bumper sticker.

More signs that human-eating maggots are taking over the world
Keith Schwartz worries about the "dark undertones" in his brown pants

tagged as newsday | permalink | 4 comments

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Newsday Tuesday

The Silver Line, which provides Northern Virginia with its own brand of Ross-and-Rachel drama, is back on the table again after yet another reversal of federal funding . The goal of this project is to connect the region's only major International airport1 with its inadequate Metro system so travelers don't have to use the inappropriately-named Washington Flyer taxi monopoly, which never travels at more than 45 miles per hour when the meter is running.

With all of their resources devoted to getting this built, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has spent surprisingly little time figuring out how to make it profitable in the coming years. Instead of targeting penny-pinching foreign tourists who will use the Silver Line twice and then never again, their core market should be Northern Virginian yuppies with disposable income (namely, me). I have a few suggestions on how to proceed.

First, they need to come up with a new name. When I think of Silver, I think of Diners, of trumpets that tarnish almost immediately, and of coming in Second Place to that clown who really didn't deserve First and probably cheated. None of these images make me want to hop on the train.

In fact, it might be better if they did away with colours entirely. Once you run out of your basic Crayola six pack, you open the door to poor choices like the Cyan Line or the Flesh Line (and the latter might be disappointing if no boobies are involved). Eventually you get sued by a colourblind rider who THOUGHT he was on the Burnt Sienna Line, but was actually on the Raw Umber Line and ended up somewhere in Anacostia with a stab wound and no shoes.

We can avoid this confusion up front by naming our new train as the "BU Line". This is a memorable, friendly name that could only be confused with the Blue Line, but that line is pretty useless anyhow (see also, Arlington Cemetery), and can be phased out. I wouldn't mind if the BU Line was coloured blue on maps, but yellow also works, since I, too, am yellow.

The other change I would humbly suggest involves the locations of the stations. Having a train go directly to the airport would encourage Northern Virginia's rich white minority to travel by plane, and it's a well-documented fact that "white flight" lowers property values and leads to violent crime. Instead of providing a conduit out, we should build the Metro so that it encourages people to spend money in the area. After much research, I have decided that the BU Line will have eight total stations.

East Falls Church: This is the one station from the Silver Line that I would keep, mainly because I travel here often to pick up women in Falls Church.

Tyson's Corner: The original Silver Line called for four stations in Tyson's Corner. This is ridiculous, because the people who shop here are also people who would never be caught dead on a subway train. The BU Line will only have one stop, and patrons will exit onto the median of Route 7 without any crosswalks. As more shoppers get hit by cars, the urge to shop here will decrease and eventually trains can just skip this station entirely (see also, Arlington Cemetery).

Wolf Trap: If Wolf Trap had a Metro line, it would easily be the best ampitheatre in the area and we could finally blow up the Nissan Pavilion and use that land for dumping hazardous materials. (It should not take four hours to clear out a parking lot after an Aerosmith concert).

Reston Town Center / FGM: The BU Line would run straight under my office, and might even have an elevator directly to my floor. Underground tunnels would connect to the Reston Town Center and Target.

Herndon: A station at Elden Street, with easy access to Popeyes, Panera, the Hard Times Cafe, and Popeyes. It might even be more efficient to relocate the Popeyes in the station, so you don't have to exit through a turnstile first. Alternately, Popeyes patrons would be eligible for a free transfer stub.

Overlook: A station at the intersection of Crestview and Herndon Parkway in Herndon would offer an easy access point to the W&OD trail. This would provide me with the illusion that I might someday go biking and get some exercise.

Church Mills: Having a station within a half mile of my house would allow me to walk there, conserving gasoline and reducing air pollution.

Potomac Run: The terminus of this line would be underneath the Sterling Costco, with underground tunnels to Petsmart, Target, and Friendly's. Escalators would be slightly wider to encourage bulk shopping.

As you can see, the BU Line would be a comprehensive solution to my our commuting issues. Please write to your local representative today and show your support.

1 BWI does not count as a real airport because it has three strikes against it: 1) it's in Maryland, 2) no one uses it, and 3) putting Washington in the name fools people into believing that it's near the city even though this is entirely false. Sure, I could rename myself "Brian Rattlesnake Uri!" but that would not automatically give me venomous fangs and maracas on my ass.

Happy Birthday Matt Lund!

Meet a real live drug dealer
Passenger moons at speed camera
Papa John's apologizes for crybaby shirts

tagged as newsday, mock mock | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Just Plain Wednesday


Yesterday evening, we went to Kathy and Chris' house for a delicious Cinco de Mayo celebration. Yum!

Nukes help identify fake whiskey
King Arthur defies eviction notice
Google mows the lawn with goats

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 7 comments

Thursday, May 06, 2010

List Day: 10 Ways to Know that a LOST Episode Will Disappoint

  1. A large portion of episode is spent wandering through the jungle towards a clear goal, but the group deviates at the last minute to pursue a different goal instead.

  2. A battle occurs, and both sides have enough guns to found a militia.

  3. Someone else gets shot, and the Giacchino motive for "You'd better care about this" plays in the background.

  4. You pull out your laptop during a commercial break, and don't notice that the show has come back on.

  5. A submarine dives and/or surfaces, but never travels in a horizontal direction.

  6. Jack tries to fix something (other than a sandwich).

  7. Jack and/or Sawyer do something retarded because Kate is threatened.

  8. Half of the episode is devoted to character building in an alternate reality which will probably disappear into irrelevance by the end of the show.

  9. A character repeatedly shouts, "They took my  X !", where X is either "boy" or "husband".

  10. Plot development is furthered through edgy and nonsensical dream sequences (also applies to HBO shows).

Teacher poisoned his own coffee
Office survival guide sees humor in job misery
Two arrested over monkey balls

tagged as lists | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday Fragments

a dramatically fluctuating wavelength of awesome

♠ Our basement is currently filled to the brim with the detritus of human consumerism, since our Naughty Alder cabinets arrived on Wednesday afternoon and are currently crashing rent-free next to the stainless steel appliances, including a dishwasher which will replace the current anemic appliance which could be more aptly described as a dishdampener. It doesn't actually clean the plates anymore -- it just soaks them thoroughly and heats them to a temperature incapable of aiding in water evaporation.

♠ On the porch is the new Weber Spirit grill with cast iron cooktop, which replaces the 7-year-old Char Broil special which survived with only 2 burners for the past 6.5 years and dripped grease all over the deck. Mike (of Mike and Chompy) also owns this grill, and I've heard that when people in New Hampshire own something, it's definitely top quality.

♠ We grilled steaks on Wednesday night to break in the grill, and both came out perfectly, with a minimum of oversight -- this grill resembles what I would want my employees to be like if I had the patience to own a business.

♠ Speaking of work, I am ending my 7-year stint on the Metadata Registry and moving into a role that bridges the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and others, and was described to me as "listening to highly technical people describe what they want, and translating it into non-technical jargon to get things done". There won't be any Java development here, but it's good career experience and will keep me from getting pigeonholed, and anyone who has ever taken Discrete Mathematics knows that pigeonholing is lame.

♠ Plans for the weekend include a stop to see my visiting sister and nephew this evening, followed by a few hours of work over the weekend to wrap up some old job stuff before moving on to the new job. Beyond that, the weekend looks pretty light, so perhaps we'll take an overnight trip to Maui or have an impromptu grilling party.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Fed up with Phoenix, Tucson talks secession from Arizona
Excuse me, but aren't we brothers?
"Home Alone" house for sale for $2.4 million

tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, May 06, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday night we ordered carryout from Joe's Pizzaria, where I discovered a new candidate for the "most consistent wings" award, with a crispy shell and juicy meat. I feel like many of the wing chains I've been to tend to overhype wings with the consistency of an 80-year-old woman's bicep. We also watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which Rebecca had heard about in a radio interview with Robert Downey Jr.

On Saturday, I loaded up on unnecessary Costco goods, and we had a Cinco de Mayo barbeque one day early. Our barbeque features the "Beers of Mexico" sampler pack, a fresh pineapple, and andouille chicken sausages.

Sunday was a recovery day -- I worked on Bugler and Rebecca worked on her last school-related presentation. We also caged our tomato plants, which have fully survived the frosty days and bounced back. Overall, growing tomatoes has been slightly more interesting than growing basil.

We went out for an early dinner at the Old Brogue Pub in Great Falls. It has been a few years since we were last there, but the experience was consistent: good, but not amazing food, pleasant ambience, and spotty service.

How was your weekend?

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

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Random Chart Day: Dining Out in 2013

The chart below shows all of the restaurants I ate at and paid for by debit card in 2013. The larger pie slices represent a higher amount spent, not necessarily more visits (Popeyes tops the number of visits chart).

You can also see how this differs from 2012.

tagged as data | permalink | 5 comments

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Memory Day: Summer at the Spellerbergs

Thirteen years ago today on May 6, 2002, I spent my first full day living with Anna's family in Chantilly for the summer. Home for the summer from grad school and starting my third internship at FGM, I was finally tired of driving the 60 miles round trip from my parents' house in Alexandria and work in Dulles.

Based on my mob connections to this Italian family, I was able to secure a berth in their back guest room, moving in a card table to support the massive desktop (Pentium 4 2.0GHz with 768MB RAM) and CRT monitor (which I also ferried back to Alexandria on the weekends), as well as all of the MIDI accoutrements I was using to write my master's thesis. (By the end of the summer, I had written about 40 measures of music, 16 of which became the main melody, leaving the rest discarded in a folder to mine for future ideas).

Living with Anna's family was very different from the way I'd grown up. For example, people stopped by unannounced all of the time, and they thought nothing of just pulling up another chair and setting out another dinner plate. I adjusted quickly though, and was soon pulling karmic-yoga duties to pay for my upkeep like cleaning the house or ferrying Anna's little sisters to various softball games on 28, in the days when 28 had stoplights every 5 feet.

Among the other highlights I recall from this summer:

  • I started watching The Sopranos for the first time.
  • Warcraft III was released.
  • I was amazed by Netscape 7.0 Preview, which introduced Tabbed Browsing for the first time.
  • At work, I developed an automatic testing framework that took some Java code and developed JUnit test stubs for every method, along with basic get / set accessor tests. Like all good internship projects, it was promptly shelved after I left.
  • I maintained my 5:30 - 1:30 work schedule, even though work was just ten minutes away, and then spent the afternoons "writing music".
  • I worked on a personal project called Pattern Recognition and Identification through Melodic Analysis (PRIMA), which was essentially open-source software before I knew what open-source really was.

What were you doing in the summer of 2002?

tagged as memories | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, May 06, 2016

Old New Car Day

My car turned 4 years old on Wednesday (counting from the day I purchased it in 2012, because no one cares about the car's life before I was its master).

Much to the disappointment of insurance companies everywhere, it's only been driven about 6500 miles per year. This is thanks to my 7 mile one-way commute to work, a healthy amount of telecommuting, and the fact that most of my adventures occur inside my house.

In those four years, the car has driven to Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, and DC. It has never had an accident or a broken part, although the gas release latch doesn't pop open when the temperature falls below about 20 degrees. It has two small thumb-sized dents, possibly from heavy birds that fell asleep in the sky.

Likes and Dislikes

  • The electronic seat warmers are great in the winter, although the natural seat warmth of leather in the summer is not so great.
  • The car is about 2 inches too large in every dimension. The number of times I've had people in the backseat is easily under 20, and the only reason I got the Accord instead of the Civic was for the V6 engine.
  • I like that the sound system has real knobs and buttons, but dislike that the shuffle algorithm resets every time the car starts, leading to the same song playing multiple times in a day.

What are you driving these days?

tagged as lists, memories | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, May 06, 2019

Maia Month #22 Battle Report

Maia is 1 year and 10 months old today. The picture above was actually taken 3 days ago -- she's still visiting the Gillis family in Oklahoma City and between Daylight Savings Time and time zones, Rebecca apparently flew into the future on her jet plane.

This past month has been great from a child-care perspective. Although Maia is much less likely to play on her own these days, she's very amenable to whatever sort of activity we think up as long as we're nearby. Activities have included "playing with measuring cups and water in the sink", "filling a bucket with dirt", and "acting as a Chaos Monkey while we work on 1000 piece puzzles". Puzzles, the Berenstain Bears, and baths are her recent favourite activities -- she will immediately drop whatever she's doing to engage in either.

Maia is saying a lot of things now, not all intelligible. Her default setting is two-word phrases that she says over and over until we finally understand them and recite them back. She is adept at making unexpected connections between things in her books and things she did several days ago. With the weather so nice, she gets outside at least twice a day. I regularly take her to Claude Moore Park or Lake Anne in the evenings while Rebecca is at work and Rebecca takes her to "forest school" on Fridays at Algonkian Park, where she can hang out with other toddlers splashing in mud puddles.

The cutest thing she does at the moment is her approach for showing excitement. When she sees something amazing like a new playground or a flock of geese, she'll hold her fists up near her mouth and point with both hands.

P.S. Maia gained two new friends last month: Welcome Gideon (child #6 of the Ahlbin clan) and Tobias (child #1 of the Jackson family)!

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

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Maia Battle Report: Year 2 Month 10

Maia is just 2 months away from turning 3. Quarantine life has been challenging -- Maia understands that something is different in our routines and misses her friends, but doesn't really have the context to express this properly. She's tired of hanging out with just the two of us all the time, but we still have a lot of fun with few tantrums. It would probably be much harder if she were a little older and had more memory of what going to school every day was like.

Maia still loves bunnies and requires Original Bunny around to "dry my tears" whenever she has cried. Most games involve bunnies in some way, from building houses / dance studios / coffee shops for bunnies to dressing up the bunnies in her clothes.

She retains vast quantities of information, and will point out the difference between cedar conifers and pine trees on nature hikes, or successfully answer every single Berenstain Bears trivia question ("In which book did X happen?") we ask her. She recently started memorizing Mother Goose rhymes and also woke up frantically one morning to tell us that she heard a catbird outside.

Last month, we finally let her watch Frozen in four 25-minute chunks. For the next two days, all of her bunnies changed their names to Frozen characters and we played games involving our bed as "North Mountain" ("Elsa bunny has to climb it!"). This also happened:

Since then, she's learned all of the words to the song. She will recite them during nursery quiet time and then ask Alexa to play the song as if she were checking her work.

Other Maia Fragments:

  • She has discovered bacon and once cried when she ate it all and there was none left.
  • She's aware that we have two Original Bunnies now and will ask for the "magic cousin bunny" when her first bunny is dirty and requires a trip in the washing machine. She understands that only one lives in the world at a time.
  • She no longer wants to watch anything but Superwings on TV. Mister Roger's and Sesame Street are ancient history. Even so, we'll only go through about an hour of TV per week.

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

Friday, May 06, 2022

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Palm Springs:
We went into this movie sight-unseen based on its appearance in a list of "best stuff to watch on Hulu", and that may be why we were so pleasantly surprised with how good it was. The movie does a good job balancing several contrasting tones, and never devolves into the realm of parody you might expect after seeing Andy Samberg on the cover. Everything is held together by great performances from all the leads (I've yet to see a bad Cristin Milioti performance). On Hulu.

Final Grade: B+

Fallout 76:
My first impressions of this game continue to hold true. If you can get past the random quest bugs and awful user interface, there is a very fun (albeit shallow) game here that offers just enough depth to keep you coming back. I don't think I would go back and play Fallout 4 again as this game is just slightly better in all regards.

Final Grade: B

Dave, Season One:
This show is a fictional take on the life of rapper, Dave Burd (stage name: Lil' Dicky), who actually released a full album that wasn't bad. It starts out as a typical raunchy slacker comedy but then morphs into more of a "white" Atlanta with a lot of nuance and unexpected depth. We would have liked a little more rapping involved, but finished the whole first season in about a week. On Hulu.

Final Grade: B+

Better Call Saul, Season Five:
This was a great, fast-paced season that easily surpassed the previous "hole-building" plot that anchored season four. The storylines are starting to intersect more which makes for more interesting scenes. I was also surprised by the character progression in the finale -- a nice feat for a show where we already essentially know how things end up.

Final Grade: B+

tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 0 comments

 

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