This Day In History: 05/10

Monday, May 10, 2004

It's very hard to find a place that makes good egg drop soup. You either get a batch that's spiced up, or a batch that takes like corn. We ordered some Chinese food from China Express last week with the best egg drop soup I've ever had. However, all the rest of their food tasted like ass and the delivery took over an hour.

This weekend was a low-key, no-Alias affair with a pleasant mix of errands, house projects, and hanging around. This afternoon is the first work soccer game of the year followed by another round of thunderstorms and rabid cicadas (they should be here any day now...)

Let off steam through torture
It's the kind of case you would expect to see on a 'Columbo' episode
Customer reviews to trust
Passerby steals cello and crashes into trash
Letterman living on the edge

permalink | 1 comment

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Work has been pretty light so far this month, giving me more energy to work on fun side projects at home. Today though, I just mowed the lawn and ate potato chips.

I'm in the middle of reading Code Complete: The Second Edition by Steve McConnell. It's one of those language-agnostic all-purpose programmer books that's supposed to be on everyone's shelf. The book has some smart information in it and passes my "you're a programmer not a comedian so stop trying to write jokes" litmus test. I'd recommend this one along with the usuals, Effective Java, Refactoring, and Pragmatic Programmer.

Didn't study? Just kill your cat and make it look like an accident
Band banned from playing 'Louie Louie' because the lyrics are naughty on mellophone
Rusty Wallace begins plugging his new show, "WHO'S THE BOSS NOW, BITCH??"

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Capsule Review Day

The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman:
This is a spinoff book from the Lockhart Trilogy that uses a couple well-known characters, but otherwise has nothing at all to do with the original stories. It's a definite page-turner, but doesn't have a lot of internal logic to the plot. Pullman needs to work on his endings, because this book just seems to peter out unsatisfactorily, like Ruby in the Smoke did. However, it only takes a few hours to read, and it's fun while it lasts -- just don't expect to get any life lessons from it or plan on reading it again.

Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse 5000:
I was always one of those computer-using fools that stuck with the original Microsoft mouse that comes bundled with every computer. For years, I used the right-handed mouse shaped like a cul-de-sac and had no problems at all. Recently though, my last mouse started getting squeaky parts which were not fixed after cleaning and such. I went online to look for a new mouse, only to discover that Microsoft no longer makes the mouse style that I was accustomed to. I decided to be adventuresome and try a Microsoft wireless optical mouse (even though I hate replacing batteries). This mouse looks retarded, but fits very comfortably in my hand and reduces a lot of the carpally pain that I normally get from using a mouse. The middle mouse wheel is nearly impossible to click unless you've been exercising your middle finger religiously (so northern Virginian drivers should be just fine), but this negative is balanced by the fact that it scrolls as smoothly as a baby's bottom on vellum. The middle wheel can also be clicked left and right, which you can tie to Forward and Back in your web browser. Finally, there are two tiny buttons between the thumb and forefinger resting points. One button toggles a magnifying mode which enlarges a portion of your screen for detail work. The other I have bound to a middle-button-click, since I am too weak to regularly click the wheel button.

The magnifying button is especially annoying when you're playing a game with lots of frantic mouse clicking (Twice so far, I have clicked it by accident, allowing me to see my character die in close-up), but otherwise the mouse is excellent. Tracking is very nice and the battery shows no signs of premature kaputting. I would recommend this mouse for its comfort and accuracy, even though it looks like a ridiculous space-age trinket from the 80s. All it needs is neon stripes.

Life by The Cardigans:
This is the first major CD from the Cardigans, released in 1995 in the U.S. I picked it up because I enjoy their current works, and I like to hear the evolution of bands. The music pure unapologetic retro pop, but I really like the sound of the arrangements. One of the band members has a background in jazz arranging and theory (although he was also in a heavy metal band) and the selection of chords really feels like a jazz chart. I'd peg this CD as sounding like the Trashcan Sinatras, but with better harmonies.

Many composers like Prokofiev are labelled by listeners as "whimsical" whether the term works or not, but this is one CD that really fits that term to a T. All of the songs are either happy-go-lucky, or slightly melancholy. If you like pop music, buy it for the lead singer's mellifluous voice. Here are a couple samples of the tunes I like:

Celia Inside (483KB MP3)
Gordon's Gardenparty (545KB MP3)
Carnival (515KB MP3)

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 is coming up this Friday if you're interested in doing it. I'm not sure if I will yet, since most of my weekdays are homogenous, like 2% milk or the population of Falls Church. There's also a new LOST on tonight. Finally, turn in your Name that Tune entries by noon today! The prize is still up for grabs! Loud exclamation points!

The JJ Abrams Pop Machine -- who wants to see MI:3 with me?
Unable to find new employment, the Doughboy hit a low point; he started drinking and taking in shows at a local strip club.
Man reprograms gas pumps for cheaper gas

tagged as reviews | permalink | 15 comments

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Double Day: Contest Results & House Status

Congratulations to my Mom, who won the Caption Contest in a landslide of votes to earn a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. My Mom has been entering contests professionally since birth, and is often the honorable mention in the Washington Post Style Invitationals. She plans on using her gift certificate to buy something nice for her son. Thanks go out to Rob, sick Mike, and Anna for their entries as well!

Since the suspense about the outcome of this contest was lacking like emotion in any of Keanu Reeve's performances, I will end today's post with pictures of what the main floor of my house currently looks like. If you are not now, or never have been, a yuppy with a house and grand home improvement plans ("Minding Your Manors" as I like to call it), you can live vicariously through these pictures.

And of course, the most recent addition: a place to poop!

Stealing the essentials at day care
Enliving mundane lives as cause for a pardon
Wallaby likes it in Utah

tagged as contests | permalink | 3 comments

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

I managed to complete two projects on my bachelor weekend while Rebecca was wandering around in a big pit:

1) I've published a new Starcraft 2 Beta report at BattleReports.com.

2) A new release of DDMSence is available (v.1.3.1) which allows users to validate their data with custom rules defined in ISO Schematron.

I am currently working on an oral treatment for both cancer and scabies, and hope to have something available over the counter by Friday.

Besides sexual syndromes, Wii now linked to violent crime sprees
Lord Jesus Christ hit by Mass. car
A room with a view to one big mystery

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Other Corners Day

Many pictures of my home have ended up posted here, but they all seem to be taken from the same angles. Here are four random views of corners you might not have seen before.


This is the surreal corner of my home office. The iron is here, because the laundry room is cold and dusted with kitty litter. I bought the eye chart on Amazon for $7, and use it to refocus my eyes every few hours while working on the computer.


This is the wedding wall in the guest bedroom, containing trinkets from every wedding I've ever attended. There are pictures on the bed because we've been meaning to hang them up but haven't quite gotten around to it yet.


This is the bookcase in the family room, and contains a hodge podge of books I rarely ever reread on the left side. The right side is Rebecca's side, which she uses more for keeping track of miscellaneous junk rather than for books.


This is the highly organized wall of the basement storage room, containing everything you need to maintain or raze a home. Because I live next to a forest, I never need the outdoor garbage bags, but they're great for decorating walls in a Halloween party.

Swedish insect shoots larvae into your eyes
NY studio plus-sizes the pleasures of yoga
One Professor's Attempt to Explain Every Joke Ever

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Cougar Town, Season One:
This series mixes the setup of Friends with the heart of Scrubs. It starts off as a show about a woman in her forties dating younger men, but in the span of the first six episodes, it's almost as if the writers realize how little there was to milk from that premise: it morphs into more of an ensemble comedy about friends living on a cul de sac. Plenty of solid laughs, and worth a viewing.

Final Grade: B+

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol:
My review of the third MI movie pegged it as a movie version of Alias. This one doesn't feel quite as derivative. It has an anemic cookie-cutter plot that's used to glue together some great set pieces, and features a few scenes where the stunts actually feel dangerous. It's a little on the long side, but entertaining throughout.

Final Grade: B-

Path of Exile, Beta:
This game is a Diablo-like action RPG being developed by an indy team of four developers. It kept my interest for about twenty hours but no longer. The game improves on some of the features of the genre, but has an impenetrable skill system, ho-hum loot, and just doesn't feel as fast-paced as Diablo. The most impressive aspects of this game are how good it looks and how much such a small team could accomplish. I might take another look at it when it's finished, but for now, it's no more than a passing distraction during the wait for Diablo 3.

Final Grade: C

Gaming Bonus:
If you ever suffered through Ultima VIII in the early 90's, will surface all sorts of traumatic repressed gameplay memories. I usually tire of video reviews after a few minutes, but watched all 30 minutes of this one.

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, May 10, 2013

What Google Thinks I Look Like

tagged as media | permalink | 2 comments

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Questions Day

It's time for another Questions Day as I'm back in proposal writing season again and didn't have time to come up with original content. Want to get a second opinion on something? Ask anything you want, be it about myself, chickens, politics, or something you don't understand. Need some recommendations? I'll answer all of your questions next Tuesday!

tagged as you speak | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Baby Day: Dominant and Recessive Traits

REBECCA rebecca
BRIAN
  • The use of the pun as a weapon of wit
  • Financial responsibility
  • A weird mixed Southern-Midwestern accent
  • Disinterest in sugary treats
  • Ability to go outside without sunscreen
  • High level of hand-eye coordination required to hook a blinking Tracer
  • brian
  • The good looks
  • Can remain in Down Dog for hours on end
  • Ability to switch between five different books at any given time
  • Exceeding 6 feet in height
  • Love of organized sports
  • Ambition to become chapter president of a sorority
  • This is how genetics works, right?

    tagged as lists, offspring | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, May 10, 2019

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Bosch, Season Five:
    The latest season of Bosch is fairly mediocre. It starts with a tense situation immediately followed by "THREE WEEKS EARLIER...", a device that J.J. Abrams believe adds suspense, but really just serves to annoy the viewers. The various plots don't really work in isolation, and the "main" plot is fairly mundane. I think the biggest problem of this season was that the main characters spent too much time isolated into their own stories without the great interplay that shows how strong the relationships are. The "satisfying high point" of the season occurs in the penultimate episode (in a court case, of course), leaving one more episode of meandering and unbelievable action scenes before it's all over.

    Final Grade: B-

    Catastrophe, Season Four:
    The final season of Catastrophe is of middling quality -- lots of great insults that tiptoe the meanness line and a plot that doesn't go in any particular direction. It ends on an upbeat note, and is over quickly. Free on Amazon Prime.

    Final Grade: B-

    Santa Clarita Diet, Season Three:
    The most recent season of this show about suburban undead is not quite as good as previous seasons but still worth a watch. By the end, I was a little tired of Drew Barrymore and the constant jokes about gender equality, but still enjoyed the ride. Netflix cancelled the show after this season (on a minor cliffhanger), which is only slightly disappointing to me. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

    Healers and Thieves by Susan Quilty:
    Susan Quilty, a local writer from Rebecca's yoga studio who also wrote The Insistence of Memory, delivers a solid Young Adult novel with fantasy elements. The YA Fantasy genre has a reputation for being overcrowded with mediocre mashups of Harry Potter and Twilight, so it's refreshing that Healers and Thieves is built from a palette of concepts and plot devices that don't already feel overused. This story does a good job of capturing and conveying the main character's wonder and sense of discovery as she leaves her comfort zone. It sometimes reminded me of Elizabeth Winthrop's classic, The Castle in the Attic, but with much more robust world-building.

    Quilty does a good job of incorporating the modern world YA elements without bogging down the momentum of the main plot. When it comes to the first book in a trilogy, there are usually two ways to go -- either tell a small, complete story with hints at a broader universe that are unfolded in subsequent books, or start progressing towards the final book without delay, treating each conclusion as a pause point in the action. Healers and Thieves falls squarely in the latter category. While I wish that the book had more self-contained finality in its ending, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and look forward to Book Two.

    Final Grade: B+

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Monday, May 10, 2021

    Ian Week #2 Battle Report

    List of things Ian does in order from most to least:

    • Sleeps
    • Eats
    • Pees
    • Poops
    • Fusses
    • Sucks His Hand
    • Cries

    tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

     

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