This Day In History: 05/11

Saturday, May 11, 2002

A hearty welcome back is in order for all those disappointed folks who have been visiting daily in hopes of an amazing update. I've been incredibly busy on all fronts these past two weeks, and I'll try to get everyone caught up on the breath-taking activities that punctuate my exciting lifestyle. I started working last Wednesday and quickly got back into the coding groove. This summer it looks like I'll be working on "future" applications of the current software packages. This includes non-application-specific enhancements and modifications which aren't necessarily tied to an urgent release date. I did the same type of thing last summer, and its gratifying to see all my work from that stint still existing in the baseline for this year's software work.

I also moved into my old roommate's family's guest room this week, cutting my commute drastically. I've decided to keep on getting to work at 5:30 AM though, because I can really use the extra time in the afternoons for my music projects.

Last weekend, I went back to Blacksburg for Nikki's voice recital and Shac's trumpet recital. I'm starting to get used to the long drives now, although the trip down took a couple more hours than expected. There was an accident on 81 around Staunton blocking traffic in both directions, so every trucker and motorist on the highway overflowed into the historic district of the city, backing traffic up even further. A few people even missed the recital as a result, but luckily I made it into town around 6. The voice recital was amazing, and easily one of the best recitals I'd been to all year. I'm glad I took the time to head down there, because it was definitely worthwhile. The folks of Blacksburg are still all the same, and if you haven't been there in a while, the only difference is the viral growth of NOVA-style strip malls and mass market stores in Christiansburg on 460. With people, the degrees of separation keep on shrinking. It was interesting to see that the current roommate (A) of my old roommate (B) is dating the girl (C) who lives in the apartment above my old roommate (D) from 1999, who just started dating another girl (E). This other girl turned out to be the ex-girlfriend of my old roommate's roommate (A). Add the fact that they live just across the parking lot from each other and you have a situation worthy of a bad made-for-TV movie.

In the book department, I read Cybershock, a very interesting book on information warfare and the state of hacking on the Internet. I also picked up a couple books on Director and Lingo for my assistantship but I haven't done more than skim through them yet. I've also seen a bunch of movies since the last time I did a Movie Night update... among them: Zoolander, Bandits, O Brother Where Art Thou?, and Heist. The first was funny in a really dumb way, and the second was really good but very slow-paced. It had a good twist though, and I always like a movie with a twist. I'd heard a lot about O Brother before I watched it and it was pretty good, but not necessarily the best movie ever. I probably wouldn't watch it again. Heist was a lot like Score, just as Snatch was a lot like Lock, Stock. There were just too many plot twists and seesaws in Heist though, and after awhile I just became disinterested in following them all. Score was much more successful in that regards. In Blacksburg, I also watched the old classic, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, which was actually a little funnier than I remembered. By the way, I also watched Episode I of Star Wars for posterity's sake. I tried watching it before, but got distracted halfway through. This time I stuck it out to the end, but it was still as bad as I remembered it.

I got a new computer with all the bells and whistles last week (a Pentium 4 2.0GHz with 768MB RAM and a GeForce3) but haven't had very much time to play with it, since I'm only around it on weekends. It came standard with Windows XP which, while incredibly stable, comes with a brand new bag of annoyances, like the Fisher Price "bright shiny colours" interface and the constant behind-the-scenes attempts to ignore my own apps for the Microsoft varieties. If you though it was bad that Internet Explorer was integrated into Windows 98, you'll love that XP is bundled with Messenger (a replacement to ICQ and AIM), Media Player (which tries to divert all your music files and MP3s away from your other players, while reporting your usage habits to Microsoft), and AOL (which tries to convince you to drop your current ISP for America Online or MSN), as well as many more. None of these are easily removed or avoided without a bit of registry editing, but luckily I've managed to revert the feel of the interface to the classic Windows style and hide most of the apps.

I'm also hard at work breaking in a new trumpet, a Bach Stradivarius standard model 37 with my Schilke 15 mouthpiece. I'm still in the trial period, but it seems to have a nice tone quality, and I'll probably end up keeping it. Of course, all of these extracurricular activities are keeping me from composing, which continues to get the short shrift. I've done a lot of mental work on my thesis though, and hope to start the actual writing this week.

P.S. I also saw Spidermanlast week, which was a great movie, even though I've never actually read the comic or the comic book. The computer generated portions were very obvious, but if you don't get hung up on that, you can really get lost in the good parts of the movie.

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I caught some sort of bug yesterday that kept me from work today. I had already planned to take the morning off for a car inspection, but ended up staying home for the second half and napping as well.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

While reading various news stories about the tensions between the Chinese, Japanese, North Koreans, and other Asian cultures, I noticed that no one has particularly strong feelings against the South Koreans. South Koreans aren't being accused of rewriting history or threatening to take over the Taiwanese and mass distribute cheap electronic gadgets. In general, I guess we're just a more cuddly race than the rest.

There's a new Lost and Alias on tonight. The Alias episode is Jennifer Garner's directorial debut.

We were smart enough to catch the scripted ones.
Pakistan is not for the dogs
"It's like having your tongue hit with a hammer. Man, it hurt."

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Name That Tune Contest Results

Congratulations to Anna and Dan, who will each get a $5 gift certificate from Amazon.com sent to their e-mail addresses!

Anna A. got 8 correct. She got the artist but not the song correct on #8, and got #10 totally wrong.
Dan S. got 8 correct. He missed #4 completely and got just the artist for #9.

Joe C. got 7 correct. He completely missed #3 and #10, and got just the artist on #7.
Mike C. got 6 correct. He missed #3, #4, and #10, and got just the artist for #9.
Kathy B. got 5 correct, #1, #2, #4, #5, #6.
Rob K. got 3 correct: #1, #7, #8, and got the correct group for #9.
Brianne A. got 2 correct: #1 and #8.

Because there were a couple that some people thought were insanely difficult, I have made ridiculously easy versions of the same clips below, so you can retry the ones you got wrong as a musical cripple before you give up and look at the answers. Highlight the hidden text in the last column to see what the artist and groups were for each clip.

SongClipEZ-Mode ClipAnswer
1A Day in the Life - Beatles
2Sweet Child O Mine - Guns n' Roses
3Walk This Way - Aerosmith
4Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
5Ants Marching - Dave Matthews
6Long Train Runnin' - Doobie Brothers
7Surfer Girl - Beach Boys
8Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
9Don't Stand So Close To Me - Police
10Paint It Black - Rolling Stones

This was fun -- maybe I'll have another contest again in the Fall!

Teen asks pal to run him over
Too goofy to be in the army
Holding a beer can in a threatening manner

tagged as contests | permalink | 11 comments

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday Fragments

you can tell it's the weekend because of all the clubs

♣ Wednesday's LOST was really good, and set up great expectations for the last three hours of this season. In a peculiar-for-a-money-grubbing-media-network move, ABC announced that LOST would have three remaining seasons of sixteen episodes each, so we'll finally figure out what Jack's tattoos mean and why Hurley's still chubby when I am thirty years old.

♣ Eleanor didn't think too highly of the episode. In fact, she slept straight through it and her Bon Jovi / Rod Stewart hair grew another four inches.

♣ I mowed the lawn after work yesterday, because it's in that fast growth stage where you have to choose between emptying the bag every fourteen seconds or mowing every six days. In this picture, you can barely tell that there used to be a massive tree stump in the middle of the yard, although you can see that the grass is a little darker in the back corner where I bury all the bodies.

♣ After mowing the lawn, I finished the fifth and final season of Six Feet Under. The series is big enough to warrant a separate Review Day next week, but in a nutshell: it's slow to build, requires patience, pays off well, evokes deep thoughts, and isn't for everyone. I also thought the series finale was point-perfect -- one of the most fitting conclusions to a series I've ever seen.

♣ Now that Six Feet Under is old news, I have a new Amazon bundle arriving -- the third season of The 4400, and two technical books on XSDs and XSLTs. The last tech books I read were on AJAX and Ruby, and I never finished either one. A couple years ago, I was much better about reading tech books from cover to cover. I blame my shortening attention span on MTV and the GOP.

♣ Speaking of Tech, the Virginia Tech graduation is tonight. My sister's husband, Dan, is graduating from vet school and getting a bunch of awards for being the best horse whisperer, and Anna's little sister, Emily, is finishing her undergrad. Congratulations!

♣ I originally wasn't sure if I could make it down because of work, but our schedule faced some unexpected extensions like a lady who falls asleep in the hair salon. Ultimately, I decided not to go down anyhow, because I'm not yet ready for the whole shooting affair to become a set of talking-head talking points. I bet every single speechmaker will reference it at least one time -- a more morbid soul could probably play speech Bingo with words like "tragedy" and "Virginia Tech spirit", and win in short order. So in lieu of graduation, I took today off from work and fired up the grill for a full day of tofu burgers and desert wines.

♣ Actually, for the first time in a while, I have no plans at all this weekend -- no home renovation, no work, and no opportunities to overthrow foreign governments. The lawn is mowed, the house is clean and Amber is keeping an eye on the new sink for leaks. To take full advantage of this dearth of responsibilities, I plan on spending the whole weekend with Rebecca, and possibly Booty (who wants to go hiking and catch a fish to eat raw).

♣ Tomorrow is also 12 of 12, the series where you take twelve pictures of your day in compromising or extraordinary situations to fool readers into thinking that life is more exciting than they expect. Since it's a Saturday, you'll be able to see me do fun things like pump gas at 7 in the morning. Join in!

♣ Happy Birthday Mike Stafford on the 12th, and Madeleine on the 13th! Have a great weekend!


One-limbed man previously charged with kicking someone
Charged with petit larceny for women's underwear
Boston Pops interrupted by fisticuffs

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Pup Day

Introducing Jack and Kristy's new European lab puppy, Kiwi:

We met Kiwi on Saturday night at their house, where we devoured delicious barbeque chicken and pasta salad, after which I came in 2nd in an impromptu game of $5 poker. I gave my winnings to Rebecca, who used it to buy a wedding dress.

Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

Hispanic Wal-mart looks pretty much like a Wal-mart
City slickers scared off by bird-eating snake
God is now in Salami

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Newsday Tuesday

Boy Scouts Offer New Merit Pin -- for Video Gaming

The Boy Scouts of America -- a group founded on the principles of building character and improving physical fitness -- have introduced a brand new award for academic achievement in video gaming, a move that has child health experts atwitter.

Taking their cue from the popular online game, World of Warcraft, some cash-strapped local councils are also planning to convert their Cub Scout packs completely into online entities on the Scoutcrusher server. Said one den mother, "Building character in WoW is the next logical step for Cub Scouts in the 21st century -- there are Cooking skills and group activities, and I, as a mother, don't have to sew eight million ridiculous patches every time my kid earns an Achievement."

"It could be quite visionary and exciting or it could be a complete sellout," said Dr. Vic Strasburger, professor of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. "I don't see anything wrong with that as long as they're not playing first-person shooter games, violent games, games with a lot of sexual or drug content. The question is, who's going to supervise the scouts?"

Strasburger suggested that the Cub Scouts stick to servers where players cannot attack other players (also known as PvE) to minimize cyber-bullying, and also noted that the Boy Scouts of America should stay away from the Roleplaying servers since "that's where all the pedophiles congregate". Meanwhile, BSA downplayed concerns about violent and sexual content in games by noting that parents could opt to have their kids pursue traditional activities instead of earning this badge, such as Family Life, Rifle Shooting, Shotgun Shooting, and Motorboating.

"Let's be serious: the kids are already into video games," said Renee Fairrer, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts of America. Fairrer said Scouts frequently try to focus youthful energy and interest through safe and constructive channels. Most boys are already interested in firearms, she said, so the Scouts offer Rifle Shooting and Shotgun Shooting badges to teach proper safety protocols to older members.

Studies have shown that most teenage boys are also interested in sex, but the number of co-ed jamborees hosted by BSA has been extremely small. Said one forward-thinking BSA representative who did not wish to be identified, "We really need to work on getting some girls in the troops. If we don't hurry, the boys might turn gay and then we'd have to kick them out. That is not a sustainable growth pattern."

A review of some of the requirements for the Video Gaming pin shows that this achievement is actually very easy to accomplish, when compared to a pin like Astronomy, which was incredibly difficult in the days before they deigned to allow Scouts the use of a telescope.

♠ With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.

Buying plans may make sense for houses and indentured servants, but if you start your kid early on devising plans for one-step actions, they're going to need plans for eating a bowl of cereal or writing in cursive.

♠ Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.

A surprisingly high number of real-world skills are available in the Grand Theft Auto series, like the conversion of different units of measure (prostitute humps to health points), or the retail value of used and stolen vehicles. BSA is in talks with Rockstar Games to bundle copies of the game with the activity pin.

♠ Choose a game you might like to purchase. Compare the price for this game at three different stores. Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturer's warranty.

Since all three stores are likely to be a Gamestop, and since all games made by Nintendo are subject to price-fixing, comparison shopping doesn't really fit well on video games. Were I a Cub Scout facing this activity, the sole criterium necessary for a purchase would be "Is my dad willing to drive me to this store?"

7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls
We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint
Florida teen bets to wear same shoes through graduation

tagged as newsday | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Memory Day: Snapshots


You might conclude that 1983 was the maximum saturation point for pictures if you didn't know how many bushels were created in the subsequent fifteen years. When I was young, my hand were always filled with either a bucket, a shovel, or a stick. My shirt is not actually inside-out -- it's one of those intentionally stylish affairs that goes well with the plaid.

Deaf men stabbed after sign language mistaken for gang signs
Religious paper apologizes for erasing Clinton
Gene Simmons faced cyberattack by Gig Harbor man

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Random Chart Day

I fail to see any correlation. I'm just bad at keeping in touch with people.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up

We returned to White Oak Canyon to hike this weekend, and found that it looked much different than our last trip. We did a circuit of 8 or 9 miles, going up Cedar Run and back down White Oak Canyon, only having to deal with the crowds of DC folks seeking nature in the last couple hours.

In the evening, we returned to Hopkins Ordinary B&B where we got a giant pizza from Rudy's across the street, a growler of Saison du Printemps from the brewery in the basement, and played Gloom on the upstairs veranda.

Breakfast on Sunday was all-natural waffles with (for me) 8 slices of bacon. Rebecca did another hike at Mary's Rock, while I returned home to do laundry and feed our cats-in-triplicate, who otherwise might have resorted to cannibalism. We ate leftovers for dinner and watched a couple episodes of the fourth season of Game of Thrones, which is much less ADHD about its division of storylines than previous seasons.

How was your weekend?

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Memory Day: Snapshots

This is a picture of me at the age of 12 back in 1992.

In the days before digital cameras, my dad had a dark room where he developed his own film. As a result, us kids spent countless hours standing in various light situations and holding these grey palettes for dark room calibration. This was also back when we owned a rusty shed with classy fake 3D effects, which was replaced within the next two years by a homemade shed identical to the one in my current back yard.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, May 11, 2018

Maia Week #44 Battle Report

Maia is now 10.126 months old and still right around 16 pounds. We need to fatten her up soon as her preferred brand and size of diapers just doubled in price while the next size up remains the same (no doubt some strange Amazon algorithm that has deduced we have a never-growing baby). The photo blocks we bought only have one "4" on the 12 faces, which is why there is a Pinterest-quality 4 added to one of the blocks.

Maia is rapidly accumulating new skills along an exponential curve, to the point where we started a list on the whiteboard to capture anything new. She plays the game where she'll hand you something and then expect it back, although she's something of an Indian giver half the time. She also turns the pages at the appropriate breaks during story time and occasionally skips all of the boring character development to get to the last page. Just last Tuesday, she pulled herself up on the diaper changing station and started interacting with stuff on the second shelf -- this milestone means that the height level of chaos has increased slightly all throughout the house. She supported herself for about 10 minutes before sitting, but cannot just stand on her own.

We still take daily walks in the park although more and more I'll just sit her in the grass and let her explore at her own pace. She's started crawling through the grass like an army soldier, following me around a six foot radius while I steer her clear of goose poop and overprotective mama geese.

Rebecca and I are divided on first words. I believe that just before Maia's 10 month birthday she said both "CAT" and "KITTY" in succession when pursuing Amber down the hall. Rebecca does not concur. Maia is also pretty close to saying "DADA", but that's a Novice level word and probably does not count.

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

Monday, May 11, 2020

Day 60

It's Day 60 of my self-quarantine. We're still doing this.

Since I have nothing new to report, I went back through all of my old blog posts to see what we did in other Mays throughout history. Here is a representative image from each one.

May, 2002: I used to use Yahoo TV as a TV Guide.

May, 2004: We all played Footmen Frenzy.

May, 2005: I reached level 60 in World of Warcraft for the first time.

May, 2006: I organized my CD collection.

May, 2007: I had a caption contest (#3 won).

May, 2008: I proposed an alternative to the Silver Line.

May, 2009: We went to the Smith's for Cinco de Mayo.

May, 2010: We drove the Smiths to the airport so they could go to Oregon.

May, 2011: We remodeled the kitchen.

May, 2012: I got a new car. It remains consistently okay throughout its life.

May, 2013: Rebecca graduated from PT school.

May, 2014: Why are we always with the Smiths in May?

May, 2015: We had 3 cats.

May, 2016: My mom asks about the relationship between me, chickens, and politics.

May, 2017: Our regularly scheduled friends dinner was gnocchi and shrimp with a garlic parmesan sauce.

May, 2018: Maia is almost 1.

May, 2019: Maia knows more about types of beer by now than most college freshmen.

tagged as green (recycled) content | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Random Chart Day: Most Played PC Games on Steam

Alternate Uses of This 1837 Hours

  • Obtain a 2nd job, working 35 hours per week for a full year.

  • Watch the extended edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy 161 times.

  • Walk continuously from Quebec City to Reno, Nevada and back again.

tagged as data, games | permalink | 0 comments

 

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