This Day In History: 05/19

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Earlier this year, 7-UP replaced their spokesperson, Orlando Jones, with a newcomer, comedian Godfrey. Apparently there was a commercial spot a few months back explaining the switch, and how the old guy was "promoted". However if you missed that spot, all you can see now is a new actor attempting to portray the same speech patterns and bug-eyed expressions of the original (and popular) actor. You can almost hear the corporate advertising train of thought -- "We can't use Orlando anymore, but maybe if we throw in another guy that looks and acts the same, no one will notice. All white people think all black people look alike anyways."

It was another busy week here in northern Virginia, but I'm starting to get comfortable with my schedule. In my spare time, I read Erich Leinsdorf's The Composer's Advocate, a book which discusses composers and their craft from the conductor's perspective. It's an interesting argument about why conductors need to become more aware of the decisions that went into a composition for proper performance. Although many sections are pedantic descriptions of exact score examples, the book's more general sections are eye-opening, even from a composer's point of view. Take a look if you're a composer or conductor. Next on my reading list is A Beautiful Mind, the biography of John Nash (who was the subject of the recent movie by the same title).

In music, I bought The Best of Bobby McFerrin, and Dr. Demento's 30th Anniversary set last week. I hadn't heard any of McFerrin's work (other than the ubiquitous "Don't Worry Be Happy", and a lot of his vocal jazz work is amazing. Especially good on this CD is his track with Chick Corea, where he does a ten minute rendition of Spain. The Dr. Demento collection was hit-or-miss. I've always been a fan of novelty records, and there's some very funny material on the first disc, but the second disc is pretty much a throwaway. The funniest track in the collection is probably Dungeons and Dragons, a mockumentary of a typical D&D session which is hilarious if you've ever known anyone who actually played the game. I'll try and post an MP3 of it sometime.

The Alias season finale was last Sunday, and it ended very well -- enough closure to end the season but with just a few cliffhangers to be resolved next season. It was amusing to see the protagonist end the season tied to the same chair in the same setting that opened the pilot episode last fall. It's good that the networks are doing so badly with existing shows and ending old series. With shows like Ally McBeal and the X-Files finally coming to a close, ABC can't afford to cancel Alias, even though it definitely wasn't the number one ratings show this season. Now that it's on the program for next year, maybe it will attract some more Nielsen families in time for a third season.

The Friends season finale was last week too. Even though it's still usually funny, I really think the show should have ended this season.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The story of the Stradivarius cello left out on the porch came to a conclusion . The finder of the cello was ignorant of what it was, and decided that it would look much better as a custom CD holder until she saw the news. I guess the age old question of "How many discs will fit in a real Stradivarius?" will never be answered now.

The pool table should be here in two weeks.

Flashing prisoners no longer allowed
Mowing over property line leads to arrest
Man told to stop selling mobile porn
The Infinite Cat Project

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Last night's episode of Lost was one of the most well-written and satisfying segments I've ever watched on TV, an opinion made more notable because nothing really happened in the episode. It was the first of the three-part finale (the rest of which will air next Wednesday for two hours), so it spent most of its energy prepping viewers for the end, but it still managed to be completely intriguing while tying up several character relationships satisfactorally. Alias's first and second seasons may still hold the torch for incredible plots and twists that keep you guessing, but Lost is just pure goodness.

Speaking of Alias, which had two back-to-back episodes last night, the writers have definitely recovered completely from the season three pothole -- it's only disappointing that it took almost two years of episodes swimming in plot circles to do it. Of course, you do what you have to do with casting issues, even if it involves killing off characters when the actresses can't come back.

Mother's milk saves flaming vet
Mother uptight about slavery, son doesn't care
The man [...] filed suit against the woman in 1997, claiming she was negligent when she suddenly changed positions, landed awkwardly on him and fractured his penis.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Fragments

where the Internet elite mingle with the ragtag dregs of society

  • When I first sat down to write today's entry, I didn't have a clue as to what I should write about. Normally I have a small short-list of one or two sentence ideas that didn't quite fit anywhere during the rest of the week which I digest into the intellectual diarrhea which explosively spreads across the Internet, preserved forever in the Internet Archive .

  • With the Internet Archive, you can metaphysically go back in time to the halcyon days of your youth. You can see what the Chompblog looked like in its first month of existence (very yellow), or how Google's layout has changed (very little). It will not, however, work on older versions of the URI! Zone, because when I built my time machine, I went to the future and learned Javascript, which I then used to detonate all of the Internet Archive's copies of my pages. Apparently my 1998 practice of dynamically writing entire pages does not play well with historical preservation. I should have just used my time machine to go into the past and patent my work, so I could have made some cash from the whole DHTML fad.

  • If I owned a time machine today (it got confiscated by the Time Police last year) I would not be able to resist checking in on my future self and all my friends. I'd want to know every detail of my future existence -- where I live, who I marry, and what I do. Sure it might take some of the surprise out of life, but I also wouldn't have to worry about making the wrong decisions ever. Most importantly, I'd want to know when and how I die. That way, if it's particularly embarassing (like a tuna fish mishap) I can try to change it. I would also throw a big party with all of my savings the night before.

  • There's a site called futureme.org where you can send yourself a letter at some set time in the future. This is kind of a unique gimmick, although it would have been much cooler if you could send them to the past you. I can think of several junctures in my life where I would write back, "What the hell were you thinking??" Yes, with two question marks.

  • When I started writing my last name with an exclamation point in high school (which I started doing for no really good reason except to be unique but ultimately just turned out to be quirky, and/or pretentious, depending on who you talk to), some of my friend started signing their names with question marks.

  • I knew some peculiar friends in high school. Two of them, Dutton and Mike, once dropped trou in the middle of the band room after a football game and sang "The Old Grey Mare". I think it came from an episode of the Simpsons, but am not 100% sure about that.

  • I haven't watched a new episode of the Simpsons in years. They're making a Simpsons movie next year, which is somewhat sketchy. The only way fans will be appeased is if it's an endless chain of cameos by important characters, and they already do that quite well in the thirty minute timeslot every week. I don't think ninety minutes would necessarily improve anything. I thought the show was always funny enough to watch in syndication while cooking my friend chicken, but never hilarious enough to warrant a sit-down on Sunday night for a new episode, but I'm sure more rabid fans will be camping outside the theatres.

  • "Friend chicken" in the previous fragment is obviously a typo, but it's cute enough to leave in. I suppose that if chickens would really take the time to get to know me, they'd be my friend, ignoring for a moment, the fact that I eat pieces of them with Cajun fries once a week for lunch.

  • I was considering which fast-food restaurant makes the best fries on the way home yesterday while eating the fries from Popeyes and couldn't make up my mind -- it's either Popeyes or McDonalds. What do you think?

  • I think the next big thing in fast-food will be to have a fast-food restaurant that amalgamates the best parts from every other competitor and puts it all together under one roof. You could order a Wendy's burger with a side of McDonald's fries and Quiznos Honey Mustard. If you would like some venture capital to get this started, see me in about ten years. I get to eat for free though.

  • Have a good weekend! Come back on Monday for treats and toys.

  • Boardwalk is so 1950
    DARPA plots emergency man-cannon. Not that kind of man-cannon.
    "Friend" left as a gas deposit

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    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Pet Day: Cindy

    The first pet which my family owned was a small grey cat with a white spot on its neck named Cindy. There are no remaining up-close photos of this cat although its likeness has been immortalized in one of those premade sculptures you can purchase and paint to give other people the impression that you're artistic.

    We owned Cindy when I was in first grade, at the same time when we owned two expensive leather couches (because foreshadowing is most effective when experienced directly). I honestly don't remember much about this cat except that it got trapped in our home office all day long while we were at school and peed in a big orange chair (which is still orange, and still smells like pee to this day). After this day, it learned that chairs were where you pee.

    I used to take hintbook maps from Zork and other Infocom games to school so I could take them out at lunchtime. Using my encyclopedic memory of all the text from the games, I would let my friends play the games by proxy. (This is also called Dungeon Mastering or DMing in the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, but D&D is for nerds and geeks and I do not belong in those categories. By the way, I leveled my Blood Elf Priest to 59 last Friday with 4 days /played and gained the 2805 honor required to get a PvP Fear Trinket. FTW).

    About midway through the school year, we noticed that the maps were starting to smell a little sickly-sweet, like the styrofoam fresheners they keep in urinals. Because the scent wasn't that strong, we continued playing our little games until the night when I was sitting in the family room and saw Cindy taking a huge leak all over my elementary school backpack. Needless to say, this definitely rained on our lunchtime gaming parade.

    Pets in our family generally stayed with us until one of three things happened: they died, we got bored with them and our dad gave them away, or our dad got sick of them and gave them away. In this case, it was option #3 -- Cindy punctured two leather couches and gave us a nice rumcake (except replace the rum with urine and replace the cake with every chair in the house). After less than a year, Cindy was donated to someone living in an apartment on the other side of town, and given a name change since her new owner had a boss named Cindy.

    Police perplexed by photos of privates
    IPod may be responsible for helicopter death
    Naked Ugg boot ram-raider jailed

    tagged as memories, cats | permalink | 2 comments

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Museday Tuesday

    1. The composition can be for any instrumentation. It can have an actual score or be a pure synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.
    2. It must not be longer than thirty seconds.
    3. It does not necessarily have to have a start, middle, and end -- it can just be a fragment of something grander.
    4. It should be composed in thirty minutes or less. If time runs out, I post whatever I managed to finish, be it good, indifferent, or makeup on a corpse.
    5. The title of the piece must be a word from a random word generator, although this word doesn't necessarily have to be incorporated in the piece.

    Pellucid: (adj.) Transparent or translucent; allowing the passage of light

    My Composition (0:29 MP3)

    This Museday fragment is written mostly for woodwinds -- the opening motive was written immediately after choosing the word, and it spun out from there. All of my songs eventually become Latin.

    How to see with your tongue
    Ball and chain to force children to study
    Police shock toy cougar with taser

    tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Random Chart Day

    Metro Station's Opening Canceled Over Violent Murals
    "City of Gonads" Jellyfish Discovered
    Iowa couple find rare armadillo roadkill

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    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Kitchen Remodeling Day, Part II

    (669KB GIF)

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    Monday, May 19, 2014

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Saturday, we met up with Kathy and her mini-Kathys at Heritage Brewing in Manassas for a Brew/BBQ-Fest. The brews were good, but disappointingly, we were 3 hours early for the barbeque and did not get to partake. Instead, we got a growler of Kings Mountain and some Chipotle, and spent the rest of the afternoon at Kathy's house playing games while the kids made us velcro cookies.

    On Sunday after my weekly classwork, we finally finished the third season of Game of Thrones, which was the entertainment equivalent of biking up a five degree incline for five miles. We then went to Ford's Fish Shack in the evening for oysters, fish tacos, and pan-seared sea scallops, while brainstorming what sorts of trips we might want to take in the Fall (Seattle/Vancouver is a possibility).

    After dinner, we took a pleasant neighbourhood stroll and bumped into THE Eugene Delgaudio canvassing door-to-door and apparently unphased by his recall petition troubles. After extricating ourselves from the encounter once he told Rebecca to go to his Teen Jobs Fair, we passed a house with anti-Delgaudio bumper stickers out front and wondered if he would try to knock on that door.

    How was your weekend?


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    Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    Overselling Day

    We received the periodic newsletter from our local Sterling representative last week, and it's pretty clear that he's been singlehandedly responsible for every newsworthy event in the world since 1921.

    If you were to create a word cloud of its contents, it would just be his name in 128 point font, with a tiny swatch of prepositions and articles dwarfed around it. It's not clear that this newsletter is taxpayer-funded, but I'm hoping that it's a product of one of his shady fundraising organizations. The newsletter is even named after him, and it's probably that name recognition that's kept him popular in spite of the fact that he was stripped of all committee seats in 2013 for fundraising on government time.

    The good news is that he's up for reelection this year, having procedurally survived last year's recall attempt. If he wins yet again, I'll either throw my hat in the ring in 2019, or I'll shake my head resignedly and continue living in Sterling being unaffected by his reign while silently judging the voters around me.

    tagged as random | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, May 19, 2016

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Fresh Meat, Season One:
    This show feels like a British version of Undeclared, and focuses on misfit freshmen sharing a house together at university. The characters never deepen much beyond surface appearances, and a couple early episodes (8 total) are weak, but it's a light, pleasant show that doesn't need much of a time investment. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

    House of Cards, Season Four:
    I felt like this season's plot was much more focused, with many threads from earlier seasons finally starting to tie together. Unfortunately, binge-style TV means that I've forgotten most of the deep details from the early seasons so I had to look up a lot of references and names as I watched. In order from best to worst season: 1, 4, 3, 2. However, I also think that no episode was ever as good as that first David Fincher-directed pilot. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

    Life Lessons by Just Jack:
    Just Jack has been quiet for several years but just released this EP for $3.99 on Amazon and iTunes. It focuses more on warm pads and introspective lyrics rather than the heavy sampling and rapping from his full-length albums.

    Final Grade: B+

    HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset:
    I finally bought a gaming headset for use with Overwatch (which comes out for real next Monday night) because there's never really a time to communicate by chat in the game unless you're already dead. I've actually only used the mic a couple times but had no problems. Setup is straightforward, as there's no drivers to worry about, and the ear pieces are very comfortable, if a bit warm. Sound quality is clear, and with the Dolby software enhancements offered in some games, emulating 3D actually works quite well. Then again, I down-convert all of my MP3s to 128kb to save space, so I'm probably not the best opinion to listen to on sound quality.

    Final Grade: B+

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, May 19, 2017

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Bosch, Season Three:
    The third season of this extended police procedural follows the same pattern as the previous ones -- a slow build with a few different plots woven together that's just good enough to keep watching when nothing else is on. I enjoy the gentle ribbing and friendship of the main characters even when not much is happening. Free on Amazon Prime.

    Final Grade: B-

    Captain Fantastic (R):
    This is a story about a family that takes homeschooling and self-reliance to a crazy extreme, contrasted against the real world that goes on around them. I really enjoyed it, although I felt that it fell apart in the last act in an attempt to reach an obligatory "movie" ending. Free on Amazon Prime.

    Final Grade: B+

    Hell or High Water (R):
    This movie was much better than the cover would suggest. What starts off as an oddball heist movie turns into a broader study of a Texan microcosm and the death of the rural way of life. The dialogue and warm banter between police partners and bank-robbing brothers reminded me greatly of Justified.

    Final Grade: A-

    Moana (PG):
    This is a Disney movie with a slightly different, maybe more modern, feel than other musical Disney movies. The songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda have a fresh feeling that's more Avenue Q than Under the Sea in structure, and reduce any Disney cookie-cutter feel. I also enjoyed Alan Tudyk's dramatic role as Heihei the Chicken.

    Final Grade: B

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, May 19, 2021

    Easy Photos Day

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

     

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