This Day In History: 05/22

Monday, May 22, 2006

Alphabet Day

People will say that I blatantly stole this post from Sam or Kim but history proves that I actually invented this game in October 2005 and history is mostly infallible. I say "mostly" because I invented the Latin alphabet itself too, but being a minority, the Man took credit away from me for that. This is also the reason no modern pianos have the note, J-flat, even though it's featured prominently in many of my compositions.

Accent: I would love to claim that I have a pure unadulterated Northern Virginian yuppy accent, except that yesterday the phrase "Nuttin' wrong wi' that." popped up in conversation, out of the blue, like the hidden prize in my Cracker Jack vocabulary.

Booze: Dark beers and white wines. Mixed drinks are dumb, although appletinis are tasty when no one is looking.

Chore I Hate: Folding and putting away clothes.

Dogs/Cats: Cats. The only reason to get a dog would be to build a little kitty wagon that the dog pulls, so you could take smarmy pictures and sell them to calendar companies.

Essential Electronics: The computer. And the toaster oven.

Favorite Perfume/Cologne: As long as you don't smell like the Indian guy on the dorm hall who apparently doesn't know the shower code, I don't care what you smell like.

Gold/Silver: I think silver is a much cooler metal than gold, which could just as easily be brass. When I get my eyebrows and nipples pierced (purely for that undercover spy job), I will wear all silver.

Hometown: Alexandria, VA. The place where you can end incomplete sentences with periods all the time.

Insomnia: I never have trouble sleeping unless I'm going on a long drive the next day. This happened twice in Florida when I wanted to make the trip back to VA in a single day. Both times, I had to give up around midnight and just start my trip early, pausing around 5 AM in a Days Inn parking lot in Georgia.

Job Title: Software Engineer for my day job, Superhero Without Tights for my night job.

Kids: I have no kids of my own, but if I did, I'd want them to be like Anna's nephews and nieces.

Living Arrangements: Detached, split-level, single-family, five-bedroom mansion on a 0.1 acre lot next to some trees that you can creatively call a forest.

Most Admired Trait: People say I get things done. They should see the list of things I don't get done.

Number of Sexual Partners: This depends on whether triplets count three times if you didn't know she had two identical sisters.

Overnight Hospital Stays: Zero. I am the paragon of health and prosperity.

Phobia: None. But I don't like ventriloquist dolls.

Quote: "I was determined to know beans." - Henry Thoreau

Religion: Practicing Greek mythologist. Pan is my homie.

Siblings: One sister with five kids: three cats and two dogs.

Time I usually wake up: 5:26 AM, to the melodious sounds of DEHT DEHT DEHT DEHT DEHT....

Unusual Talent: I used to read all of my books while standing on my head on a flight of stairs.

Vegetable I refuse to eat: Amen.

Worst Habit: When Anna's on the phone driving by an accident and says "Oh he must not be dead because they're loading him onto a stretcher", the first reply that comes into my head is, "So he's just a little bit longer?"

X-Rays: I have X-rays of my teeth, which may end up being the basis of tomorrow's news update. Stay tuned.

Yummy Foods I Make: Cheddar Cheese Soup, Beef Stroganoff, Egg Drop Soup, Velveeta Shells and Cheese.

Zodiac Sign: Virgo.

Maryland cops hate Virginians
Coors Light for Eight Long Years
The next greatest movie of the year, after SNAKES ON A PLANE

tagged as random | permalink | 9 comments

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Museday Tuesday

stimulating the udder of creativity for maximum musical lactation

  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 must be composed in a single sitting, 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 an adverb from a random word generator, although this word doesn't necessarily have to be incorporated in the piece.

If any readers ever have the urge to participate, feel free to send me an image, MP3, or link to your masterpiece and I will add it to the post. You can include a hindsight commentary as well. Anything posted becomes fair game for readers to admire, critique, or poop on in the Comments section.

This Week's Title:
Moodily: (adv.) in a moody manner (gloomy, depressed, or sullen)

My Composition (0:27 MP3)

This Museday was actually pretty straightforward, since there's already a universal preconceived notion of what moody music should sound like. I have to admit, though, that my very initial instinct was to write a song about happy cows. I wrote this fragment for English horn, acoustic bass, drums, horns, tuba, and vibraphone, and then dropped it down a whole step and a couple semitones for additional angst (the lower, the sadder). If I had had more time, I would have worked on the sound of the melodic line, to make it less square-sounding in the last half.

Punching bag filled with underwear
Breaking in to break out
Bank robber goes first class with a limo and flowers

tagged as museday | permalink | 4 comments

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Review Day: The 4400

There are no spoilers in this review.

There are some shows that reach the point in their run where, no matter how good they were, it's obvious they should end. No one really wanted to see Veronica Mars become an FBI Agent, and when Verne Troyer guest starred on Boston Public as a "tiny person who hides in a locker and gives students exam answers" , it was time to move it to Friday night and eventually cancel it. The 4400 was recently cancelled after a four season run, and it was definitely not ready to go.

This show received much less attention than the hit show that stole a bunch of its ideas, Heroes. It aired on the USA network every summer, and its small cable budget meant that it had to favour strong storytelling over special effects (and yes, sometimes the special effects are really, really cheesy).

The premise of the show: 4400 people from the past sixty years were mysteriously abducted, and suddenly reappear in a giant ball of light in present day Seattle. They haven't aged at all and have no recollection of the time they were gone, but they have all developed a singular ability, like telekinesis or seeing the future. The first season focused on Tom and Diana, government agents, whose job it was to figure out who the 4400 where and why they suddenly reappeared.

Had the story chugged along in this mold, it would have been an interesting X-Files clone with an "ability of the week" approach, and probably wouldn't have lasted a year. Instead, the story is allowed to grow organically, quickly moving to the next level. By the end of the first season, we are explicitly shown the answers to many questions (take notes, LOST) and the show tackles the broader political, social, and religious implications of a society where there are now two types of people. Yet despite the strange abilities, conspiracies, and science fiction, the core of the show is its interpersonal relationships (as most good dramas are). The evolution of characters, especially Shawn, over the course of the show is also well-done.

Season two and four are the high points of the series -- season three stumbles a little bit, but has several great standalone episodes. Season four even resolves some unanswered questions from the early years of the show in logical ways. The only negative is the fourth season's finale: while it works great as a season closer, it does nothing at all to close the series as a whole, and it's very apparent that the writers had a vision for what the fifth season might have looked like. It's a disappointing end to a well-written show. Highly recommended.

If you're at all intrigued, the first season (a five episode miniseries) can be found on Amazon for as little as ten dollars, and is also available through URI!Flix.

Sorry mummy, it's a cover up
Jack Thompson Found Guilty of 27/31 Counts of Misconduct
Lost parrot tells vet his address

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Fragments

your reliable source for manatee-based news reporting

♠ After last week's bout with the swine flu, I was sick-free for just two days (luckily the two days of our vacation) before coming down with tonsilitis, a malady with a preponderance of i's that makes your tonsils look like moldy potatoes and makes swallowing like giving birth in your throat.

♠ Actually, I think that only women are allowed to make birth jokes, in the same way that only Asians are allowed to call themselves yellow, so I'll say that it makes swallowing feel like you're peeing nickles, but with your throat. To get the mental images of these physical atrocities out of your head, here is a picture of Ella being cute.

♠ Ella was here for Mike's final Steak Night last week, which coincided with the best episode of LOST ever. Mike (of Mike and Chompy) is now in Lowell, Massachusetts, a city which, up until now, has only been known for its presence in the song, "Entering Marion". I don't know how many differences there will be, teaching ear training in a cold city versus teaching in Tallahassee six years ago, but I'm guessing the students will be a litle flat (and not just the late bloomers).

♠ Speaking of six years, this weekend marks my 6th year of working for FGM. One more year and my initial goes in the sign -- I haven't decided whether we'll rebrand as FGUM or FUG'M.

♠ This weekend, my dad and I will be starting further renovations in the basement, beginning with some rewiring in the laundry room and storage room (which was billed as a bedroom but didn't even have a light). I ultimately want to enlarge the laundry room a bit to make room for a drying rack -- living with a girl means you're always surrounded by hanging damp clothing that's too snobby to go in the dryer. We're also going to book our Hawaii honeymoon flights and (tonsilitis-permitting) go to a Memorial Day barbeque at Jack's house.

♠ On a more sobering note, Annie's father passed away at the beginning of this past week. Arrangements can be found here if you would like to pay your respects -- please keep their family in your thoughts this week.

Accidental millionaires escape with $3.2 million
Boy puts 43 snails on his face
The Sims 3 on the way

tagged as fragments | permalink | 3 comments

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

List Day: Top 5 Downsides to the New Car



  1. The car key is so big and hollow that you might as well be carrying a baby's rattle around in your pocket.

  2. The rear-view mirror automatically dims with increased light intensity, so your incredibly white friends can't ride in the back seat.

  3. The ownership of two late model cars is the gateway drug to wanting to live in Ashburn.

  4. Car stereo programmers are still incapable of designing an "All Random" function that gets through a whole CD without repeating.

  5. When you fart in a car with leather seats, you can no longer rely on cloth seats to absorb the smell, so you have to blame it on a passenger.

tagged as lists | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memory Day: Ten Years Ago

Thursday, May 22, 2003

It's been raining incessantly here which has kept me indoors for the most part. I'm slowly settling into an apartment routine and I've even been doing some real cooking for dinner a few nights a week -- everything from chicken and mushrooms to bacon & cheese meatloaf.

Ten years ago, I had just cut the cord to perpetual adolescence through graduate degrees and moved back to Virginia to work full-time. Having spent the previous two summers getting up progressively earlier to avoid traffic, such that my core hours were 5 AM to 1 PM, I finally resolved to live closer to the office (which was in Dulles at the time).

After visiting three separate apartment complexes in Centreville, I ended up at The Elms, $1135 per month for two bedrooms. The Elms had the deciding features of being across the street from a Glory Days, (which I ended up visiting once if at all), and having a "park anywhere" lot without reserved spots and towing and all of that nonsense. Runner-up #1 was a gated community, and those are annoying to invite people over to, while Runner-up #2 required a lightless left turn across two lanes of busy traffic to exit.

I also ended up renting one of the bedrooms to my college roommate, Anna, and the ninety-pound kitty, Kitty, who was consigned to an 8x8 room in Anna's parents house as punishment for peeing on everything. Since Booty had peed on everything in Tallahassee, we hoped that they would channel their pee at each other from here on out.

The Elms was the complex that solidified my need for a single-family home. While nice enough as apartments go, we had neighbours who held parties where they only listened to the bass notes of songs. When they moved out, they were replaced by a couple that was ghostly silent, except for the occasions where they were fighting, or humping, or both simultaneously. Ultimately, I only lived there for nine months before moving up to Sterling.

I also started refining my real world persona by doing things like cooking and learning to play the guitar. The latter lasted maybe three weeks total. The former continues to this day, although those seminal meals that I was so proud of weren't so great: chicken and mushrooms was chicken breasts submerged in cream of mushroom soup and baked, while bacon and cheese meatloaf was essentially a cheeseburger that had had an unfortunate accident with some Ritz crackers.

What were you up to in May 2003?

tagged as memories | permalink | 3 comments

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

West Wing, Season One:
This earlier show by the creator of Newsroom shares a lot of blatantly obvious DNA with the later show. It's a character drama featuring the many people of the president's communications office, and tends to focus on various real-life (at the time) political issues. The characters are likeable although the level of exposition can make it feel like I'm being preached at sometimes. It's pleasant enough for a treadmill show, or even one to have on in the background as I'm coding. On the negative side, it has a horrible soundtrack of composed music that only swells in at imminent points for extreme emotional manipulation -- it sounds like any sappy movie soundtrack from the mid 90's. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Game of Thrones, Season Three:
The main problem of the second season still exists -- too many characters with too brief vignettes to get invested in their plights. While there is always progression, there is never momentum, and too much time is wasted on less interesting stories. I don't need to watch ten episodes of a character getting tortured, and I'm super bored with all of the animal dream stories.

Final Grade: C+

Aziz Ansari: Dangerously Delicious:
This is a fun, brief standup session that's about as good as his previous one. It's fairly vulgar, but in a harmless, not-very-mean-spirited way which can make all the difference when determining whether a joke about whale fellatio is worth listening to.

Final Grade: B

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, May 22, 2015

Stuff in My Drawers Day

This is an Art homework assignment I drew twenty-two years ago as a high school sophomore.

The assignment was to do an abstract sketch. I started by lightly tracing a single, pretentious line in curves and squiggles all over the page. I then shaded in each enclosed area in an unexpected direction and sealed in the pretentiousness with my standard signature in the lower right: my last name under a watermark that looks as if the corner of the page has rolled up.

This is what passed for A work in high school art class. Today, I would have given myself a B, but then I noticed that there's an abstract badger sitting Indian-style in the middle right area of the page, so that bumps it up to a B+.

What do you see in the squiggles?

tagged as media | permalink | 3 comments

Monday, May 22, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

This past weekend, we got out of town for our final weekend away before Small Child Uri arrives. We opted for Ocean City even though the weather turned out to be a few degrees too cold to actually enjoy any beaching. Also, it was "cruiser" weekend in town, which is where all of the Maryland meth consumers drive up and down the main strip in their souped up American cars, oblivious to all of the advances in sound suppression and mufflers over the past 50 years, while everyone else camps out on the side of the road all day for a parade of jump scares and carbon monoxide.

We shared a giant crab and cheese omelette at Bayside Skillet for brunch, and then checked into the swank Hampton Inn where we got a massive studio room with a king bed overlooking the bay. In the afternoon, we tried walking on the beach but hurricane-force winds chilled us and made it feel like we were walking through a swarm of tiny stinging insects. Sand was blowing around so rapidly that it felt like a time lapse of the tundra from Planet Earth.

The indoor pool was much more pleasant, and we hung out there until it was dinner time. For dinner, we wandered up the strip to Seacrets. Although beach season hasn't quite started yet, the place was packed with women in bikinis who used beer and sheer will power to avoid hypothermia as the temperature hovered around 60 degrees. I had a surprisingly good seafood quesadilla and some Dogfish Head beer followed by a chocolate milkshake at Dumser's around the corner.

On Sunday morning, we gorged on the traditional Hampton Inn breakfast buffet and then joined the single-lane crawl back across the state of Maryland to get home.

Rebecca is now starting Week 35 of pregnancy, and has to bend to see her toes. How was your weekend?

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

List Day: Influences Maia Gets From Her Parents

Dad Influences Mom Influences
  • Excellent clean-up skills

  • Love of mac and cheese

  • Constant reallocation of stuffed animals (one per gap in the crib slats) during naptime

  • Need to sort different types of toys into different containers

  • Obsession with Berenstain Bears books

  • Ability to count to 5 while only occasionally skipping 3
  • Strong preference for being outside

  • Tendency to break out into yoga in every situation

  • Belief that shoes should be taken off inside the house

  • Need to walk everywhere, even if only at 1 mile per hour or less

  • Love of quiche

  • Ability to make friends in sprawling, social settings like Library story time.

tagged as lists, offspring | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, May 22, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Neotheater by AJR:
AJR and The Fratellis have been my quarantine jams for the past month or so. This album isn't as catchy as The Click, but it has more interesting orchestrations and use of samples. 100 Bad Days is a pretty representative track off the album.

Final Grade: B+

Upload, Season One:
This show about a world where you can upload your consciousness after death to live forever is impossible to categorize -- it's like The Good Place meets Black Mirror meets that awful Matt Damon movie, Downsized. It's more of a drama with comedy elements, with very little in common with the creator's previous shows (The Office and Parks and Recreation). Once you get used to the uneven tone and accept what it is, you'll be rewarded with decent character development and a few surprises. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B

Terminator: Dark Fate:
The sixth movie in the franchise (yet only the third blessed by James Cameron) is an unnecessary, uneven sequel. It's fun enough, but mixes over-CGI'd action scenes with obligatory, overlong character development scenes. It doesn't bring enough new story to the table, and the new villain is no more threatening or interesting than any previous villain.

Final Grade: B-

Undone, Season One:
This animated show features an unlikable protagonist who begins experiencing time differently after a car crash, exploring regrets, trauma, and mental illness. We got through 4 of 8 half-hour episodes before stopping -- in spite of the presence of Bob Odenkirk essentially playing a ghost version of Bob Odenkirk, there wasn't enough reason to keep watching. The rotoscoped animation style was pretty neat, but also very distracting. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: Not Graded

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

 

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