This Day In History: 05/25

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

In some parts of Herndon and Sterling, the cicadas are actually physically painful to drive by with the windows down. I'm on the fifth floor at work and constantly see them buzzing and bouncing off the window in the courtyard.

The season finale of Alias on Sunday was good but not great. They gave themselves maximum room to dig out of several plot holes that have appeared this season. They also killed off a horrible actress which will improve the show immensely next year. I have two friends hooked on the show now who are about halfway through the second season.

Fight Goths Fund returned
Volcanologists spy pink 'dinosaur' on remote webcam
eBay axes 'Schwarzenegger's DNA' listing
Dion said Jewel came out for an encore, but instead of singing one of her hit songs, she yodeled for a minute and then left the stage.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ending a news article is an art form. The last paragraph of your article is the one that readers will walk away with, rivaling the importance of the headline. This heartwarming tale of a rhino and his goat friend and this informative article on throwing like a girl show us that, luckily, this art form has not been lost.

Speaking of Lost, the two-hour finale is airing tonight (Note my artful use of another writing device, the "transition"). It will be followed by the season finale of Alias, and both shows are expected to have excellent cliffhangers.

Why you should be scared of bugs
Man Leaps From Car to Retrieve Cigarette
"Respecting religion is important and respecting other people is important," said [the guy who wrote the sign]. "Hopefully, a lot of people will have that thought when they see the sign."

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Memory Day: High School High Points

High school was a blatant waste of time and money, using up hours in the day better spent playing video games, going to the library and reading, or going out back to smoke crack with Zulfan Bakri. However, you could always count on a few peaks to brighten the year and prevent mass suicides.

Field Hockey Home Games
As a sign of solidarity, the field hockey team always wore their skirts on days when they were playing at home. Mix in a gaggle of goggling hormonal teenage boys, and you'll find that those boys will learn absolutely nothing during those school days, and remember very little other than a lot of leg by the time they leave for the day. We always tried to convince the swim team to have a similar practice, but were mostly unsuccessful.

Substitutes
Apparently substitute teachers did not get paid enough to care, so they were always fair game for any tricks the students could pull. The best type of substitute was the career-substitute: recently retired, living on Social Security, and already broken by years of rude and retarded kids, because they'd generally let you do anything you wanted. The more challenging subs were those having mid-life career changes after layoffs who felt the need to assert their authority in the classroom. In 12th grade, we had one of these types for Mrs. Buckbee's English class. He was aptly named Mr. Spindle Fibers, since he had exactly three thick hairs combed over an otherwise bald pate, and somehow we managed to convince him that we were supposed to be having a party to celebrate some assignment (maybe it was passing the AP exams or something) -- to the point where he wrote a permission slip to let one student leave campus to get soda and cake. When our teacher came back the next day, we used the leftover cake to have a "Welcome Back Teacher" party, successfully putting off whatever essay assignment was looming for another two days.

Half Days
Half days were the days when the period scheduler with the digital watch fetish decided that all classes would be exactly 27 minutes long, with a 4 minute window to move between classes. Combine this with a bell system that never worked and you breed a confusing day where every student could pretend to pack up their bags in the middle of class and the teachers would think it was time to quit. In the summer months, a half day also meant I could go over to Jack's house and go swimming.

The Month of May
May is when all the Crew races occur, from Regionals on the Occuquan River to Stotesbury in Philadelphia, to that race in Canada that us colloquial types always called "Canadas". Because Crew is a rich inbred yuppy sport, it would be unthinkable to have races over the weekend, so they generally started on Thursdays and ran through Saturday. This meant that everyone who did Crew generally spent a grand total of 10 days at school in the month of May, spending the rest of the time on buses and eating fast food three meals a day (and then vomiting it all up if they were on the Lightweight boat). I remember volunteering to sleep on the half-chair-half-bed luggage chaise in the motel rooms so the bigger guys could have the beds in a non-homophobic setting, which was just fine by me since I was only about nine inches tall. They'd always feel bad about it though and buy me extra fries for dinner or give me my own bus seat for my sacrifice. It was kind of like the way prison probably is.

I also remember the time our band concert coincided with the Nationals trip. The director refused to budge on the date so the three band-crew kids (myself, Mike Polson, and Kim) literally rolled off the stage and into some parents' van for a madcap midnight trip to New Jersey. Though we were all band geeks, we came from vastly different social castes, and probably did not say much to one another on the way up.

Get a surgeon that plays Super Monkey Ball
Have a Hoffa Cake
This valedictorian will obviously be a boon to society

tagged as memories | permalink | 9 comments

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Fragments Retrospective

a nostalgic look at memorable fragments from the original 2005 columns

July 22, 2005 (the very first column): I always knew the French were a little wacky but now they've outdone themselves. The posters on the right are actual images from their new "Prevent AIDS" campaign. I have applied a Gaussian blur to the salient man ass, since that's not necessarily the first thing you want to see in the morning. Kids, make sure you don't have le sex with a spider, because that's how l'AIDS circles le globe. The previous sentence is the result of four years of high school French.

July 29, 2005: Three times in the past week, I have mistyped "bridge" instead of "bride". I don't think I have a subconscious fear of brides (yes, I mistyped it just then as well, so maybe I do), although I do think it would be cool, if impractical, to have a mail-order bridge (some assembly required, river not included).

August 12, 2005: There's a local company called College Hunks Hauling Junk. "You're not a real man until you go to the dump," Suzuki said. "That's my philosophy". I approve of the rhyming couplet approach to naming a company. Fashion designers opening outlet stores could be "Fops With Shops" and Florida-Mike could call his web design business "Non-Jewish Whites Making Sites". If I ever get around to starting my own record company, I would probably call it "Post Grad Stud Producing Duds" and payola my way into an Ashlee Simpson hit. Incidentally, I loved when she got boo'ed for her halftime performance last year, but I really wish the audience had gotten violent. How ironic would it have been if her career had ended with Pieces of Me? All over the stage?

August 19, 2005: There's no stronger evidence of how stupid people are than reading about the clowns who chose to drive on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge last weekend solely because the previous construction warnings did not result in any gridlock (see Figure A). The reason there was no traffic last time was because morons like you stayed home. Moron. In keeping with a recently popular theme of this site, I think the Department of Transportation should have distracted the gridlocked drivers with roadside exotic dancers, in a show aptly called, "Tits and Asphalt".

October 21, 2005: Amazon.com reader reviews are occasionally very entertaining. I can see the advertising slogan now: Friends: The Complete Tenth Season - Not as gay as you expected!

October 28, 2005: McDonald's runs their burger meat through a metal detector before shipping it out in the name of quality. I don't know if this is a new initiative since 9/11, but it's a good idea -- a terrorist explosion of a Happy Meal would be abominable. Get it? Ha ha!

November 4, 2005: That's actually a picture of a lady siphoning bull semen up there. I did a search hoping to find a funny cartoon of some kind and ended up with that. Google Images wins again. I'm not sure why she needs such thick ocean-blue gloves, but maybe she's trying to trick some seamen.

November 11, 2005: The hardest part of writing sections of my updates the night before is remembering whether to put verbs in the present or past tense. Sometimes I just give up and use both interchangeably. That's probably why people say I'm two tense.

December 9, 2005: Oh shit, fragments within fragments! It's on now. Did I just blow your mind?

December 16, 2005: The crazy Turkmenistan president is at it again, demanding penguins to be included in his desert zoo. I think the penguins would be more comfortable in his ice palace than the 104 degree desert, unless he plans to hire people with portable fans to keep the birds cool at all times. When I become the eccentric king of Antarctica, I will be importing various marsupials from Down Under for my Arctic Zoo, and hiring people to follow them around with red heat lights. If you would like to be one of my Koala Lampers, please let me know.

December 30, 2005: Here's another picture of Kelley from 1998 when he was a freshman and passed out on the Abbott bus on a Wind Symphony trip (not to be confused with the time he passed out in the bathroom during the Super Bowl while taking a poop). Both he and Shac, the guy next to him, had 40s clutched in their dirty mitts, but I edited them out so the pictures could appear on the trumpet web site, which was too closely affiliated with the marching band to show people consuming large quantities of alcohol. The number of 1998 pictures with hands in strange positions from cropped alcohol led people to joke that the trumpets had their own gang sign. There are more photos such as this one on my Photos page, some of them proving that I have no business being behind the viewfinder of a camera.

♣ Have a great long weekend!

Have a tasty corgi
Bin Laden is not leading any parades
It's not a cat, it's a rat

tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Enjoy your government-sanctioned holiday of consuming large portions of grilled meats!

Komodo dragons terrorize town
Sis finds long-lost brother living across the street
The human Etch-A-Sketch

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Museday Tuesday

As part of this feature, which I started in 2007, I compose a very brief work (under 30 seconds) inspired by a randomly generated title from an online word generator. The composition can be for any instrumentation, and could even be a purely synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.

I work on the excerpt continuously for an hour and then post whatever I've managed to complete, even if it's a poorly constructed slum of a song supported by a foundation of droning double stops and abused tubas.

Malarial: (adj.) Unwholesome or poisonous

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This excerpt is written for piano, strings, flutes, horns, and various percussion. After generating the random word title, I immediately came up with the one bar piano motive at the beginning, and the rest flowed from there.

Firing dispatcher for Facebook drug joke was right, Wisconsin council claims
Water gun fight prompts hazmat case, evacuations
Burglar feasts on sandwiches, but leaves money

tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kitchen Status Day

The kitchen is looking good at the moment, although there's no longer enough daily progress to warrant a high-tech slideshow. We actually got most of the heavy stuff finished by Sunday, and then I promptly got sick and was out of commission for the next two days.

The new solid-state countertop is an off-white "Vanilla Ice" and should be ready in three weeks, according to the contractor who came by yesterday to finalize the measurements. We'll put in a temporary countertop in the meantime, so we don't have accidents whenever we try to set our drinks down.

Also, Shells and Cheese doesn't taste any better when cooked on a stainless steel oven.

Our brains may be wired for negative gossip
German insurer Munich Re held orgy for salesmen
$2M Michigan lottery winner defends use of food stamps

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

Random Chart Day: Remember LOST?

WARNING: This post spoils the crap out of the TV show, LOST.

This week marks the two year anniversary of the series finale of LOST, which petered out of existence like the tail end of a mime parade. LOST was actually the last TV show I ever made time for when it aired, and I have to admit that there were some great concepts and individual episodes throughout the run -- the writers were good at crafting smaller stories and season finales, although they obviously had no idea what the forest looked like from high above.

If you have never watched LOST, you can save yourself 84.7 hours by reading this chart, which tracks my level of interest in the show as it progressed, and summarizes each episode. Enjoy!




My LOL LOST Feature
My Recap of LOST Season 5 Finale
LOST on Community

tagged as data | permalink | 4 comments

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 23 years ago, on June 11, 1993.

I'm standing with Alexandria Councilman, Bill Cleveland, who gave me an Alexandria city flag during my Eagle Scout ceremony. I have never again removed the flag from its box in the basement, but it will be on the main mast of my future pirate ship, just below the skull and crossbones.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, May 25, 2018

Review Day: Forbidden Island

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Forbidden Island is our latest attempt at finding a two-player game we can play together that isn't just the cripple version of a game for more people. It's designed for 2 - 4 players to play cooperatively and feels well-done at both ends of the range.

Players start on a randomly organized island of 24 tiles and, with limited inventory, must collect enough treasure cards to attain the 4 plastic treasures. Once the team has all of the treasures, they must reach the helicopter landing pad to fly away together. The gimmick of the game is that random parts of the island sink after every turn, at a rate that gradually increases over time (and like the real world, flooded properties are more susceptible to future floods). You can use an action on your turn to "shore up" a nearby tile, but tiles that flood twice without any shoring up are permanently removed from the island.

Each member of the team has a random occupation, like the Engineer who can shore up 2 tiles per turn, or the Messenger who can trade treasure cards to anyone on the island without standing right next to them. The game is spent strategizing, moving, trading, and shoring up while hoping that the dreaded "Waters Rise!" card isn't drawn to accelerate the flood rate.

In our games, we've won more than we've lost, but it's been pretty close at the Novice and Normal difficulty levels (we're about ready to increase the challenge next time we play). The relatively small number of unique card types make it easy to keep track of what's going on while the many random variables make each game feel fresh without introducing any scenarios that just feel impossible (random impossibility is the worst). Overall, we definitely enjoy this game and plan to play it again very soon!

Final Grade: A

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Monday, May 25, 2020

Review Day: Quarantine Shopping Experiences

Safeway on Sterling Boulevard:
Constantly out of stock on staples like milk, eggs, and meats. No interesting beers anymore. Great fresh bagels. Produce may have been scooped out of a Medieval midden. Most employees wearing a mask, half of patrons.

Final Grade: D

Giant on Dranesville Road:
Great fruit and vegetables. Sporadic availability of nice-to-haves like disinfectant wipes, yeast, and ribeye. Everyone in masks.

Final Grade: A

Costco on Route 7:
More people than expected, not as many as there could have been. Everyone in a mask but most patrons still oblivious to surroundings. Everything in stock but toilet paper. Worth it for a once-a-month trip.

Final Grade: B

Chuy's at Cascades:
Online ordering and well-oiled curbside operation. Food tastes great at home.

Final Grade: A

Sweetwater Tavern on Route 7:
Excellent ordering and curbside operation. $2 to-go pints. Delicious food that stays good after travel (other than fries, which get a little soggy). Slightly pricey.

Final Grade: A

Joe's Pizzaria on Sterling Boulevard:
Delicious comfort food and the best pizzas overall. Super fast, safe delivery.

Final Grade: B

Fireworks Pizza at Cascades:
We love this place in-person and really want to support them, but the pizza was small, cold, and disappointing by the time we got home.

Final Grade: D

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

What's Maia Up To Day

Maia is just 6 weeks away from being a five-year-old! She is awesome.

She's nearly at the age where I started kindergarten which means that, if she's anything like I was, 2022 will be the first year where she has strong core memories of things that go on. While her recall of events is still spectacular, some early memories (like almost anything pre-pandemic) have faded away.

Maia is always wearing a headband -- either she's a cat, or a princess, or a princess cat. She is less into bunnies these days, and her two main stuffed animals are Original Bunny and Little Cat. However, she will still interject into conversations to compare whatever we're talking about to how they do it in Bunnytown.

Maia is not shy. During her afternoon "quiet time" and the hour between bedtime and actually being asleep, she will continue to tell endless stories or sing songs and talk to herself in her room. When she's on the playground, she has no problems running up to people and joining in the fun. After anonymous playground child #204 had to go home, Maia yelled after her, "My name is Maia and I had fun playing with you!" She is getting used to playdates again, especially at the playground, but still mostly plays next to people instead of with them.

Maia still enjoys puzzles, coloring, and drawing -- all things she'll do on her own without provocation if we're busy with Ian. Any time she gets a new activity book or learning game, she'll be distracted for at least an hour. She still does Khan Academy Kids on the iPad a few times per week. We discovered that the "Library" of lessons in that program is in reverse chronological order, so she's spent much of her time on 2nd Grader lessons (quarters of a casserole and groups of 10) instead of the Pre-K lessons (syllables and rhyming words). One night, she opted for a narrated story about Africa instead of eating dessert.

Her favourite movie is Encanto (favourite character: Isabella) although she'll still watch the Frozen duology when she feels like she's over-Encantoed. She has drifted away from Mario Kart because she's not quite dexterous enough to actually steer the karts, but she's gotten bored of "autopilot" mode where she just mashes the gas button. I predict that year 5 is where she'll finally get good at joystick manipulation and start playing games in earnest. Recently, she's been content just watching me play Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze.

Maia graduated from Kids Under Construction preschool yesterday and her last day is Friday. Bring on the summer camps!

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

 

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