This Day In History: 06/06

Monday, June 06, 2005

Every so often, I'll contemplate writing a comprehensive timeline of my life, including where I've lived, what I did, who my friends and professors were, and other trivia. I'm already starting to forget the names of my junior high teachers, and I'm sure that ten years from now I'll remember nothing at all of the glory days. After I have these ambitious thoughts, I'll realize how much effort it would really take, and how much constant maintenance it would require to keep up to date. Then, I change my mind and make a little news update instead. I can be really good at keeping things alive (see this site, and Booty), but I can also lose interest fast (see the "comprehensive list of movies I've seen" in the Archive which lasted about a year).

Hormone Dose May Increase People's Trust in Strangers
Tiny ninjas minimize Shakespeare's Hamlet
This Snoop Dogg character fell and injured his thumb

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cat Media Tuesday

An occasional featurette of homegrown kitty porn


"Hey, get this growth off my booty."


"Please stop staring at my boobies."


"I'm only mildly retarded."


"Being a cat is such hard work."


"Who's got the bed NOW, biatch?"


"I guess you do."


"BU passed his certification exam with a 92%. Hooray (for the forthcoming $400 check)!"

Nudist resorts grapple for buyers
Where do you get an aluminum boat? A dishwasher, a refrigerator?
SNAKE ON A PLANE

tagged as cats, media | permalink | 6 comments

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Memory Day: To Grandmother's House

If you were to tally up all the vacation days I spent outside of my hometown as a child, the bulk of them would take place in Burton, Michigan (a small town of 30,000 just outside of Flint). Michigan was the home of my grandparents on my mother's side, and the defacto place for my parents to dump the kids on extended holidays and revisit that long-lost concept, the "quiet house". The town of Burton was on the dulling edge of modernism, boasting a shopping mall roughly the length of a basketball court with a Little Professor bookstore and an indoor fountain.

In Alexandria, we would pile into our peach Nissan Stanza (license plate XVX-881) at 7 AM for the ten hour trip north (despite continued attempts by my Dad to leave at 6) and journey forth with a McDonald's hashbrown stop in Breezewood, Pennsylvania, and a rest stop in Ohio chosen based upon a complex mathematical equation which included how many sodas were consumed, how many empty screw-cap bottles we had in the car, and whether or not the Pennsylvania Turnpike had made my sister carsick. Once we'd passed the "you must be this tall to catch a connecting flight" line, my sister and I would get bundled onto a Delta flight through Dayton, to arrive in Flint that much quicker.

The first dinner of every trip was always my grandma's macaroni and beef casserole, which is probably why I eat a lot of Beefaroni today (just like the mandatory manual labour in kindergarten is responsible for the fact that I am 125 pounds of unadulterated monster truck force now). My parents would then depart the following morning and the vacation would officially begin.

My grandparents lived in a moderately sized rambler with a backyard that could comfortably accomodate a herd of migrant wildebeests -- it had an attic room over the garage and a dank, scary unfinished basement that I refused to go into for many years because it resembled a scene from the original Psycho movie which I somehow ended up watching before I was 10. Every house in the neighbourhood had well water, which was slightly more appetizing than pee pee.

As a kid, I had vacations that were true and pure of heart, ones where there were too many days to plan out, and never any worries about a premature ending or the return of the school year. My sister and I would wake up leisurely in the morning for a homemade breakfast of pancakes and bacon (or a weekly trip to the local Scotty's) while watching poorly animated cartoons on HBO like Tom Sawyer and Belle and Sebastian, followed by the more high-class Adventures of Babar. After this would be a full hour of I Love Lucy which was deemed safe for kids.

At ten o' clock, we would be ejected from the TV room because HBO would start showing PG-13 movies. It might have been a conspiracy, since my grandpa's favourite game shows and soap operas started soon afterwards. For the rest of the day, we gallivanted between four major areas:

  1. The Attic: The little room over the garage was defined by its regulation-size pool table. Pool, though, is a little slow-paced for kids, so we would often play a variant of air hockey which involved my sister and I taking opposite ends of the table and rolling balls at each other in real-time, followed by much yelling from my grandpa. The attic also had a working bar where we could pretend to be raging alcoholics, and two closets filled to the brim with childhood artifacts of my mom and her brother. I spent plenty of time playing with a mock slot machine that ejected slugs when you got three cherries, or building an obstable course with the 1940s era building blocks and setting up dominos to knock down through it (because no one really knows how to play the game of dominos). This attic is also where I amassed most of my current record collection and learned the magic of the Peanuts through the original comic anthologies.

  2. The Neighbours': Next door lived the Beard family, whose house boasted a woodworking shop (where Mr. Beard made me my beloved practice sword which I wielded for years until my ADD friend, Tony, bashed it against a tree until it snapped), a full-sized pool, and an in-ground trampoline. Most mornings, I would spend a couple hours doing death-defying feats on the trampoline and then innocently wandering around the pool area until Mr. Beard noticed me and removed the pool cover for the day. The pool had a slide and a diving board, but strangely, I didn't really like swimming unless it was over 88 degrees. This was also where I got the scar on my knee (I was running in the Don't Run area). Going to the Beard's was a catch-22 some days, because they had some very spoiled grandkids that insisted things always go their way in games. One week, my sister and I convinced our grandma to tell them we were on a trip for a week when they came over, and we spent the rest of the week hidden inside.

  3. The Living Room: In the living room, we read books from the local library, played board games, invented new board games, had Easter Egg hunts, and tried to play with the surly cat, Cody, who would inevitably scratch someone. Once, Cody brought a dead bird into the house, hid it, and I stepped on it in the dark. This room is also where we did our mandated 30 minutes of practice on the piano, since our parents figured that summer vacation was the perfect time to turn us into little Asian virtuosos. Twenty years later, and I can play the first movement of the Clementi sonatina from memory. In the winter, the fireplace was a major novelty, not only because I am a pyromaniac, but also because our fireplace at home was always irrepairably broken and I thought this was a tragedy.

  4. The Yard: When I was a kid, Michigan had the largest, most painful mosquitos in the Western Hemisphere, and I probably caught malaria at least three times. When the weather was humid enough to prevent giant mosquito attacks, we would play in the yard, climbing apple trees, picking fresh vegetables from the garden, or making a fort in the tiny woods next to the property. I actually buried some treasure in my fort with a map leading to it, so it's probably still there today, buried under a decade and a half of dirt and pine needles. Since the treasure consisted mainly of slot machine slugs, I doubt it's worth the effort to dig up.

There were many more memories from Michigan, like the clay figurine painting phase, the mortifying playing of TAPS every night, and the week long Mankala championship, but these will have to wait for another day. What do you remember from your grandparents' house?

Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!
Couple turns passion for 'Star Wars' movies into fantasy wedding
London Olympic logo is hideous

tagged as memories | permalink | 9 comments

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Fragments

two parts vermouth to one part yogurt

♠ This week marked a break in a four-year tradition: Fridays are no longer Popeyes For Lunch days! The Cheers-esque franchise near my home where my order is always prepared as I walk up to the counter has the same meal discounted on Tuesdays. By going then, I pay $3.18 instead of $4.68 (a 32% savings!) which nets me about $70 a year. Some other cost-cutting measures I plan on employing include getting my car to run on tap water ($1440 a year) and feeding my cats carpet shavings instead of dry food ($100 a year).

♠ Speaking of cat feedings, Booty was a right bastard this morning, starting her breakfast routine at 3:30 AM instead of 5 AM and carrying on every twenty minutes. She tried to push a decorative mug off a shelf, knocked some CDs on the floor, and ate off the cover of Consumer Reports magazine (since she obviously disagreed with their reviews of pet insurance). I responded by putting her in a velcro suit and throwing her against my velcro wall where she hung plaintively until I was ready to wake up.

♠ The velcro suit booth was always a popular attraction at any number of city/school fairs in Alexandria. When the uptight safety monitors weren't looking, we'd always try to run two or three people up at the same time because as everyone learns in high school, "Safety First" is for pansies.

♠ While cleaning out my house, I discovered a Safety Checklist that I distributed door-to-door in my neighbourhood to fulfill the requirements of the Safety merit badge. The checklist was about as useful as a Boy Scout pamphlet could be, with tips like "don't leave your baby in the bathtub" and "don't drop a bathtub on your baby". Luckily, the merit badge only required me to pass the checklist around -- I didn't actually have to follow up on the neighbours to make sure they weren't engaging in risky home repairs or swinger parties.

♠ I've been doing my Spring cleaning this week, rearranging furniture and discarding things that really don't need to be saved. Among the growing list of items: a 2003 map of DC, the literary review magazine from 7th grade (I was unpublished and undiscovered), a pair of size 36 shorts never worn, four pairs of socks with holes in them, three PCI modem cards, four sticks of RAM, four really slow OEM graphics cards, two dish towels, a stack of delivery menus, a bulletin board, a stack of "cold wash only" sweaters that shrank in the dryer, and Booty.

♠ This weekend marks round two of Jazz in the Garden, followed by an insane heat wave (97-100 degrees) that will keep me inside cleaning the basement and playing poker. I may mow the lawn on Sunday before it gets too hot -- alternately I'll set the air conditioner to a frigid 79 degrees and watch ALIAS all day long.

♠ Yesterday was also Rob Kelley's birthday. I haven't really kept track of people's brithdays this year because Facebook takes the fun out of birthday-stalking. However, Rob doesn't list his on Facebook anyhow, so I'm off the hook for missing it by one day. Happy Birthday!

♠ Have a great weekend!

Orlando news stations believe almost anything
Polar bear explorer met by hostile natives
Fake bus stop keeps Alzheimer's patients from wandering off

tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, June 06, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday evening, around dusk, I mowed the lawn and then launched an armed assault against the forest mosquitoes plaguing the backyard, just in time for barbeque season. You have to fight mosquitoes at dusk because they have genetically poor eyesight and cannot dodge the malathion as easily. Although I cleaned up immediately afterwards, I could still smell the lingering scent of chemicals for a good twenty-four hours.

I stayed in for the entire day on Saturday, catching up on a bunch of computer projects while the missus was away -- the day was a blur of work-work, XML, Schematron, the first season of Home Improvement, shells and cheese, and World of Warcraft.

On Sunday, I provisioned the fridge with essentials such as ice cream and fried chicken, and got a little more work in. I also made sure to block off some composing time for Museday Tuesday -- It's been three months since my last Museday, mainly because the combination of Windows 7 and Finale 2011 make composing about as enjoyable as sitting through a sophomore alto sax recital featuring nothing but Hindemith transcriptions.

In the evening, after Rebecca's return, we had dinner at Cantina d'Italia in Herndon where we learned life lessons in math: a "full carafe" of wine is actually more than twice the amount of two "half carafes", and far more wine than two people can drink if they plan on getting home safely and legally. Even though we lingered over dinner, there was still a solid 1/3 left in the carafe when we left.

Bank of America gets padlocked after homeowner forecloses on it
Bounce houses go airborne in New York
Great white sharks attracted by AC/DC hits

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

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Memory Day: Sixteen Years Ago Today

June 6, 1996 was the last full day of the school year at T.C. Williams. Being a senior at a public school where senioritis started manifesting after Advanced Placement tests at the beginning of May, I had been coasting for quite some time. My biggest worry was probably whether the twenty-one students with higher GPAs (measured to the hundredths place) would screw up, forcing me into one of the speech-giving roles at graduation. (This is probably how Ray LaHood feels, anytime the President and Vice President hang out).

My breezer of a schedule included the following highlights:

  • First period: We had a substitute in Music Theory I who didn't know anything about music. Free period!

  • Second period: Ever since the AP Physics C exam, we had spent class time watching the entire Star Wars trilogy with Dr. Patel. This was our reward for getting 5s on the exam.

  • Third period: In Mrs. Buckbee's AP English class, our final project was to give an old-fashioned book report on any book we wanted, which is dangerous leeway. I had given my report a couple days earlier on Salamandastron from the Redwall series by Brian Jacques (obviously far below a 12th grade reading level), and received an A in spite of the fact that I couldn't finish it without laughing at the ridiculousness of all the talking badgers and stoats and how the plot of every book was the same.

  • Fourth period: The jazz band concert had long since passed, so our lunch period was once again our own.

  • Fifth period: Government class was a video, but I can't remember what it was on. I didn't take the AP Government test though, because it did not count for credit in Virginia and I only overachieve when there is a payout.

  • Sixth period: We were actually still learning new things in Calculus, because only a tsunami could stop Lou Kokonis from ending the learning. However, my early journals only report that "Calc was a waste." so I obviously did not retain the knowledge.

  • Seventh period: In band, we practiced playing Pomp and Circumstance over and over and over. Except -- I was a graduating senior and would not be performing in the band, so I was free to go home early (and did so).

After school, I got on the dial-up modem with Chris Sharp and played Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. Later on that night, my grandfather rolled into town with a $100 graduation gift. He stayed for a week, forcing my college-age sister out of her room and onto a futon in the home office. You would think that the graduate would be the one sleeping on the floor, but my grandfather wholly preferred her bigger bed.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, June 06, 2013

BU Evolution Day

Seven years ago, I posted a list of ten habits and routines. Here's how I have changed since then:

  1. I always get gas at the same gas station, which is alwaysnext door to the cheapest one within a reasonable radius of my house, because something is always broken at the cheapest one. I always buy gas with casha credit card because no one has that many twenties in their wallets anymore.

  2. When writing a book, sometimes the author will describe, in great detail, a hand gesture or motion of one of his characters. If I read a passage containing such described motions or facial expressions, I always try to recreate them myself. If anyone were to watch me, it'd probably look like I was flashing gang signs at my novel.

  3. I try to do as much of my shopping early on Saturday morning as possible. I will hit the grocery store around 7 and gas up the car. Thenget groceries whenever we need them, or send Rebecca to shop for them.
    I do some of my shopping early on Saturday morning.
    I'll head for Costco around 9 to get in before the yuppy bison stampede through the doors, and do any ancillary shopping at nearby stores like Target and Home Depot. If I sleep late, I'll just not go shopping, rather than risk being caught on the roads after 10 AM. That's when gridlock begins.

  4. I usually mow the lawn after work on Fridays. I always mow the outside edwhen it gets first. Then, I'll eithertall. I always go back and forth in straight lines, or I'll continuously mow in a clockwise spiral until there's no grass left to mow. I won't know which way I'll do it until I start.

  5. I always floss the front teeth first, since those are the most visible. Then, I will work from right to left along my top teeth, and do the same for my bottom teeth. This means that the front teeth get flossed twice. There's a slight space between my front teeth that I can push air through with my tongue. If that feels clogged, I must get to flossing as soon as possible.

  6. I wash my dishes as soon as I'm done using them. Sometimes I will even wash dishes during meals or meal preparation to prevent wandering cats from getting fat.

  7. My wake-up routine: roll out of bed, stumble into the shower, brush and shave, dress, feed the cats, get the newspaper out of the driveway and throw it on the porch, get in my car, drive away. This routine takes twenty minutes tops. My come home routine: get the mail, roll garbage cans back to the side of the house, collapse on the floor or couch with cats for a few minutesscoop cat poop and feed them, and then get on the computer to check mail, since I surely received urgent top secret mail in the fifteen minutes since I checked my mail at work. Cats that don't get fed in the morning try to wake us up about 40% less often.

  8. If there are two reasonably equivalent ways to get somewhere that I go regularly, I will alternate between them until I've figured out the most efficient way to go. On long trips, I will usually take the route that has the least number of miles rather than the route that is the fastest.

  9. I have to keep moving and do as much "chore work" as possible once I get home from work. As soon as I lose momentum, I've pretty much called it a night and nothing else will get done.

  10. I try to keep my dinner courses from touching on the plate but I don't care if they end up mixing. I will generally eat all of one entree before starting on the next one, except for fries. Fries, chips, and other potato products are the only part of the meal that I often mix in between bites of other foods.
  11. tagged as lists | permalink | 5 comments

Friday, June 06, 2014

Random Chart Day: URI! Zone Activity

Trends and Observations

  • When you plot two lines on an Excel 2013 graph, Excel increases the height of the second line by about 25 ticks. For example, the spyke in 2003 comments (the red series) was actually 28, not 54. This seems like a mathematically suspect practice.

  • I stopped weekend updates in 2004. To balance that out, I resumed updating during the summers. Remember summer vacations?

  • 2005 was the Tree / Rachel Era of Verbosity.

  • This data series could easily be used as the level design for a 2D side-scrolling video game.

tagged as data, website | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, June 06, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

On Saturday, we woke up early for another Raven Rocks hike. We started hiking early enough (7:30) that we were the first people up the mountain, but returned to a parking lot jam-packed with yuppy cars at various poorly optimized angles. It was like playing Tetris with the added ability to rotate pieces 21 degrees.

In the afternoon, we drove out to Arlington to see the visiting Edwardses and their two-month old, Owen, and then immediately followed that up with a party of Rebecca's yoga friends in Cascades. Yoga parties are an interesting anthropological occurrence, as they usually devolve into people demonstrating yoga poses by the halfway point.

On Sunday, I played some Overwatch with long-lost gaming friends and we also booked the last of our hotels for a summer Colorado trip. We had Chinese delivery for dinner and watched a couple episodes of the previous season of Game of Thrones, but it's not going anywhere quickly.

How was your weekend?

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

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken ten years ago today, on Friday, June 6, 2008.

Following a rousing night of Jazz in the Garden at the Sculpture Garden in DC, a portion of the group (myself, Rebecca, Jessika, Baylis, Mike, and Shakir) split off for drinks at a bar near the Verizon Center. Mike is clearly impressed by Jessika's story. One of these people had too much to drink and became obsessed with playing catch with Mike someday, and then threw up at the Blue Line transfer point in the Rosslyn metro, forcing us to wait another 20 minutes for the next train.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, June 06, 2022

Easy Photos Day

Ian can now butterfly kick his way up onto couches and beds. He then pretends to be lazy like his parents.

The Gillises stayed overnight on Friday as a stop on their whirlwind tour of the East Coast.

Here's the family!

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

 

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