This Day In History: 06/09

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I've posted a bunch of pictures from the Housewarming Party on the Photos page in the Uri! section. I got several great gifts, all of which I gave to Booty for safekeeping.

Last night around 11 PM, cops from Herndon, Sterling, and Fairfax County swarmed onto our quiet little court, followed by a helicopter overhead with a spotlight. Apparently, a drunk driver had decided to drive away from the police and made a wrong turn onto the court. At least my car, which was parked on the street, remained unscathed and unsideswiped.

Bird poops in Cyndi Lauper's mouth (urizone/urizone)
One shopkeeper said the last local scandal of similar proportions involved competing claims to the title of Miss Crustacean, bestowed at the town's annual crab derby.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

There was an article in the Washington Post yesterday about students who truncate their high school years to get into college faster . In my day, the purpose of high school was to ogle at girls and refine my razor-scarred wit at the expense of poor teachers (notably a BSCS Biology teacher who was so lazy that she divided up the last 12 chapters off the book amongst the students and made them teach each other). Learning was minimal to nonexistant and there was nothing ever taught in high school that couldn't have easily been learned in self-study. However, the daily act of getting up and going to school, interacting with other equally bored and/or clueless rhubarbs, and just being awake minute to minute, was instrumental in molding us into halfway independent beings.

There should be a minimum age limit for college. Kids are not necessarily ready for college just because they've finished all the books in the library. School systems don't really help this situation since they tend to advance overachievers (and reward those with AP credit), rather than broaden the breadth of their education. Instead of pushing a student into Algebra XII because "there's nothing left to learn in Algebra XI", why not let them devote their time to other interests and hobbies, or go deeper into the subject matter they just finished? It's at this point that the ball is in the parents' court, since the school systems can barely teach Johnny to read. (This is exemplified by one New York school system which started an anti-drug campaign with pencils that said "Too Cool to Do Drugs". Enterprising students quickly realized that sharpening the pencil changed the message to "Cool to Do Drugs", and finally "Do Drugs".)

I suppose at a higher level, this whole phenomenon just reflects America's drive to have successful kids who go to Harvard at 11, sell Google stock at 28, and support their parents into retirement.

Nerds make better lovers
Because he looked harmless
The charge was "Gross Sexual Imposition" but I don't think he could help it

tagged as newsday | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Fragments

Always exciting, never stale, much like English muffins in a vacuum

  • Kim decided to end her long-running blog this week, which was tragic. In its place on my Bloglog, Mark Connor gets the coveted lower-left corner spot, clinically proven to draw the eyes of an upwards of three (3) visitors per day. To maintain the circle of life and to give me reading fodder, one of you read-only leeches should start up a blog of your own and post in it regularly. I will even plug you here like a leaky skiff. We must do everything possible to prevent the blogging world from becoming lopsided.

  • Because my neighbourhood is still semi-rural, there are only sidewalks on one side of the street, if at all. In every case where this lopsided sidewalk exists, every white yuppy jogger will use the sidewalk, while every Hispanic with a baby stroller will walk in the road on the opposite side of the street (usually with traffic). You'd think that the value of your life would outweigh the effort it'd take to cross the street to safety. Especially with BU on the road.

  • I drive politely and reasonably cloes to the speed limit in neighbourhoods, but once the speed limit hits 35 and over, I become one of those annoying northern Virginian drivers that has to BE THERE NOW. My philosophy on travel is this: why waste time getting there when you could be there enjoying yourself or making money or whatever you'd do? No doubt someone will play the role of devil's advocate's fortune cookie and argue that it's the journey itself that matters. Hogwash!

  • I have never actually tried to wash a hog, so I don't know why that expression would have the farcical connotations it has, but I have eaten a hog that was roasted in a pit underground all day long. I can't remember what it tastes like though, since it was far away in the days of my youth. What's the point of having childhoods and whatnot when 80% of the memories from those days will fade away forever after about ten years? You should be able to selectively pick which memories to keep and which ones to throw away. I would throw away a good chunk of useless school days.

  • I never got a lot out of the traditional sit-in-a-classroom approach to education. I would much rather take a self-study or online course and do all the work at my own pace. Now that I've kicked the Java Certification Exam's ass back to France, I need to think of a new technical area to study in the coming months. I was considering both AJAX and Ruby. Any suggestions from the readers who are, or pretend to be, geeks?

  • Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 is coming up on Monday. This is your chance to show the world that you're only a geek on the Internet, but also in real life! I think I'll participate in it again this month -- maybe it will compel me to do something exciting that day so I can wow the audience with my crazy lifestyle.

  • This weekend is a perfect example of my crazy lifestyle. On Saturday, I plan on doing a lot of shopping, hitting such well-known stores as Radio Shack, Target, Home Depot, Petsmart, and Shoppers Food Warehouse. After I do that, I will wash my car (while it's in Drive, for added danger), and then clean the house. Chris Sharp's birthday is on Saturday, so happy pre-birthday to him.

  • Have a good weekend!

  • Real body at a fake crime scene
    I hope he picked Rock
    Beware rogue helicopter pilots and Boy Scouts

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 6 comments

    Monday, June 09, 2008

    Vocabulary Day

    learning words the first grader way

    Look at Jeff's new cowboy boots.
    More importantly, look at Jeff's inappropriately wide stance.

    The jet plane landed on the runway.
    Three dimensional spatial awareness comes in third grade.

    We had hotdogs for lunch.
    The lesson of the week was compound words, but I'm pretty sure that "hot dog" has a space in it.

    Tom will carry a flashlight on Halloween.
    Tom is also thrilled with pronouns.

    Your niece is a girl.
    Thank you, Captain Obvious. I bloody well hope that my niece is a girl.

    The meeting was for a brief time.
    Illustrating the life lesson that even the shortest of meetings are best when completely unattended.

    The chief drove the fire truck.
    Apparently the chief is a member of the KISS Army and the fire truck doubles as a mobile observatory.

    The thief took the jewels.
    When the addition of full human figures might be too difficult, pretend they are outside of the scene and employ "action lines".

    See other vocabulary pictures in this entry .

    It's not a tumor -- it's a towel
    36MMM brests scoop the world record
    Is the main character missing? Maybe not.

    tagged as memories, media | permalink | 0 comments

    Tuesday, June 09, 2009

    List Day: Ten More Rejected Wedding Ideas

    1) The bride and groom will run a series of Save the Date magnet schools, where intelligent children expecting to learn more about science end up handcrafting our centerpieces in sweat shop conditions. Initial trial sites will include Cora Kelly Elementary School and Thomas Jefferson High School.

    2) Flower girl, Ella, will proceed down the aisle to Umbrellavator, an original remix/mashup of Rhianna's Umbrella and Flo Rida's Elevator.

    3) To boost attendance, flash mob announcements will be posted on Craigslist the night before, using Sunset Hills Vineyard as a target.

    4) Each guest will pick up a loaf of sourdough bread at the door for the best man's toast. The toasting is not complete until your loaf is gone or you're under the table, honking.

    5) Belaying the standard walk down the aisle, the bride will be shot out of a cannon. A black dress may be in order, to hide the powder burns.

    6) The wedding attendants will get the bride and groom's names permanently tattooed on their shoulders, letter by letter. To facilitate this, Brian and Rebecca will change their names to Po and Ida.

    7) The groom's guests will be pit against the bride's guests (in all their formal wear) in several rounds of Tug-o-War over a giant vat of fermenting grapes. (The bride has more guests but the groom's guests are stronger).

    8) Marc Nagy will be the wedding crooner, singing selections from Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life".

    9) Invitations will be delivered in person, as a fifty minute oratorio featuring Ted's barbershop quartet from Scrubs.

    10) The honeymoon will include a bus tour of the top-producing chicken farms in southern Delaware.

    17th century witch bottle discovered
    Call it "The Big Willie"
    Jellyfish dominating the ocean

    tagged as lists | permalink | 5 comments

    Wednesday, June 09, 2010

    New Release Day

    DDMSence v1.4.0 is now available for download, and fulfilled the "code something or write something" slot in yesterday's schedule, which was right after the "eat wings for lunch" slot and right before the "take a nap before losing at volleyball by 2 points" slot. I am hoping to find a way to expand my days with more slots, but I enjoy the "sleeping" slot far too much.

    Anti-speed camera activist nabs Bluff City PD's expiring web domain
    Wrold's ugliest dog dead at 17
    BP buys oil spill Google keywords

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

    Thursday, June 09, 2011

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture of my sister probably dates to the very early 80s. When we were kids, our family would purchase bread at the "used bread store" in Bailey's Crossroad. This was essentially a place where all the bread near its expiration date would come to die when no one had purchased it in the real store. I'm sure it was economically sound, but it also resulted in plenty of stale pieces (especially the ends) that were only good for feeding Fred the Squirrel in the backyard.

    You can still see chain-link fence in the background, which places it before the points in history where the neighbours on each of three sides annoyed my dad enough to elicit high wooden privacy fences.

    Rushville teen facing felony charges over prank
    Police cite man accused of paying with pennies
    It's not a weasel, it's a marten

    tagged as memories | permalink | 4 comments

    Monday, June 09, 2014

    Weekend Wrap-up

    Our weekend began last Friday night with a trip to the weekly free concert in Herndon. This week's band was Gonzo's Nose, playing covers for the largest audience we've seen in our many years of attendance. Apparently, someone has given cover bands permission to finally leave the 80s, as much of the last half of the set featured a bunch of music that no one over 20 cares about -- Carly Rae Jepsen followed by Miley Cyrus?

    On Saturday, we went out to Harper's Ferry for an afternoon hike up to Split Rock. The parking lot was jam-packed with tourists, but luckily they all went to the quaint downtown, leaving the trails pretty quiet. We did a 7.72 mile hike up the mountain in less than four hours (including our rest time at the top) according to Rebecca's FitBit, which is currently in competition with Mike's FitBit -- either he's Forrest Gumping all over the United States, or he's overinflating his numbers by self-reporting at the end of each day.

    After the hike, we went back to The Dish in Charles Town for some slightly pricey, locally-grown dinner. Rebecca got a pork chop the size of her head, and I had the scallops with bacon mushrooms.

    On Sunday morning, Rebecca's church had a joint service with the Lutherans in Claude Moore Park. No battles broke out between the congregations -- it turned out that the true conflict for the ages was not between religions, but between the sun and really pale, white people. We spent the rest of the day relaxing, and ended with some grilled hamburgers and Hearthstone.

    How was your weekend?

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 6 comments

    Tuesday, June 09, 2015

    Random Chart Day: Where I Store My Music

    tagged as data | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, June 09, 2016

    Review Day: Overwatch

    Over 7 million people purchased Overwatch globally in its first week of sales, which is comparable to everyone in the state of Washington playing at least 1 game. It's capturing a player base of unexpected people like Elon Musk while evoking moments where T-Pain expresses his love of gaming (language not safe for work). Even Rebecca tried a couple games against the AI as Winston, the gorilla scientist, and didn't have an awful time.

    The game is essentially the same one it was when I reviewed in closed beta, and has not stumbled in the final polish stages at all. I've played steadily since release, and even reconnected with some old Starcraft friends who I hadn't been in a multiplayer game with since the late 90s.

    The biggest negatives I see in other reviews are complaints about a lack of content, absence of progression, and purchasable loot boxes. None of these are as big a deal as they seem:

    • It's hard to understand how 12 maps and 21 heroes doesn't count for a variety of content, especially when picking a brand new hero you've never played before immediately refreshes things if your primary hero gets stale. And while Blizzard didn't include a single-player campaign, millions of trivial game modes, or an Ubisoft crafting system where you make a potion out of three tigers, quality is obviously emphasized over quantity throughout.

    • Some people have said that there is no sense of progression as you play, and want more unlockables, hero upgrades, or reasons to keep playing. In my mind, games with parts you can't play until you've unlocked them are the worst (remember Super Smash Brothers on the Wii where you had to play the single-player campaign over and over to get new heroes?), and getting better at the game and enjoying it are both solid reasons to keep playing. I constantly play "just one more game" because it's fun, not because I'm trying to grind up to some arbitrary experience level.

    • Some people have taken issue with the fact that you can pay real money to get a loot box full of random cosmetic upgrades, like new voice lines and character skins. These don't affect the gameplay at all and are just nice to have. If you don't want to buy them, you'll get a loot box for free every 6 - 8 games depending on how well you do.

    The bottom line is that this is an enjoyable and accessible team shooter that just might be as addictive as a Diablo or a Warcraft to many game players. Make sure you buy it for PC because first-person shooting on consoles is uniformly awful.

    Final Grade: A

    Overwatch on the URI! Zone:

    tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, June 09, 2017

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Good Luck With Your Life by Spose:
    The newest album from Spose is clever and fun to listen to one time, but doesn't offer much on repeat listenings. He has a knack for neat similes and wordplay in his lyrics, but like a stand up comedy special, once you've appreciated them they aren't as good the second time around. None of the songs are lasting enough that they've stuck in my mind as I write this review.

    Final Grade: C+

    Mondo by Electric Guest:
    I bought this album based on a Pandora referral to This Head I Hold. It's really catchy and does a nice job of blending styles from several different past eras. A few songs last way too long, but otherwise this is a worthwhile album.

    Final Grade: B+

    Lion (PG-13):
    This story about a young Indian boy who falls asleep on a train and gets lost in a city miles away is very well done, although it occasionally feels emotionally manipulative. We went into it not knowing what it was about, but as the story progressed, I realized that I had read the original (true) story it was based on back when Google Earth was becoming a big deal. It may not be Best Picture material but it was fun to watch -- I actually enjoyed the acting of the little boy more than the dependable Dev Patel.

    Final Grade: B

    Hidden Figures (PG):
    This is a pleasant, paint-by-numbers story about the black women who worked for NASA during the space craze, just as computers were becoming a thing. Though not bad in any way, it's not particularly challenging -- you may like it if nothing else is on.

    Final Grade: B-

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, June 09, 2021

    What's Maia Up To Day

    Maia is a month away from turning 4. She still tells elaborate stories that convert her inner monologue into an outer one for hours as part of her falling asleep ritual. Here is an excerpt from Saturday night.

    There's 8 hot dog packs and 6 bun packs. Or there was a... Mipha bought 4, Mipha bought 2 of...Mipha bought 4 buns. Mipha bought 4 buns. 2 for, 2...2 of 4 of buns...and 8 hot dogs and 8 buns. That's what they did. They got 2 of the same bun packs.

    Mipha says, "Look! The bag has salmon that looks good." That was funny... Anna and Elsa said, "Look! Look! That's Frozen Fruit Snacks! Frozen, frozen fruit snacks." And Olaf said, "Also, the wind feels it. Because it also blows around." There was a tornado of leaves. It's just a ... whooosh whooossh whooosh. Elsa goes, "What are you doing over there?" Mipha said, "Guys, what does this say?" Olaf says, "Chocolate pie?" Mipha says, "My favourite dessert...".

    Revali was also knocked on the door. For the first time in forever, a bunch of, a bunch of... Revali had a bunch of blupees in his cart. Revali picked out suet cake. There was suet cake at the store. The first time when he went there. So the guy put suet cake in there. So soon they went to Costco. At Costco they bought swimsuits.

    "Any blue around here that I can play with?" said Blupee. The blupee was so high up that Revali's head was up. Sometimes Revali heard blupees yelling in his ears when they were hungry for their breakfast and dinner and lunch so Revali bought earplugs. Orange earplugs. They called 'em HEAR-Os. I can't hear anything with HEAR-O's. Olaf had a blupee. Hans had macaroni so he said, "Macaroni!" and everyone bought the macaroni. Olaf bought blupee-shaped macaroni so Anna got batteries. They had lots of stuff on their list.

    On Sunday, Maia also created her first truly solo drawing without any adults offering suggestions or help.

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

    Friday, June 09, 2023

    First Impressions: Diablo IV

    There are no major spoilers in this review.

    It's been 11 years since Diablo III was released as a shallow, cartoony mess, and 9 years since Blizzard turned it into something worth playing long-term with an expansion pack. Diablo IV arrives in a new era where Blizzard games are no longer an auto-preorder because of a string of misfires (the overly monetized mobile version of Diablo, the Warcraft 3 remake that was broken out of the box, killing Overwatch 1 then dropping development on the only features of Overwatch 2 that made it different from 1, and the general ickiness of monetization and battle passes).

    I purchased Diablo 4 with reservations, but reasoned that I would get at least enough entertainment out of it to warrant the high cost. And so far, I'm having a great time -- I haven't played Overwatch 2 since.

    Diablo 4 returns to the dark mood of the first two games in the series while retaining many of the more enjoyable, accessible features from Diablo 3. The gameplay loop is satisfying and the story is serviceable without inducing cringes. Graphics and sound are perfect.

    The classes I've played (sorcerer and rogue) have a good amount of depth and customization even though the skill trees feel a little shallow. The game is challenging, even on normal mode, forcing a little more thought into the way you build out your character. My only nitpick is that there's a noticeable amount of rubberbanding when trying to maneuver around corners and clicking in just the wrong spot.

    For many people, a game like this doesn't truly begin until you've beaten the story mode once and progressed to higher difficulty levels. My main character is only level 43 right now, so I can't guarantee that the experience won't go sour once I hit 50 (I'm still only on Act II in the normal mode). Blizzard has plenty of room to mess things up with seasons, battle passes, and monetization, but for now, I'm happy with my purchase and looking forward to trying out every class.

    tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 0 comments


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