This Day In History: 06/10

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The pool table came a day early so I took part of yesterday off and worked from home for the rest of the day. The two installers were from Georgia (the state) and spend half the year on the road installing pool tables. They were pretty efficient and got the table leveled and constructed in about an hour. Luckily, there's enough space in the room to walk allthe way around the table and not hit the wall with your cue. I ended up not getting the ball return, as there was a mixup on the order and the return would have been an extra $300 which wasn't charged. I also had a mixup on the accessories kit, so they're mailing me a higher quality one (meaning I get to keep the one I have and also keep the new one as well).

The case for aggressive driving
How to punish your child
Explosion in subway. Nearby passengers all dyed. (cosmoran/spider)

permalink | 3 comments

Friday, June 10, 2005

Over a year after submitting the paperwork, I finally had my governmental security clearance interview today. The questions asked were mind-numbingly repetitive, to the point where I almost felt compelled to make up some stories about my shady deals (sometimes I play poker under an oak tree). At least in this interview, the interviewer was pleasant and actually capable of smiling, although I'm sure she was under strain from being observed by her supervisor while she interviewed me. Since there was nothing in my past beyond three moving violations, one of which the DMV does not seem to have record of anymore, the interview was painless if not quick.

Luckily, they and eating in albino El Salvador Operation: Fire Ant assassination. But honestly, no one would really care about that anyhow.

Taking a taxi to the U.S.
Texas Instruments had disabled the decimal-to-fraction key and left it blank.
When Marine recruiters go way beyond the call

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jerkwater: (adj.) Remote, small, and insignificant; Contemptibly trivial

My Composition (0:32 MP3)

For this one, I envisioned something that was inherently harmless but scorned solely on principle -- something that's pleasant enough but ultimately ignored. I used a woodwind ensemble to symbolize things that people don't take seriously, and then kept the orchestration fairly light throughout.

Eiffel Tower takes a bride
Teaching theft to curb theft
Night in Antarctica is the place to be

tagged as museday | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Memory Day: Disney World

The last major family vacation we ever took was a week-long trip to Florida in August of 1994. Neither my sister or I were very excited about this trip -- she was only days away from leaving for her freshman year at UVa and would rather have been hanging out with her friends doing nothing, and I was going on the trip directly from a week-long stay at a Boy Scout Science and Energy camp without any time in the middle to simply be at home and recharge.

The vacation didn't get off to a rousing start, despite the novelty of taking the auto-train. For the unenlightened, the auto-train isn't an electronic system to keep the train on or pretty close to the proper tracks -- it's a direct train from Lorton, Virginia to Florida that will also ship your car down so you don't have to rent one. Evidently this trip was popular enough to warrant daily runs.

On the train overnight, I slept with my mouth slightly open, and when I woke up the next day, all of my teeth had shaken loose from the train vibrations and I could move them with my tongue. I was in pain for the first two days, and ate a squeeze packet of cream cheese for breakfast, because everything else required chewing.

Once in Florida, we spent a day at each of the three big parks, Universal Studios, the Magic Kingdom, and Epcot Center. Universal easily had the best rides (and the longest lines), and going to the Magic Kingdom while you're in high school is about as fun as playing Sorry! with two people -- I think we hit Space Mountain twice and then spent the rest of the day looking cooly bored with our caps on backwards, surrounded by tots.

More important to a hormonal teen was the eye candy index (ECI) of each park. Everyone in the Magic Kingdom was 4, which automatically disqualified it from the rankings. Universal Studios easily had the hottest girls, but Epcot Center was filled with all the European tourists with fun accents.

On days when we weren't at the park, we hit a Gulf-side beach, got rained out while playing mini golf, toured a mall, and walked across the campus of the University of Central Florida, which looked just like every other college campus my sister had toured in the year before.

Finally, the week was up and we returned home to a REAL vacation -- staying home alone with the parents at work, watching I Love Lucy reruns and eating entire pans of bacon for breakfast.

Harvard wants their Wheaties back
Prank caller triggers sprinkler system
Man tries to smuggle pot on a surfboard

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review Day: Super Mario Galaxy 2

Mario Galaxy 2 is a great game which really feels like a massive expansion pack to the original, rather than anything new or innovative. If you liked the first game at all, this game is more in the same vein, and you'll like it just as much. As I write this review, I'm 110 stars in, and on the secret levels after the (unexpectedly boring) final boss fight.

There's very little new graphically, and the gameplay is familiar -- deepened from the first game but not broadened. All 3D console games suffer from horribly implemented cameras, but the "planet gravity" style of this series tends to minimize the innumerable deaths you might blame on the camera. Difficulty walks the line between annoying and frustrating very well, and while levels scale up in difficulty fairly quickly, nothing is overly challenging until the last world. The music is the best part, a perfect mix of fully orchestrated tunes and classics, and the sound is passably good besides the standard annoying Mario whoops on each jump.

With so much care and polish put into the great parts, it's really disappointing that they've not taken the time to improve the classically bad aspects, most of them UI-based.

Unskippable Custcenes: While it's true that you can skip certain sequences after you've seen them once, the pace of the game between actual playtime is horribly slow. Each level is accompanied by several seconds of Mario flying through space, or being forced to wander around the ridiculous Mario-shaped spaceship that flies between worlds -- evidently they failed to recognize that the hub was the worst part of Mario Galaxy, and included it PLUS a world map for twice the load times. Now, you return to the hub after each level, wade through four status messages, and then travel from the hub to the world map to go to the next level.

Conversationally, everyone has tons of useless information to provide, and it appears on the screen letter-by-letter unless you constantly hold a button down. If I see someone who says "I'm a Banktoad!", I'm going to assume that it's a Toad who does some sort of banking and intuitively figure out the rest -- I don't need four bubbles of text on how to deposit my Star Bits.

I am not 12: Nintendo continues to color in random words and phrases in dialogue, as if gamers are incapable of understanding basic English sentences. Every time Captain Blobbo on the spaceship called Princess Peach "your special one", it felt like he was politely hinting that she may be retarded (and she would have to be to keep getting kidnapped by Bowser). Also, every time you run out of lives (another useless holdover from ancient Mario games), Captain Blobbo tries to calm you down by suggesting that you take a break for a while. DON'T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN.

The Wii is not a Precision Gaming Console: Don't make a platformer that requires precision spins, and then bind that action to A HAND SPASM. Give me a button (and a wired controller) so I don't spin off the world when I have to scratch my nose. Also, when you include a timed minigame where you have to stomp on 100 enemies, then place those enemies in a poorly differentiated 3D plane where you can't tell if you're going to land on top of them or in front of them, let me change the camera to be higher up!

Lava Blows: It always has, but ever since Mario 64, lava has caused Mario to bounce around the screen in a nearly uncontrollable scatter drill. Being able to take three hits is irrelevant when your first contact with lava is likely to drop you back in the lava two more times. This game actually makes me hate lava more than I hate ice.

Final Grade: A-, in spite of the annoyances

Woman jailed for using 911 as a date line
Canada grilled over "half-baked fake lake" at G20
Cafe claims world's biggest burger

tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 6 comments

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday

This is the two thousand, four hundred sixty-seventh news update on the URI! Zone. Just looking at that number makes me tired so I'm not going to put any thought into today's post. What are your plans for the weekend? Are you hot (thermally or genetically)? If I just started reposting news updates from 2001 would you notice? When is your next kid due? Can I name my firstborn daughter "Lazy Susan"? Are you a good or bad programmer if you think globally but act locally? Is there a better swearphrase than "Shitbird on Tuesday"? Is leaving the price sticker on your new car's window supposed to make us envy you? Why do people still smoke? Why aren't there any good board games designed for two players, instead of four-player board games playable by "two players with no friends"? Does Chance and Community Chest money go to the bank or Free Parking? Why are there complex dance-step paw prints on our new black cooktop every morning? Why doesn't any of the food in the fridge ever look exciting to eat? Why can't you just type in a date on websites anymore instead of clicking through yet another calendar widget? Why is the lag time between placing and shipping an Amazon order growing every month? What's the deal with those hot shivers you get when you suddenly think you've forgotten something? If you forget to pee, do the hot shivers and cold shivers cancel out? Are you graduating this month? Who is visiting my website from Mobile, Alabama?

You can fix your internal sensor with hot steam
Embarrassing dad waves son off in costume
Fake eviction notices meant to startle

tagged as random, you speak | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

We spent most of the weekend dodging unnecessary rain storms like a rogue with the Evasion skill activated. I mostly stayed in on Friday, working on Bugler and ferrying Rebecca to and from car maintenance. Katie and Joe came over in the evening for hours of fun studying with Rebecca, followed by my glazed grilled salmon.

On Saturday night, after the first wedding shower of the season, Rebecca met me at Lake Anne for a vigorous walk around the lake, followed by a tasty dinner at Singh Thai, which seems to be the only decent restaurant on the lake so far. We also passed a small student recital of young violinists in the community center, all of them Asian, of course.

On Sunday, we went out to northern Loudoun county for the graduation party of Rebecca's cousin, who will also be moving into our hours this coming Wednesday. This probably means that we should learn to be proper role models and stop all of the hard thugging and heavy drugging that usual goes on behind our closed doors.

How was your weekend?

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

List Day: Best and Worst Cheeses

A non-scientific grouping by taste, eating logistics, and pairing potential

Four Worst Cheeses

  • Manchego

  • American

  • Parmesan

  • Swiss

Four Middle-of-the-Road Cheeses

  • Cheddar

  • Feta

  • Provolone

  • Gouda

Four Best Cheeses

  • Mozzarella

  • Brie

  • Gorgonzola

  • Munster

tagged as lists | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken ten years ago, on June 18, 2005, at Ingleside Vineyards near Colonial Beach. I'm in the back, rocking the short-sleeve dress shirt and pencil-thin black tie. None of these people had any children (that they were aware of) at this point in history.

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, June 10, 2016

Stuff in My Drawers Day

A common elementary school assignment is to assign an adjective or noun that best describes you to each letter in your name. I did this one in September 1987 as a fresh-faced fourth grader.

I am definitely a Brother. So far so good.

I am Reliable, and you can tell that because I play golf.

I'm pretty sure that Improsable is not a real word, but it sounds like it means I am unswayed by impressive prose, so I'll keep it.

I am Agreeable, as evinced by my willingness to drive you across a river.

Finally, I am Neat, both in the 80s "cool" way and the traditional "vacuums the house weekly" way. The Spanish moss hanging off the letters foreshadows my eventual two year stint in Tallahassee.

tagged as media | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, June 10, 2019

List Day: 10 Imminent Events

Within the next 90 days:

  1. Our little family (sans Amber who will stay home sleeping on the big bump in the bed) will fly up to Rhode Island to visit my sister's family.

  2. We will spend a weekend a (brief) distance away in Lovettsville at a farm rental house with sheep for Maia to baa at.

  3. Rebecca will turn 36.

  4. We will book October plane tickets for a 10th Anniversary Weekend in Montreal.

  5. I will earn another Amazon Web Services certification (#7).

  6. Maia will turn 2 years old and have a party with all of her little friends.

  7. We will spend a weekend in Richmond with the Edwardses and Catanias.

  8. We will spend a weekend with Elisa and Sayak in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.

  9. We will go to a wedding of Rebecca's mom's sister's brother's son in St. Michael's, MD.

  10. We will figure out what I should do for my 40th birthday in September, besides probably dying.

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 1 year ago today, on June 10, 2019.

We were at Cascades Overlook and Maia was getting her first introduction to Abbott's Frozen Custard, Rebecca's favourite frozen custard store. Since then, Maia has developed her own sweet tooth sensibilities. She enjoys the occasional Flav-or-ice, ice cream sandwich, or Famous Amos cookie, and (of course) loves chocolate milk any time.

We miss going to the Overlook with its uncrowded splash pads and live music. The last time we were there was a dad-daughter dinner at Marumen on March 4, followed by Free S'Mores Night where everyone freely shared wooden marshmallow sticks without the least worry of viral contamination.

tagged as memories | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, June 10, 2022

List Day: 6 In-Office Exercises Killed By Remote Work

  1. The Half Crouch: When you enter a multi-person restroom and, without stopping, fluidly crouch down just far enough to see if any of the stalls are occupied.

  2. Whole World In His Hand: Balancing a soda, mouse, and laptop all on one hand so you can reach your badge with the other to get through a security door.

  3. The Uppercut: Again in the restroom, when you make a fist and punch upwards into the paper towel dispenser to make enough room for the bottom towel to come out without ripping it or pulling seven other towels with it.

  4. The Leaning Tree: When you're in the elevator waiting for it to act upon your button press and you lean surreptitiously, just far enough to the left to see if anyone is approaching the elevator from the lobby.

  5. The Button Maker: When you throw open the Keurig lid to eject the old K-cup with verve and then mash it shut with great force on the new K-cup, remembering that one time when the K-cup didn't get punctured and water went everywhere.

  6. The Finger Shimmy: When the restroom trash bag is billowed out because of the HVAC system so you try to push your used paper towel down into the bag without actually touching the bag itself.

tagged as lists | permalink | 1 comment

 

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