This Day In History: 06/18

Monday, June 18, 2007

Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday the 15th: I had last Friday off from work, and spent the morning getting Anna to set up a Facebook account. I also turned her baby into an animatronic prop so everyone can feel like they're on the It's a Small World ride whenever Anna posts in the Comments section. In the afternoon, I took the Metro into D.C. to meet Rebecca after work for the Jazz in the Garden series that occurs every Friday night at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.

I didn't actually take any pictures of any sculptures, since pictures of random people you don't know are far more voyeuristically interesting than misshapen metal chunks, but you can presume that my manly chiselled features were indicative of the types of sculpted work one might see at such a Garden. We ordered two pitchers of sangria, both white and red, sat on a blanket, and listened to an avant-garde soprano saxophonist play incomprehensible duets with a tenor.

Jazz makes people hungry, as evidenced by the Great New Orleans Famine of 1929, and rather than order a tiny pizza for $6 in the Garden we decided to go to a real restaurant. After an aborted foray into some Indian place where we had them set up a table for ten, used their facilities, and then left because it was too expensive, we ended up at the Chinatown Express, located (surprisingly) in Chinatown. They had some excellent shrimp lo mein there which I ate with a fork, since chopsticks are not my forte unless a piano is involved. After dinner, we split off into groups of "young, not tired, going to a club" and "old and tired, possibly with plans on Saturday", with the protagonist of this story being in the latter group. We made it back to the West Falls Church Metro stop where Rebecca promptly lost her wallet, and after a quick but failed search in the darkness, I drove home to Sterling around 1 AM.

Saturday the 16th: After waking up a scant five hours later, I stocked Booty up on food and margarita mix, and drove back to Falls Church where I used my super-sleuthing abilities (learned from reading Mystery Sneakers in third grade) to find the missing wallet inside the car. With gas money in hand, we drove down to Fredericksburg -- rather, I was chauffeured to Fredericksburg thanks to my lame "I can't drive a manual" excuse -- to visit some childhood friends of Rebecca who were graduating from various milestones of life like high school and college.

Following an all-morning brunch with millions of cousins and grandkids and at least eight cats (one of which decided to groom grandma), we went into Old Town Fredericksburg for soft-serve at Carl's and a trip to Edwin's wine shop, Virginia Wine Experience. Although Edwin was at the beach this weekend, we still slipped into a Tasting, sampled a bunch of wine and left with a bottle of Riesling, shoplifted in my Fake-Stomach-Rolls compartment.

From Old Town, we returned to Rebecca's friends' parents' home, but the parents had gone to a wedding, and since none of the related folks in our gang actually lived there anymore, no one had a key. To remedy this situation, I broke in through a low second-floor window and saved the day, showing that crime does sometimes pay.

Sunday the 17th: A Super Big Two-Dwo at Friendly's for a late breakfast was followed by a trip to Petsmart to see the new kittens. Being a yuppy cat owner, I also picked up a new toy for Amber, since all of her other toys are worn hand-me-downs that smell like Booty. It looks like a Loofa in the picture, but it's actually a fuzzy sheep that can be filled up with bags of catnip. Amber played with it nonstop for about twenty minutes, doing her patented "Dave McGarry Backhand" to throw the toy down the hall and then chasing it. The rest of the day was dedicated to hardcore relaxing.

How was your weekend?

Lesson of the Day: Share your cookies
North Korea's next target will be cell phone users in the left lane
Fake Exxon reps propose to burn humanity for fuel

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Audience Participation Day: Annual Caption Contest

  • Invent a funny, insightful, or witty caption for either one of these images (your choice). Submit your caption by Tuesday the 24th at 6 PM EST.
  • Make sure you note which image your caption goes with, and who is speaking if your caption involves dialogue.
  • Examples can be seen in last year's contest involving Sumo wrestlers and babies .
  • Entries will be voted on by Zone readers and the winner will receive a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. I have the final say in ties, cheating, and suspected sabotage.
  • Introducing high-heels for babies
    Man kidnaps ex to do the ironing
    Shapeshifting car made from cloth

    tagged as contests | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Review Day: Prison Break Season 4

    There are no major spoilers in this review.

    The second season of Prison Break ended in a way that needlessly prolonged the show, but also allowed it to get back to the basics that made the first season so intense. In my review of the third season, I mentioned that I was generally happy with where the show went and how it set things up for the fourth, and final, season.

    "Prison Break" is just the branding -- this time around, the characters spend more time breaking INTO things than out, but the end result is still implausibly exciting. Every episode is filled with convoluted double crosses and power plays, and more testosterone than Jack and Locke see in a year. This constant struggle for the main characters to succeed could easily be frustrating if handled wrong (see the last hour of Back to the Future II where Marty McFly continuously fails to get the sports almanac back), but it works here because the main character is written intelligently, and devises plans that actually work before the rug is pulled out from under him again. Sometimes the MacGuyver aspects of the show are the most enjoyable parts to watch.

    The casting is just strong enough to support the plot, and characters are generally written out of the story as they become irrelevant -- it sometimes felt like major characters in previous seasons were kept around even when they didn't have much to do. Several episodes also feature guest appearances by Shannon Lucio's chest.

    The main casting problem is Dominic Purcell, who plays Lincoln Burrows. Almost every line he recites comes out laughably bad like he's in a high school rewrite of a Steven Seagal flick, and this is exacerbated by the fact that he's given much more leadership than in previous seasons. The silent, stoic act was great in the beginning when he just had to brood in a jail cell, but he'll never get an Emmy for his work here. On the other hand, Shannon Lucio's chest might.

    The writers knew going in that this would be the final season, which allowed them to craft a strong story arc that ties up everything from the previous seasons. This season goes deeper into the conspiracy-laden "Company", and explores a bit more of Michael and Lincoln's family history. The finale seemed a little too eager to bring in familiar faces, but ended the show the way it should have ended, and even gives each of the major players a little epilogue.

    If you've watched Prison Break at all, this season is a strong closer. It's nice to see a show able to go out on its own terms without leaving everyone's fates hanging for eternity in cancellation, or requiring characters to fall through glass coffee tables to speed along the character development. After you're done watching, it won't even take up much shelf space, since the brilliant DVD engineers have finally figured out how to craft a sturdy 6-disc holder that only takes up the space of a single movie box.

    Final Season Grade: B
    Final Series Grade: B+

    Custer toys make for not-so-Happy Meals
    Light sensors cause religious row
    Man impersonated dead mother to collect benefits

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Friday Fragments

    celebrating a Kelley-free Virginia, at least for a couple more months

    ♠ Sorry for the delay in writing this noise -- I was busy getting the CompTIA Security+ certification this afternoon after eating a leftover steak n' cheese half from Omia's. After doing so many practice questions from horribly edited exam books, I made out with a 97%. I try to get a new certification every two years ago to prove that I am dearly invested in my career and staying current.

    ♠ The biggest pet peeve I have about the certification prep industry is how poorly written every "cram"-style book is. In the cheap book for this certification, over 30 questions had incorrect answers, and most were English constructs barely passable for a Chinese takeout menu.

    ♠ It's been a while since I had Chinese takeout because it doesn't really excite me anymore. I always want to get eggdrop soup, but since it doesn't reheat well, I usually fill up on it and have no room left for the cashew chicken. Plus, I still believe that duck and things with pancakes involve too much effort for the amount of return you get from eating.

    ♠ Speaking of food, tonight is sushi night! Plans for the weekend involve a birthday barbeque for Rebecca with burgers, hot dogs, and pony rides, followed by tons of sleep to make up for the week in training limbo. I might even take a nap as I type this.

    ♠ Have you submitted your entry for Tuesday's Caption Contest yet? They're due by Monday. Have a good weekend!

    Illinois singer hits the lowest note
    Short people got no reason to be flight attendants
    Cops find naked drunk men covered in mud

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 3 comments

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Weekend Wrap-up

    We opened our weekend on Friday afternoon with a trip to the Taste of Reston event, which was merely an excuse to walk up and down a street eating paella, crabcakes, ribs, shortcake, gelato, and sliders, while consuming overpriced Dominion Ale. We didn't hear much from the various local bands, as they had more technical difficulties than play time, but at least one of the DJ booths seemed intent on playing every single choreographed wedding song known to man.

    Rebecca spent Saturday working on one of her summer assignments for school while I did nothing of any remote utility. In the evening, we drove out to Purcellville for delicious subs at the lazily-named "My Deli and Cafe", and then took in a performance of the Polka Dots at Franklin Park, a folksy local group introducing Rebecca's cousin, Abby, on second violin.

    On Sunday, we finished up the second season of Treme, and then grilled some steaks for Rebecca's parents, in a hybrid anniversary/birthday celebration. I also researched a few improvements I could make to this site while Rebecca is on her summer road trip including, but not promising, a better post search engine, next and previous buttons on pages with individual posts, and the potential return of Name-That-Tune and Newsday Tuesday. I'm also not quite sure where Museday Tuesday scampered off to, but I haven't found them as fun to do this year.

    How was your weekend?

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

    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    Failed Startup Idea Day

    Elevator Pitch: "It's like foursquare but with websites!"

    User Interaction Model:

    • Gain titles and unlock achievements simply by visiting your favourite websites. No smartphone or GPS required!

    • Compete with others to become the "Mayor", by sitting in your basement on Friday night endlessly refreshing CNN.com.

    • Publish your entire Internet browsing history to your Facebook feed to show "where you've been" to all of your jealous friends.

    Business Model:

    • Measure website check-ins with a special browser add-on. Bundle BonzaiBuddy and the ASK Toolbar with each download. Check "install this" by default.

    • Allow users to purchase bulk amounts of website check-ins so they don't have to refresh the pages manually (the Farmville model).

    • Profit!

    Expected "Live" Date: Fall 2013

    Expected Profitability Date: Immediate

    Venture Capital Requested: $1.2 million

    tagged as inventions | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    Time-lapsed Blogography Day

    Thirteen years ago today, on June 18, 2001, I was on a trip through the Florida panhandle with my dad. This was in the time before Internet shopping, so none of my clothes ever fit properly.

    We toured a few apartment complexes near the campus of Florida State, where I would be attending grad school for the following two years, and made the easy choice to sign a lease with the cleanest of the bunch (Parkwood Apartments). The alternatives were a studio apartment where the hallways smelled like urine, and a complex right next to a homeless shelter.

    After touring the campus and signing a lease, we took a road trip through points west, including Panama City and Pensacola, so my dad could look for Civil War battlegrounds. The sites were unimpressive, which is probably why you'd never want to leave Virginia to look for a Civil War battleground.

    To wrap up the trip, we ate dinner at the Applebee's on Apalachee Parkway and then drove back to Jacksonville for the flight home, since the Tallahassee Airport was little more than a Slip-n-Slide and a hang glider.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 4 comments

    Thursday, June 18, 2015

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (R):
    A useless, pretentious movie. It's interesting to watch from a technical perspective to see the extended single-shot scenes (some lasting over 10 minutes), but otherwise it's about 15 minutes of amazing performances seared into an omelette of faux psychological drama with a grating soundtrack consisting mainly of a guy playing a jazz drum kit. This is one of those movies that your film buff friends will say is amazing, so be warned.

    Final Grade: D+

    The Shield, Season Seven:
    This final season starts slow, taking a couple episodes to over-exposition the intricate plot layers, but thankfully recovers pretty quickly. The show goes off the rails from the standard formula, which leaves plenty of room for fun drama (similar to Harry Potter leaving Hogwarts, or the collapse of SD-6 on Alias), and the ending preserves the high quality of this show's seven season run.

    Final Grade: B

    Sons of Anarchy, Season Seven:
    In spite of the fact that this entire final season is predicated on a contrived situation resulting from two characters' inability to communicate with their grown-up words, it remains intense and well-executed throughout. It ends in a satisfying way, although the final two seconds of poor CGI kind of reduce the emotional impact of the closing scene. On the downside, episodes are still 60 - 80 minutes long, which is just indulgently long (see also, Arrested Development, Season Four) and unnecessary. I would have preferred some tighter editing rather than several minutes of people walking down hallways or twenty minute musical montages every twenty-five minutes.

    Final Grade: B

    Future Crimes by Marc Goodman:
    This non-fiction book provides a good look at the potential for crime, identity theft, and espionage resulting from the increasingly connected nature of our computers and phones. The most interesting parts of the book are the vignettes of recent crimes that might have been unexpected a few years earlier. Unfortunately, the author also feels like he needs to bash you over the head continuously with scare words and fear mongering, which gets tiresome almost immediately. It gets to the point where the basic reading pattern is to skim over several paragraphs proclaiming the end of the world, to get to the interesting technical details and crime stories. I'm about 70% of the way through the book and losing steam -- the incessant fear mongering is like a neverending air raid siren, and to date, the author never actually proposes any solutions to the problems he's laying out.

    Final Grade: C

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

    Monday, June 18, 2018

    Face Recognition Day

    Have you noticed how creepily accurate the face recognition feature of Google Photos has become recently? Especially mapping from baby pictures to kids!

    To see this in your own Google Photos albums, bring up a picture with people in it, hit the "i" Info button, and it will show you who it thinks is in the picture. Drill down on one of those people and it will show you every photo from your albums that it believes includes that person!

    tagged as media | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, June 18, 2021

    Review Day: Minecraft (Switch)

    Minecraft is the ultimate "dig a hole on the beach" simulator and a perfect game for me to play with Maia now that we've completed Breath of the Wild. She can sit on the couch while I navigate and direct me to build things or explore the world. We don't really go into caves because she thinks I'm going to fall in all of the holes (I usually do), so I spend my evenings on Ian duty mining the ores needed to build all of the bunnies she wants (dad slave labour). Shown below are the Great Peeing Bird statue and Bunny Hill.

    I last played Minecraft on the PC in late 2010, and it hasn't changed much. Getting started is as opaque as it once was. The interface and blocky graphics are the same. Crafting is much simpler as you can look things up in an in-game recipe book. The "killer feature" for me that pulled me back in was the ability to play on a big TV screen several feet away. In my waning days on PC, I was regularly getting migraine headaches from staring at the giant pixelated graphics up close. Now, I can pick it up for short bursts of creativity without worrying about ruining the rest of the day.

    At the moment, this is a perfect game for my playing profile -- I can pick it up, make progress without much thought, and drop it when kid naps ends (or even play it with the kids). Someday I'll want another Overwatch but for now, this is a perfect outlet for the few brain cells I have left after the rest of life.

    Final Grade: B

    tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 0 comments

     

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