This Day In History: 07/01

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

I missed the FedEx guy by thirty minutes this morning.

Smoking pot doesn't harm brain function

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Bad Santa is the most bitterly cynical movie I've seen in a long time. Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, and John Ritter, it tells the story of a foul-mouthed alcoholic and his midget friend who works as a mall Santa each year, and then robs the mall on Christmas Eve. I thought it was great but you may not if you have any piety for the holiday season. There are no deep meaningful messages or parables, but there are some incredibly funny scenes. If you too are cynical, you will like this movie.

Mega Man Anniversary Collection is on sale at Target for $26 through Saturday. It contains the first 8 Mega Man games from the 80s and 90s, and is a great port although you can't remap the rather strange control scheme they devised (B is jump and A is shoot, contrary to every video game ever made). I only played a couple Mega Mans as a kid, but I remember them as incredibly frustrating but continuously addictive.

What's the point of being blind if you can't grope women?
Them negroes sure can drive fast...

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Friday, July 01, 2005

Sydney and Kitty moved to Manassas last night and they're doing fine by all accounts. Booty and Amber are now the sole owners of this house, although they graciously let me stay. As a tribute to fat and fur, here's a collage of cat pictures I painted myself, celebrating five years of Kitty and four months of Sydney (234KB JPG).

In addition, here are some classic Kitty and Sydney moments:

    Kitty Stalking Booty (7MB WMV)
    Kitty on the Stairs (3MB WMV)
    Kitty Sings (2MB WMV)
    Sydney, as the Caped Avenger (696KB WMV)
    Sydney, learning how to open food containers (476KB WMV)

You may scoff at the last one, but by now she knows how to open food containers, trash cans, closets containing food containers, cabinets containing food containers, and cabinets with child locks.

So Anna, Ben, Sydney, and Kitty are all permanently evicted, and Kathy, the basement-squatter, is gone on a cross-country road trip for two weeks. My sister and her husband came here yesterday to fly out of Dulles to Chicago, so my driveway is jam packed with stationary mobiles. Now it's time to think about redoing some of the upstairs rooms (carpet, paint, et cetera) and to start my LTS work in earnest. I'd also like to start composing and practicing trumpet again, since there's no one to bother with repetitious repetition, but I probably won't have the free time to devote to that for a few more months. In the short term, I'm off to Colonial Beach and I'll be back early Sunday morning.

Obligatory beginning of the month note: If you don't visit every day and you missed yesterday's update, it can be found by clicking on June 2005 in the menu to the left.

Survival of the posted hamster
Woman in crash already dead
Fight crime by speeding

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Skipped Day

Because of technical difficulties with my hosting company, the results of the Caption Contest will be posted on Wednesday.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Dune Day



Ant mega colony taking over the world
Chip in soap causes panic
Man uses nail clippers in DIY circumcision

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

The Anatomy of Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker:
I know that John Douglas likes to toot his own horn, but there's a difference between a subtitle and a tagline -- and this Troost-like tagline really belongs on the back cover. This was the first book I purchased on my Kindle, mostly because the Kindle Store is really annoying to BROWSE through when you don't know what you want to read (picture the URI! Zone when it had frames and a custom back button, but with irrelevant search results), so I just started doing searches on author names from my bookshelf. This book is better than the previous one I read, The Cases That Haunt Us, and is helped along by the interesting vignettes of crime and criminals used to illustrate the study of motive.

Final Grade: B

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition by Steven Levy:
This was Kindle book #2, purchased two days later because I read faster than a 2-7 bluffer drops out after an all King flop. (I will review the Kindle and its Store next Thursday). This book provides little windows into the lives of hackers between the 50s and 1983 and makes you realize how little you accomplish on a day-to-day basis. It also has an interesting section on the startup of the Sierra On-Line computer game company, where Ken (of Ken and Roberta Williams) comes off sounding like a huge tool that I wouldn't want to invite to a barbeque. All of the individual stories told are interesting in their own rights, and the book is made stronger by the fact that they all convincingly support the overarching idea of "the Hacker Ethic", which the author uses to give the book a consistent backbone.

Final Grade: A

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern:
Tied to the of the same name, I bought this book expecting it to be a rehash of already-published stuff on the Internet (as bloggers-turned-writers often do), and was pleasantly surprised to find that the book told an affecting life story with heart. It's a short book and won't take long to complete, but just might leave you a little more uplifted than you were before you read it, which is never a bad thing today. As a bonus, the word, "shit", probably appears at least once on every page.

Final Grade: A+

Russian spy ring needed some serious IT help
Police Looking for Robbery Suspect Disguised as Cat Woman
International Space Station sex ban

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Travel Day

We're off to Lake Norman, North Carolina, this weekend for the wedding of Amanda and Frank, so updates will resume sometime next week, probably Tuesday, since I don't own any of those crazy accessories that will get an Internet connection on the highway. I am awful at hands-free website updating anyways.

Enjoy your long weekend! Or if you don't have one, go on strike and make a principled stand to get one! Or if you're a replaceable cog, fashion a fake you out of straw, wax, and lard, leave it in your cubicle, and take the day off anyhow! Ingenuity is the American way.

Koreqan noodle maker in hot water
Tom Petty to Michele Bachmann: Quit Playing 'American Girl'
USDA promotes food segregation

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Monday, July 01, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend, we finally met and her brood at the Folklife Festival in DC. It was a good time in spite of the delayed single-track Orange Line train that smelled of rotten fruit in a dumpster full of feces.

Brianne has been visiting the URI! Zone for around nine years and is about to return to Canada from Virginia Beach, since she is competing with Paige in a game of World Residence Bingo. She first came out of lurking to agree with my post about bratty kids in 2005, when people still communicated through blogs because Facebook was not yet a big deal.

From: "Brianne Archer"
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 13:03:39 -0600

Mr. Uri,

I completely agree with your take on today's children. [...]

I like your site. i check in every once in a while. i can't say that i find it enlightening (mostly because i come up with the same opinions on my own) but it can be quite hilarious. good job.

B

After meeting the family and her friend, Jim, who traveled all of the way from Edmonton to play Hungarian tunes for DC tourists, we had a belated graduation dinner with my parents, and then spent all of Sunday pretending that it was really hot and humid outside so we could stay indoors without any hint of guilt. For dinner, we had lamb burgers without any lamb in them.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Non-Self Improvement Day

Learning Spanish has been on my to-do list for many years now but I never progressed beyond CD #1: El Alfabeto, and each additional day that passes by without any real progress further increases the odds that I'll just never get around to it. That's okay, because I never get around to plenty of things, and there's not enough time in the day to waste worrying about the things I haven't done.

Since I'm not getting any younger at this point, it would probably be easier to change the world around me, such that my four years of high school French would be worth something, rather than have to do any real work at self improvement by learning a new second language. Here then, is my five-year plan:

Evil Plan

  1. Picture Quebec. As evinced by the dearth of natural disasters in Quebec's history, I cannot rely on the weather to destabilize that area. I'll be dead before climate change impacts anyone up there, and the biggest earthquakes they ever see are rated as "Can cause damage of varying severity to poorly constructed buildings. At most, none to slight damage to all other buildings. Felt by everyone. Casualties range from none to a few." The Quebecois even weathered the maple syrup heist with aplomb, so I will have to try something more subversive.

  2. I'll begin by seeding a program that emigrates Texans decrying socialism and universal health care to the greater Montreal area. Through shifty corporations, I'll encourage them to start petitioning the government of their new home to make English the official language. This will enrage the French-speaking populace, who already have to deal with this type of thing on an annual basis.

  3. With the Texans out of Texas, it will be ripe for the taking by the hard-working Spanish-speaking folks in my area. I'll set up some kind of Homestead Act for land in Texas (but with fewer crying Indians involved), along with a legal path to citizenship for NoVA residents who accept.

  4. Meanwhile, I'll promote Herndon as the preferred destination for the Quebecois, with Friday Night Live billed as the Southern comparator to Montreal's festival season, and all of the locals warm and inviting of Canadians and their funny, colourful money.

  5. The convergence of these steps will result in a circular flow of immigrants between NoVA, Texas, and Quebec (clockwise above the equator), with no one the wiser that it was orchestrated (except for the last two readers of this website). Within five years, area signs will include French translations and I will be pleasantly conversing in French with my next-door neighbours, justifying those 720 days of introductory French. Fromage!

Backup Plan

  1. Brianne moves back to Virginia.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Memory Day: Fourteen Years Ago

An excerpt from a journal entry about my summer internship from July 2001:

Work has been hit-or-miss. I'm working with a newly hired Java guru who always knows the best way to do something, if not the most direct way to do something, which occasionally results in more work for me. It's a worthwhile experience though because I'll learn a lot from him.

This was back when "Enterprise" Java was a really big deal and no one had yet questioned how ridiculously you could stretch code in the name of being enterprise-y. I remember having written a straightforward piece of code that read input from a custom data file. By the time the Java guru had finished explaining the way things should be done, everything was wrapped in an Interface, and code to read the file was replaced by a swappable Adapter (built in a Factory) just in case the data file was going to be in XML or some other format in the future (ignoring the fact that we had created the data file ourselves, and had no intention of doing so).

Part of his didactic approach included a ten minute lecture on coffee filters.

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Friday, July 01, 2016

Learn2Swim Day

Anna's kids are at different stages of the "Five Stages of Wanting to Jump Off the Diving Board".

Meanwhile, Rosie is rocketing off the end of the diving board repeatedly like a North Korean missile test, and Isaac is strapped into a stroller so he doesn't eat mud.

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Monday, July 01, 2019

List Day: 5 Things I Want to Do (But Will Probably Never Get Around to Doing)

  1. Record an original composition: It would be neat to someday get a professional recording of one of my undergraduate or graduate compositions (especially my Master's Thesis). At the end of the day, though, I can hear them all perfectly well in my head, and there are much less self-indulgent things to spend thousands of dollars on.

  2. Write a new composition: I haven't written any new music in over 7 years. I'd kind of like to see what interesting ideas have accumulated like untreated bedbugs, but this would also mean remembering the ranges of unnecessary woodwind instruments and pulling the electronic keyboard out of the closet.

  3. Make a board game: Someday I'd like to create a game that's easy to learn (one page of rules, front and back), requires minimal setup /cleanup (does not have 8 million tokens to distribute), and has surprising strategic depth. On the other hand, I'd much rather play a fun game than use that same time to invent one.

  4. Digitize my music collection: I would really like to end the fragmentation of my music collection (which has only gotten worse in the past four years). Besides the manual effort required to rip over 500 CDs, I'm also deterred by knowing that I need an easy mechanism to play any song, promote the songs I enjoy more, and suppress the awful ones throughout my house and car (If I ever create open-source software to do this, I'll call it "Personal Echo Chamber").

  5. Unnecessarily upgrade the URI! Zone: It's been over a decade since I wrote a custom content management system in Java to run this site. Other than a little mobile-friendliness, the innards of the website have remained unchanged for eons. I would like to move this site into the next generation of rendering technologies at some point, but am held back by a general feeling of dislike for the modern Javascript ecosystem.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2020

COVID Thoughts Day

I originally made these posts on Facebook last month. Since I regularly wipe most of my Facebook history, I wanted to preserve them here as well.

June 11, 2020

COVID-19 is still here. The state reopening doesn't mean that it's magically vanished, and the fact that we're all tired of reacting to it has not given us superhero immunity.

There is no deadline attached to "flattening the curve". The longer we can delay the spread of the virus, the more we'll learn about it, and the better prepared we'll be when you or someone you care about finally needs one of those hospital beds.

Please step cautiously through the world, fully aware of the ongoing risks to you and your network. For example, new research (not yet peer-reviewed) suggests that I may be 45% more at risk for respiratory failure. Simple things like universal masks will help to keep me and other vulnerable people safe.

Everyone's threshold for acceptable risk is going to be unique, but there's a pragmatic middle ground between never seeing anyone again and shouting YOLO in a Denny's.

June 27, 2020

I often read about people yearning for a "return to normal", as if there will be a day sometime soon when the danger has passed and we can slip comfortably into our old, familiar patterns of life. This is difficult to accept, but COVID-19 isn't a temporary pause point. It's not like the time Derek pooped in the community pool and no one could swim for an hour while the lifeguard rechlorinated the water.

COVID-19 is a norm-altering event whose aftershocks will continue to ripple out for months, if not years, to come. Some effects will be negative, like the health burdens of survivors with physiological damage, an increase in tribalism between people who don't realize they have a lot in common, and masks that make communication and social interpretation more challenging. Others will be positive, like supply chain innovation and increasing acceptance of telework. Either way, things will be DIFFERENT, and a hard rewind to a simpler time is unlikely.

Free yourself. Abandon the idealized notion of what life used to be like and focus on evolving and adapting. Switch gears from waiting and surviving day-to-day to figuring out what you need to be happy in the long-term. If there are technical or social things you're missing (a new web camera, a daily routine, or a standing video chat with old friends), set them up now. It's okay to be selfish and put your own oxygen mask on first, before you channel your energy into family and friends, or larger societal problems.

We can continue to grow as people and communities even in super weird end times and come out stronger in the long run.

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Friday, July 01, 2022

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Inside Number 9, Season One:
We really enjoyed the first season (6 episodes) of this British anthology show which features different stories about people that live in apartment or room number 9. The balance of wry and macabre is well-done and the British humour is pleasant. The last episode was the weakest of the set. We liked this enough to continue on to Season Two, but that requires an extra video streaming subscription, which is a resounding NO. On Amazon Video.

Final Grade: A-

Dave, Season Two:
Season Two was much more experimental than Season One and sometimes seemed to tread water a bit. If Master of None and Atlanta had a white baby, it would feel like this season. That said, we enjoyed it for the most part and the ending was solid. On Hulu.

Final Grade: B-

Brooklyn 99, Season Four:
Pleasant to pass the time, with a few great laughs. On Hulu.

Final Grade: B-

Bill and Ted Face the Music:
This is an awful movie with no redeeming characteristics. Save your time and rewatch the original instead. On Amazon Video.

Final Grade: F

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