This Day In History: 07/28

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I'm pretty booked at work this week, so apologies if I end up skipping an update towards the end of the week.

Why there are so many Republicans
Man doesn't understand the end goal of counterfeiting
The fun way to stop street racing

permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, July 28, 2005

There are five major types of online writing that you might come across in your netly sojourns:

1) The Documentary
An itemized account of everything that happened in someone's day. Generally drops lots of names, irrelevant details about where they went and what they bought. Occasionally describes an honestly interesting event, but the general mundaneness of it all makes it more interesting for the people you already know rather than strangers.

    Example:
    Today was a pretty good day. I got out of work early and then went down to the Felafel Hut with Timmy and Tommy but they were out of corn so we had to drive out to Walmart to pick up our own tortilla mixings. Traffic sucked. After our midafternoon felafels, we went to Best Buy where they had plasma TVs on sale [link] but none of us could afford one so we all went home and had dinner with Tammy and Tummy. Survivor: Bronx was on at 8. Mahatma really needs to get voted off. I hear NBC originally wanted someone to mug the contestants and snuff their life instead of their flame, but that it was too risky for primetime TV.

2) The Emotional Barometer
An in-the-moment capture of how someone is truly feeling, the good, the bad, and the ugly, with no punches pulled. Might be depressing or might be uplifting, but is always very honest. Too much of this kind of writing by young adults may lead to teen-poetry, the sixth type of online writing which has been banned in most developing countries.

    Example:
    Okay seriously, what the f*ck is up with these retards driving at 25 mph in the left lane! They think it's their moral responsibility to make everyone go the speed limit, even when five million cars are clogging the road behind them, horns blaring. If they would remove their heads from places that they are anatomically incapable of putting them and, I don't know, GET IN THE RIGHT LANE, my commute home would be so much faster. I guess it's too much to ask when half the people on the road have an illegal license and don't speak any English and spent the last half of their life driving donkeys down dirt roads in Brazil the next time someone is holding up traffic I swear I'm gonna ram them from behind and push them off the road
    [Note run-on sentence]. *sigh* Maybe I'm just overstressed out from work and the fact that my girlfriend left me for a waiter at Denny's. No one serves three extra helpings of bacon without ulterior motives. F*ck life. Wait, I love my dog though. Goodnight.

3) The Lazy Linker
Generally a well-meaning writer who has lost interest in saying anything worthwhile and just posts links with one or two sentences of description. Much like visiting CNN.com except you only get one story a day.

    Example:
    LOL NASA [link]

    Hey Bush fell off a segway LOL [link]

    I'm 80% Kermit and 20% Fozzie. What muppet composition are you? [link]

4) The Daily Column
A thought-out, edited, and published glimpse at someone's insight on the news of the day, often with humour and embellishment for interest's sake. More interesting than a Documentary, but runs the risk off being very sterile and impersonal when compared to a Barometer.

    Example:
    It has often been said that cheese is found in many strange places. This was reinforced by the events that happened in Petropavlovsk yesterday [link]. The article mentioned that: "
    We never expected cheese to be found at the bottom of a mineshaft. Who woulda thunk that? I guess the Americans have finally gotten to us after all." To me this seems like a classic case of too much cheese and not enough cheese byproducts. Booty agreed with me and also mentioned that...

5) The Teenage Halfass
An initial attempt at creating a webpage which is subsequently forgotten but never removed.

    Example:
    July 3, 1998
    Hay guyz! Welcome to my cOoL sItE! There's not much here right now but plz check back all the time. I will be adding pictures and talking about whuts goin on in my lyfe rite now! TTYL *gigglez* shout out to my boiz too

Generally, a blog will contain a healthy mix of Documentary and Barometer, with sporadic spurts of Lazy-Linker on those days when there's just nothing to say. Deteriorating blogs increase the percentage of Documentary and Lazy-Linker, eventually becoming totally Links, and then totally Halfass. This is the reason why I don't think my news updates are a true blog. My daily updates started out as pure Documentary when I moved to Florida, with the random Lazy-Linker tossed in, and is now mostly a Daily Column. I now think much more about what I plan on writing, and then refine it so it's hopefully worth reading. I have never written a Barometer update, and what you read here is definitely not as spontaneous as a real blog, but for me, this is fine.

I do like me a good blog though -- I envy the people who have the wherewithal to go balls out with their heart on their sleeves in front of friends, strangers, and stalkers. I don't think I could write a worthwhile blog myself, being way too private of a person to write about "the good stuff". I'm getting a little better, as you can see by my Things About Me page (10 new things today!), but overall you'll have to content yourself with piecing the BU puzzle together based on the surface reflections I post every day.

What do you think?

Falling debris is okay when it hits a bird instead of the shuttle
U.S. military has no sense of humour
Given the size of the snake, if it would have bitten him instead of Alicia, he probably would not have survived.

tagged as lists | permalink | 7 comments

Monday, July 28, 2008

Comments Day

The newest feature to grace the URI! Zone is a custom-written database-driven Comments section which is light years ahead of the old file-based one. From a layman's perspective, having a file-based system would be akin to tracking my budget by writing on a brand new Post-It note every time I bought something and sticking it up on my wall for reference. This was fine in the days where it was just Mike complaining about exclamation points and Rob as Finicky correcting my grammar, but after years of hard use and heavy drinking, there were over a thousand little comments files (containing 3805 comments) littered across the server like so many rabbit droppings.

Putting it all into a database also lets me analyze the comments in life-changing and amusing ways. For example, who are the most prolific commenters in the history of the URI! Zone?

What are the names of posters who have only ever posted a single comment?

Hay, Cecilie, !, One less thing in sets of three, Jay-Z, Eleanor, hubcap, Maria, Dan, Teena, 12 of 12 Fun, Mr. E.P!, Jennifer Saunders, Elena, Bec, JaeTree, Zpitzen, That pickled person story, Alias, snowelf, Casper, l33t gur1, James, anti-political/pro-morality, The General Populace, Allison, Har har, some1, Catie, Joy T., mute, Seriously., Mike Saunders, Elaine, Lynda, Hubster, Could this really be an internet plot against me?, Alyssa Milano, Poun, Key West Chompy

What were the final posts of some readers who vanished into the ether?

What was post #222?

How often have people mentioned the following words in their comments?

love154
hate84
sex45
Chompy35
Doobie34
Ella25
llama17
Boobies12
2226

What were the longest comments sections ever?

Aggressive Driving
Cheese Puns
Hurricane Katrina

Piglet with a monkey face
Angry man shoots lawn mower for not starting
Dying eight-year-old marries his sweetheart

tagged as website | permalink | 13 comments

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Newsday Tuesday

Infectious Diseases Head for Tornado Alley

The Department of Homeland Security relied on a rushed, flawed study to justify its decision to locate a $700 million research facility for highly infectious pathogens in a tornado-prone section of Kansas, according to a government report.

The aspect that initially brought this to the GAO's attention was DHS's plan to harness tornadoes as a natural centrifuge as well as creating new samples of pathogens. "You'd be pretty mad too, if you were a cow in a tornado," said one analyst responsible for the recommendation (and who also maintains a personal website that insists Wizard of Oz really could have happened).

The department's analysis was not "scientifically defensible" in concluding that it could safely handle dangerous animal diseases in Kansas -- or any other location on the U.S. mainland, according to a Government Accountability Office draft report obtained by The Washington Post. The GAO said DHS greatly underestimated the chance of accidental release and major contamination from such research, which has been conducted only on a remote island off the United States.

It's comforting to realize that current pathogen research is done "on a remote island", until the article's later revelation that the location is just two miles across the sound from Long Island in New York. Government officials downplayed the risks, noting that Atlantic winds would probably blow diseases into Connecticut (and eventually Lowell, Massachusetts), avoiding the higher population centers around New York City. "No one actually knows anyone who lives in Connecticut," reasoned another spokesman. Indeed, posing the question on the street in Sterling only provoked blank looks. "What about that Yankee guy?" asked one participant in the impromptu survey.

The criticism of DHS's site selection comes as the proposed research lab, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), was expected to win construction funding in the congressional appropriations process.

Greenpeace of Kansas has already seized upon the laboratory's acronym for their latest poster campaign.

A Texas consortium that hoped to lure the DHS facility to San Antonio argues that the agency has wasted millions of dollars trying to justify its choice [...] "They call it 'Tornado Alley' for a reason," said Michael Guiffre, an attorney for the consortium. "This really boils down to politics at its very worst and public officials who are more concerned about erecting some gleaming new research building than thinking about what's best for the general public."

When told by his assistants that the population density of Texas is 2.5 times higher than Kansas, Guiffre shrugged dismissively. "Texans are tougher."

GAO's draft report said the agency's assessment of the risk of accidental release of toxins on mainland locations, including Kansas, was based on "unrepresentative accident scenarios," "outdated modeling" and "inadequate" information about the sites.

Because of computer date formatting issues, DHS analysts who believed they were using the latest published data from '04 were actually looking at the notes from 1904. As such, their conclusions that "exiting Kansas by covered wagon is not a viable vector of travel for the West Nile Virus" are patently false.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was unavailable for comment.

Imbuing your child with perfect pitch
Smart machines: What's the worst that could happen?
EMT struck by monster truck saved by mud

tagged as newsday | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trip Day: Santa Cruz

Part III of III

Our next stop on the whirlwind tour of Northern California was Santa Cruz, home of the family of Rebecca's dad's sister, as well one of her grandmothers. Santa Cruz was blessed with unseasonably fogless days while we were there, so obviously our super power was to bring the sunlight to unexplored backwater lands, not unlike the White Man in 1492. We took in a sampling of Santa Cruz beaches at Natural Bridges, a beach covered in seaweed and a dead sea lion where everyone in bathing suits stands at the edge of the fifty degree surf, shivering, and then goes home.

We also went to Roaring Camp, where we took an overpriced steam train ride up the mountain to have a picnic lunch amongst the redwoods, although we did not go anywhere you could drive a car through a tree trunk. For dinner, the DeLeon family brought out their best grilling recipes and we dined on giant slabs of marinated London broil and spare ribs.

The next day, we drove down the coast to Monterey, a waterfront area completely taken over by large gangs of sea lion pirates, commandeering rocks and boats alike. We were swarmed on either side by people trying to give us free samples of clam chowder, including a hippie who wanted to make sure I wasn't from Langley before giving us the samples. We had our first taste of raw oyster here, with "oyster cocktails" consisting of two oysters in a cup of brine with some lemon and cocktail sauce. The texture is definitely memorable -- I don't know whether it's worse to chew it or swallow it whole -- but I could see it becoming an acquired taste.

On our last day in California, we drove up the coast on Highway 1, taking in the vistas and occasionally stopping at a public beach. In general, there were very few signs that California as a state was flat broke, but the most noticeable was the overly full port-o-potties dotting the coast, which easily contained several weeks of digested food from the oceanfront Taco Bells and sometimes piled higher than the seat lid. When it came time to tally the final score, we agreed that California has nothing on the Outer Banks when it comes to beaches.

The End

Colo. bear toots horn, takes car on short joyride
Homeless man breaks into abandoned bar, begins selling alcohol
Milwaukee soil hungry for drivers

tagged as travel | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Math Day


Conversions are tricky.

tagged as random | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

We did not attend the grand opening of the Silver Line, so we weren't a part of the gleeful crowd calling it a "win for America". However, I was tickled to learn that an escalator had actually broken down at the McLean station as I had predicted on Friday.

Instead, we opened our weekend with a trip to Target for sundry goods, like a new travel crate for my car trunk to replace the one that finally cracked open after fourteen years of Costco goods transportation, and a new swimsuit to replace the high school era suit that constantly collected sand to chafe my legs. In the afternoon, we drove down to Fairfax for the housewarming party of Joe & Katie, who now own a classic Chantilly-layout home with a salmon-coloured family room.

From the housewarming barbeque, we went to Jack and Kristy's in Arlington to celebrate Johnny's 4th birthday and catch up with Jack's whole family. There were far fewer kids than expected, although I then learned that the kid event had been in the morning, and they had essentially been entertaining all day as a marathon sport.

On the way home, we stopped at Lake Anne for a walk around the lake. I tried to convince Rebecca that the Lake Anne high rise would be the seedy ghetto in a movie about a dystopian Reston future -- just use CGI to add some smog and graffiti, and then erase the top few floors as if there were a meth lab explosion and you're all set (starring Kurt Russell).

Sunday was laundry and Orphan Black day, followed by a mini FSU-reunion at Kathy's house with Mark and Marta, who I had not seen since I left Tallahassee in April 2003. We ate fajitas and talked about babies and band music, but mostly babies.

How was your weekend?

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jungfraujoch Day

Enjoying the valley below Mount Eiger and Mount Jungfrau (taken by Rebecca, who is now a superhuman hiker and went higher than I did).

tagged as media | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Shameless, Season One (US remake):
This show, featuring William H. Macy as a narcissistic alcoholic dad with six kids, does a nice job of walking the "dramedy" line. The actors put out some nice performances while the tone never gets so serious as to be depressing. You'll also quickly fill your quota for nudity and sex, a difficult thing to do while Game of Thrones is on hiatus. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Chuy's in Sterling, VA:
When this Mexican chain became the fourth Mexican restaurant in a one mile radius, we didn't expect it to stand out. However, they differentiate themselves from the others with fresh ingredients, meats that have more character than the usual "100 permutations of taco meat", and free meat and queso dip during Happy Hour. We had really slow service on the deck around the time they first opened, but have been satisfied otherwise.

Final Grade: B+

Halt and Catch Fire, Season Two:
The second season strikes a nice balance between pushing the characters into their own story arcs (based on the fallout of the first season) while still allowing them to butt heads. Lee Pace does a good job of actually making his character likeable, and Toby Huss as Bosworth steals every scene he's in. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Apotheca:
This is the game we played with the Smiths last weekend. Designed for 2, 3, or 4 players (in teams), the game involves matching three of a kind on a board of hidden and revealed colors while using special cards to rearrange the board with chess-like moves. It's pretty quick to learn, takes less than 30 minutes to play, and has a nice strategic balance where it's hard to set yourself up for a win while also deterring your opponent. The game pieces are rugged and the cards have a nice artistic style. I would play it again, and in fact, I ordered it yesterday.

First Impression: B+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, July 28, 2017

Maia Week #3 Battle Report

Maia is now 3 weeks old, which is a longer shelf life than many of my ambitious hobby project ideas. Caring for a newborn is much easier than sitcoms would have you believe -- at this point I believe that we're supposed to be stressed out over every shriek, gurgle, or burp she emits, like a very cute Geiger counter, and we're supposed to be badgering the pediatrician's after-hours number until they block our calls.

The reality is much simpler and can be boiled down to three cardinal rules:

  • Get sleep.
  • Get help.
  • Use common sense.

The fact that Rebecca and I have the luxury of maintaining a united front while I'm taking six weeks off from all of the software bugs that Mary is assigning to me in Jira at work is critical. It takes a village to raise a child (a phrase first coined by Hillary Clinton) and villages don't really exist in our society anymore. With the two of us, we have the space to get a few rejuvenating naps, buy groceries, and even take showers.

With rest and a second set of hands, everything is exponentially easier. Figuring out what's preventing Maia from sleeping reads like a Tier One Help Desk flow chart (probably hungry, has a wet diaper, or gassy, and sometimes we have to turn her off and then back on again), and when the issue needs to get escalated to Tier Two, you have that much more brain power available for creative troubleshooting ("Maybe if we hold her upside down over the toilet she'll fall asleep!"). It also helps to remember that to the baby, everything is brand new and confusing, like the experience of a retail cashier hired to start on Black Friday without any training -- it's not her fault!

This week, Maia has graduated up to needing a little extra carrying time before being willing to fall asleep -- sometimes from all the gas she's getting from Rebecca's weird diet of non-processed foods from the EARTH and sometimes just because she's bored and clingy. We take long walks around the basement while I watch Ozark, Season One or fake her out with extra boob time, which has the side benefit of extending the time for naps until the next feeding (I call this "feeding the meter"). She spends much of the day alert and looking around and her output is still prodigious (she's like the Georg Philipp Telemann of poop). Yesterday, she finally discovered the hanging toys in the lie-on-the-floor jungle mat we got at the consignment sale and I'm also pretty sure she understands basic conversational French.

tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 5 comments

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 6 years ago today, on July 28, 2015.

Having just arrived in Grindelwald, Switzerland the night before, we took a cable car up into the mountains to First (elevation: 7,110 ft) and hiked deeper into the mountains to reach Faulhorn (elevation: 8,796 ft). Much of the hike took place in the clouds, with scenic views of the Alps popping out for a few seconds at a time. Near Faulhorn, we met these cows who seemed confused as to why so many humans were hiking around on the windy summit.

The little town of Faulhorn at the top was cute. We stopped into the single restaurant for the hottest, priciest mug of hot chocolate we'd ever had and then paid to use the toilet (supply imports and waste exports were only possible by helicopter) before heading down the other side of the mountain.

Later in the day, we went to hike at a local glacier, only to find that it had recently melted.

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

 

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