This Day In History: 08/02

Thursday, August 02, 2001

Over a hundred visits on the first day, thanks in part to a front page plug at www.battlereports.com (where I rate reports in my spare time). Nedstat is a really good tool for watching site statistics, and I highly recommend it to anyone with a website. Plus, it's free and discrete, with no advertising requirements.

Nothing really new to report today -- I've added a few leftover Cat pictures to the Photos section, and I'm winding up my major projects at work so I can end on August 7 with a clean slate. Then it's a week of cleaning, packing, and miscellaneous gallivanting before I'm off to Tallahassee.

Should I post my news in chronological order, or latest news first? This way is great for regular visitors, but it will probably be a pain for new folk to review later on. Of course, that's assuming there'll be new folk several months from now -- people's visiting habits can become notoriously incestuous over time, until they forget that the Net exists beyond their handful of favourite bookmarks.

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Friday, August 02, 2002

The URI! Domain will re-open for its Seventh Edition on Sunday, August 11. Daily updates will resume at that time.

I will be back in Tallahassee on Wednesday, August 7.

Cheers, matey.

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Monday, August 02, 2004

I'm still pretty tied up at work so the latest new pictures will have to wait. However, you can see pictures from my sister's wedding here: (user: 1050, pass: ellen)

My three-year-old car recently broke thirty-thousand miles.

How not to advertise your escort service
Prostitute good, Excrement bad
Iceberg farming as bad as seal farming
He received $30,000 to settle a 1999 case in which he suffered facial cuts after he fell through a broken school fence.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

An ominous plague has been incubating in America's moist spots over the past ten years. It's not contagious and it probably won't kill you, but it will add a certain obnoxious je ne sais quoi to your daily routine. What is this plague? Why it's the boogerspawn of all the laissez faire parents of the 1990s! These parents eschewed the standard guidelines of reinforcement and punishment, out of fear of being labelled an abusive parent, choosing instead to maximize their childrens' empowerment, creativity and joie de vivre. The end result is an enfant terrible who expects to get what they want, with little understanding of how their actions affect the world around them, incapable of realizing that they aren't necessarily the center of the universe (see also, sorority girl).

I looked up "crying brat" on Google Images to illustrate this update, but this was the best they had. The image can be deceiving because it could be mistaken for a harmless youngster telling a knock-knock joke to someone's hard-of-hearing crotch, rather than a true specimen of boogerspawn. To make up for this subpar illustration, I have included four common French phrases in the previous paragraph. You will now be one day ahead when you begin conversational French classes. Je vous en prie.

I am not advocating violence against children (unless you find yourself in Gatlin, Nebraska surrounded by prepubescent cultists and all the other adults are dead, in which case I wholeheartedly recommend that you get the tire iron out of your trunk and start swinging like you've never swung before. Kick their asses and carry some moonbeams home in a jar). I am, however, saying that children need to understand the concepts of limits. In my generation, which is only a few years older than spawn de boogers, we ran the gamut from polite to rebellious, but we always knew how to treat with other people and where the lines were drawn. It's not even a matter of corporal punishment -- we just learned that there was only so much we could get away with before the parental wrath. I sometimes feel like people in our generation (except the stupid ones) should have lots of kids and raise them right, if only to rectify the karmic imbalance caused in the 90s.

If you would like to see a sample of these types of kids but do not live near a school (or you live in South Florida), all you have to do is turn on the horrible reality show, Brat Camp on ABC. Take the repugnant mini-kids from Nanny 911 and turn them into surly, combatative, lying, cheating, angstful, muttering teenagers with nothing to recommend them. Glass bottles in Hawaii and Michigan have more redeeming features than these kids, and one of them looks eerily like that dog molester who was in the news.

The parents of these mumbly pigs throw their hands up in the air because they just have no clue how their angelic kids turned into poster children for compulsory elimination. To cover their mistake, they send the kids off to a wilderness camp where the kids have to shape up or they don't eat. In charge of this cadre of parental neglect are two or three drill-sergeant characters who are incredibly mild-mannered, and have new age names like Fire Shaper! or Exploding Venus! [exclamation points added by ed.] and this is where the show breaks down. Because everything is documented for primetime TV, there is no sense of threat or urgency, and Sergeant Does Limbo In Nude! cannot do much more than mouth empty threats and take away Gold Stars. Threats are virtually nonexistant anyhow, since the drill sergeants choose to empathize with the kids (though it's pretty clear that this approach is not working).

So what you're left with is a show about a bunch of teenagers being little bitches and being put in Time Out behind the cactus stand. They wander shiftlessly around the camp with their furry caps pulled down as far as possible (because it's COOL to have no peripheral vision!) The sad thing is that however reprehensible these kids are (and I would be very tempted to send them to the glue factory if they were my kids and also horses), it's really the fault of the environment they grew up in. There's even a token kid whose crime is having ADHD -- when was that an excuse for parents to send you away to wilderness camp? The very least they could have done to make this show entertaining would be to have a Simon Cowell-esque character constantly degrading the teens, their clueless parents, and everyone foolish enough to give the show positive Nielsen ratings.

The worst part of this show is the feeling of impending doom it leaves you with when you find that ABC has already added a "Season Chooser" combo box to the website, as if there is no doubt in their minds that there will be more seasons to come. When Arnold Schwarzenegger finally gets the rules changed so he can run for President, I will take that position and create a national test which all prospective parents must pass before they are allowed to breed. I will be the sole grader of said test. There will not be a test for television producers, because shows like this give me something to write about.

Disclaimer: I saw about 20 minutes of one episode. I'm sure the last episode will have all the teenagers bonding by holding hands and working together to give mouth-to-mouth to dying deer with asthma, but there was no way in hell I was going to stick around until then.

No, not the Audi!
Woman leaves son on the Beltway
Kitten War: May the Cutest Kitten Win

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Whenever you go to the Outer Banks, you hear old-timers waxing poetic about the good ole days when beer was a nickle and there were only four people on the beach, all of them related to the Hatfields. Nowadays, a weekend in OBX brings a caravan of SUVs as far as the eye can see, as well as a Home Depot, a Walmart, and even a Harris Teeter, and there's talk of building a new bridge thirty miles north of the sole entry point to allow easier access to several of the towns. I agree that all of this reaches northern Virginian levels of excessiveness, but I don't necessarily harbor any sentimental vehemence against it all.

When we'd take our family vacations to Nag's Head in the late 1980s, we would stay in a tiny crappy motel with a kitchenette and eat Vienna sausages and Spaghettios out of the can. It was much like the way I picture life in the slums during the Industrial Revolution, except with more sand and fewer lice. From this unsentimental viewpoint, I don't really mind that there are more stores selling useless crap and a Wings store every half a mile on the main road, because at the end of the day, it's not about the fact that you're on a beach that should make a vacation great -- it's the fact that you are away from your work and your stresses.

Vacations are a chance to turn off the cell phone and recharge yourself, and where one person will backpack the Appalachian Trail to go on vacation, who's to fault the other guy who wants to mosey down the street without shirts and shoes to the Harris Teeter to pick up precooked snacks for dinner? Some people want their little luxuries when they go on vacation, and as long as the Kroger isn't built on the third floor of my beach house with a flashing neon sign, I see no problem with it. I can still get a place in a subdivision of houses with no commercial giants in sight and I can still walk down to the beach without waiting at a stop light. To me, having all the conveniences of urban life just a few miles down the road is a bonus, not an eyesore.

This is also reflected in the place I live -- I'm in a cozy neighbourhood in "rural" Sterling which is only minorly terrorized by MS-13, and I see kids riding by on bicycles most days of the week. However, there's a McDonald's less than half a mile away which I frequent at least twice a month, and all the major chain stores have an outlet within a five mile radius. They're there when I need them, but don't bother me when I'm at home, which is as it should be!

Feeling chubby? Look for a hungry man
The magnet I designed is the dogs one, but they sure don't tell you that anywhere
Watch out where you build your tree house

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Review Day: Philosophy Tree

I generally keep a stash of CDs in the car for those occasions when I'm not in the mood for anything on XM Radio (or when Ted Kelly is reciting the complete UPOP Station Slogan on-air for the fifth time in five minutes in case we've forgotten that we're listening to the Pop Heard Around the World, With Global Hits from Coast to Coast in America and on Worldspace Shut The Hell Up and Play the Damn Songs Amen).

One way to determine the strength of an album is to put it in this car stash and see how long it takes before I get so sick of it that it must be rotated out. So far, the four longest-surviving albums in my Car Challenge are: Absolution - Muse, Long Gone Before Daylight - The Cardigans, Eye to the Telescope - KT Tunstall, and Once More With Feeling - The Tonight Show Band. With my recent purchase of Philosophy Tree by Ellie Lawson, I may have discovered another contender.

Ellie Lawson is a UK artist with a voice like a melodic rubber band. Her CD is a mix of acoustic guitar with electronica accompaniment, and some hip-hop dabblings with drum tracks. She occasionally suffers from "pad my CD with too many repeats of the chorus" syndrome, but there's only one really annoying instance (Track 4). If you took Jem and Natasha Bedingfield (and maybe the least annoying bits of Alanis Morisette) and discarded the chaff, you would end up with her music. Below are MP3 samples from some of the tracks on the album (with intentionally reduced sound quality):

1) L.A. (1:11)

This is the song I heard on the radio that got me intrigued enough to buy the CD. It suffers a bit from too much chorus repetition at the end, but a quick snip of a few phrases when I loaded it on my computer solved that problem pretty quickly (kind of like a musical vasectomy).

2) Gotta Get Up From Here (1:15)

This song's starting to get more air time -- it's got a nice rhythmic pulse and a pleasant mood to it. Track 3 has much of the same feeling to it.

5) Never Be the Same (0:21)

A well-constructed but ridiculously overwrought pop song that could have been done by any old artist. I have the same issue here as I had with Mika -- I like a good pop song, but when I'm listening to a unique-sounding artist, I want to hear their unique take on the pop song. Nonetheless, your younger siblings are probably going to dance to this song at their prom.

6) Hour of Need (0:59)

This is a transitory song between the first half of the CD (which is more melodic) and the second, more-rhythmic half (not to mention that the hip-hop beats would sound ridiculous directly after Track 5). The introduction is obviously designed so freshman sightsingers can learn about suspensions. I like the song though.

8) Bigger Than You'll Ever Imagine (1:14)

Track 8 is probably my favourite track, because it's got a strong sense of pacing and orchestration, and blends her recitation skils with her vocal acrobatics. Most of the second half of this CD includes sections of British rapping, which is always fun to listen to.

9) 999 (0:59)

This song is pretty catchy, and would rate considerably higher if it didn't include the sound of a police siren -- that's just impolite to people listening in the car. The Charlatans UK were guilty of this on Sympatico too.

10) Get What's Mine (1:00)

This is a very Jem-esque song (with a dash of Lily Allen), but the distinctive timbre of Lawson's voice gives it a little something extra. It's almost a musical representation of a person skipping around.

12) Why the Fighting (MP3, 1:18)

The final track is my second favourite, and is a good blend of all her talents.

Bottom Line: It's a fun, well-conceived CD that's quickly becoming one of my favourites, and is especially worth its price: this CD is a $15 exclusive from Barnes and Noble (a.k.a. the most expensive bookstore on Earth that no one orders from), which means that you should do like I did and order it (brand new) off of Amazon Marketplace for five bucks (shipping included). What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section!

Happy Birthday Meg Wilhoite and Richard Gabster!

Carnivore Sex is off the table
Senator is a Level 70 Dwarf Priest
Guiliani's Princess Bride

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Monday, August 02, 2010

New Edition Day

The URI! Zone turns 14 this month, and if mandatory primary education was a requirement for websites, it would be placed firmly into the eighth grade. For the coming year, expect to see numerous posts attempting to increase the site's popularity through slander and picking on the nerdy websites, coupled with the occasional embarrassing crush on websites of the opposite sex. I don't really know how you can determine the gender of a website (maybe "View Page Source" would work) but in my opinion, the URI! Zone is definitely a dude.

To celebrate the milestone of surviving for fourteen years without dying to lack of interest, lapsed domain registrations through really bad webhosts, and the possibility of a mass exodus of readers following too many posts about Alias, Les Mis, or having sex with day labourers behind 7-11, I have posted a yearbook picture of what I looked like in the 8th grade. Unfortunately it's not a one-to-one match, since I was actually 12 in the picture, not 14. This is probably because I was smarter worked much harder than my website.

The presence of a scanned yearbook picture should also clue you in to the fact that I finally purchased a new scanner, months after the old one exploded: an Epson Perfection V30 that's half the weight and twice as fast as my previous HP model. This means that everyone's favourite feature, "Stuff In My Drawers Day", can resume with impunity. I have some other possible features being focus-grouped right now, including "Crud I've Cleaned Out of Booty's Ears Day", "Pictures of Our Scrabble Games Day", and "Mensday Wednesday", where I talk about steak and boobies.

I also asked several notable souls in my circle of life friends to commemorate the Fifteenth Edition of the URI! Zone in some extravagant way, and they graciously responded by having babies: You can all welcome Alexandra Jean Morton and John Whittingham Wilmer, IV to world! The I-V on the end of the name means that John will probably end up at an Ivy League school, most likely Princeton. Congratulations to the new parents!

Thanks to everyone who has visited my site over the years! Because of your continued interest, "urizone" is much, much more than just a South African drug for yeast infections.

Broadway sings blues over synthesizer invasion
North Korean soccer flops publicly shamed
Come live in the house of meat

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Newsday Tuesday

NASA's Juno to circle Jupiter for 'planetary recipe'

The US space agency plans to launch next week a solar-powered spacecraft called Juno that will journey to the gassy planet of Jupiter in search of how the huge, stormy giant was formed. [...] With its fiery red eye and a mass greater than all planets in the solar system combined, excluding the Sun, Jupiter is intriguing to astronomers because it is believed to be the first planet that took shape around the Sun.

When asked why the Sun, which is a star and not a planet, was explicitly excluded from a list of planets, the editor stated that he was still relying on the Associated Press for math and science research.

[The] trip to Jupiter [...] will not be a direct shot, according to Jan Chodas, Juno project manager [...] "We launch from Earth in August, we swing out past the orbit of Mars, we do a couple of deep space maneuvers to fire the engine," Chodas told reporters. Juno then heads back toward Earth, "and we do a flyby of Earth of about 500 kilometers in October 2013, and then we slingshot ourselves out towards Jupiter arriving in July 2016," she said.

Chodas also reported that the screenplay rights for this interplanetary road trip have already been purchased. Directed by Uwe Boll, a sneak preview of this 2013 release shows Rainn Wilson with crackling witty lines like "When your momma sits around the Sun, she really sits around the Sun! Homeskillet."

"After the Sun formed, [Jupiter] got the majority of the leftovers," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator [...] "So we want to know that ingredient list. What we are really after is discovering the recipe for making planets."

The correlation between planets and recipes is not unfounded -- previous exploration on the surface of Mars led to the discovery of the Colonel's secret chicken recipe, and the two words even share a common etymological background. After all, before you decide to prepare a complex dinner, you really ought to planet.

When it gets there Juno will make use of a series of instruments, some of which were provided by European space agency partners Italy, Belgium and France, to learn about the workings of the planet and what is inside.

When pressed for details, Bolton admitted that the instruments were a set of Guarneri violas, which would be dropped into various pits around the planet. "We will have done a good deed even if we don't learn anything from it."

Two key experiments are to gauge how much water is in Jupiter and whether the planet "has a core of heavy elements at the center, or whether it is just gas all the way down," said Bolton.

To date, the only planet which has been proven to have "gas all the way down" is Uranus.

Scientists also hope to learn more about Jupiter's magnetic fields and its big red knot, a storm that has been raging for more than 300 years. "One of the fundamental questions is how deep are the roots to that red spot? How does it maintain itself for so long?" Bolton wondered.

Hitler cat overlooked for adoption because of markings
Trucker who left cab to urinate killed by lurch
Boater dies after snorting "likely" block of cocaine

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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Memory like a steel trap.

Our house, "At Last", is directly across the street from the Wright Brothers Days Inn, which is useful for both its easy beach access and unsecured Wifi. The building looked very familiar to me, and I confirmed yesterday that this is, indeed, the place where my family stayed on our very first Nags Head trip in the late 80s. Our room had a kitchenette so we never had to eat out, and we went through an economist-sized allotment of canned dinners. It rained at least two of the days we were there, and we played five-card draw with plastic poker chips stored in a Planters peanut can.

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

Friday, August 02, 2013

How-to Day: Website Design

I took yesterday off, in solidarity with the noble furloughed federal worker (ignoring, for a moment, the fact that I have too much leave saved up and am tired of selling it all back at the end of the year). After an early morning exercise routine of 500 situps, 200 pushups, and 1 squat (toilet-themed), I launched the new edition of the URI! Zone, and then spent the rest of the day updating the website for the Ormond Stone Middle School Band, which has retained me as the webmaster for longer than Rebecca has had me for a husband. Both parties, however, are impressed with my web-scale skills.

While refreshing that site, it occurred to me that website design might be a topic that many readers might be interested in, purely for the sake of the incredible additional income. It also wouldn't hurt my advertising revenue* to become the next eHow, so I've decided to provide a step-by-step guide for website development. Hope it helps!

Step One: Sketch your design out on paper or a napkin
In the conceptual stage, web languages just get in the way.

Step Two: Implement the idea
Write the website and put it on the web!

Simply follow this how-to guide to the letter and you will soon be rolling in web development accolades!

Bonus How-to Guide! Here is how you draw Simba, from The Lion King. No artistic talent required!


*: The only entity I currently promote in my header graphic is the BU Wine Bar in Montreal. I receive $0.00 per year for this endorsement. However, they really should be paying ME money for being born.

tagged as website | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

New Edition Day

Now with 100% more babies!

Happy Birthday to The URI! Zone, which turns 21 years old this month! As a special promotion for turning 21, anyone who visits my house during the month of August will get a free craft beer (as long as I have one in the fridge at the time of the visit).

This month marks the first full year of my "three updates per week" rhythm which I found much more pleasant and doable than five per week, and prevented me from running with retarded post ideas like "List Day: 5 Other People Named Brian". Looking ahead, I plan to keep posting three times per week, mainly about things I'm up to day-to-day and things I enjoy that you might enjoy too.

There will also be an obligatory quota of posts about babies for people who like babies, but I want to make sure that it's not babies all of the way down. There are enough pure "parenting blogs" out there already, and I have no urge to attract the sometimes toxic communities that tend to spring up around those types of blogs. We're going to raise our kid in a judgement-free bubble with the space to make mistakes and learn along the way.

So, welcome back to all of my old readers, and welcome anew to all of the lurkers I've accrued since my popular demo tape, MAIA, dropped on July 6. Introduce yourself in the comments section and maybe I'll write about something you're interested in!

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Friday, August 02, 2019

New Edition Day

The URI! Zone is 23 years old this month! If it were human, this is the stage when it starts to question its investment in continuing education and wonders whether it made a huge mistake in its chosen area of study, potentially dropping out to become a barista while working on a screenplay. By the numbers, I have written 4247 blog posts which you clowns have commented on 8698 times. There were also over 32,000 attempted spam comments successfully blocked which amazes me more for the fact that link-spamming online pharmacies is still a lucrative business.

There has been absolutely nothing of interest changed under the hood of this website in the past year, other than the fact that I made my resume database-driven so I can continue to earn an infinite number of AWS certs without uploading static files every other week. Blogging in general seems to be on the tail end of the bell curve, soon to be extinct everywhere except here. You can rest assured that updates will continue for at least as long as my AWS 3-year server purchase (April 2022) unless I turn 40 and die from falling out of bed.

Whether you are a regular visitor, just stopping by to search for ear training software cheats, or a lapsed member of the fold returning for your tri-weekly dose of not-necessarily-uninteresting content, thanks for visiting and say hello in the comments section!

tagged as website | permalink | 4 comments

Monday, August 02, 2021

New Edition Day

The URI! Zone turns 25 years old this month which means that I should probably commission a celebratory parade in a local arena, complete with commemorative coins. I, too, have evolved subtly in this same period.

Though the URI! Zone was quite popular in the Web 2.0 era, it has shed visitors down to just a diligent few. (On any given day, 50% of traffic is Doobie, Evil Mike, or someone related to me). This reduction has been exacerbated by the general decline in blogs and people wanting to read blogs, such that the URI! Zone sometimes feels like an ancient diner whose interstate entrance was blocked in the name of progress, and the only people around anymore are crusty locals willing to drive on four miles of back roads for the 6 AM flapjacks and discussions about the weather.

Still, everything I've ever written is carefully preserved here with a twofold purpose: (1) to thwart any future runs for public office by putting my most juvenile thoughts up for everyone to see, and (2) to eventually train a machine learning algorithm to write new blog posts for eternity, so you'll never be quite sure if I've already died. #2 may or may not already be happening but covfefe.

By the numbers, here's what the URI! Zone looks like today:

  • over 186,000 unique visitors since 2003
  • 4561 blog posts since 2001
  • 8992 comments from 151 unique visitors since 2003
  • 8905 images, MP3s, and other files, totaling 449 megabytes
  • over $4200 spent on web hosting since 2003
  • exactly $222 in prizes given away in caption and name-that-tune contests
  • $0 in income from ad revenue, because ads are still super lame

Thank you for your continued friendship and readership! TWENTY-FIVE MORE YEARS!

tagged as website | permalink | 4 comments

 

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