This Day In History: 08/04

Saturday, August 04, 2001

Another weekend is here. Surprisingly, I never get anything done on the weekends, simply because there's too much time for productive work. When I come home from work during the week, I find it easier to compartmentalize my productive time and my slacking time. On the weekend, I just get overwhelmed by the amount of work I could be doing and end up getting less than half of it done. Yet somehow, the deadlines still get met.

For everyone visiting from, I've started working on a new battle report in a wacky, unique style. Look for it in a month...maybe less.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I got spam today with the subject "Olsen Twins use online Pharmacy".

Poll of the day:
The latest Code Orange alert: terrorist warning or campaign ad? Discuss in the comments section.

How not to learn English
People believe in to God if you give them enough cash

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

I'm giving Jem's Finally Woken CD a solid three-stars. For the sake of interaction, I will let you, the reader, decide what the maximum number of stars should be. As I mentioned in an old post, Jem's music is like a mix between Dido, Butterfly Boucher, and Tali. All her tracks have catchy beats and interesting vamps, and she has one of those high wafty voices that is only annoying 25% of the time. The major problem with the CD is that all the songs have very interesting ideas but don't really follow through on turning them into hit songs. Each song has a point which just cries out for a new melody or some change of pace, but instead, a previously-heard section is just recycled. The songs would even have improved if they just stopped before they got too repetitive, but then you'd be stuck with a CD that's only twenty minutes long. My favourite song on the CD is still the one I heard before buying it, Just a Ride (211KB MP3). Bottom line: listen to some tracks online and see if it's your cup of tea before investing.

Here are my sundry thoughts about music today1:

  • Roots Manuva's Too Cold (359KB MP3) isn't a particularly good song, but I like the campy accompaniment. It reminds me of something the Scissor Sisters might write.

  • The cover of the Smith's How Soon is Now by Tatu is unbelievably horrible. The original opens with Morrissey singing "I am the son and the heir...". Tatu sings this unchanged, though maybe they thought it was "sun and air". I guess if your talentless group's main shtick is girl-on-girl make out sessions, you're allowed to sing lyrics implying that you have a weenie, since people with weenies also like to make out with hot girls. (For posterity's sake, I must add the obligatory, "Weenies weenies weenies" at this juncture in the news update). It doesn't help that Tatu's Ono-rific vocals sound like the girls are translating songs into dolphinese. It also doesn't help that all their English sounds like it was learned purely through phonetics, like that Japanese Eponine that got her phonetic On My Own solo on the Complete Symphonic Recording of Les Mis (344KB MP3). The URI! Zone takes no responsibility for any internal bleeding or Flipper sightings which might occur if you listen to this Tatu sample (311KB MP3).

  • Natasha Bedingfield's These Words is catchy (336KB MP3). I also have to give her credit for rhyming "Byron, Shelley, and Keats" with "hip-hop beat". That juxtaposition is almost as clever as Toto's "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti" line from Africa.

  • I'm also liking Joss Stone's Less is More (269KB MP3) at the moment. Sometimes I don't like listening to her, but I've always been impressed with how mature her voice is and how it totally does not fit her physical appearance.

  • I think the fluid way that Natalie Imbruglia forms her long notes in Shiver is absolutely perfect (286KB MP3). I'm a sucker for mellifluous female voices though -- I could listen to her sing just the word "you" all day long and not get tired of it. I also like Anna Nalick in Breathe. There are too many one-verb titles right now -- someone should release new music with some juicy adverbs or dangling participles.

  • I rented Be Cool, the sequel to Get Shorty, on Tuesday night. It was hit-or-miss funny, with really great moments mixed with tired rehashes, but it had a good soundtrack. The first scene opened with Earth, Wind & Fire's Fantasy, a song that I'm sure no one would recognize but me (I worked on a high school marching band show back in the 1990s that involved it). There were also musical cameos with Aerosmith, Christina Millian, and the Black-Eyed Peas, although Fergie did not pee on herself in the movie . Rent it, if only to see Vince Vaughn as the white record producer who thinks he's black and The Rock as the gay bodyguard with his own music video of "You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man".

  • Hard-hitting, beer-swilling, chest-thumping music doesn't have much representation today. If you start to question your manhood after reading today's update (and do, in fact, own a weenie -- no cheating!), you should try Rooster's Come Get Some, which reminds me of a classic 80s rock song, or the Soundtrack of Our Lives' Heading for a Breakdown. I like both of them.

  • Having made that sample, I can't stop listening to it and marveling at how bad Tatu is. I may have to do a face-off between them and Elena on With Those Eyes to see which song can kill a full grown Holstein first.

  • Ford realizes Eminem writes naughty lyrics
    I leaned out to spit and I leaned too far.
    Thankfully, the persecution of swans is quite rare.

    1: I tried very hard to incorporate a joke about my sundry tomatoes here but luckily for you, I failed.

    tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 3 comments

    Friday, August 04, 2006

    Friday Fragments

    a weekly way to win the war of words without wasting witty topics

    ♣ Ex-roomate Kelley Corbett and ex-girlfriend of ex-roommate of other ex-roommate Kathy Hanna are getting married today in Kawai, Hawaii! (Kathy is the girl). No doubt they will have a kid named either Kasey or Klyde, and move into the country where they can live in rural Fincastle with "The KKK Family" painted idyllicly over the doorway. Congratulations!

    ♣ Since the cute couple eloped, in a manner of speaking, I now have a free weekend in the middle of September which I would have otherwise spent in Staunton, Virginia, speed-trap capitol of I-81. Maybe I'll have a 27th-birthday-oriented barbeque and invite friends from all walks of life. Alternately, I could move to Idaho and become a hermit, connected to the outside world solely through the Internet.

    ♣ I still have a wedding to go to at the end of September -- Kathy and Chris' Magical Wedding Extravaganza, to be held in a toll booth on the south side of Jersey (Interchange 1). Rumour has it that many faces from the Tallahassee scene will be making an appearance.

    ♣ The wedding isn't really in a toll booth -- it'll be held outside in the grassy area of one of those left-turn roundabouts.

    ♣ To attend this wedding, I had to book a room at a place other than a Super 8 or a Motel 6. I'll be staying at the Residence Inn, Mount Olive , a posh extended-stay inn that's right next to the reception location featuring multiple beds, high-speed Internet, a kitchen, and two to five concubines. I'm sure there was a Red Roof Inn within driving distance, but it probably would have been booked up for the weekend's Poetry Festival, and besides, staying within walking distance of receptions is generally seen as a wise move.

    ♣ Why do you need to monopolize hotel rooms for a Poetry Festival? Don't people that go to those just tire themselves out snapping fingers in the coffeehouse then get high and pass out in a big love circle to the sounds of folk music? Having never attended one myself, I can only hypothesize. It must be pure ecstasy when some up and coming poet rhymes "clown" with "disown".

    ♣ I think that if you're going to create a poem where the ends of lines rhyme, they ALL should rhyme. Using words that are spelled the same but sound different is a big cop-out. Even Eminem is clever enough to think up a rhyming word for every occasion, although in at least one song, he did rhyme "shit" with "shit".

    ♣ I haven't heard anything about Eminem in months now. Is he still writing? Marrying ex-wives? I lost interest when all of his songs started being about his daughter. It's just not a very compelling topic for a rap song.

    ♣ Once again I have no big plans this weekend. On Sunday, the carpet goes into my master bedroom, finally completing the PUFFIN BAY GREY masterpiece that's been sitting empty for a month now. I've been living in the blue guest room all month, which is quite cozy, but it'll be nice to have the big bed again. Even though I don't move an inch when I sleep, at least I have the option to do so.

    ♣ Have a good weekend!

    Girls Gone Border Patrol
    Digging holes can be hazardous
    Dog destroys Elvis teddy

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 4 comments

    Monday, August 04, 2008

    New Edition Day

    Welcome to the Thirteenth Edition of the URI! Zone. Were my site a drooly twelve-year-old human, it'd be buying lunch boxes and crappy plastic pencil sharpeners that you have to revolve around the pencil yourself, and heading for the sixth grade, However, since the ratio of Web years to people years is on a scale of fruit flies to dogs, I should probably start looking for a place of web-assisted living soon (maybe urizone.old?)

    Regular readers will know that I recently switched hosts from Futurepoint to Kattare, which has enabled me to cast off the constraining raincoat of PHP and fully expose my finely-sculpted Java parts to unsuspecting passersby. Among the new features that I've custom-coded over the past couple weeks, you'll find:

    News Search: On the sidebar to the right, you can now do a case-insensitive search for exact matches. It doesn't have the power of Google behind it (so +llama -boobies AND ugly babies probably won't return any results), but if you want to find all the posts that mention Chompy, for example, it'll work superbly.

    Improved Comments: Kelley has been bitching about this for years because he's a trumpet player, and thus, makes many mistakes. Now you can edit any comments that were originally posted from your computer (matched by IP address). Simply click the "edit" link on the far right of your comment and make those typos vanish! I'm still not requiring any sort of login to post -- hopefully the tradeoff between convenience and spamming will be worth it.

    More pictures of Doobie looking sweet:
    This is pretty self-explanatory.

    Tagged Posts: I can now categorize posts. All posts written since January 2006 have been tagged, and I'll be doing the previous five years as time permits. At the bottom of every post, you can see which tags have been assigned, and click on tag names to see other posts in the same category. Eventually, I'd like to allow you all to tag posts as "Anna's Favourites" or something. And yes, I do realize that I've essentially caught up to where Blogger was in 1956 just before the launch of Sputnik. This is justified by the fact that homegrown makes it all better -- like an illegal marijuana operation or a small baby.

    An Atom Feed:
    Rob Kelley first requested an RSS feed back in January of 2005. At the time, every one of my updates was handcoded in JavaScript (because being obtusely perverse in your coding methods is a necessity for any real software engineer) so his request was only met with apology from me and mocking from Mike. Now that the news updates are database-driven, I have a simple Java process generating an Atom feed every time I post something inane. If you would like to take advantage of this, click on the orange Feed icon next to the Mail icon at the top of the page. If you don't know what good a web feed is, read about it here .

    Consolidated Content:
    Every (remaining) section of the site has been examined through the critical lens of "who the hell would really read that anyhow?" and lots of useless clutter has been removed. The main focal point of the site has been the daily news updates for three years now -- it's time to accentuate this like a magnifying glass on an ant.

    Admin Console:
    To capably handle this incredible ejaculation of new content, I've created an online administrative console that keeps my finger on the pulse of the URI! Zone. From here, I can do such fun things as keep track of new polls, fix typos that Rob catches, and punish my friends' blogs by pushing them to the bottom of the list when they fail to update regularly. (Trendy blogs will continue to appear in alphabetical order).

    If there are any other features you'd like to see on the URI! Zone, or you discover any bugs that I intentionally put there to see how observant you are, please let me know! In the meantime, happy 12th birthday to the website originally known as the URI! Domain -- may the next twelve be even better!

    NASA offers $5000 a month to lie in bed
    Effort to grab gerbil wreaks havoc
    World's oldest joke traces back to 1900 BC

    tagged as website | permalink | 13 comments

    Tuesday, August 04, 2009

    Museday Tuesday

    1. The composition can be for any instrumentation. It can have an actual score or be a pure synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.
    2. It must not be longer than thirty seconds.
    3. It does not necessarily have to have a start, middle, and end -- it can just be a fragment of something grander.
    4. It should be composed in thirty minutes or less. If time runs out, I post whatever I managed to finish, be it good, indifferent, or makeup on a corpse.
    5. The title of the piece must be a word from a random word generator, although this word doesn't necessarily have to be incorporated in the piece.

    Contumelious: (adj.) Characterized by contemptuous or humiliating words or treatment

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)

    I'm pretty sure that the Random Word Generator I use is tired of being my muse, and has resorted to making up words and then sticking them in This fragment is written for guitars, drums, and an amplified zither, and has three almost-schizophrenic sections, the last of which is apparently my audition attempt to write music for a new Disney Kids show.

    Mexico shuts beach, alleging stolen sand
    Seeking Delhi's phantom squirter
    Fake ATM doesn't last long at hacker meet

    tagged as museday | permalink | 3 comments

    Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    Random Chart Day

    Because of declining readership and ad revenue from the URI! Zone over the past two years, we are discontinuing Saturday updates, and Sundays will be in black and white.

    Traffic to the DDMSence homepage from freshmeat.

    Technically, Booty is big enough to count as 1.25, but fractions of a cat are always messy.

    F.B.I., Challenging Use of Seal, Gets Back a Primer on the Law
    Ohio Red Cross giving away new car, or Amish buggy
    Breath test required for vending machine wine sales

    tagged as data | permalink | 1 comment

    Thursday, August 04, 2011

    Review Day

    There are no spoilers in these reviews.

    The Outer Mark by Just Jack:
    This is Just Jack's first album, and though it's good, there aren't any stand-out songs. The material is a little too similar to The Streets (albeit The Streets with a hint of intelligence), and the CD gets additional negative points for ending with two remixes of the same song. The song itself is mildly entertaining, but no one wants to hear it three times on a single play. I'd recommend sticking with All-Night Cinema and branching back to Overtones if you want his good tracks.

    Final Grade: C+

    Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution:
    This is a collection of essays on the state of Open Source software from various influential figures, and it's about as dry as that description sounds. There is no continuity between essays, and enough typos and poor editing decisions to be noticeable. Eventually I just skipped ahead to the histories of Wikipedia and Slashdot, which were slightly more engrossing but not enough to save the book as a whole. Avoid this book unless you're writing a thesis.

    Final Grade: C-

    Lenka by Lenka:
    The song, Trouble is a Friend, was recommended to me on Pandora, and the rest of this album stands up just as well. It's pure happy pop music and works well as a mood lifter. Lenka reminds me of a less-weird Regina Spektor.

    Final Grade: B+

    Smart people are getting smarter
    Giant African Rat Kills with Poisonous Mohawk
    Stop wearing bunny suit, police tell Idaho man

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, August 04, 2014

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Friday night we stayed in, and I introduced Rebecca to the pop culture references of Zoolander, only about thirteen years too late to be useful. The movie has aged pretty well, although it's the overabundance of celebrity cameos that really keeps it fresh.

    Following a Costco run in the morning, we took a pleasant stroll through Claude Moore Park, so Rebecca could measure the distance for future runs (3.04 miles on the outer hiking loop). This time around, we saw zero deer, but many humans at assorted family reunions, softball tournaments, and swim meets.

    In the evening, we had another barbeque where the kids played three-way Connect Four while the parents shared secrets about the best brands of sippy cups. We ate grilled blackened chicken breasts, hamburgers, hot dogs, and Cheesy Garlic Bread potato chips -- the latest special flavour from Lays which was much better than the "Chicken and Waffles" flavour from last year.

    Sunday was a blur of laundry, badminton, and Hearthstone, and I also started playing a Kickstarter-funded RPG, Divinity: Original Sin, which greatly reminds me of Ultima VII. In the afternoon, we went to see Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff's spiritual sequel to Garden State. Unfortunately, it wasn't showing at the Alamo (probably because it had too many indie songs), but we had a near private showing at the local crappy movie theater, followed by dinner at Los Toltecos. We closed the night out with True Detective, whose pilot episode we enjoyed.

    How was your weekend?

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

    Tuesday, August 04, 2015

    EUsday Tuesday, Part I of IV

    Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Photos

    Tuesdays in August will be dedicated to our recent European Vacation which, unfortunately, was not won in a game of Pig in a Poke. For our first international trip since 2012, we designed a trip around Rebecca's idea to go trekking in the Alps, and added some logical cities to the mix that also allowed us to meet up with friends along the way.

    Rebecca started off by flying to Geneva, Switzerland on 7/11 and then taking a shuttle to Chamonix, France. She then spent the next week and a half hiking a circuitous route around Mont Blanc (translation: Cracker Mountain) that took her through France, Switzerland, and Italy. You can read more about this leg on her blog.

    Having no wish to hike over 12 miles daily for consecutive days, I stayed home and watched science fiction and heist movies with Booty. The part of the story I'm in began on 7/21, when I took an overnight flight to Geneva myself. I met Rebecca at the airport, ditched her smelly hiking gear in a long-term locker, and then we flew on to Munich, where we spent four days with Returned Mike and Annie. We then parted ways and took a train to the heart of Switzerland (near the canton of Uri) for three days in Grindelwald, Switzerland.

    Once we had overdosed on both the German language and impossibly high mountains, we took the train to Montreux, Switzerland for two days in the French-speaking area around Lake Geneva. Finally, we spent a single afternoon in Geneva before flying back to Dulles and arriving home on 8/1.

    Not including incidental daily expenses (which were average in Germany and pricey in Switzerland), we paid under $8000 for the two of us, with costs broken down as seen in the graphically intensive pie chart to the right. The flights were easily the most expensive portion, so if you want to repeat our steps with a tighter budget, you should consider an undocumented shipping container on a cargo ship.

    Trains were the most pleasant aspect of our travel days, especially with the Swiss Travel Pass that was our Ticket to Ride for 4 flex days of travel within a single month and the constant multilingual signs and announcements throughout the well-established European train infrastructure. It would be great to have such an infrastructure here in the US, but we're probably too big and fractious of a country to ever get anywhere near it.

    For this trip, we shared a single camera, and you can see the photos I selected (239 of 500 raw files) in my Europe, 2015 album. Rebecca will probably have a much different set when she goes through them, so you can pretend that we're both unreliable narrators and draw your own conclusions about the success of our trip!

    To Be Continued Next Tuesday: Bikes, Brats, and Beers in Munich

    tagged as travel | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, August 04, 2017

    Maia Week #4 Battle Report

    We have successfully kept Maia alive (Maialive) for four straight weeks, although in truth, it's mostly Rebecca's accomplishment. Since I cannot generate free food from my body, my contribution is generally feeding cookies to Rebecca while she feeds the baby (This is also the foundation of trickle-down economics).

    Maia has not learned any new trade skills this week other than the ability to roll on her side. She enjoys looking at a picture of Montreux, Switzerland that hangs over our changing table, is indifferent to stuffed animals, and she doesn't mind the endless stream of friends stopping by for hugs.

    Yesterday, we went to the pediatrician for a weigh-in and found that Maia had gained 1 lb 6 oz in just two weeks. She's accruing some visible chub that will prepare her for the inevitable day when someone drops her off the couch and she needs to bounce and then land on her feet like a cat. She also had her first growth spurt a couple days ago, which involved her eating every hour on the hour and not sleeping at all. To stop her from fussing, I had to throw her in the baby carrier like an Asian kangaroo and do laps around the basement while writing work emails and watching Netflix (I'm down here now as I type this, at 3:17 AM on Friday!)

    Here is a picture of her working on her referee skills for the next time Virginia Tech meets Florida State at the Sugar Bowl:

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

    Wednesday, August 04, 2021

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken thirty years ago, in July 1991.

    We're sitting on the Mall waiting for the Fourth of July fireworks, and we arrived hours early to stake out an uncrowded claim. (These skills would later come in handy at Wolf Trap). My friends, James and Ian, came along for the trip and we spent the afternoon alternating between card games and finding the nearest port-a-potty.

    The picnic blanket we're sitting on was the defacto picnic blanket kept in the car trunk for all sorts of weekend trips up and down the Eastern seaboard. The back always had little bits of dried spackle from the blanket's previous life as a drop cloth.

    I actually looked up Ian after pulling out this photo and he added the following context: "I remember James's parents were mad because he never got in touch with them before we went and they showed up to pick him up from your house. Such a pre-cell phone problem".

    tagged as memories | permalink | 3 comments

    Friday, August 04, 2023

    Review Day: A Drowned Kingdom by P.L. Stuart

    There are no major spoilers in this review.

    A Drowned Kingdom by P.L. Stuart, starts an epic, heroic saga spanning dynasties, politics, religions, and continents. The story requires an upfront commitment of patience through an exhaustive bout of worldbuilding, but once the threads start to weave together you'll find yourself inexorably hooked on the intricate plot.

    The story is told from the point of view of Othrun, a young prince who once was second in line for the imperialistic kingship of Atalantyx but now finds himself sailing into exile with the last remnant of his subjects. Othrun is a flawed protagonist who isn't necessarily likable, but is an engaging narrator and has plenty of space to grow over the series. (The author plans for a 7-book series and has released the first three books each just a year apart).

    The prologue opens with Othrun in shock after a great catastrophe has destroyed the kingdom of Atalantyx. I found it a very daring choice that the author then spends the first third of the book going back in time to explain the inner workings of Atalantyx -- detailed lineages of the king's family, lengthy histories of colonies claimed and conquered by seafaring armies, and the geography of towns and land holdings. This decision mostly works, as it reinforces what Othrun has lost and offers a palette of vignettes that inform how the characters interact going forward. There's a little too much repetition in parts of this section, which I suppose is better than dropping an important clue just once and hoping it gets noticed.

    The plot gains momentum in the book's second part (of three). Othrun brings his people to Acremia, a continent that has never been conquered by the Atalanteans. His views of Atalantyx as the greatest civilization of all time are constantly challenged as he meets and befriends allies he initially dismisses as heathens and savages. Every step Othrun takes to protect his people is hampered by logistic, political, or religious complications based on his own upbringing or ignorance. By the final pages of the book, I was very impressed with how many layers the author had managed to introduce -- this payoff was partly due to the weighty worldbuilding in part one.

    Drowned Kingdom is a solid success as P.L. Stuart's debut novel. You might enjoy it if you like reading about geopolitical conflict, constantly challenged assumptions, or the intersection of religion and magic. The book ends at a temporary stopping point in the action, so it will be unsatisfying as a standalone read. The climax to this chunk of the story doesn't present itself until the end of Book 2. (I started Book 2 immediately and found that the two of them together worked best as a unified duology).

    Final Grade: B

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments


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