This Day In History: 08/07

Tuesday, August 07, 2001

It's my last day of work here at the pencil factory. Even though I know I'll just be cleaning and commenting code today, I have the urge to just start a major and productive project. Anyhow, if things work out, I'll be working part-time from Florida for this company, which will be a great way to keep my hand in the Scrabble bag. Any company that gives Handspring Visors free to all their employees, including lowly summer workers like me, is worth that extra level of dedication.

It's supposed to be "about hot as balls" here today, according the the vernacular, so I may mingle with friends in Chantilly and head for the pool after work.

425 visitors in the first week of the Domain! To satisfy your curiousity about the visitors of this site, go ahead and click on the tiny line-graph icon in the bottom right corner of this news page. It only appears the first time you arrive (to prevent unscrupulous misanthropes from prematurely inflating it) and won't appear again until you've left the site for more than ten minutes.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Genericide

There was an article in the Post on Saturday discussing how the word "Google" has become mainstream enough to appear in print dictionaries and be used as a regular verb . I know that I've used the word as a verb many a time, and hear it daily in conversation. Apparently Google doesn't like it though, as the Post received a cease-and-desist letter, saying that it's an example of genericide. This term sounds much more ominous than it should and brings to mind the complete destruction of all generic grocery store brands, but it just refers to turning a trademark into a generic English word.

The best part of Google's letter to the Post was that they included examples of how best to use the word Google in daily conversation and print:

    Appropriate: He ego-surfs on the Google search engine to see if he's listed in the results.
    Inappropriate: He googles himself.

    Appropriate: I ran a Google search to check out that guy from the party.
    Inappropriate: I googled that hottie.

This sounds like a life lesson we could all stand to learn, a maxim that could appear in any fortune cookie: It is always inappropriate to google the hottie. But it also seems like overkill on Google's part. If I had a hot product and it suddenly became part of the vernacular, I would promote it as much as possible. Like soda versus pop versus coke, it gives a level of product recognition that you really can't buy.

The only part I'm missing from my plan to subvert the English language is a product worthy of the term, Uri, that can be used, consumed, or interacted with on a daily basis. Search engines are pretty much covered, so maybe I could make a toaster that uris the bread, or patent a new method of doing laundry and uri your panties. If I plan far enough ahead, maybe I can even set up some racy situations where I can uri some hotties! Any suggestions?

Diamonds are no longer forever
The half-naked and the dread
Muslim Fun Day cancelled

tagged as random | permalink | 8 comments

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Museday Tuesday

in which I have thirty minutes to write a thirty second song

Carsick: (adj.) suffering from motion sickness caused by a moving vehicle

My Composition (0:30 MP3)
Old Musedays:
Sidelong
Moodily
Obnoxiously
Obsessively
Spikiest
Leggier

I've found that it's much easier to approach composition from a rhythmic or harmonic vamp when faced with the thirty-minute deadline. This piece didn't turn out quite the way I wanted, and I wasted several minutes trashing and rewriting the second half.

Mamma's boy cut off
Food with McDonald's Logo tastes better
Pencil removed from woman's head

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Return of the Poll Day

Traditionally, Wednesday nights at 8 PM have been Mario Kart nights, where multiple drivers get online to test the destructibility of various walls by driving into them continuously until Florida-Mike wins the race and the game ends because the computer doesn't want to wait for everyone else to finish.

This week however, I've chosen to sacrifice most of my evenings by improving the website for my dedicated readers. In lieu of Mario Kart, I spent four hours creating a Java poll system which even prevents multiple votes from the same computer. This also means that Florida-Mike will no longer have a guaranteed fourth place in caption contests simply because he voted a lot.

There are also over 1240 tags in the database, going back to the very first post on August 1, 2001. If you'd like to see some of my all-time favourites, you can follow the "favourites" tag.

Studies have shown that people are willing to pay dearly for new content once they get used to a steady diet of it, and I've just finished patenting a subscription model that will let me charge you one bottle of beer per post. I call it PintPal (not to be confused with PayPal). The working name was BeerBuddy, but I worried that it would get confused with the gutter whore known as Bonzai Buddy.

My forecasted budget for 2009 depends on this beer surplus -- why read something for free when you could send me a pint and THEN read it? Indeed.

The Shire is now in foreclosure
Firm claims first cloned pet dogs
The girl in the window
In a Fight to the Death, who would you root for to survive?

Carrot Top (1 vote, 8.3%)


Paris Hilton (1 vote, 8.3%)


Jack Thompson (2 votes, 16.7%)


Kathy Griffin (5 votes, 41.7%)


Adam Carolla (3 votes, 25.0%)


tagged as website | permalink | 9 comments

Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday Fragments

two pickles, no onions, and hold the quality

♠ One of my new projects that I hope to stick with is running a couple times a week with Rebecca. We head over to the forest in Claude Moore Park for a half hour, and we have yet to see LESS than 8 deer on any given run, sometimes as close as five yards away. Hopefully I don't abandon this running project, because I want to make sure my knee is in good shape before all the hiking we plan on doing in Hawaii. I certainly don't want to turn into Gimpy McPeggy again like I did on last year's trip to Europe.

♠ Because every good creative genius (or mad scientist inventor) should have a wellspring of abandoned projects, I am no longer learning the Google Web Toolkit or setting up a Linux home network (although I did set up DSynchronize to keep my MP3 collection sync'd up across four computers). In place of those, I've been writing IF and playing some old games, like DOOM, and Sam and Max.

♠ I've also dusted off a few abandoned CDs discovered during my CD-organizing spree and am currently listening through them to see if they are really as bad as I thought originally. Brian Wilson's Smile is still about as passable as a junior recital -- sure it's good enough at exactly what it is, but you're only going to go if you know the performer, and then you'll never want to listen to it again.

♠ It doesn't help that the built-in CD player in my car no longer works correctly. Ever since this past January when (like a Sign of the Gods) the battery of my car died in the parking lot of Popeyes, the electrical system has bled into the sound quality. Now, whenever I'm braking or accelerating, an amplified hissing arrives like a vengeful librarian in a movie theatre. It's not bad enough to warrant getting a new stereo installed, but I do tend to listen to my newer CDs while coasting.

♠ Speaking of new CDs, Muse is finally releasing a new album on the date of my thirtieth birthday. I really liked their last album in 2006, and the newest single, Uprising, from the upcoming album is pretty catchy, even if they have evolved from hard rock to "Queen meets cheesy alt rock".

♠ Speaking of cheese, the most recent box of Velveeta Shells and Cheese that I opened did not have the normal allotment of five bags of cheese and five bags of shells. Instead, there were four bags of shells, half a bag loose in the box, and SEVEN bags of cheese. I smell something funny going on at the cheese factory.

♠ Now that I have benefited from the cheese stimulus package (Cash for Cheddars), I'm going to have to do something with my fromage largesse -- possibly a new healthy vegetable recipe consisting of one floret of broccoli to one bag of cheese.

Q: What did the bank-robbing broccoli say to his getaway driver?
A: Floret!

♠ This afternoon, I'm heading out to Manassass for Maryrose Ahlbin's baptism and tomorrow I'm having the parents over for dinner. Beyond that, the weekend will probably involve some IF, some Dexter Season 2 (which Rebecca is now watching), and a haircut.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Woman getting married to fairground ride
Acid-spitting death worm hunt
Penis burner free until trial

tagged as fragments | permalink | 6 comments

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Beach List Day

Books Read at the Beach

  • Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin Mitnick
  • Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground by Kevin Poulsen
  • Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon
  • Clockers by Richard Price

Games Played at the Beach

  • Lost Cities
  • Hey, That's My Fish
  • Ticket to Ride, Europe
  • Timeline
  • Snood
  • Mini Golf, Diamond Course
  • Mini Golf, Gold Course

Numbers at the Beach

  • Holes dug: 6
  • Smiths entertained: 4
  • Rain delays: 2
  • Jogs on the beach: 2
  • Olympic Swimming events fallen asleep during: 900

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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Memory Day: Snapshots

Rebecca skipping rocks on the beach in Collioure, France, on April 10, 2008.

tagged as memories, media | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Jericho, Season One:
Jericho is a 2006 disaster show about a small Kansas town in the aftermath of nuclear catastrophe. Because of its surface similarities, it took about five episodes to wash the nasty taste of Under the Dome out of my brain. However, this show turned out to be much better in every way, with likeable characters, steadily progressing plot lines, and enough intrigue to pique your interest. There is zero resolution in the season finale, but this is no longer a dealbreaker since the next season is already available online. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B

Orphan Black, Season Two:
I was worried that this show would be unable to sustain its momentum, but the second season is just as good as the first. The plot develops organically, characters remain fun, and the ten episode run leaves you wanting more. The complexity of the plot starts to get a little too dense towards the middle, but gets pared back pretty quickly afterwards -- there is no need to rewatch anything, and you can just go along for the ride.

Final Grade: A

Wish I Was Here:
This movie was billed as the movie that Zach Braff would make if he had complete control over Garden State. It's a pleasant way to spend two hours, but doesn't do much to veer from the cookie-cutter template of indie movies about life. Though there's an overabundance of Scrubs actors in the cast, everyone turns in a nice non-distracting performance. Mandy Patinkin is especially good in his supporting role. Like all indie movies, there's an overreliance on a soundtrack of whiny guys hoping to be discovered by mainstream audiences, and sometimes the movie meanders more than it marches forward.

Final Grade: B

Wildstar (3rd and final review):
My thoughts from last month's review still stand, and I'll be letting my subscription expire next week. The developers are patching steadily, and it was a good time sink for about 90 hours of playtime, but it's still not as polished as I'd like it to be. Also, PvP just isn't fun when your team is consistently losing and there's nothing that you, as one player, can do to change the momentum. This is especially noticeable with the existence of PvP hackbots, that just run around the battleground gaining experience so their owners can reach the maximum level more quickly. When your team has a 50% chance of having 3 useless bots taking up slots, it's not even competitive anymore.

Final Grade: C+

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Friday, August 07, 2015

List Day: Side Project Ideas

Whenever I come back from a big trip, I'm always inspired to start an ambitious new project, partly from the mind-enrichment of being in a different situation, and partly from the boredom experienced on the long plane ride back. Here are some of the ideas currently brewing in my mind for my next big venture, which may never coalesce, or might start brilliantly and then end up in the Unfinished Projects bin.

  1. Create free open-source software that improves the world in some way. Specifically, something with a local, political, academic, or non-profit relevance -- maybe a website that aggregates or visualizes available local data in a useful way.
  2. Expand my programming acumen by learning new languages (such as Go or Rust) or programming in new paradigms (such as big data, geospatial mapping, or machine learning).
  3. Devote more energy into new featurettes and columns on the URI! Zone.
  4. Write another game.
  5. Compose some new music.
  6. Regularly play an instrument (trumpet, jazz piano, bass, violin, accordion).
  7. Get better at a human language (Spanish, French).
  8. Read more, especially nonfiction in the areas of history, science, and technology.
  9. Get better at cooking (new recipes and approaches beyond the fabled grill).

What do you think I should do?

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Monday, August 07, 2017

List Day: Best and Worst Kitchen Appliances

The Best

  • Toaster Oven (2011): I became a huge toaster oven snob after burning through a string of cheap, quickly-broken toaster ovens in the early aughts. This oven makes bagels and toasts perfectly consistently every time and I've graduated to making exotic dishes like pizzas, Cornish game hens, and bacon-wrapped scallops in it. It also reheats pizzas and fries with just enough crispiness to make leftovers almost as good as they were in the restaurant. My life would be far dimmer without this magical Breville oven.

  • Makin Bacon (2005): One of the few AS SEEN ON TV devices that actually works as advertised, this makes restaurant-quality bacon in minutes in the microwave without any mess. The pieces that actually touch the bacon are easy to clean and the grease tray consolidates the mess in a single easy-to-dump location.

  • Rice Cooker (2001): This was a going away present from my parents when I moved to Florida for grad school and it's still going strong today. One of my go-to meals in Tallahassee (besides Banquet fried chicken and Totino's Pizzas) was a cooker full of white rice doused in soy sauce. Today, I have graduated to jasmine rice, although I occasionally deign to let Rebecca make quinoa in it (even though it makes the house smell like an armpit).

The Worst

  • Fridge (2011): The main thing wrong with this fridge is probably the last thing you'd think to research -- it's super loud and often sounds like a mainframe from the 80s. There's no point in having our amazingly silent dishwasher when its big brother, LOUD FRIDGE, is having a clan rally for white noise. Also, the ice maker sometimes makes skunky ice and offers no easy way to clean the water tubes.

  • Stove (2011): Every other month or so, one of the stovetop elements flickers out just long enough to keep my pot of soft-boiled eggs teetering below the boiling point, forcing me to eat hard-boiled eggs instead (-50 DKP). Also, the electrical connection to the oven light fails above 400 degrees, which is exactly when you need it to see if the cheese on your pizza is melted properly.

  • Wok (2011): This gift from my parents was novel and great for the first year. After that, we got weighed down by the preparation tax -- every meal requires at least ten ingredients cut, diced, or julienned in precisely measured portions. Since the wok cooks things so quickly, there's no time during the cooking process to measure things out so you must have an assembly line of ingredients ready to go in advance. This made me a fan of recipes that require no more than 6-8 ingredients in a go. As we got lazier and lazier, the various crazy oils we needed to cook also went bad and we never got around to replacing them.

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Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Maia Battle Report: Year 2 Month 1

Maia is still alive!

She enjoys wearing dresses and dancing for delicious foods like mac and cheese or pancakes. She has started embracing pretending games, and will utilize each tool in her animal clinic toy set appropriately ("Maia works at animal clinic. Mommy works at people clinic"). One day, we must have spent 20 minutes pretending to be asleep in bed then waking up.

While packing for our trip to Pennsylvania, she pulled Rebecca's rolling suitcase and said "Just like bunny", in reference to a cartoon of a bunny pulling a suitcase for a vacation, a card that had been out of sight for at least 3 weeks. She also knows all sorts of trivia ("Amber is a calico", "Daddy drives fast", and "Daddy farts") and remains a puzzle whiz.

Her attention span is getting longer and the occasional tantrum can be much fiercer, but they never last very long before she moves on from disappointment. She doesn't like brushing her teeth, but we've gotten her more into the habit by reminding her that Dr. Bearson of the Berenstain Bears universe would want her to.

We went to the mall for the first time in 3 months last week when it was too hot to move. The only difference from before is that she insisted on walking everywhere instead of sitting in the stroller. She loves the mall now solely because we get 1 Popeyes buttermilk biscuit, which she eats in its entirety.

She still has not had any dedicated screen time, and is bored by most of the harmless shows we might put on in the background. On Monday nights, we let her stay up to watch the first couple athletes on American Ninja Warrior, but she's really more interested when they fall off ("Splash!").

Coming up in the fall, she'll spend a couple hours per week in a "Twos" class at the community center. Rebecca will use that extra time to take some naps and I will do some continuing education in making ponytails.

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

Friday, August 07, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Middleditch and Schwartz, Season One:
3 hour-long episodes of improv comedy from these two actors (Richard Hendricks from Silicon Valley and Jean Ralphio from Parks and Rec) is just about right. The first two are great while the quality of the third drops a bit, but there are some great belly laughs to be found. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Superstore, Season Three:
We zoomed through this season quickly and enjoyed it. Everyone is still essentially a caricature, but each one is used sparingly enough that no one turns into a "Cam" of Modern Family.

Final Grade: B

Here We Stand by the Fratellis:
Less memorable than the other Fratelli albums I've been bingeing recently but's a nice aural bridge between their "T-shirt store commercial" songs of their debut album and the more mature stuff later on.

Final Grade: B

Lovebirds (R):
This movie features a couple fallen out of romance and on the verge of breaking up when they find themselves framed in the middle of a murder scene. Lots of topical jokes and easy to watch, although the first 15 minutes or so tries way too hard to be funny before it finds a good rhythm. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

 

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