This Day In History: 08/11

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Welcome back to another year of the URI! Domain -- the last sacred bastion of witty repartée and memorable one-liners. I haven't made a lot of changes since the Sixth Edition, so mainly what you'll find is a cosmetic update, some new photos and reviews, and an updated resumé. I have no grandiose plans for this year, but I expect to update the News and Reviews pages fairly regularly. I'll also try to add to the Potpourri section and update the MP3s which are available on the Music page. If you were a dedicated reader of the Sixth Edition and have something you think I should write about, feel free to e-mail me with the mail icon in the upper right corner.

I'm back in Tallahassee now after a boring trip last Wednesday (11 and 1/2 hours in one sitting). Not too much has changed in the land of the horizontal traffic lights. The weather's just as hot and the traffic's gotten a little worse. It's nice to be back in the apartment though, with plenty of quiet space to stretch out in. I'd forgotten just how bad the modem services were down here though, and they seem to have atrophied even more over the summer. Because of this, I'll be trying out cable modem service from Comcast sometime this week, and hopefully it'll be good enough to use full-time. Comcast has a special deal going on right now to get new users started, so I'll be paying roughly the same amount after cancelling my dial-up ISP and accompanying phone extras.

Now that I've transitioned out of the computer world for awhile, I'll be taking care of establishing residency for tuition purposes, and getting on top of my thesis. I did much less composing than expected over the summer, and at this point, I'll probably just throw it all out and start over fresh. It's definitely looking like I'll be doing the thesis and exams this semester and then putting off the defense until next semester. At that time, I can either just do the defense or take some other classes as well. That will all depend on what my plans will be for future years -- to stay for a doctorate, or to be a full-time computer programmer in Virginia?

Of course, that's an essay big enough for its own news story sometime this month.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Hello from work.

Impostors offer bogus road test at DMV office
The only loser is Mr. Wexler, who looks dumb bringing an irrelevant lawsuit and then losing it.
Skill trumps luck for Pick 3 player, friends
Using 'lez' in Scrabble was forbidden

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

I try to toss in a review at least once a week, but at the time of this writing, I have not seen or heard anything noteworthy since the last time I reviewed something. Maybe I'll make it up next week by unfairly judging two movies or CDs, or maybe I'll just promise to and then wait for everyone to forget about it (see also, guest entries by the winners of the Name-That-Tune contest from January).

While looking at a list of movies coming out soon for ideas on what to see next, I did notice a peculiar one:

    The suicide of the local school drug dealer exposes the alienation and indifference prevalent in suburban life. When Dean discovers his best friend Troy has hung himself during a pool party, Dean makes the decision not to tell Troy's parents or anyone else, thinking no one would even care. Things escalate when a group of teens botch a kidnapping in hopes of getting Troy's leftover drugs, and the child's mother is too distracted with her upcoming nuptials to notice her son's absence.

This could either end up being a smart black comedy about teenage society like Heathers or a really strange biopic like Napoleon Dynamite which is ultimately pointless. The title is a little bit odd, but I'm presuming that chum is really helping the box office in an otherwise stagnant year (see also, Wedding Crashers where two chums crash weddings, and March of the Penguins where thousands of chum-guzzling penguins walk around and do stuff).

This afternoon, I'm going to be giving the first of three parts of A Whirlwind Tour of Music in a seminar series at work. Every Thursday, someone can volunteer to speak about a technical or not-so-technical topic while listeners eat their delivered food from a local restaurant. Since all good things come in sets of three (with the notable exception of The Matrix, Star Wars, The Karate Kid, and Home Alone), I'll be doing an introduction to reading music, highlights of Western music, and highlights of Jazz over the next three Thursdays. I may post the web pages after I'm all done, but they probably won't be very interesting without all the musical samples and my glorious baritone voice explaining everything.

Her desire to cuddle after sex does not justify the extremely violent, brutal response of the defendant.
Hit n' Run motorist nabbed by crafty cheerleaders
Men who never listen now have science on their side

Yesterday's search terms:
peeping tom toilet discotheque, play with a dog and i can feed and clean up his poop and gromit online, watermark diseases of the cricket bat, i want colourblindess book, hokie pokie midi

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Fragments

because it takes more paragraphs and makes the update look much longer than it really is

♣ There are some stories on that just don't require a multimedia experience, and the one on the left is a prime example. Another example of text you'd never want to see on "Watch as Auntie Maybell shows off the three foot tapeworm in a jar that she had surgically removed from her intestines".

♣ There was an article in the New York Times about tapeworms the other day that was illustrated with a raw fish wrapped up like a birthday present with a ribbon of tapeworm. I bet there is an entire untapped market of "stuff you can make out of a tapeworm" from ribbons to Slinky's, and it's only a matter of time before some entrepreneur steals this idea and runs with it.

♣ I think the humble Slinky could be one of the worst toys ever invented, surpassing even the ball attached to a paddle and the yo-yo. What are you supposed to do with it after you drop it down the stairs and watch it hit the bottom? You can either wear it on your arms or get it caught in some girl's hair. Barrels of fun for hours on end.

♣ When I was a kid, my toy types were always segregated. Though you might see little girls letting Barbie ride their My Little Pony, you'd never find army men playing in Lego houses or Construx cranes built next to Lego spaceships. I never even allowed different Lego sets to mingle with other Lego sets (and I only built things using the instruction booklets). Apparently I followed instructions quite well. I also did this with the Etch a' Sketch Animator, which I mentioned some months ago. Creativity is overrated.

♣ Recently I've gotten the urge to start composing again, but I still haven't been able to sit down and put anything to paper. I think my three year hiatus and the obvious masterpieces of popular music I've listened to since I left school would make for interesting compositions. Maybe I should take a retreat some weekend and shut off the Internet and TV, then see what sort of musical gems I can fashion.

♣ Tomorrow is August 12th, which means it's time for another round of 12 of 12 . I haven't yet decided if I'm going to participate this month since I need to maintain the facade that my weekends are much more exciting than you'd expect them to be if I'm going to impress the ladies. Feel free to participate yourselves though and send a note to Chad with your finished entries.

♣ Honestly, everybody has a pretty mundane day, but everyone else's days always look several times more interesting than your own when you look at the pictures. For my Saturday, I will be doing a healthy mix of house work and yard work, with further doses of hanging out and staying in. I've also decided to get back into career-enhancement mode a bit, and bought two new books from Amazon. Which should I read first? The one on Ruby or the one on AJAX?

♣ Have a great weekend!

Adding more ammo to the moon landing conspiracy
Caller cancels wedding reception
Lobster thief caught red-handed

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Monday, August 11, 2008

List Day: Five People You See On Bike Trips

  • The next Lance Armstrong: He owns all the latest in biking gear, and looks like the missing link in the evolution of the Wheelers from Return to Oz. His constant quest is to fetalize himself to the point where his ass is actually higher in the air than his head (some actually bike with their heads between their knees). Has a bike bell because "shouting 'on your left' is tiresome when you PASS EVERYONE LIKE I DO and wastes precious oxygen".

  • 5'2" runner with disproportionate upper body: He's trying to compensate for being short by bulking up, but his morning cocktail of steroids and Flintstones multivitamins has given him shoulders like Jersey barriers and legs like balloon animals. In an attempt to even out his physique, he runs as hard as he can down the bike trail, pumping and grunting like a Neanderthal gas station attendant in Jersey. He's only running so fast because he'd lose his balance and tumble if he slowed down -- it's hard to balance all that beef.

  • Weekend Warrior: Nowhere near the next Lance Armstrong, but might be the next James Lance Bass. Can't quite afford the latest and greatest gear, and doesn't go very fast, but makes sure to leave the top two inches of his racing suit unzipped so a mushroom cloud of out-of-control chest hair can say hello.

  • Moving Target: A variant on the Weekend Warrior who's been left with the kid by his shopping wife. He tosses the kid in a rickety trailer of death hooked to his back wheel (because the best scenery on a bike trip involves looking at daddy's ass for an hour) and then drives across intersections outside the crosswalks and dares cars to hit him.

  • Slow and Steady: Two well-meaning but out-of-shape women who were probably running about three miles ago, but have since given up and started gossiping. They walk hip to hip across their lane (so one is always slightly in the way of oncoming traffic) and travel slightly faster than a filibuster. May make disapproving sounds similar to frightened chickens when you try to pass them on the left.
  • Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

    Repair shop hacks users' webcams
    Screensaver reveals new test for synaesthesia
    Cloner Dogged by Sex Scandal
    Who would win in a bike race?

    The Roadrunner (3 votes, 42.9%)

    Lance Armstrong (1 vote, 14.3%)

    Cartman on a Tricycle (1 vote, 14.3%)

    Mayor Fenty on Uppers (2 votes, 28.6%)

    tagged as lists | permalink | 6 comments

    Tuesday, August 11, 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.

    Distrait: (adj.) inattentive because of distracting worries; absent-minded.

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)

    This one is just written for a random assortment of electronic sounds, mixing a few organ patches with strings and percussion. I like it more now than I did when I was halfway through it.

    Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

    Outing an online outlaw
    Breast-feeding doll too real for comfort?
    Woman duped by middle-aged man who acted like a child

    tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Memory Day: Eighth Grade Extracurriculars

    As everyone who fell by the wayside in the ultra-competitive Christopher Newport University admissions process can attest, you MUST start your extracurricular activities in eighth grade if you want to have any chance of getting into college and avoiding a lifetime career degreasing the grills at Flamers. To carry on the eighth grade theme of this year's updates, here are the clubs and sports I was a part of in 1993.

    Since there are 9 people on a boat in crew, a positive soul might suggest that being on the "Novice B" boat puts you among the top 81 athletes in the entire program. A pessimist might note that there is no one worse than you while on this boat. That is also future President of the United States, Jack Wilmer, on the lefthand side.

    P.S. I am kneeling.

    The only thing I can recall about the National Junior Honor Society is that there was a ridiculous initiation ceremony with candles and a darkened classroom, in which we were warned about the grave responsibilities that came with joining. As you can see from the serious nature of my visage, I took this serious responsibility seriously.

    The Art Club was a club in name only. It consisted of people who had, at some point in there brief junior high career, taken an Art class and wished to meet after school to do more art. We never actually met though, giving this club an optimal effort to visibility ratio on college applications.

    P.S. I am not flashing a gang sign.

    The Literary Club edited and published the quarterly literary magazine, a $10 rag that actually used plastic binding sheaths instead of staples. I was probably there for the ladies.

    The problem with band picture day was usually the high percentage of members who forgot to bring their uniform in. These polyester refugees from the 1970s were atrocious, and my jacket was so small that its size-ordered inventory number was 1.

    Off-ramp comic tells jokes in traffic
    Churchgoers, strippers protest one another in Coshocton County
    Woman upset over lack of breakfast McNuggets

    tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Transformation by Carol Berg:
    This was Book One of the "throwaway fantasy series" I bought for Beach Week. It employs many of the standard fantasy tropes like desert kingdoms and invading demons, but is far more character-centric than one might expect from reading the editorial summary (hints of Janny Wurts, but much easier to blaze through). This book works as well if read by itself.

    Final Grade: A

    Revelation by Carol Berg:
    After finishing Book One in a day and a half, I quickly downloaded Book Two. All three were at a pleasant price point of $7.99, which is much more apt to make me buy on a whim than all the $10-$18 garbage cluttering the Kindle Store these days.

    Book Two does a good job of unfolding the complexities already laid out in the original story, making the world deeper rather than broader. The only downside to Book Two was that much of the action took place in a completely separate world -- the world that was so carefully crafted in Book One was far more interesting, and the book dragged when the second world was introduced.

    Final Grade: B

    Restoration by Carol Berg:
    Book Three had some issues, but it was still a satisfying conclusion the to series. The plot logically digs deeper into areas already hinted at previously, but the conflict lacks the punch of the previous books. The main character also spends a good chunk of time feeling sorry for himself, which I would have hoped he'd have grown out of by Book Two. All in all, this was a decent series -- easy to read, fast-paced, and well-written.

    Final Grade: B-

    The Wire, Season One:
    Everyone always said that HBO's The Wire was great TV, but I never really had much interest in watching it -- the blurbs and summaries about cops catching drug dealers just didn't seem particularly intriguing. Having watched the first season, I can now see what all the fuss was about. It's not the plot that drives the show, it's the characters and carefully-woven political layers.

    The first season is a slow burn that really makes the payoff of the last few episodes worthwhile, but it manages to be humorous and engrossing throughout. Unlike many episodes of Six Feet Under and a few of The Sopranos, I never finished an episode and felt like I had wasted an hour of my life with no forward plot motion to show for it. There is a learning curve with the street dialogue and sheer number of characters that pop up, but they're introduced and reintroduced carefully enough that you can catch on without too much worry.

    Final Grade: A

    Deaf man complains that nudists wouldn't offer interpreter
    Itsy bitsy bikini ads for UK beach volleyball stars
    By Helping a Girl Testify at a Rape Trial, a Dog Ignites a Legal Debate

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, August 11, 2014

    Weekend Wrap-up

    Friday marked the arrival of Rebecca's "new" laptop, an HP 15-g080nr, so I spent the afternoon uninstalling reams of HP shovelware (we really wanted a program to make custom labels for our burned CDs so thanks, 1994!) and prepping it for use. The word, "new", is in parentheses because this laptop actually came out a while back, but is one of the few remaining laptops on the market that comes bundled with Windows 7 -- according to operating system canon, Windows 7 is the last OS that Microsoft ever created.

    On Saturday afternoon, we took a trip to Wolf Trap (which is inexplicably missing a stop on the Silver Line) to watch Jim Gaffigan with Marv and Annie. We arrived a half hour before the lawn opened and got a nice spot for picnicking, and then observed the social experiment where people arrived minutes before the show, huffed about the entire lawn being taken up, and tried to fit themselves into ever-shrinking patches of grass between blankets, to the irritation of everyone that got there early.

    The opener, Ted Alexandro, was a success, funny in the same almost-family-friendly way as the headliner. Jim Gaffigan hooked the audience immediately with some local jokes about Dulles Airport and the distance from McLean to DC. Overall, his set was very funny and mostly about steak, although I was disappointed that he closed with an abbreviated version of his "Hot Pockets" routine. It felt obligatory -- there was nothing new for people who'd heard it before, and it was too rushed for new listeners to appreciate. After the show, it only took an hour to clear the parking lots, which did not trigger any Jiffy Lube Live PTSD.

    On Sunday, I played Divinity: Original Sin for as much of the day as possible, finished True Detective, and started the fifth season of Community.

    How was your weekend?

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

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015

    EUsday Tuesday, Part II of IV

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

    Our flight from Geneva to Munich was slightly delayed, but we got on the subway and made it into the city without issue, bemused by the utter lack of ticket checkers on the train. We opted for Litty's Hotel, a smaller, less expensive hotel a few blocks out of the town center nestled amongst halal restaurants and strip clubs. Normally, its lack of air conditioning would have been quaint, but we happened to visit during a heat wave, meaning that we had to choose between quiet suffocation or the echoing car horns and misanthropes on the corner that continuously amplified up to our 4th floor room in a postive feedback loop like a neo-conservative's Facebook feed. On a positive note, the standard European breakfast of breads, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, and random bits of lunch meat, cheese, and vegetables was included, and we made sure to fill up every morning.

    Upon arrival, we met up with Returned Mike and Annie and had our first beer garden experience. With their liter beers and sausage permutations, beer gardens are a fun and novel experience right up until they aren't -- this takes about two and a half days of non-stop beer garden meals. The premier beer garden, Hofbrauhaus, was far too crowded and touristy to enjoy, but we did use their free toilets several times throughout the trip.

    On our first full day in Munich, we signed up for an English tour of Munich through Mike's Bike Tours, run by resident Australians for maximum accent dissonance. Munich is actually a very bike-friendly zone, with cleanly marked bike lanes and kilometers of wooded trails off the main roads, but I still felt more comfortable in the parks than anywhere near cars. As part of the tour, our guide, Julian, had us reenact a famous statue in a quiet courtyard where no one would steal our bikes, before releasing us out into the busy courtyard to see the real thing.

    After the tour, we saw a church would have been nice on its own merits, had it not been filled with a new-age art exhibit called "Clouds" consisting of white strings dangling from the ceiling, and then had drinks at a rooftop bar, Eiche, in the bohemian district. We also visited Frauenkirche, a church with steeples like boobs and an interior as boring as coleslaw. Our final sightseeing stop of the day was the Michael Jackson memorial, a statue of a more historical persona which had been taken over by Beat It fans as a shrine to the late pop king (because "Black or White" Lives Matter).

    On day two, we took an English tour of the Dachau concentration camp led by yet another Australian, and then sorted out our travel exit plans at the EurAide desk in the train station (which was just as helpful as advertised in Rick Steve's Munich book). After another Biergarten lunch, we visited Asamkirche, which was easily the most interesting church in the set, full of gaudy, ridiculous sculptures and biblical scenes that would have been just as well at home in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. We only got a glimpse from the foyer this night, because an organ recital was about to start and the ticket seller was incredibly worried about the idea that we would willingly sneak into an organ recital, but we came back the next day for a longer visit.

    For day three, Mike and Annie split off to go see dumb art while Rebecca and I went to the Munich City Museum for some history and knick-knacks. The Museum was fun, although the English walkthrough guidebook was a little out of sync with what was actually on display. We especially enjoyed the 4th floor Music Museum (having skipped the 3rd floor puppets), full of playable instruments and a lonely security guard who implored us across language barriers to try out all of the exhibits.

    We then rented bikes again and spent a leisurely afternoon in the English Garden, baaing at sheep, eating currywurst, and learning Munich traffic patterns. We also went up to the top of St. Peter's which granted a nice view, but was horribly designed for two-way traffic -- it will take you over thirty minutes to get to the top and slowly circle 360 degrees because people are incapable of not treating the parapet like an aisle at Costco.

    For our final night in Munich, we ate at Opatija's. Not realizing that there were two Opatija's within a four block radius, each couple sat in a different Opatija's wondering where the other couple was until we figured out what was going on.

    Overall, Munich was a fun city to visit, although it was definitely made more fun by being there with friends. On its own merits, it doesn't really have much to offer that felt unique or Europe-ancient. I guess the city couldn't help getting bombed to rubble in the war, but I was hoping to see more unique architectures and attractions. Give it two days, skip the top of St. Peter's and ignore the mechanical clock in the Marienplatz, which is about as impressive as watching a 5-disc DVD player swap discs.

    To Be Continued Next Tuesday: Asian Tourists and Impossibly Vertical Mountains in Grindelwald

    tagged as travel | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, August 11, 2017

    Maia Week #5 Battle Report

    Maia just had another growth spurt, during which we were up at all hours walking with her or trying to get her to sleep without employing any wrestling moves. I use the enforced up-time to work on the Paravia Wiki, reread books by Philip Pullman (the good ones, not His Dark Materials), watch the first season of Rake, and resurrect the 3DS that has been in a dusty box for over 3 years.

    I've been trying to get back onto a regular sleep schedule so I can return to work next week and am doing pretty impressively, with an average of 8 hours in any given day. I also get fewer "sleep deprivation dreams" which are like macabre stress dreams that go on and on in the same venue and with the same characters for the entire sleep cycle.

    When Maia does end up sleeping, she sometimes falls asleep to me humming the Bluebells of Scotland on repeat, although eventually I tire of it and end up humming miscellaneous interval etudes in all of the major scales instead. She has not yet spoken any words, but will be fluent in Australian accents based on all of the Australian hip-hop I listen to in the background (currently listening to Nosebleed Section by the Hilltop Hoods).

    In terms of marketable skills, she can now reach for, grab, and pull a wooden ring if we position her directly below it, which means she will have career possibilities as the conductor on an old-timey train. She also stretches like a traditional cartoon character with arms over her head in an impressive gymnast's bridge pose. To counterbalance these elite skills, she excels at spitting up while lying on her back, forcing us to spelunk the many folds of her neck (the zone known as Neck Folds Five) with a warm washcloth so we don't end up with "the smelly kid".

    Here is a picture of Maia looking up at her favourite dad on the couch. It looks like she's in a very uncomfortable position, because those are the only positions she enjoys contorting her body into.

    tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, August 11, 2021

    Beach Day

    Tattoos for everyone!

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, August 11, 2023

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Lincoln Lawyer Season One:
    This is a shallow, entertaining lawyer show that doesn't really add up to much by the end. It sometimes feels like a really weak channeling of Bosch with fewer cops. I had it on in the background while I did 5 hours of organizing around the house, and it was perfect for that purpose. On Netflix.

    Final Grade: B-

    Black Mirror, Season Six:
    This five-episode season is very good but also very different from previous seasons. The focus on near-future dystopia and technology has lessened (maybe because the present has already become so grim) in favor of a more Twilight Zone tone with different anthology themes. On Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

    Trench by Twenty-One Pilots:
    This album sounds simultaneously muddy and minimalist, without many hooks to keep interest. It's not as good as Blurryface.

    Final Grade: C

    Tiny Tina's Wonderlands (PC):
    This reskinning of Borderlands as a D&D adventure tries to channel the success of the Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep expansion from Borderlands 2. The tone and voice acting (involving Ashly Burch, Andy Samberg, and Wanda Sykes) is great, but the basic gameplay never really grabbed me. I gave it a couple shots but dropped it after about an hour of playtime.

    Final Grade: Not Rated

    tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 0 comments


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