This Day In History: 08/17

Friday, August 17, 2001

There's a distinct lack of reputable but affordable sofa sellers in Tallahassee. After driving around all afternoon, my living room is still bare. Other than that, there's not much new to report. I got my FSU ID card today, which is much snazzier than the Hokie Passport in terms of aesthetically-pleasing design.

The recital that Irish Washerwoman was going to appear on has been moved to December, so thankfully I can put that on the back burner and flesh it out more when I have more time to devote to it.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

One of the books I finished long ago but never got around to reviewing was The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and Dave Thomas (presumably not of Wendy's fame). The book is a language-agnostic best practices book that's written in just the right tone to get its points across (not too jokey and not too dry). It's pretty short, but does a great job at distilling information to the essentials. This, along with Effective Java by Josh Bloch and Refactoring by Martin Fowler, would be a book I'd recommend keeping around to flip through sporadically.

"If I see 'em, I'll shoot 'em," he said. "They're gone. I'll tell 'em I had a flashback."
Buy your casket at Costco
Rock-throwing kids anger 120,000 bees
Lawyers retain right to have sex with clients

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

John Basedow is easily the scariest-looking self-proclaimed "fitness celebrity" of them all. John is the promoter of the Fitness Made Simple workout program that regularly advertises during syndicated television shows. He's the guy with the scrawny (yet still out of proportion) head on top of a leathery-chicken-breast body who looks eerily like a friend I had in eighth grade named Ian. If John is the living example of what the fitness program can do for average Joe America, I'm not particularly impressed. Based solely on the pictures and customer testimonials, here is an unscientific list of what you can expect when you use this program:

1) All the veins in your body will be swapped out and put in your head, and all the arteries in your head will be moved into your body. This will give the appearance that your head was a recent morgue prop on an episode of Cold Case, while the rest of you just walked off Miami Beach and fell into a tanning bed for twelve hours on the microwave popcorn setting. (Fun Fact: The blue pigment code of John Basedow's forehead is 222).

2) Your body will shrink, but your head will remain the same size. I think the physics of this is similar to roasting a duck without the hoisin sauce, but I'm not entirely sure. Rumour has it that John Basedow was the artistic inspiration for the South Park character, Mr. Mackey.

3) Small helium balloons will be injected into various parts of your body and inflated to look like a garish effigy of real muscles. The experts are still out on whether this is extremely avant-garde art or just part of John's long term plans to turn the American people into unwitting pack mules for the Mexican drug cartels.

4) You will have to take Before and After shots, though you won't necessarily need to wait between taking the pictures. For the Before picture, destroy your posture, stand in a dark room, and jiggle the camera slightly when the shutter opens. For the After pictures, wear a swim suit and flex, standing straight up and sucking in the gut you still have.

My feelings on the aesthetics of muscles are simple: If your veins look like they were burrowed by earthworms or you seem to have an economy-size case of scabies, you have too many muscles. If you can ever point to a muscle as a distinct entity and you can see where it begins and ends, your muscle is too big. You don't need to have visible muscles to be strong. As a short guy, I must constantly exceed peoples' expectations of how strong I am just to spite the stereotype. This doesn't mean I'm ripped though -- I conceal my muscles behind my baggy clothes and my soft, youthful Oriental skin so that if I ever have to jump a biker in the parking lot of Hooter's to avenge my woman's honour, I'll have the element of surprise on my side. You laugh now, but just wait until that day comes.

I'm planning on starting my own fitness regime with a catchy name like BU BUNS or maybe Muscle Furi! I've already taken the Before and After pictures for your viewing pleasure. The only part missing from the After picture was the hot supermodels hanging off my shoulders like epaulets. If any Zone visitors would like to volunteer for this career-making photographic opportunity, please send me 5x7 or 8x10 glossies of you in a bathing suit and I will get back to you (women preferred).

In a fit of productivity, I also added eleven more Things About Me for you to read . Only twenty more until I have a full list!

Bunny saves wife
Lions dig Mini Coopers
Fish catches man

Yesterday's search terms:
gwyneth paltrow and chris martin's wedding pictures, the super mario brothers theme song for the tenor sax, weight gain chart for maine coon, rent the weinermobile, 10 donkeys 3 circles brain teasers, can you let me see a picture of peter griffin fighting the chicken

tagged as mock mock | permalink | 3 comments

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Movie Review: Brick

There are no spoilers in this review.

Brick is a very strange movie.

It's one of those indie films that saw critical success, but didn't really make much of a splash when it was in theatres. The core of the story is a new spin on Film Noir, with a hard-boiled detective, a salty dame, and all the usually twists, turns, and deceits. What's different here is that the genre is applied to a high-school setting, with young actors filling the roles of each of the stereotypes. All the characters talk in a very strange patois of detective slang and high school slang, and the actors are quite skilled at talking without moving their lips. By mid-movie, we had caved and turned subtitles on (which actually aided our movie comprehension in a big way).

The actor from the TV show, 3rd Rock from the Sun, plays Brendan, a loner high school kid whose ex-girlfriend is mixed up in some shady dealings with drugs. When she ends up dead in a sewer drainage canal, he sets out to figure out what happened and maybe get a little vengeance along the way. Among other familiar faces is the actress who plays Claire on LOST (hard to see in-character because she spoke without the Australian accent) and Richard Roundtree, also known as SHAFT. There's a fair amount of violence and lots of talk about drugs, but this has to be the tamest portrayal of the drug world in the history of drugs, since no one is ever seen actually using any of the drugs. The cinematography is a little dull, with many shots of thinking faces and the sky. The director apparently liked shots where clouds filled two-thirds of the screen and the land with tiny people walking filled the bottom third.

The mystery unravelled in the movie IS decent enough to sustain your interest, but I think it would have been much more effective had they just played it straight -- either a Film Noir in an adult world, or a normal whodunit with high school kids. Putting the two together was just too jarring to be effective. I never quite "accepted" the internal logic of the movie's world, and it took me nearly half the movie before I could figure out exactly what people were saying, but it was intriguing nonetheless.

Final Grade: C+

Digging up a spammer's gold doubloons
Introducing Fry Rage
Feeling blue, say "I do"

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Fragments

useless filler, not unlike the hour of TV on ABC before LOST comes on

♠ Today is the last day of work for my old project manager. On the positive side, it bumps me up in the food chain to a Technical Lead again (two slots away from Despot), but the downside is that I'll probably spend more time commuting to the Skyline office in Bailey's Crossroad until they hire a new onsite liaison. I've already gone twice in the past week, which is almost as much as I went in all of 2004.

♠ I've been up to my neck in work this week, which is quite a bit of work when you're as tall as I am. As a result, I haven't had as much time to devote to things like coming up with ingenious puns for this website or feeding a hungry Manilan boy to a tiger for just pennies a day.

♠ Yesterday morning, while hard at work in my office, the window looking into the computer lab around the corner spontaneously shattered, and spent the next two hours fracturing into spider webs inside of its frame. No one was around, but the cracks had a center-point, so maybe there is an office poltergeist chucking paperweights at things, much like the plot of The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Sndyer.

♠ I've almost completed my ongoing repurchasing of "favourite childhood books accidentally donated to the library". There are only seven books remaining:

  • The Famous Stanley Kidnapping Case - Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  • Janie's Private Eyes - Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  • Who Is Bugs Potter - Gordon Korman
  • Go Jump in the Pool! - Gordon Korman
  • Something Fishy At Macdonald Hall - Gordon Korman
  • The Great Brain Is Back - John D. Fitzgerald
  • The Great Brain Reforms - John D. Fitzgerald

♠ Normally I would buy these immediately (because I am three parts Korean and one part yuppy), but I am not allowed to purchase anything between August 1 and my birthday on September 15, because I always end up buying whatever Anna bought me and then she gets mad and throws the baby at the dog.

♠ Some other items in my shopping cart at the moment: the first season of Heroes, the second season of Prison Break, KT Tunstall's new CD, Drastic Fantastic, and Masters of Fantasy by Bill Fawcett. I promise I won't buy any of this until the 16th.

♠ My list of things to review is starting to overflow -- one of these days I'll need to do a bloated behemoth of a Review Day update to cover the movies, You, Me and Dupree, Pan's Labyrinth, batteries not included, and Die Hard 4, the TV series, Freaks and Geeks, a Gameboy game, Meteos, my trip in June to see Bill Cosby at Wolf Trap, and assorted CDs by Gemma Hayes and The Darkness. Alternately, I'll just let enough time pass for things to become long forgotten, much like I did when I said Kathy and Mike could write a guest entry in 2004, and when I solicited suggestions from everyone in January of this year. I'm pretty sneaky like that.

♠ This weekend, I don't have any major plans, but I'll probably work some on both Saturday and Sunday so I can get some things done without fear of the disruptions and distractions that often come up when you try to work at work. Next week will be more of the same, but in three weeks' time, I'll be using some of my million hours of leave to go to one of those so-called "beaches" in Delaware. Hopefully, I'll get to see a wind turbine.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Snakes don't want to get some hot tail
Smokers drag down a workplace
Fox's Right-Wing Alternative To Daily Show Fails

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Weekend Wrap-up

On Saturday, I wrote our wedding bible, a detailed, step-by-step outline of everything that has to happen in the next 47 days (and also reveals the plot twist that will happen at the end of our second season -- Booty dies, and then comes back to life).

Saturday night involved six people, Mozzarella cheese balls, mini eclairs, and a game of poker. I met expectations by coming in fourth, and Rebecca Exceeded Expectations by coming in third. The game stopped and started a lot for cheese, babies, and poop, so Ben didn't get to take his $50 home until around midnight.

On Sunday, we took another trip out to the winery to talk wedding stuff, eat free fudge, and pick up a couple more bottles of wine (purely for research purposes). The picture on the right shows us standing on the second floor deck, and the ceremony itself will be taking place on the lawn below us with the vineyards and the pond in the background. The pond still isn't quite as full as it could be (since there hasn't been much rain in the past year) but it should still be deep enough for any amusing mishaps to occur.

In the evening, we did another run through Claude Moore Park (only 5 deer this time) and then grilled our last remaining steak for dinner. Tragically, it was not as good as the 12 of 12 steaks, having become a little too bloodless from extended refrigeration and not cooking as well. As such, we dubbed them "Ice Truck Killer steaks", in anticipation of the Third Season of Dexter, which comes out tomorrow on DVD.

University adds grade worse than F
Certificates awarded for catching the bus
Bride spends wedding night with a crate of vodka
What could be better than balls of cheese?

Nothing (1 vote, 11.1%)


Balls of bacon (2 votes, 22.2%)


Houses of cheese (3 votes, 33.3%)


Balls of bacon-wrapped cheese (3 votes, 33.3%)


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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stuff In My Drawers Day

Work was needlessly hectic last night, preventing me from writing a Museday excerpt. So in its place, here is a map I created in November of 1986 when I was 7.

E=mc2? Not on Conservapedia
Aboriginal elder leads police to body -- but wrong one
Ala. man gets lost school ring back after 14 years

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Memory Day: Snapshots

Here's yet another picture from 1983. Our neighbours, Bill and Bonnie Malone lived in this house on Pickett Street, and he's shown here allowing the local kids to help sweep up the cherry blossom petals. The girl in the middle is Meghan, our neighbour from the other side.

Driver using two cell phones gets 12 month driving ban
In-flight film "explains" mysteries of female pleasure
Wild Close-Ups of Rare Mammals From Huge Camera-Trap Study

tagged as memories, media | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, August 17, 2012

List Day: Forgotten Movies

In chronological order, here is a list of movies I've mentioned or reviewed in the past which I have minimal recollection of. I didn't love them, and they weren't catastrophically awful like The Heartbreak Kid -- they simply failed to make any sort of positive or negative impression in my long-term memory. I didn't even recall watching a few of them until I looked up the movie posters online. Is it worse to hate a movie or to not have it stick with you at all?

  1. Curse of the Jade Scorpion
  2. Snatch
  3. Eye of the Beholder
  4. Heist
  5. Joy Ride
  6. Daredevil
  7. The Pianist
  8. 25th Hour
  9. Gothika
  10. The Cooler
  11. Starsky and Hutch
  12. Master and Commander
  13. Jersey Girl
  14. Without a Paddle
  15. I Heart Huckabees
  16. Squid and the Whale
  17. Yours, Mine, and Ours
  18. Kung Fu Hustle
  19. Annapolis
  20. Proof
  21. Just Like Heaven
  22. The Pledge
  23. Elizabethtown
  24. Inside Man
  25. Brick
  26. The Kingdom
  27. Simpsons: The Movie
  28. We Own The Night
  29. Michael Clayton
  30. Married Life
  31. The Taking of Pelham 123
  32. Terminator: Salvation

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up

This past weekend was a busy one, starting on Friday afternoon with a round of home-o tasks like replacing a leaky toilet connector and patching mortar gaps in the foundation of the house. We had dinner at Calypso Sports Bar on Lake Anne with Amanda and Frank with dinner vocals coincidentally provided by Tula, who was in the VT music department at the same time I was.

On Saturday, the nuclear Ahlbin family came over for a slumber party. The kids slept in a tent in the basement (because that's how you go camping in the suburbs) while the adults engaged in a third round of Dungeons and Dragons (exploring the town of Phandalin) as well as some Hearthstone.

On Sunday, we went back to Sportrock to pass our climbing and belaying tests which allow us to do climb-y things unsupervised, and then spent nearly three hours trying out different routes. Rebecca reached the top on 2 of the 5 routes. We then returned home for a dinner of leftovers to ensure that we still had enough functional muscles to survive at work this week. We finished out the evening with a couple episodes of Orphan Black which is erratically good this season.

How was your weekend?

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hiking to Black Lake

We got up at 5 AM today and arrived at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead in time for sunrise and a parking spot in the rapidly filling lot.

This hike was 10.5 miles. Black Lake is one of the farther lakes from the trailhead because of segregation. Yesterday, we hiked 9.4 miles around Mount Wuh, and the night before (on our first night in Estes Park) we did 3.6 miles. In the picture below, you can see Long's Peak (the highest point in the park) in the distance, the first mountain from the left with sunlight shining on it.

We timed things well, as we were off the mountain and heading towards the car when the daily thunderstorms arrived. We had a celebratory pint at Rock Cut Brewery (a Smoked Brunette) and then came home for an afternoon nap!

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Arrested Development, Season Five, Part One:
This batch of 8 episodes is far better than the fourth season, but still not on par with the originals. The characters are all in the same room much more often leading to funnier jokes and reactions. The plot boldly picks up right after season four but there are enough flashbacks to refresh your memory so you don't have to rewatch it. I enjoyed the general silliness, although I felt Gob and Tobias were surprisingly overused this time around and I'm not totally sure where the plot is heading (8 more episodes are due later this year to close out the season).

Final Grade: B-

Brother HL-L2370DWXL Laser Printer:
I got this printer after the lightning storm fried my Dell workhorse. The key ingredients I look for in a laser printer are automated duplex printing and a wired Ethernet port. This printer worked right away with minimal configuration and warms up quickly when coming out of hibernation. It's somewhat loud when printing, but not a dealbreaker. I've heard that Brother printers are a little ruthless about toner replacement, but have not printed enough things to experience this.

Final Grade: B+

EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC2 (08G-P4-6583-KR):
I got this card to replace the lightning-fried GTX 960 I used to have -- I splurged a bit after work reimbursed me for $1000 worth of AWS certifications. I can run all basic (pancake) games at ultra settings without any dips, and can finally experience some sharp visuals in intense VR games like The Climb, which previously maxed out at about 40 FPS on the lowest graphic settings. Another plus: the fan is normally quiet, but has a consistent noise when running -- none of the annoying "ghost" wavering that some older cards exhibited.

Final Grade: B+ (Would be an A if it were about $100 cheaper)

Dusty Rainbow From the Dark by Wax Tailor:
This concept album by French trip hip-hop (trhip-hop) artist, Wax Tailor, is very cool in a conceptual kind of way. A good example is the track, Time To Go. A variety of soundscapes interspersed with light storytelling result in a cohesive sound that's fun to listen to, if not great for the foreground. It also comes with a 2nd CD featuring all of the tracks as instrumentals, which is nearly as good. This is not my favourite CD ever, but I appreciate that people are still making music like this instead of the neverending line of sterilized singles.

Final Grade: B

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Release Day

Introducing the new and improved Official Website of Janny Wurts!

Janny is the creator of the Wars of Light and Shadow series as well as the co-author of the Empire Trilogy with Raymond E. Feist. Her website had lingered in the aughts, as previous website administrators naturally moved on to other things in life. Having corresponded with her over the past 13 years as I built the Wiki for her main book series and in search of another quarantine project, I volunteered to help her modernize the site.

The key requirements upfront: simplify navigation (sites that have been around for over 20 years, like my own, tend to build up a lot of content warrens), make it work on phones, and give equal emphasis to Janny's writing and artwork. I kept the content, burned down the old code, and started over from the ashes.

My key takeaway from the work, which started in late June, is that web development is so much easier today than it was even 5 years ago. Where once I would have spent time thinking up workarounds for every single web browser, I can now find fully-working examples of tailorable code snippets all over the Internet to do things using web standards that (mostly) work everywhere!

tagged as website, programming | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 6 years ago today, on August 17, 1026.

We were on our Colorado trip and thought nothing of waking up at 5 AM to hike high altitude trails throughout the mountains. The reason was twofold: parking lots filled up by 6 and staying too late into early afternoon usually meant getting caught in a thunderstorm.

This day, we went to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead and hiked 10.5 miles to Black Lake. Rebecca looked stylish and wore all of her finest European hiking gear, while I rolled through in this outfit which, in 2022, has become my "lawncare around poison ivy" look.

In the afternoon, we went to Rock Cut Brewery where Rebecca bought an all-time faovurite swag shirt, then had dinner involving elk sausage at The Rock Inn.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

 

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