This Day In History: 08/25

Saturday, August 25, 2001

I walked around my general vicinity today, getting a lay of the land and finding the nearest post office. I also got hit up for money twice. This afternoon I basked in nostalgia by pulling out an old classic, Ultima 7 Part 1, and playing it some. In the latest issue of PCGamer, I found it amusing that the Ultima series was mentioned in the Top 50 games of all time, although the last two games in the series were conveniently omitted. I was also disappointed by the choice of Half-Life as best game ever (it really wasn't a great game).

I'm in the process of scanning many pieces of high school art that I found over the summer. Some of them can be seen on the Artwork page now, and the rest should be up in the next few days. When not doing web stuff, practicing, or composing Irish Washerwoman, I've been tinkering with Java, with possible plans to start a new game idea.

There was a huge spike in visitors on Friday, mainly one person from who visited more than ten times over the course of the day. Perhaps this site finally has enough fascinating content for repeat visitors... Alternately, that person was extremely bored.

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Sunday, August 25, 2002

I've been playing a lot of Warcraft III this weekend, helped in large part by the cable modem. It's a really well-done game, and you'd like it if you played either Warcraft II or Starcraft. It's a little bit slower paced than earlier games, but this allows things to be more strategy-based rather than who can click the fastest. Check it out if you want to waste some time and money.

Tomorrow is the first day of classes. I'm taking String Quartets on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and my class of music theory young'ns is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11:15. Besides that, I'm also taking trumpet and composition lessons, for a grand total of nine credits. Perhaps once school starts, I'll write about interesting things again.

    The Portsmouth Symphonia was unique in that fully two-thirds of its members did not know how to play a musical instrument. Result: Their music (if you could call it that) was appallingly bad, but also "refreshingly original," one reviewer wrote. "Unhampered by preordained melody, the orchestra tackled the great compositions, agreeing only on when they should start and finish. The cacophony which resulted was naturally an immense hit."

    Conductor Leonard Bernstein credited the Symphonia with "changing his attitude to the William Tell Overture forever." The Symphonia recorded two records, both of which "became very popular, demonstrating yet again the public's great appreciation of incompetence." - Uncle John's 12th Bathroom Reader

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Musical Motives

  • I give my last music presentation at work today, on the history and sounds of Jazz. Doing three presentations in a row was a lot of fun, but I'm glad it's all over so I can go back to doing nothing with my afternoons. I have the bad habit of signing up for too much stuff when I'm in a slow, bored period, and then wishing I were bored again when I'm insanely busy.

  • While recording samples for my presentation, I rediscovered just how much I enjoy a jazz chart that cooks. I don't really like combo jazz at all (the kind of jazz that evokes a small ensemble in a smoky room playing inaccessible melodies for their own amusement), but the sound of a solid big band chart is easily my favourite type of music, edging out all the random pop garbage I've been listening to in the past couple years.

  • I would really like to learn how to swing dance someday, but I would probably never take lessons without a partner. I consider myself a horrible "club" dancer, purely on the virtue of the fact that I'm male and I cannot see myself to know if I'm flailing like an Oriental windmill. I'm also not sure if they have windmills in China, but something has to keep the rice cool.

  • I would also like to play in a jazz band again someday. Surprisingly, I've played my trumpet for a half hour a day almost every day since I posted my Manifesto of Ambitions back in July . You can tell I'm a particularly awesome trumpet player because of the size of my veins when I play high notes. Move over, Bill Chase.

  • I like this sax soli (914KB MP3) from Cruisin' for a Bluesin' on Maynard Ferguson's Footpath Cafe, moreso because Maynard doesn't play in it. I think this is a Chip McNeill arrangement but I could be wrong. This was the song playing in the background of Tuesday's cat video. I wasn't intentionally giving Amber a theme song -- I was just recording the soli off the CD for my presentation.

  • Most of you probably don't care about jazz, so let's return to the magical land of pop music. New on my playlist this week:
    • Citizen King - Better Days
    • Fun Lovin' Criminals - Mi Corazon
    • Garbage - Why Do You Love Me
    • The Coral - In the Morning
    • The Faders - No Sleep Tonight
  • A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Kylie Minogue's music is not particularly inspired, yet I like it anyways. It must be my guilty listening pleasure -- for example, I think the interplay of the rising and falling 3rds and 6ths in I Believe in You (291KB MP3) turns an otherwise horrible dance tune into one with a few redeeming qualities. I also like the sound of her voice when she's singing in octaves with herself. Anna is right, though, when she says that Chocolate sounds like it should be the theme song of a porn flick (285KB MP3). If any of you musicologists out there aren't too busy, you should write a paper figuring out why I like Kylie's music. I'd be interested to read it.

  • I fluctuate on my opinion of the lead singer of the Cranberries. Depending on my mood, her voice has either got an interesting timbre, or it's the most annoying sound on the planet. For some reason, listening to it sometimes evokes bad memories from the 90s involving Alanis Morisette and her "Mr. Ed Sings the Blues" approach to live performance.

  • Daniel Bedingfield's The Way (414KB MP3) is another perfect example of a great song ruined by an annoying chorus. If your chorus is only two bars long, it has a 92% chance of being annoying. You should hire me to rewrite it into something more interesting. I charge no fee, only working for the love of the music, and I can also shape concrete and assemble an Ikea bed. References available upon request.

  • The chorus from The Way was stuck in my head when I went to bed last night. Pain in the ass.

  • I remember the days in the early 90's when rappers suddenly discovered that their drum machines could do 32nd notes and incorporated the rhythm into every single song. Cheesy.

  • Jason Mraz's Wordplay is very catchy just like Remedy, even if it is way too self-referential for its own good. I always like songs with rhythmic patter-y lyrics though. Something about the spewing of syllables is very appealing to my ear, like the bridge section of Rob Thomas' This is How a Heart Breaks.

  • I had some thoughts on remixes and the bleeping of lyrics, but my samples haven't finished downloading yet, so I'll save those for another day.
  • Happy Birthday Nancy!

    When I said 'assassinate' I meant 'hug' and when I said 'Chavez', I meant 'the purple Teletubby and/or Jerry Falwell'
    Respect your maid

    Yesterday's search terms:
    oops bam, pepole who want bongs, miss crustacean, bunn wackett buzzard stubble boot

    tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 5 comments

    Friday, August 25, 2006

    Friday Fragments

    I'm thinking of a number from one to ten, and I don't know why.

    ♣ I've been temporarily sidelined by a mild case of pneumociatic triclociglucosis, a completely made up term to describe the bug I caught on Monday which gives me a sore throat, a cough, and stinging allergy eyes. I spent Wednesday at home relaxing and Thursday at home working which, on the bright side, saved me 28 miles worth of gasoline. I probably am not contagious, but I figure it's better to stay home than infect the multitudes of coworkers I would come in contact with. I'm still not fully recovered and it's actually gotten a little worse, so I'll probably only work a half day today.

    ♣ It wasn't all bad since I got to eat bacon for breakfast and catch up with some timorous online personas who are hard to pin down, like Paige who is visiting in November, and Rachel, who promised to return to the URI! Zone with more dumb-American rants as soon as possible. I also put up my curtains and started watching the first season of Prison Break which is quite good despite the main character only having two facial expressions: wry grin and burning stare of doom.

    ♣ The show keeps you rivetted although it's so intense that it's hard to watch more than a couple in a row. By intense, I mean that it's unrelentingly grim -- there are very few humourous moments or downtime, and the toe scene and the cat scene were completely unnecessary. It differs from a show like 24, which has a few scenes that are SO ridiculously dramatic that you can't help but laugh at them.

    ♣ I would probably last one or two days tops in a maximum security prison. The fact that prison conditions are horrible and scary doesn't bother me in the least bit, because it keeps smart people like me from even thinking about breaking the law. If prisons were like summer camps, why would anyone try to avoid them? Prison Break reinforces this because there are only black, white, and Hispanic people in the jail there. All the Asians are too smart for crime (or genius criminal masterminds) and don't go to jail. This is another reason to marry an Asian -- your kids are less likely to end up behind bars, according to this show. Obvious cause and effect.

    ♣ I read in the Post that the newest Survivor series is going to split the tribes up by race, which just screams "low ratings gimmick" to me. How they expect to do the groupings without offending anyone ("Let's stick the Peruvian with the Herndon Hispanic! They're the same") is up in the air, but the Asians will win because they are shorter and consume fewer natural resources, an important advantage! The first person voted off will be the Japanese guy though.

    ♣ Senator Allen finally apologized directly to his target for the "macaca" comment from a few weeks back . I don't see how anyone can look at what he said and how he handled the aftermath and not suspect that he might not be the best guy for the job. It would be a similar situation if I made derogatory remarks about all those dirty Australians on my page and expected Rachel to just "let it slide". I would probably get a verbal lashing in CAPS and lose my membership card to the Friends of the Koala Club.

    ♣ You may have noticed that I use Clubs now to distinguish each fragment on the page. I'm trying something new and I often win with clubs in poker. I went all-in with Jack and 3 of Clubs last week and won, before coming in last place out of 8 people.

    ♣ There's no Poker Night this weekend, but that's fine since I have a birthday barbeque to go to as well as a bunch of work to catch up on, pending my recovery from the pneumociatic triclociglucosis. No doubt, I will finish Prison Break too. How did anyone ever watch serial dramas before DVDs?

    ♣ Happy Birthday Nancy! Happy Birthday Mike Buns on Sunday! Have a great weekend everyone!

    A pregnant man?
    Teacher placed on leave for foreign flags
    Robber mistakes town hall for bank

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    Monday, August 25, 2008

    Bad Joke Day

    While organizing my document archive (and wondering if I'm the only person in the universe to have a document archive), I came across a collection of original jokes that Rebecca and I invented last year. It was obviously intended to be the germ for a childrens' joke book that would make us rich and famous and able to retire at 29, but hasn't seen any new jokes added in at least nine months.

    Highlight the space below each question to see the horrible inanity that follows.

    Q: Why did the space alien eat the comet instead of the astronaut?

    Q: What do Chinese worms eat for dinner?

    Q: What kind of sound do baby frogs make?

    Q: Why was the man deported from Helsinki?

    Q: What do you call a monk that fell in the pool?

    Q: What do you call a hippie that works in a plant nursery?

    Q: What does the fish sandwich say after the election?

    Q: Where do hippos get advanced degrees?

    Share your own bad jokes in the comments section!

    Boy in hospital after backfire from his backfire
    Plop-plop the unruly emu is tasered
    Cop: Sex with prostitute wasn't fun
    Which fruit is the funniest?

    Apples (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Oranges (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Bananas (5 votes, 35.7%)

    Lemons (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Huckleberries (9 votes, 64.3%)

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    Tuesday, August 25, 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.

    Bellicose: (adj.) Aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious.

    My Composition (0:27 MP3)

    This piece is written for brass quintet without the trombone and a choir of jazz scat singers. I was trying to go for something militaristic but also slightly comical, March of the Rat Terriers, perhaps?

    Legislators outlaw the wrong type of plastic
    The boy who heard too much
    Alabama families cause a riot

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    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    No Update Today

    Weird Search Day is delayed yet again, as I try to fit five pounds of work into a three pound bag.

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    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Game Day

    Irene's going to give me the double-win!

    Animals Being Dicks
    GameStop opening Deus Ex boxes, removing free game code
    Bull semen spill causes scare, closes U.S. highway

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

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Friday evening, we went over to Joe & Katie's in the Burke area for a dinner of chicken cacciatore and board games. We didn't stay too late, as we wanted to wake up for hiking on Saturday.

    In spite of ominous clouds and drizzle across the area on Saturday morning, we went to Harper's Ferry with Anna. Nature abounded, and included a turtle and several blue heron. We actually managed to get in about 6 miles of hiking before the obligatory drenching thunderstorm -- it's happened two out of the last three hikes now. Afterwards, we came home, dried out, and played Hearthstone.

    On Sunday, I spent the morning evaluating my options for online certifications to "grow my career". In the afternoon, we booked plane tickets for a trip to the environs around Seattle in October. For dinner, we went to Taste of Burma for delicious, if oily, Malaysian noodles.

    This morning, I arrived at work to find that the Metro Transit Authority had claimed our parking lot under eminent domain, which means that I had to park in the garage and walk an extra ten yards to the office. First world problems?

    How was your weekend?

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    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    EUsday Tuesday, Part IV of IV

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

    Montreux was a bigger town than expected, with narrow European streets and a bustling, walkable feel. Still, it struck a fair balance between the over-urbanization of Munich and the pastoral setting in Grindelwald. You could walk lightly trafficked streets to get that quaint, European town feel, but the tail end of the Alps still loomed overhead, just a ways down the coast.

    We debarked from the train and walked to the Hotel Tralala, a chic music-themed hotel where John Kerry once stayed in May 2015 (according to the framed letter at the front desk). Each room had a famous musician featured heavily, and our bed was watched over at all times by Sting. On the first evening, we walked down to the waterfront to get a feel for the town, passing by Montreux's most famous tourist attraction: an underwhelming statue of Freddy Mercury from Queen. We ate dinner at an expensive place with a nice view overlooking Lake Geneva, where Rebecca relearned rule of life #23: Never order the risotto because afterwards, you'll just feel unsatisfied like you ate a side of tasteless butter.

    As a light rain washed across the town, we scurried back towards the hotel (all uphill of course), and ducked into a tiny local restaurant for wine and dessert. Now that we were back in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, my high school French came in handy again, and in this restaurant, I was even able to help the owner serve a group of Asian tourists who spoke zero French and a small bit of English (they were having trouble ordering "warm" water -- pas trop chaud et pas trop froid).

    On our first full day, we visited the resident castle, Chateau du Chillon. It was pleasant enough, but nowhere near as impressive as Carcassonne in 2008. It didn't help that the castle was in various stages of revitalization, and whether an area was kept as it originally had been, restored to how it had looked, or restored to how the archaeologist thought it should have looked, was a decision that varied from section to section, resulting in a clash of styles similar to my artwork when I try to draw plants as a colourblind person.

    On the way back up to the hotel, we stopped at a place that the guidebooks identified as a wine tasting bar, Cave Vevey-Montreux. It turned out to be a wine distributor, but the owner was very friendly and did an impromptu tasting just for us. After buying a bottle to drink on our afternoon hike, she even gave us a free corkscrew so we'd remember the place.

    In the afternoon, we hiked in the Gorges du Charderon, a canyon of extreme height variations tucked just behind the city. When we reached the highest point, we had our bottle of wine and watched out for roaming goats, and then descended by way of over 1800 stairs (we probably should have gone back through the forests instead). After a traditional meal at a local restaurant (fried stuff with egg on top), we chased the sunset to a nearby church with slightly creepy organ music playing inside.

    Our final stop on the trip was Geneva. Rick Steves hates Geneva so much that his guidebook is essentially a paragraph telling everyone not to go there. Because of this, we only allocated a single afternoon, but it was pleasant enough and not horrible in the least. We arrived the day before Swiss Day (August 1), so the entire city was gearing up for some major entertainment that we ended up missing.

    An oft-cited tourist attraction in Geneva is the Jet de l'Eau -- a fountain of water that shoots out of the bay to relieve excess pressure in the water system. This is about as exciting as it sounds, and we docked additional points from it because we waited there for 20 minutes with nothing to show for it (apparently it isn't running for 20 minutes out of every hour). Only when we were leaving did it deign to begin.

    We also visited Eglise Catholique, a nondenominational church used only for political ceremonies and selling postcards, but the best part of the afternoon was spent simply eating gelato and people-watching on the Place du Bourg de-Four. And really, that was the general pattern of our afternoon -- wandering to various parks and plazas, eating gelato, and moving on, not unlike a savannah elephant. In the evening, we stayed at Hotel Central, a family-run hotel / B&B with tiny rooms whose entrances went through the bathroom -- we made sure not to go #2 until we were on our way out.

    The trip back on Saturday was uneventful, except for the fact that airport security picked me for random questioning twice, and picked Rebecca zero times. We blew all of our remaining francs on airport chocolate (which we have been steadily eating every night since), and then spent a long 9 hours on a delayed United flight whose video screen system crashed almost immediately after departure and could not be rebooted. (First class, in their reclining cocoon seats, were unaffected).

    Now we are home again, and I still have over 200 hours of leave to burn through by the end of the year. Where should I go next?

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    Friday, August 25, 2017

    Maia Week #7 Battle Report

    Maia is now 7 weeks old and somewhere around the 10 pound mark (9.6 lbs at the last Lightweight 8 weigh-in). I have not been as present and engaged as I would like to be this week, dealing with the red-giant-star-sized void left by Booty and a full week's work, but I also recognize that there will always be times where we aren't as good as we want to be. No one bats 1000 every day (or, "no one bowls a 300 every day" if you prefer your cliches to avoid stupid sports).

    Luckily, we took on an indentured servant named Annie from LA to help us through this week, and she's done great work feeding us, doing tiny loads of tiny baby clothes, and keeping Rebecca entertained while I'm at work. As soon as she makes us one more bacon-based dinner, we'll return her driver's license and release her from service.

    In terms of new skills this week, Maia is now very alert and wants to spend much of the day (and half of the night) awake and in a staring contest. She still doesn't quite understand limbs yet, so her tiny arms and legs will involuntarily dance The Burro while lying on the floor. She can "social smile", which means she can bow to society's norms by smiling in order to evoke a positive reaction from the people watching her, and she sometimes sounds like Yoshi eating some fruit when making noises after feeding.

    Here is a picture of Maia with her mom and her aunts, Sara and Annie.

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    Wednesday, August 25, 2021

    Ian Week #17 Battle Report

    Ian turned 17 weeks old this past weekend and currently weighs 16.2 pounds.

    He is quicker to smile than before, but still fusses quite easily. The transition from fussing to losing his cool is almost a vertical slope. At that point, only Rebecca can calm him down.

    He likes sucking on our fingers and listening to toys that play classical music too loudly. He hated the vibrations from my trumpet but enjoys the two songs I sing / hum repetitively at bedtime.

    Since the beach trip earlier this month, Ian has started mostly sleeping through the night. I put him on for up to an hour in the evening and have him in his crib by 10 PM. He either wakes up around 2 or 3 to eat or makes it to 6 or 7 in the morning. This is already showing promising results in the amount of sleep us parents get.

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

    Friday, August 25, 2023

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Scaled and Icy by twenty-one pilots:
    A surprisingly fun and poppy album that's way better than Trench although a little on the short side. Shy Away is a good, representative track from this album.

    Final Grade: B+

    Silo, Season One:
    This is an excellent adaptation of Hugh Howey's book, Wool. It doesn't follow the story exactly, but for the first time ever while watching an adaptation, I felt like every single creative change served to make the story even better on TV. On AppleTV+.

    Final Grade: A+

    Ted Lasso, Season One:
    This warm-hearted comedy is about an American football coach hired to coach a weak UK football team despite knowing nothing about soccer. The mix of characters and individual character arcs are well-done. On AppleTV+.

    Final Grade: B+

    Mythic Quest, Season One:
    I loved this show about a game company building a World of Warcraft-like MMO. The gaming bits are spot on, but the show also works well in the dysfunctional workplace genre. The quarantine episode, filmed in the first month of the pandemic, was pitch perfect. On AppleTV+.

    Final Grade: A

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments


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