This Day In History: 09/01

Saturday, September 01, 2001

The Hokies beat Connecticut today, 52 - 10. Noel did a good job as the new quarterback and the rest of the team still looks strong. I doubt that Vick's absence will be the big catastrophe that every sports pundit foretold.

On another note, my arrangement of Irish Washerwoman, commissioned by Blue Ribbon Brass at Tech, is complete. I've added a short description of it to my Music page. I have my first composition lesson on Tuesday, so I probably won't start any new projects before then.

By the way, that theory/comp picnic is actually next weekend.

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Sunday, September 01, 2002

Tech wiped out LSU today in their first 'Sunday' game of the season.

Happy September 1. Only two weeks until my next birthday.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

OBX Travelogue - Part II: Saturday 8/21

I left Alexandria at 8 in the morning for the three hour trip to Schley, Virginia, a tiny burg outside of West Point and Williamsburg in Gloucester County. I started out by listening to at least two songs on every station of XM Radio, but that got old pretty quickly around channel 16. The 60s channel had an all-day Monkees marathon, so I settled into a groove of listening to that, the global pop station, the comedy station, and the punk/alternative/new wave/80s station.

I got to Schley around 10:30 with several hours to go before the 4 PM wedding of Philip and Kara. After scouting out the church, the reception site, and the McDonald's, I found myself bored in a backwater town, so I went and watched Collateral at the local theatre. The plot was very contrived, but the movie itself was good. Tom Cruise played a good bad guy.

The wedding was jam packed, mostly with people from the bride's side who I didn't know. I was actually standing in the entrance to the back of the church with many others so I didn't have a particularly good view of the proceedings. During the reception, I ate lots of cold shrimp and I caught up with Kelley and Kathy from Tech, who are up living in West Harlem now (going to NYU Law and the New School for music, respectively).

Around 6:30, as hurricane winds and thunderstorms approached, I left so I could get back onto familiar roads. A massive thunderstorm followed me from Schley all the way to the Outer Banks but the trip itself wasn't too bad. My XM Radio stayed on throughout (and only had problems when I was in a particularly tall forest in Gloucester). I got to use my Smart Tag on the other Virginia toll road below Chesapeake -- you pay $2 for the chance to drive on a two lane road that's about five miles long.

I got to the island around 10 that night and the rain finally went away. Unfortunately my driving directions involved using a water tower as a landmark, and those aren't very visible at night. I ended up driving all the way past the Lighthouse to the end of the road above Corolla, then had to drive back down 4 or 5 miles, turning into several subdivisions. I finally located the beach house around 10:30 to find that a majority of the people were already asleep (having left northern Virginia at 5 that morning).

To be continued...

From MSNBC's Unbiased Poll Department:

Bin Laden Subverts the Candy Toy industry
Because thieves can't do anything with beer besides sell it
He found the best the car could manage, going downhill with a following wind, was 104 mph.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Tribute to Jerry Fletcher

The Endgame
Hurricane Katrina was staged by a mad scientist / evil entrepreneur as a way to humiliate the Corp of Engineers and end the war in Iraq.

The Facts
The Warrior Group is a women-owned company in DeSoto, Texas, which creates modular office furniture. A few years ago, they had twelve million dollars worth of contracts to create modular barracks for the Corp of Engineers. The employee who was the contact for this particular contract was named Bob Vanhorn.

Bob Vanhorn is currently the operating systems manager for The Thriller, a high speed catamaran which can hold 40 passengers in George Town in the Bahamas. It can reach speeds of 50 MPH and execute sharp turns without instability. Tropical Storm Katrina originated just northwest of George Town.

Katrina eventually came ashore near New Orleans. Because the hurricane was not a direct hit, most of the damage came after the fact, the result of levees which could not sustain under the chaos of the storm.

Filling in the Blanks

In 2003, funding to the Corp of Engineers was cut to support the war in Iraq. The Corp of Engineers had to plead for emergency funds and divert funds from other projects to continue work on the Lousiana levees. Obviously, Bob Vanhorn was fired from the Warrior Group because the Corp defaulted on their payment for the modular barracks and he was to blame (not being a woman in the women-owned company). Because of this, he began nursing a grudge against the Corp, Louisiana, and the war in Iraq.

Bob Vanhorn moved on to the Bahamas where he perfected a whirlpool machine (disguised as a tourist attraction, the Thriller), which could generate hurricanes when used in tandem with various electronic devices (perhaps the Lightning Bolt gun mentioned here a couple days ago? Continuity!)

As Katrina became a hurricane, it made a concentrated effort to avoid the city of Hudson, FL. One Bob Vanhorn is listed in the phone book for that city. Obviously Bob did not want to damage his own town, but needed his pet hurricane to reach Louisiana.

Bob's controlled hurricane intentionally veered east of the city of New Orleans, so most of the blame could fall on the Corp of Engineers and their failure to maintain the levees.

In the wake of the hurricane, gas prices have skyrocketed, jumping twenty cents yesterday in Sterling, Virginia, and probably climbing more today. Gas rage is climbing, with some drivers killing gas station owners.

As a result of this, President Bush will have to reallocate funds to the Corp of Engineers which means he can no longer afford to sustain the war. Men from the front will also be needed to patrol the disaster zone and to declare martial law at gas stations. The Corp can finally pay the Warrior Group after an object lesson of what happens when you don't pay a Vanhorn, the war will be over, and Louisiana is well saturated. Bob Vanhorn has achieved his three-part revenge!

Erin Booher said she became suspicious when Walters said her heart had stopped at the hospital.
Looting or finding?
If you are there at a gas station and someone is beginning to lose it, back away and get out of it

Yesterday's search terms:
warcraft 3 maps sex, runners bladder problems, abuse of paint thinner, david mcgarry

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Fragments

♣ To open the day with something of a meta-segue from yesterday's post, I'll be taking care of Kathy and Chris' two kittens starting this afternoon and running through next weekend. I have an open betting pool to see which one Booty will devour in a single bite first: Punchy or Lake. I also have a feeling that the two kittens are probably smarter than Amber and may play tricks on her all day long.

♣ The playing habits of cats are so peculiar. You can wad up a ball of paper and throw it in the living room, and the cats will not particularly care one way or the other. However, as soon as you've turned your back and are not paying any attention, they'll be beating the crap out of that paper ball like it was being inducted into the Don Gato kitty gang. They must get self-conscious about their games and whether or not they're cool.

♣ Humans aren't much better off. No matter what you do for fun, or what your hobbies are, there's always some superficial sap out there who will immediately dismiss your activities as a waste of time, even if they have no firsthand experience. These people tend to have less fun in life, especially if they are mocking board games.

♣ While cleaning out some shelves in the basement last night, I found two board games that I'd made in elementary school and junior high. The first was based on that book, Island of the Blue Dolphins which I'm sure every aspiring student had to read in fifth grade. You ran around on an island collecting supply cards, killing wild dogs and trying to reach the beach to be rescued. The second game was my own version of CLUE with my friends as the main characters and our enemies as the murder victims -- a charmingly innocent game which would have no doubt gotten me kicked out of school Columbine-style had I been a ninth grader today.

♣ I also found a scale map of Polk Elementary School which we had to make in fifth grade as a math/measurement project. I got an A++ for attention to detail, and a D for neatness. That essentially sums up my life from that point forward.

♣ Speaking of my life, today is the first day of September, which means my birthday is just two weeks away. The day is appropriately coloured yellow on the sidebar calendar, since I too, am yellow.

♣ This weekend I will be playing a lot of Warcraft -- after five months of off and on play, Plinky has reached Rank 10: Lieutenant Commander, and I'm only two to three weeks of "too-much-playtime" from getting Rank 11 which was my goal. I don't see how anyone could ever go any higher though (there are 14 ranks total). I'll just barely squeak out 11 while going to work, having a social life, and entertaining an endless chain of young, impressionable female suitors. You would probably have to sacrifice all three of the above for a month or more to reach that top rank, and I just don't think I could live without going to work.

♣ Speaking of suitors, there was an article in the Post yesterday about how all Japanese women want a sensitive New Age South Korean as their soulmate . I guess if things don't pan out here, I always have another country to fall back on!

♣ Have a good weekend!

It's easy to calculate the tip when you use nice big numbers
Nowhere in No Shirts, No Shoes do they mention pants
McFlurries no longer a Hedgehog Deathtrap

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Tuesday, September 01, 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.

Bombastic: (adj.) High-flown; inflated; pretentious

My Composition (0:29 MP3)

I seem to have triplet sixteenth notes on the brain, although that's the only thing this Museday has in common with last week's. The excerpt is written for brass, percussion, sitar, and miscellaneous instrument patches.

Jesus of Siberia: An ex-cop turned Messiah
Band shirts hit the wrong note with parents
Table tennis star finally old enough for a girlfriend

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Weird Search Day

or "how I stumbled upon the URI! Zone"

  • what did the costco thief in herndon steal?
    Is this a riddle? He probably stole your sense of entitlement and high HOA fees (in bulk).

  • "african boobies" -saggy -droopy -ugly

    Everyone knows that boobies are indigenous to the Pacific Ocean, so any you find in Africa must be on holiday.

  • greek mythologist salary
    This sounds like one of those "careers that don't actually exist" which I probably would have wanted to be involved in for three weeks as a kid. Triton not get your hopes up -- A'Zeus suspect, you Midas well be a Pan handler because the wages of a Greek mythologist are Apollo'ing unless you Titan up your belt and forgo some luxuries. Most mythologists rack up a sizeable Daedalus they go on a quiz show and make Achilles.

  • balderdash game zopilot

    Jack Wilmer's contribution to the March 16, 2007 game of Balderdash, a zopilot is a "three-legged mammal that can both swim and fly". HOW DID THIS WIN?

  • thanks jason for anything you are a lying one you remember when I said that if to tapeworms work to you for my in the mornings and you said that you w
    In spite of the distinct lack of sentence structure in this stream of consciousness fragment, I am strangely interested to know how it ends.

  • urizone effect on my pregnancy
    The URI! Zone has been scientifically proven to reduce the gestation period of babies by up to 4.7 days. Side effects include the mistaken belief that 2 + 2 = COW, and an uncontrollable urge to watch Boublil and Schonberg musicals more often than required.

  • is chompy slang for penis?

    If it is, then you've left your penis in the dryer again.

  • Pole suffers longest hangover
    Golfer's swing snags rock, sparks fire in S. Calif
    Brits bombarded by bossy ballards

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    Thursday, September 01, 2011

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:
    This story is a loving homage to the culture of the 1980s, wrapped in a an intriguing setting of a dystopian future. In the year 2044, the Earth is in pretty bad shape, and most of the populace find escape in a free online game that's a cross between Second Life and World of Warcraft. The millionaire creator of the game has willed his fortunes to whichever gamer can solve his treasure hunt within the game, which requires an encyclopedic knowledge of everything from War Games to Voltron. The protagonist is pitted against a corporation who wants control of the game and isn't afraid to throw millions of dollars and "gold farmer" toons at the treasure hunt to make it happen. I didn't LOVE this book, as many reviewers did, but I did enjoy reading it and would recommend it. There are almost TOO many 80s references towards the beginning of the book, many of which I didn't catch because I was born in 1979 and barely learning to poop on my own when many of them were topical, but this should not get in the way of understanding the story.

    Final Grade: B+

    Burn Notice, Season Four:
    Burn Notice is pretty much dialing it in now, and has lost the fun innovation of the first two seasons. It's still a breezy, enjoyable show with fun dialogue though. Product placement is very noticeable in this season, especially hilarious when you realize that one of Michael's voiceovers could easily be the narration for a car commercial.

    Final Grade: C+

    Limbo is a downloadable indie game that just oozes with character. The game is done in a film-like black-and-white style with no dialogue or text and very little in the way of sound beyond ambient noise. The first section of the game is very creepy and sets up some great expectations. The middle section loses that appeal and turns into a series of timing puzzles that require slightly better reflexes than I have (or maybe a more responsive control system). The ending is pure tripe. Never believe reviewers that say an ending is open-ended and thought-provoking. The only thing in life that should be open-ended is the deadline on the open bar at any given wedding.

    Final Grade: D

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (PG-13):
    Obviously I am not the target market for the Harry Potter movies, since one of the very first scenes throws over a dozen characters into a room without introduction and I could barely identify three of them. The movie was also so dark that I tried to take off my 3-D glasses and then realized I wasn't wearing any. However, I felt that the movie was well done overall, even though it was essentially a road trip "Harry and Hermione go to White Castle" story with a sense of suspense that moved in spurts and didn't add up to much on its own. I also wish Voldemort had only made three Horcuxes, because there are so many Named Artifacts by this point in the story that it feels like the trophy case in Zork I.

    Final Grade: B-

    J.C. Penney pulls 'Too Pretty to Do Homework' shirt
    Eric Schmidt: If You Don't Want To Use Your Real Name, Don't Use Google+
    Maya Angelou says King memorial inscription makes him look 'arrogant'

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    Tuesday, September 01, 2015

    Game Development Day

    I've spent the past month getting my feet wet in video game development as a kind of self-enrichment project. This does not make me unique in any way -- every programmer who grew up with video game consoles has, at one point, thought about making their own game. Few ever follow through and I'm pretty sure that I, too, will abandon this project eventually, but in the meantime, I'm learning some new and different things while keeping my development skills fresh.

    After evaluating languages such as Go and Rust, I decided to stick with Java, whose performance and game engine level performance have improved since the days of applets and inconvenient garbage collection. I chose the libgdx library over JavaFX, as it seemed to have a thriving open source community and plenty of examples. I'm also doing all of this in IntelliJ IDEA -- I've always apathetically disliked Eclipse at a visceral level but never enough to move away from it (especially in team settings at work, where using a different IDE is rarely worth the battle).

    After a couple weekends doing sandbox examples and remembering my vector geometry skills, I have a simple level running where the character turns around when it hits the wall. Unfortunately, my collision and gravity systems aren't working perfectly yet, so eventually the character oozes through the floor and falls into infinity.

    Progress has been slow so far, partly because there's a lot of open source libraries to learn, and partly because I'd usually rather be playing a great game than building a mediocre first effort. In spite of its value as a cerebral exercise, I much prefer the activity of game design over game implementation. This is comparable to my approach to playing many role-playing games, where I'll spend two hours planning out the perfect character, only to get bored with the actual game long before the character is high enough level to be fun.

    I do have a game idea and clever title for my first effort, so maybe I'll eventually push something out for you all to play. Cynically though, I could also just throw it on Kickstarter and then use the money on a new gaming computer.

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    Friday, September 01, 2017

    Maia Week #8 Battle Report

    At 8 weeks of age, Maia is 10.4 pounds of baby in a half ounce bag. She sticks to a fairly regular schedule of eating every couple hours during the day, but then spacing out to four hour shifts in the wee hours of the night. Her night generally runs from about midnight until 9 AM the next morning, which is the profile of my nights in grad school before I met Mike and started playing Monopoly until 3 in the mornings.

    She still doesn't go to sleep very easily, and the biggest trick we've learned to date is to just be okay with carrying her around or hanging out with her until she's ready to sleep -- cutting out any explicit goal of having a sleeping baby greatly reduces the frustration of having her stir at the last minute as you prepare to leave the room.

    Yesterday was my last day of work at the pencil factory so I'm officially a full-time dad and ready to nurture this baby and her environs into the Yggdrasil of Loudoun County. I'm also looking forward to her first big batch of immunizations so we can be a little bit more mobile and less homebound. With an overnight trip already under our belt, trips to visit friends should be a piece of cake!

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

    Wednesday, September 01, 2021

    Maia's Art Day

    Mama Bunny and Baby Bunny

    I created instructions for drawing butterflies to increase her butterfly independence. Not only did she deliver a solid example, she also put it on a flag.

    Maia drew this picture of Toad's garden after reading several "Frog and Toad" short stories. She spelled TOAD on her own, and the right-to-left orientation shows that she's ready for her Hebrew lessons.

    Maia won a smiling sloth stencil during a Farmer's Market scavenger hunt. She says that each of these two pictures shows "Two bunnies dreaming about a sloth. It's a dream because there are thought bubbles". Apparently the bunnies, themselves, are offscreen.

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    Friday, September 01, 2023

    Review Day: Lord and King by P.L. Stuart

    There are no major spoilers in this review.

    Lord and King is the third book in The Drowned Kingdom saga, by prolific new author, P.L. Stuart. There are many high points to appreciate in this excellent story although the pacing sometimes drags in its mostly episodic structure.

    Prince Othrun of Atalantyx is now King Othrun of Eastrealm, vassal to Lynchun and Carthlughe. Having achieved his interim goal of finding safety for his exiled people, he sets his eye on growing strong enough to conquer the continent of Acremia -- building an impregnable fortress, protecting the purity of his peoples' religion in a land of allied heathens, and quelling the threats across his immediate borders. The sheer weight of administration required to manage his scant resources and grow his empire is shared in an engaging manner by the author, like a fun live-action retelling of a convoluted German board game.

    Against this external background, Othrun continues to get lost in his own headspace as he tries to be both a good king and a good man. He gains more self-awareness of his bigoted views and the Atalantean reputation of being cruel, seafaring conquerors. This dichotomy is driven home later in the book when we're finally introduced to the dark-skinned people of Anibia, a continent that has been united under Queen Undala through collaboration rather than cruelty. The population of Anibia is so vast that all of Atalantyx barely registers. I enjoyed watching Othrun grow as a character and start to work on his flaws. The chaos of his love affairs (both requited and unrequited) was a little frustrating, but served to remind me of how young he actually is.

    After the cohesive unity of the first two books, I struggled a bit with the episodic feel of Book Three. The individual plot lines, from the catastrophe in Meridnia to the siege in Celtnia, are excellent, but I felt like there was no overarching thread giving shape and momentum to this single book as a whole. Still, P.L. Stuart continues to grow as an author and is very effective at conveying the complexity of alliances, conflicts, and underlying emotions without boring the reader. In Book Three, he begins to unfold different perspectives on earlier events, making the world deeper and richer. If the tale told in the first two books gripped you, you'll find plenty to enjoy here. The fourth book, A Lion's Pride is slated for publication in 2024.

    Final Grade: B

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