This Day In History: 09/06

Thursday, September 06, 2001

I discussed my previously undisclosed ideas about compositional pedagogy with my composition professor yesterday and he seemed very interested in them, especially how they could possibly integrate with technology and the new electroacoustical studio in particular. He's resubmitting a new grant proposal next week, and wants to add my pedagogical ideas into his outline.

There's not very much new BU-news to report on today, so I'll end with a Kenton quotation to keep you in the mood.

    "I think that it's only fair and proper that we tell you people here at the Tropicana room, that we have asked you here this evening under desperate circumstances: we are endeavoured to make an album that will sell. We have tried everything, from playing music backwards, forwards... we've played three tunes at a time, simultaneously, getting all kinds of polytonal effects. We've gotten so progressive that we went off the end and had to go back around and jump on again! We've tried every sort of thing -- we even tried to make rock 'n roll records but somehow that smells too when we do it.

    So as I said, we feel that it's up to you people. If you approve of this music this evening, it will show on the record and even beyond the music, and the glow of positive-tivity (that's a good word) will dominate over the negative aspect that sometimes is a part of what so many critics hold in regards to our music.
    " - Stan Kenton on At the Las Vegas Tropicana

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Friday, September 06, 2002

I didn't get my paycheck today because there was another appointment form that I hadn't been told about when I signed all my papers in August. I did, however, finally get registered as a teacher in the system, so I can view my class roll and such. Apparently, since MUT 1001 is a clandestine affair, there's no record of the class or me, so I'm like the Black Ops division of the music department. As of today though, Brian H Uri is officially a teacher. After all the running around I've already done, I wonder if it's worth it to change my middle initial to the proper one. Maybe this way I can embezzle funds without getting caught.

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Saturday, September 06, 2003

My extracurricular project for last week was the creation of a custom Warcraft III mod called Micro Arena, pitting two or more opponents against each other to see who has the fastest reflexes and steadiest control. You can download the map in the Games section under Warcraft III maps (Frozen Throne expansion is required).

Virginia Tech beat James Madision University today, 43-0. I don't think anything more can be said about that.

Because it's so believable

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Monday, September 06, 2004

OBX Travelogue - Part IV: Wednesday & Thursday 8/25 - 8/26

By this point in the week, I had lost all sense of what day it was so my account may be a little blurred. On Wednesday, we decided to take a break from the beach and drove around the island instead. Three people left the night before and two more showed up. We took a trip down to Kitty Hawk where we browsed through a bunch of shops. Anna and Bethany got one of those Old Time Photos with the saloon and costumes. On the way back, we stopped off at a seafood place and loaded up on tuna steaks, lobsters, shrimp, and mussels (all of which were delicious). In the evening, we ate seafood and watched both parts of Kill Bill. After watching the second half, I really want my two hours back. The movie as a whole was four hours long. If it had been edited down to about 2.5 hours, it would have been a decent, fun movie, but taken as a whole it was way too long, poorly edited, self-indulgent, and stupid.

On Thursday we were back out on the beach. I tried to renovate our Big Hole™ but eventually relinquished hole control to a family of little kids who had more serious digging aspirations than I did. I'd gone through another two books by this time, including Michael Crichton's Prey, and Janny Wurts' Master of Whitestorm and started another book after hole duty.

Thursday evening, we went to play mini golf at Mutiny Bay and then had dinner at the Outer Banks Brewery where the food was really great.

To be concluded...

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sorry for the delay in posting this update -- I couldn't access my site from work (though everyone else didn't have any problems) so I had to wait until I got home. I felt rather helpless watching all you voracious readers visiting all day without any means to tell you why the world was frozen on Friday. Then when I finally got home, I realized that I'd left the final draft of the update at work, so I'm rewriting most of this from scratch. I often do forgetful things such as this.

My weekend was a success all around. On Saturday morning, my dad and I laid landscape timbers for the planter box and recoated the asphalt in the driveway. For Poker Night, I moved from 5th to 4th place, but still came in behind my new nemesis who somehow managed to take all my money in just two hands. I'm now circulating a petition outlawing the Full House as a valid poker hand, but so far, the only other signature is that of Bob Saget.

On Sunday I finally got around to buying new athletic shoes (a mere four months after putting that on my list of things to do), and stopped by Best Buy where I picked up a new CD, Weightlifting by the Trashcan Sinatras. If there's a Music Day this week, I'll review it then. Sunday evening, we all went out to Winchester to watch the Hokies play four quarters of touch-football and squeak by to victory. I didn't realize you could win a football game without tackling anyone successfully, but they sure showed me. The best part of the game was the fact that Michael Vick was on the sideline, compelling all the cameramen and announcers to get a reaction shot after every play, while mistakenly calling Marcus Vick "Michael" throughout. The game ended when Michael Vick left the stadium (since they focused on his entourage for several minutes while he ascended the bleachers), and then the teams kept playing for a few more minutes after that.

On Monday, I surprised the world by staying home from work -- this is a miraculous rarity on par with CNN newscasters who lose their cool and Quentin Tarantino movies that don't suck. The three-day weekend closed with a nice dinner at Logan's in Fair Lakes. The mesquite chicken sandwich was good, but it sure doesn't beat a good old burger.

This news story made me laugh. It's the quintessential example of the silly celebrity. If you are a rich celebrity and want to help the disaster victims, tossing a few million dollars around is much more effective than getting in a holed skiff with your personal photographer. If you want to make a personal contribution and/or you are stingy, make like Macy Gray and hand out supplies. Leave the rescue work to the trained professionals or maybe Harrison Ford in his helicopter.

Speaking of helicopters, I like the term "helicopter parents", the name given to parents who continuously monitor and interfere in the lives of their college-age students. I started college just as e-mail and cell phones were become mainstream, so I never had much firsthand experience with these types of parents. I e-mailed my own parents once or twice a week and I can count on one hand the number of times I actually called home for something while at Tech. You'd think that parents in this stage of their life would want to let go and party in Europe, rather than deal with the day-to-day minutia of their kids' education, but I guess sometimes you just can't let go.

Lost: Season One came out today. I plan on buying multiple copies and then infecting everyone within my sphere of influence with the creeping insidious addiction. Watch it -- it's better than Alias!

Do you like dry cerial?
Stripper stabs man who refused lap dance
There's always an ex worse than yours

Yesterday's search terms:
how to decide your ventriloquist dolls personality, boston public midi theme

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 5 comments

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Missing in Action

During a season premiere of Alias, Agent Weiss gets shot in the neck and vanishes for several episodes, only to reemerge from the hospital, hale and whole, towards the end of the season. In the ninth season of Friends, Chandler's job gets relocated to Tulsa, which results in him getting about two minutes of screen time each episode (usually making a self-deprecating joke about his job before exiting stage left). At first glance, these seem to be oridnary plot twists, meant to bring a fresh perspective or introduce new drama in an otherwise familiar storyline.

The actuality is rather mundane -- the storyline was changed to accomodate the schedule of the actors involved -- Greg Gunberg got a part on a new pilot (and returned to Alias when it wasn't picked up), and Matthew Perry was rather preoccupied with his latest bout of rehab. Remember Rose from the first season of LOST who was all over the place in the first couple episodes, never to be heard from again until season two? She got a part in a play.

This type of thing happens a lot on TV shows, and often makes me wonder just how much of a storyline is dictated by the writers and how much is subpar because the actress got pregnant or the actor had to spend two months in jail for DUIs. In a show I'm currently watching, one of the main characters up and moved to Chicago for a couple episodes (which also cut out a whole stable of supporting characters). He came back a little while later, and the entire subplot for his move was quietly buried, like a story about Democratic Party conspiracies in the Post.

If only the jobs of us plain folk were as accomodating. It would be nice to skip out on work for a couple months with a suitably dramatic cover story like "BU missing at sea after a tragic tuna fish mishap" only to pick up where I left off without having to answer any questions or tie up loose ends. Unfortunately, the only jobs where that works are cartoonist and professor, and (despite my prodigious talent at both, see inset right) neither one of those pays the big bucks needed to support the continued purchase of all these ridiculous TV shows on DVD!

Investigators boggled by Commodore
Minutes later, a friend alerted me to the "facebook is now creepy" group someone had already started at Pomona College.
Juror plagiarizes jury paper

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Review Day: Super Paper Mario Follow-Up

A little over four months ago, I posted a review of Super Paper Mario for the Wii, giving it 3 of 5 stars and calling it a little tedious but showing enough signs of improvement for me to continue playing. Now that I've played it in fits and starts since then, I feel compelled to update the rating I gave it originally (so all two readers with Wii's can avoid it and save their money for my birthday present).

When we last left the game, I had just finished Chapter One (of eight) and the game was starting to feel more like its beloved prequel. Sadly though, it hit its high point around Chapter Three, and turned into a textbook exercise in tedium. If I were to write a Museday Tuesday song called Tedious it would feature the unimaginative and grating soundtracks from this game. If you were to look up the word, tedious, in the dictionary, you would find a picture of this game.

Actually, I take that back. If you were to look up the word, tedious, in the dictionary, you would find a note telling you to turn to page 68. On page 68, you would follow the directions to turn to page 97, page 24, and then 146. On page 146, there would be a picture of this game (followed by a *** You have died! *** message and a prompt to restart the dictionary).

SPM does not fare well on the official BU Enjoyment Over Time chart, as you can see on the right. One major issue is the control scheme -- it's not complex at all, but the game throws so many options at you that you forget all of the available possibilities. By the end of Chapter Seven, you have a dozen retarded helper sprites that give you special powers (but you can only use one at a time), and three playable characters that each have yet another special power. If keeping track of these isn't bad enough, one of the special powers forces you to hold the controller like a pointer on the fly, which is a lot more clumsy than it seems since 90% of the game is played with the controller in a standard sideways position. Picture trying to play a version of Soul Caliber where every single attack combo is required at some point, and then make it so you have to go into a menu to switch between each combo. This is about as fun as turning on the Closed Captioning on your TV and compiling a list of places where the transcriber got lazy and used different words from the broadcast.

After Chapter Four, level design takes a nosedive like Pete Doherty in the champagne room. One Chapter actually begins with a directive to "kill this enemy one hundred times, with thirty seconds of cutscenes between each fight". The game thinks it's doing you a favour by ending at twenty-five, but I was ready to quit by enemy number three. Another world uses the tired "it's dark in here and you can only see a little bit in any direction" shtick mixed with the annoying "this room is nine million stories tall and we'll make ghosts appear in thin air so you'll fall all the way to the bottom and have to start over" motif. I finally made it to the end of Chapter Seven and quit for good. Even my OCD penchant for completeness couldn't convince me to go on.

Just because they called the game Paper Mario doesn't mean it has anything in common with the older and better games. It's like they replaced the original Dumbledore with a Gandalf clone and hoped that no one would notice, but for no good reason. Richard Harris didn't even star in the original Paper Mario.

For editorial soundness, I pulled out the original Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. I wanted to see if I was just viewing a three-year-old game through happy nostalgic lenses, or if it really was as good as I remember. I'm now four hours into it and loving it just as much as I did when I first played it, even though I already know the whole story and all the secrets! It's amazing that the exact same company wrote both games -- did everyone from the original team quit to do infomercials? I guess we'll see if the same thing holds true when the "new and improved" Pixar Studio tries to make Toy Story 3, 4 and 5.

Revised Rating: 1.5 of 5 stars (only for masochists, collectors, or the ridiculously bored)

No more steamed crap for dinner
Study confirms, men want hot women
Bargoer learns to keep his pants on

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day

If you rearrange the letters in "Labor Day", you get "Labradoy", which is the offspring of a labrador and a cowboy.

US Court backs Ladies' Nights
Drunk baboons plague Cape Town's exclusive suburbs
Busted pot growers mistake wardens for suppliers

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up: By the Numbers

Friday

  • Work: 2 hours
  • Coding: 8 hours
  • Propane tanks exchanged: 1
  • Harry Potter books started: 1 (Book 5)
  • Episodes of The Wire watched: 1
  • Saturday

  • Trips through Costco: 1
  • Items purchased at Costco, having left the accepted credit card at home: 0
  • Coding: 5 hours
  • Points scored by Virginia Tech before TV shutoff: 59
  • Mushroom swiss burgers eaten at Red Robin: 1
  • Episodes of The Wire watched: 1.5
  • Rain storms: 1
  • Sunday

  • Coding: 3 hours
  • Driving: 2 hours
  • Harry Potter books started: 1 (Book 6)
  • 1st birthday parties attended: 1
  • Monday

  • Work: 8 hours
  • Coding: 1 hour
  • Shells and Cheese packets consumed: 0.8
  • Labor Day Barbeques attended: 1
  • Rain storms: 3
  • Number of people who kept revisiting, expecting a Labor Day website update: 4
  • Giant crocodile captured alive in the Phillipines
    Danger warning as Russian albino ostrich escapes
    One sperm donor, 150 offspring

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

    Thursday, September 06, 2012

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in this review.

    Clockers by Richard Price:
    This urban crime drama was the last of my "throwaway beach" reading materials. It's an easy, engrossing read with vivid descriptions and nicely-crafted dialogue, solid B material. Unfortunately the book is old enough that the Kindle edition seems to be an optical scan of a paperback. As a result, there are numerous typos, strange capitalization, and odd punctuation from where the scanning process couldn't quite interpret the written page -- this is prevalent enough to be distracting from the story. For example, a "clocker" is a street-level drug dealer. Half of the time, you'll correctly read "clockers" and the other half, you'll see it as "dockers". I'm fairly certain that drugs weren't getting sold by a pair of yuppy pants, but if I'm mistaken, then I totally misunderstood the story.

    Final Grade: B-

    Community, Season Three:
    If you didn't like the second season of Community with all of its fantasy trappings, you definitely won't like the third. However, the parodies are more successful in this season because the show finally owns the concept and isn't shy about what it's trying to accomplish. A few standout episodes (like a Ken Burns Civil War parody and a Law and Order parody) and one-liners improve a season that's "funny enough", but with a little too much Chang.

    Final Grade: C+

    The Dark Knight Rises:
    I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. I recently went back and watched the first two movies of the trilogy and found that they both stood up well to the passing of time. The final movie comes in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, but I didn't think it was too long -- instead, I felt like they spent too much of that running time on unimportant plot twist garbage, relegating some of the more interesting sections to near-montages. Much of the dialogue was unintelligible, and this was exacerbated by the fact that a main villain wears a mask so you can't see his lips move. Luckily, this is a movie that you can enjoy both by tracking every detail and by just going along for the ride, so missing a bit of dialogue won't hurt. Overall, this is a worthwhile popcorn movie, but doesn't quite rise any higher than that.

    Postscript: Anne Hathaway's costarring role as "Anne Hathaway" was a distraction, and kept breaking the fourth wall in my bubble of immersion.

    Final Grade: B+

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    Friday, September 06, 2013

    List Day: 5 Random Confessions

    • Until I recently looked it up on Wikipedia, I thought that the "stick" in "carrot and the stick" was the stick from which the carrot was dangling. I didn't realize that there was another stick smacking the donkey from behind while it walked towards the carrot in front. So, any time a book or movie had a line like "There's the carrot, now where's the stick?" I was completely puzzled as to what the stick would do that the carrot wasn't already doing.

    • Bullying is the latest teenage epidemic to gain some notoriety, but when I look back on my high school career, I cannot think of a single instance of bullying. I was never bullied, I never saw people bullied, and I never bullied anyone. Because of this, I probably don't appreciate the seriousness of bullying at all.

      This doesn't apply to middle school though -- everyone bullied everyone else in middle school because pre-teens are social monsters trying to survive.

    • I start restaurant tipping at an estimate of 20% but then round the change down so the total bill is a multiple of 25 cents. I deduct for unusually awful service. If there is a dude sitting in the bathroom with towels and cologne, I refuse to accept anything from him and may even leave with wet washed hands so I don't have to tip him.

    • After creating a grocery shopping list, I'll rewrite the entire thing in store order, so I can pick up items in the order that I encounter them in the store. I am a very efficient shopper.

    • When I was growing up, my dad hated driving me anywhere, so he would always try to offload me in other peoples' carpools (OPCs) without offering to drive himself. By tenth grade, it started to strain relationships with my friends' parents, so I used my savings to take the DASH bus home every day from summer classes while telling my parents that I was still in the carpool.

    tagged as lists | permalink | 4 comments

    Wednesday, September 06, 2017

    Extra Baby Picture Day

    For everyone who wants more baby pictures.

    This is Maia and her dad, walking around the backyard over the weekend. She learned the words "grill", "fence", and "goddamned mosquitoes". Wearing a baby in a front carrier every day makes me never want to get fat, because it's too hard to make sure you're aiming in the toilet when you can't see what's going on down there.

    This is Maia whispering the secret code word to the dog. Parents aren't allowed to know what it is. Knowledge of the secret word gets you access to Club Baby and five starter Baby Bucks.

    This is Maia being super cute with minimal effort.

    tagged as offspring, media | permalink | 3 comments

    Friday, September 06, 2019

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Season Four:
    The final season is uniformly mediocre. It takes about 7 episodes (of 17) before they finally recapture the spirit of the show, then immediately kill any good will by recasting a major role with a completely new actor. The original actor left in Season Two, and the story would have been just as strong without the callback. The show muddles towards something of a non-ending in the finale, although the live concert of several songs tacked on the end was pretty fun. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: C-

    Carnival by Bryce Vine:
    This is a modestly catchy album that's a little more mellow and a little less fun than his debut, and as equally mellow as his second album.

    Final Grade: B-

    The Good Place, Season Three:
    This season was the weakest of the three so far. It felt a little like the plot was treading water a bit (the complete opposite of Season Two). That said, the jokes are still funny and it's over very quickly.

    Final Grade: B-

    The 100, Season Six:
    The sixth season of this sci-fi show tries to be a clean slate, but the new stories often feel like obvious permutations of stories told previously. The clean slate idea is also held back a bit by all of the backstabbing and ill will amongst the main characters -- there are far too many scenes of characters apologizing for previous seasons' actions or accusing someone of betrayal. The weakest aspect of this season is how much of it takes place in what is essentially an extended dream sequence -- every show that tries to be deep with a dream sequence is wasting my time. Also, the finale was dull and mostly there to set up the next season. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: C

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Monday, September 06, 2021

    Easy Photos Day

    Ian eats squash.

    Ian grows.

    We visit Grandma in Alexandria.

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

     

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