This Day In History: 09/07

Friday, September 07, 2001

I wrote a rough draft of compositional pedagogy ideas as they relate to technology, and was surprised at the number of ideas I had festering just below the surface. I've always been interested in it, but I didn't realize that over time, solid ideas were formulating without my conscious knowledge. I'll probably post that draft in essay form once the kinks are worked out.

I'm in the middle of the book on arrangers I got from the music library. Its a collection of articles and informal interviews with a variety of jazz arrangers and composers from fifties and sixties, and it's really quite good. The language is occasionally mangled to retain verb tense, but it's very thoughtfully written and provides some nice insights into the biographies of various composers.

"We're gonna play you a couple of dance tunes and see if we have any takers. If we don't, we'll go back to what we've been doing..." - Stan Kenton on Artistry in Symphonic Jazz

tagged as music | permalink | 0 comments

Saturday, September 07, 2002

The anniversary of the WTC attacks is coming up, marking the perfect opportunity for public-figure haranguing (and just in time for elections too). In my opinion, the day should just be another regular day, without pause for public ceremonies and endless news stories of heroism. The American public is quite capable enough to reflect on their losses in private without the help of the inevitable carnival of talking heads. Every deep and meaningful speech that just happens to be done within view of a media camera is just exploiting one more opportunity to gain votes.

It'd be nice if Bush would stop lobbying for his private little war. Whether Saddam Hussein is a bad man is irrelevant; the stated goals of any war started by the U.S. will not match the ulterior motives of the people in power. My prediction for the future: The U.S. will continue seeking approval for its war on Iraq while loudmouthing November as a drop-dead date. Around late September or early October, we'll attack Iraq covertly and then apologize for our actions afterwards. Critics of such an action will be labelled as unpatriotic, especially 'in the wake of 9/11' and the adminstration will gain another public relations bonus while all our global allies look on in mute censure but don't do anything about it.

If there's no update tomorrow it's because I've been detained as a pinko and put to work in the mines.

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." - Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, on what kind of proof of biological weapons will make Canada support the war effort

tagged as politics | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

OBX Travelogue - Part V: Friday and Saturday 8/27 - 8/28

On Friday, I left the Outer Banks around 6 in the morning and made the trip back home in dense fog. There were traffic cops everywhere but I made it back in only four hours. I spent the day at my parents' house, cleaning digging tools, leeching laundry privileges, and getting reacquainted with the cats. I returned to Sterling on Friday night and then spent all of Saturday settling in and paying bills. The worst part about paying bills the old-fashioned way is having to write the account number on the check. Is it really more efficient for a data entry specialist to read some chicken scratch numbers off the check when they could just look up the account based on the full name on the check? Of course half of my bills must still be paid the old-fashioned way including, ironically, Adelphia's online cable modem service.

I also got a Jury Duty questionnaire from Loudoun County. Maybe that means I'll be on some backwater case where a horse got stolen or something.

The End

Season Three of Alias comes out on DVD today. Apparently amazon.com users aren't multilingual. Though season three wasn't as good as the first two seasons, it was still better than most other shows on TV, and its individual parts added up to be greater than the whole. There were plenty of great guest appearances as well, including Vivica Fox, Quentin Tarantino, and David Carradine from Kill Bill, and Ricky Gervais from The Office. Word on the street is that the writer of Alias, J.J. Abrams, is now the director for Mission Impossible 3, mainly because he gave Tom Cruise the DVDs to two seasons of Alias and got him hooked.

'Alias' Creator Doing The 'Impossible' Thanks To Tom Cruise

tagged as travel | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Just in case there were going to be network problems at work today, I uploaded this update around 5:45 AM this morning, right before I left for work but after Amber played "Punch A Rat" with my face to get me up for breakfast (hers). See? They should have put me in charge of Katrina clean-up. A Boy Scout is always prepared. Incidentally, my Eagle Scout card expired in 2003, ten years after I earned the badge. This probably means that I'm a big poser until I pay the fifty bucks to renew the card, but I still keep the expired one on top of my license in my wallet. The purpose of this placement is to give state police officers an eyeful when they pull me over, so they see that I'm a trustworthy (loyal, and helpful) individual and do not deserve a ticket. This particular plan has backfired all three times I've been pulled over (84 in a 65, 79 in a 65, and disregarding a stop sign) but the fourth time is a charm, right? All it's done so far is make it a pain to retrieve my license for alcohol buying and bleed card ink on the plastic lining of my wallet. And the last time I bought alcohol (Saturday) the Korean check-out lady made me her new best friend.

I posted in my 222 Things About Me list that Korean people always ask me about Korean stuff and my Korean heritage. Apparently the new thing to say to me is "Funny, you don't look Korean." Though my face isn't on www.alllooksame.com , I've always noticed that I don't look purely Korean (though I think the crescent-bearing of my profile resembles the Mac the Knife moon guy from the McDonald's commercials in the 1980s). The checkout lady at Shopper's Food Warehouse said that I don't look Korean at all, but that some big Chinese festival was occuring on my birthday this year (artistically highlighted in yellow on the calendar to your left). I'm not sure what this has to do with anything, but maybe it will mean that she'll remember I'm over 21 next time I'm there. I don't have high hopes though, because she's carded me for over a year and a half now. I guess it's better to look too young than too old.

I think I segued one too many times in the above section, as I was originally planning to use this update to talk about really bad vanity plates. This is a hazard of my dangerous profession (software engineer / blog writer / man of mystery). All I really wanted to say about vanity plates is that they suck when it's obvious that they're not what the driver originally wanted. This is most often the case when you get people who want to write a monologue in their plate (IAMTHEGODOFLOVIN) but have to cut out letters until it's unintelligible (IMDGDLVN), people who don't understand the concept of numeric-replacement (GR8TNWZ instead of GR8NEWS), or people who just have no concept of the formation of words (IL8CUCUM instead of UGOGIRL). I just don't understand why someone would want to pay the extra $25 to make a license plate that's not exactly what he or she wanted. I don't think I'd ever get a vanity plate myself, because I don't necessarily want my car to stand out from other cars. I always said that the only plate I'd ever consider would be a mixture of I's and Ones, such as I11I1I1, which would make me more difficult to catch when I robbed those banks in the Midwest. Imagine my surprise when I saw that exact license plate outside Fox Mill in Reston.

On an unrelated note, I've heard that I wasn't excited enough in my post about the Hokies' victory. I did watch the game with a bunch of heavy cheerers, but reporting on that would not have made as interesting a news post, since dry sarcasm is essential to everything I write. Suffice to say, the Hokie Pokie was done, and we even resolved the question of whether it was "Left Right Left Right Right Left Right Left" or "Right Left Right Left Left Right Left Right". That is all.

I really overuse parentheses, don't I?

Mind Control at the Insect Level
He hopes his realistic artwork will make people ponder whether they are consuming food, or food is consuming them. (story by Watcharaporn Taithongchai)
Save gas by riding a horse

tagged as random | permalink | 17 comments

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Portraits by the Artist as a Young Man

When I was in first grade ('85 - '86), we had a weekly assignment to create four sentences with our week's vocabulary words, and then illustrate them with four pictures. Being first graders who could barely tie our own shoes, we didn't understand the concept of quarters; we were merely told to take our piece of grey unprocessed-straight-from-the-tree paper and fold it in half, then fold it in half again. This left us with four equal sized quandrants in which we could bring to life our literary masterworks of doom.

We had to move. Our house was resold to another family.

I guess even at this tender age my social studies book had taught me about foreclosure. How else could our house have been sold right out from underneath us? Did your childhood home have lofty Doric pillars and Gothic chandeliers of gargoyles that seemed to defy the laws of gravity? Ours did. We were fancy.

Mom made fudge for our party.

Generally speaking, moms have hourglass figures and wear slinky black cocktail dresses when they're in the kitchen making fudge. I must have gotten my home economics education from the Flintsones.

Jill and I are running a race.

See how the lines on the track get closer together as you get farther from the viewpoint of the picture? That, my friend, is called perspective. Such advanced techniques in the artwork of the young can only be explained by the fact that we had Pole Position for the Atari 2600, which I didn't know how to play, but attempt to play every day regardless. It took me awhile to figure out why there was an Easter Island head watching the race from the stands -- then I realized that it was my first place trophy!

The cat can dig.

I'm pretty sure this was "dig" in the purely literal sense, not the 70s disco sense. I'm also nearly postive that there was a back story to this picture. You see, the kittens were caught smoking up the catnip and tossed in a holding cell. Momma Cat, being your typical Italian-American gangster cat mom rolled up to the jail and dug a tunnel so her offspring could escape the sentence. One of the kittens dressed up like a mouse to fool any police cats that might be tailing them.

The cow loudly said, "Moo!"

I really don't know why "moo" was a vocabulary word, but it can be partially explained by the fact that I went to public school. The other three words for the week were too, zoo, and boo!. This particular cow lived in a wooden barn, and it looks like I was being OCD about putting nails on all the boards. You can tell that this is one of my more mature works from the end of the year, and will probably be worth a little more when I become famous. Keep that in mind should I ever die and have an estate sale.

Prisoners caught with smellphones
Why the 9/11 conspiracies won't go away
Blind man was dangerous driver

tagged as media | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Fragments

now available in four designer colours

♠ Writing about the Paper Mario series yesterday reminded me that I have outgrown the age of gaming nirvana. There was a time when I could buy, play, and beat nearly every game in existence, when people didn't have jobs, TV shows didn't have seasons on DVD, girls had cooties, and even the weakest game was worth a complete playthrough (I even beat Stonekeep).

♠ Nowadays, it's the rare game that will convince me to play for more than a few days at a time. Even with highly enjoyable games, I'll buy with every intention of playing a lot, and then letting it atrophy after just a week. I think I've even reached the point where I'd rather beat Doom 2 just one more time than invest time in a brand new game. Clunkers like Super Paper Mario don't help this.

♠ However bad SPM might be, at least they are not as bad as this TATU song (MP3) titled NOT GONNA GET US. The caps and the bold tags are an integral part of the title, as you will hear if you dare to listen to the sample, which may or may not feature a chihuahua on vocals. I'd sooner trim my toenails with a pair of kindergarten safety scissors than listen to an entire album of this. I don't even think the song would improve if the singer could speak English.

♠ Speaking of English, I listened to two units of a random "Learn Spanish Now!" CD for kicks, and can now greet people and ask if they speak or understand me. Of course, I don't even know how all these words are spelled, so maybe I should install a TV with over-the-air HD on my dashboard to watch Telemundo on the way to work. "Amo Booty!"

♠ The other day, Booty ate a Cup O' Noodles from the bulk crate of Cup O' Noodles I had sitting on my counter. I think she's learning to read English and misread it as Cup O' Bootles.

♠ The reason there's a bulk supply of Cup O' Noodles on my counter (rather, safely in my closet now) is because I'm going to Bethany Beach with Rebecca next week. This means that there will probably not be any updates until Monday the 17th, since I'll be busy doing science experiments at the point on the beach where the nuclear waste from Jersey mixes with the chicken waste from Delaware (with sexy results).

♠ Since I will miss a bunch of birthdays, happy birthday to Liz Fuller on the 11th, Becky Durham on the 12th, and Kevin Moorhouse and (not-the-real) Chris Smith on the 15th! I will also be celebrating my birthday on the 15th, probably with some form of illegal fireworks and/or firearms.

♠ Have a great week! I'm off!

Scientology faces criminal charges
Official denounced by 11 mistresses
Shoppers browse unstaffed Dollar Tree

tagged as fragments | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sleuth Day

Use your honed skills of deduction, induction, and convection to answer four questions about this picture from my bathroom.

  1. Why are there two toothbrushes in the cup?
  2. Why are there small gouges in the wall on the right?
  3. What kind of toothpaste do I use?
  4. Why do I use this kind of toothpaste?

Post your best Sherlockian ideas, serious and otherwise, in the comments section. Answers will be revealed on Friday.

Scientists solve the mystery of the floating octopus
Dover student sues over heart-stopping shock
Mushroom hunter "massacre" claims 18 lives in Italy

tagged as random | permalink | 4 comments

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken over Christmas Break in 1997 during my sophomore year. At the time, I was still wearing gigantic glasses and getting the 1/4"-all-around haircut. I couldn't do without my computer gadgetry over breaks, so everything you see in the picture made the trip back and forth between school -- the printer, music keyboard, premium Gateway computer, subwoofer, and collection of Raymond Feist paperbacks. The game on the screen is The Curse of Monkey Island, with its catchphrase, "That doesn't take wooden nickels!"

Alaskan woman punches bear to save dog
Saggy pants get Green Day singer kicked off plane
Man arrested for allegedly biting python twice

tagged as memories, media | permalink | 4 comments

Friday, September 07, 2012

Brian's Barnyard

I wrote this animal-themed Bejeweled clone back in March 2003 (probably as a way to procrastinate on something grad-school-related) and just rediscovered it last night. If you are one of those ancient dinosaurs that still has a security-hole-ridden Java plug-in installed in your web browser, you can play it below!

Applet has been removed. Hope you enjoyed it!

tagged as green (recycled) content, games | permalink | 9 comments

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Memory Day: 1980

Having spent 1979 in a Korean orphanage, I was finally on my way to the States in January of 1980. Issued a temporary passport which listed my job as "None" (they would never accept a layabout these days) and identified no Visible Peculiarities. My weight was also unlisted, probably because of natural fluctuations -- I had put on a little holiday weight that I had not yet shed.

I was delivered successfully to an airport in New York where my parents had to come collect me (drone-based adoption was not yet invented). Being only three months old, I retain absolutely nothing from my time spent in Korea but have since learned that "an yong" means "hello". Here's a video of me just arrived in my new home while my sister fretted about losing the full attention of the parents.

The rest of 1980 was rather idyllic, with my sister continuing to wave at things while I sat in the background looking like a judgy version of Kuato from Total Recall.

By August, the paperwork had gone through to confirm that I was one of the good Koreans from the South and not a commie terrorist from the North. I was formally adopted by Judge Harriet Mims (who was also the first female judge appointed in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and passed away at 76 in 1991).

My parents gave me a good American name that wouldn't be confused with Korean barbeque and I celebrated my first birthday as a Brian. I remember nothing else from this year, but home videos show that I excelled at climbing up stairs, sat in an elastic swing suspended from a kitchen joist while my dad bounced me several feet into the air, and got a plastic train for Christmas.

Other posts in this series: 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1990 - 1991 | 1991 - 1992 | 1992 - 1993

tagged as memories | permalink | 5 comments

Friday, September 07, 2018

Maia Month #14 Battle Report

Maia is now 14 months old but still has not breached the 20 pounder glass ceiling. She is still cruising but not walking and has no problem going up and down stairs with minimal chance of self-inflicted falls. Her new favourite mode is "cranky", where the power of her ideas and wants and needs are muted by her inability to communicate in Shakespearean language resulting in the most annoying sound in history, the whine.

Maia is very good at mimicking now (she'll probably be a booby-trapped Dungeons and Dragons chest for Halloween) and will try to recreate the things you do around her. The other day, I peeked in on her solo nursery time to find her waving the window drape sashes against the drapes, because that's how we secure the drapes after nap time every day. She also put a set of pajamas on her head in a class clown act and got such a good reaction from the grandparents that she did it again several more times over the next days. I'm currently trying to teach her to lie quietly on my chest like Booty so I can take a nap (she has already mastered "RELAX" as a command to crash onto a pillow and say "Ahhhh").

Our days and weeks have fallen into a regular pattern, with trips to the air-conditioned abandoned mall to beat the humidity and rare walks around Lake Anne or Claude Moore when it's cooler. I try to entertain her and turn her into a better person on the first two days that Rebecca works and then merely try to survive on the third. We try to make sure that Rebecca can get to yoga a couple times a week for her sanity, and sometimes stop by at the end of the practice for a family dinner out. Next month, things should shift around yet again as I increase my work hours up to 30 while Rebecca drops to just about 12 hours per week. At that point, I will probably be classified as a SAHDINO, and Rebecca will have to learn to do Pinterest toddler crafts.

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

Monday, September 07, 2020

Maia Battle Report: Year 3 Month 2

By week and by month seem like too short of a period to keep writing these Battle Reports, but I feel like I should check in occasionally to make sure that the miscellaneous quirks of our daughter are not forgotten.

Maia is now 2 months beyond the age of 3, has reached the age where she clearly has a short-term and long-term memory and is mostly capable of communicating with us. On Friday, she reminded Rebecca to bring cash in the car because the apple-picking farm didn't accept credit cards. She finds it easy to express herself, repeating stock phrases like "I'm so excited!" that she's heard elsewhere. She'll also say, "I love you too!" if you start.

Maia still loves dresses. We've moved all of her daily wear dresses (most of which came from Ghazaleh) down a level in the closet so she can reach them. She regularly changes out of her PJs at bedtime to wear a dress instead. Usually, she'll put one on normally and then another around her waist to make a double layer. The fancy dresses stay up high in the closet but they still get used and dirtied within each week.

She either sleeps very well or she doesn't. Naps are mostly out, but she'll often sleep undisturbed from 8 PM to 8 AM, After waking up, she'll play with her Duplos for a bit and then start knocking on the door (which still has a child-proof cap on the knob) and asking us if we want to build a snowman.

Maia had a great time at the beach last month, but she mostly enjoyed having "big girl friends" in the form of the Smiths' daughters. As we drove away, she pointed at a windsock with the American flag on it and said, "I see an American jellyfish!". She's usually easy to understand now although she rarely pronounces the 2nd consonant in a word -- this is especially difficult with "crowds", "clouds", and "cows", all of which come up in daily conversation.

For a brief period, she would hop on the couch and say, "Mommy, I'm HERE." when she wanted to watch Frozen for the 8,000,000th time but that thankfully didn't last. She hasn't watched Superwings in ages, but will watch chunks of the Frozen saga 20 minutes per day or watch Rebecca die a lot in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on the Nintendo Switch.

She easily counts to about 12 and can play cursory games involving dice or dominos. She got a Frozen-themed version of Chutes and Ladders from the Smiths which she loves to play with us or by herself during her naptime.

This past weekend, I moved my home office into the basement to take advantage of the quieter, larger space. When we asked Maia if she wanted to move her bedroom into the now-empty office, she thought for a minute and said no because "my toys are in my closet and you can't move the closet". The empty room is now her "kitchen" and comes complete with a "no clean up" rule which means that I don't have to ruin my back picking up toys in there.

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

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Easy Photos Day

Eating sweet corn cooked over the fire in Taylorstown.


Helping Rebecca shop for clothes online.


His first trip to a farm full of animals and he doesn't want to leave the toy tractors.


The animals at Frying Pan Farm were in high form, since we arrived right around feeding time.

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

 

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