This Day In History: 09/09

Sunday, September 09, 2001

Another victory for the Hokies, 31-0 over Western Michigan. Even though WMU played sloppily, Tech covered well for the possibly crippling loss of Lee Suggs. ESPN has even lightened up on their band-ban from the past few years, and included a few shots of the Marching Virginians between plays.

My plans for yesterday morning were ruined by an untimely migraine headache. My migraines leave me incapacitated for hours at a time, but likely I've only had two since the beginning of the summer. After fifteen minutes of minor spots, my vision goes almost completely white for about an hour. This is followed by an hour of clear vision, but throbbing pain in one side of my head, and then a couple hours of dull pain and nausea. It usually takes a full day before I'm back at 100% and able to make sudden movements without ghost pains. Needless to say, the football game was on very softly yesterday.

Yesterday evening, I went to the official theory/comp picnic at a professor's house which was enjoyable enough. We ended up at a smaller get-together last night after the picnic and hung out until the early morning hours. I also learned that there's currently 29 composition majors right now, of both the Doctoral and Masters variety.

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Monday, September 09, 2002

I had a good composition lesson today -- my teacher says I'm off to a good start on my thesis and tossed out a few names to look up and listen to for inspiration. I also talked with him at length about the possibility of this being my last year as a student of music, and it'll be interesting to see what pros and cons he can come up with this semester.

"In art . . . as in letters, what makes success is talent, and not ideas . . . The public understands the idea later. To achieve this 'later', the artist's talent must manifest itself in an agreeable form and so ease the road for the public, not repel it from the outset. Thus Auber, who had so much talent and few ideas, was almost always understood, while Berlioz, who had genius but no talent at all, was almost never understood." - Georges Bizet

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Ever notice that the new "hi" is now "hey"? "Hey" is an acceptable greeting both in casual and business arenas, and people passing in the halls are more likely to say it in lieu of "hello" or "hi". Of course this may be limited to northern Virginia and other places that don't say "howdy".

I only have a few days left of being less than a quarter-century old.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday Fragments

  • Loudoun County loves to repave roads that don't really need it. Just last week they tore up a five hundred yard section of pavement that was in reasonably good condition so they could lay a new coating of asphalt over top of it. They should invest that money in hiring someone to make crank calls to the Herndon Police Department -- maybe that would get rid of the retarded speed trap on Wiehle Avenue that's been out every day this week. Herndon's been on their naughty short-list for a while anyhow, ever since they decided to make the new day laborer site right on the Loudoun/Herndon border. I smell civil war.

  • At the request of some of my readers, I've been trying to keep my updates shorter -- usually between one and two screens full of text. I often forget that we didn't all go to Ivy-League schools like Virginia Tech, so I won't use as many gargantuan words either. The No Child Left Behind law is useless everywhere else so I may as well appropriate it for myself. I will still keep Fridays pretty lengthy because they are the funnest updates to write, and as we all know, taking the FUNNEST out of FRIDAY really messes with your Junior Jumble in a hurry.

  • Kim has a link up on her page that allows you to donate money to the Humane Society in their animal-based rescue efforts, so have at it. Incidentally, I think Booty would be a great name for a Hurricane. I can see the headlines now, "Booty kicks Tallahassee's ass. FSU Football team at large. Looting prevalent. No one surprised." Maybe in 2006.

  • In some fonts, Humane looks like Hurricane, but squishy and without the C. I bet this is a conspiracy of some kind. Oh that wily Bob Vanhorn.

  • Whenever something goes wrong at work, from now on you should all blame Bob Vanhorn. I've never met him but we'll make him famous one way or another. "Who ate the staff meeting pizza?" "Oh, Bob Vanhorn, he's such a piggy."

  • There's no better way to get publicity for your film than to release it unrated. The official reason for this film's rating is that seventeen-year-olds are not quite ready to see threesomes, but I think the bigger picture is that the world is not ready to see more of Kevin's bacon. Wasn't Wild Things enough?

  • The actress who played Kevin Bacon's sidekick detective in Wild Things was also the original Mimi from the Broadway version of Rent. When I saw the movie, I half expected her to burst out into a chorus of "Everybody has AIDS!" but then I realized that that was from a different movie.

  • The Lost DVD has movie previews for The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. It looks rather stupid -- a take-off of Lord of the Rings, complete with a battle scene where millions of computer-animated people charge across the battlefield at each other. When I was a kid, I had all the Wonderworks-produced versions of the Chronicles of Narina on tape, and they were great in their own low-budget-PBS kind of way. The settings rang true with the books although their version of Lucy looked and acted so snivelling that she made you want to throw a punch. I wonder how much they'll play up the strong religious undertones inherent in the stories in this new edition.

  • Someone stabbed a baby in New York . This is why my two kids (a boy and a girl) will learn how to use semiautomatic weapons straight from the womb (the babies, not the weapons -- unless their mom is in a maximum security prison and smuggled them in to defend herself (the weapons, not the babies) but then again, hopefully whoever I marry will not be in prison -- I could have sworn that I deselected that option in my Match.com profile). Double parentheses -- they're not just for math majors anymore.

  • I don't actually have a Match.com profile, but I probably have over eighteen user accounts scattered over Yahoo, Hotmail, Angelfire, and Geocities. I have never created an account on any online dating site. I window-shopped about a year ago though and there seems to be lots of crazy people within eight miles of Sterling, Virginia. It seems safer to stay home and read a book.

  • Yes, I actually put "8" miles in the People Finder forms last year because I am peculiar and have less than 40,000 miles on my four-year-old car. As Anna once put it, "I'll know you're interested in someone when you're willing to pony up and leave your natural habitat to see them."

  • Anna doesn't actually say "pony up" or "natural habitat" (at least, not since she dropped her ninth major which was Fish and Wildlife or something), but she did say that there's a restaurant with all-you-can-eat bacon in a bowl somewhere near Busch Gardens. I will have to investigate this further.

  • Amber likes to climb into the shower when I'm done, so she can watch the water drip down the drain. She doesn't seem to care that she gets soaked while sitting in there. I have claw marks on my chest at the moment because yesterday she fell off the top of the couch and landed on me. Amber's balance kicks ass.

  • I like imagery in lyrics, like "bridge across the stream of consciousness", "hourglass glued to a table" and "mountain sides put arms around the unsuspecting city". I'm listening to lyrics much more nowadays than I used to.

  • Like everyone else this week, I caught a cold that made me under the weather and physically snotty for a few days. My immune system must be breaking down in my old age -- I probably got sick a grand total of seven times throughout college, even during the year I lived with a roommate who was intent on growing e.coli in his ever-expanding collection of half-empty soda cans. I think that year was offset by the following year where my roommate had a separate clean towel for every day of the week. Wiping things like your weenie on a towel after you shower does NOT make the towel dirty again (unless you are somehow showering incorrectly).

  • This weekend will not be as action-packed as the last -- I'll be working part of the weekend to make up for Labor Day and my sick time. This weekend is also family-dinner-for-birthday weekend and plant-grass-seed weekend. I definitely plan on saving a little time for relaxing (perhaps a little poker or some bloating on the couch watching Lost). The illustration on your right is flawed, because I have no idea how the player is holding up the bottom card. I suspect the cards are stuck together because someone spilled their drink again.

  • Have a good weekend!

  • Moving objects with a beam of light
    Police officer catches himself
    Because tiger is supposed to taste like urine-soaked ass

    Yesterday's search terms:
    fred binkholder, resetting a improperly healed nose, training to stop humping by golden retriever, living aboard boat in fairfax county virginia

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    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    Newsday Tuesday

    Spies get social network as CIA, FBI promote their version of Facebook

    At long last, US intelligence agencies have created a new system of sharing their information with one another to prevent another terrorist attack. And it's a lot like Facebook.

    Developers were quick to point out that their network would be based on the useful "classic" Facebook, and not the usability-inhibited patchwork of coloured squares and advertisements pinked together to form the New Facebook, which many users still have difficulty accepting as canon (see also, New Coke and The New Testament).

    Not to be left out of the social networking action, the FBI, CIA and the other 14 U.S. intelligence agencies are getting a new site called A-Space designed specifically for spying, CNN reported.

    When asked why the name, A-Space, was chosen over the more obvious "Spyspace", the assistant deputy director reasoned, "We're opting for security through obscurity -- terrorists are more likely to stumble upon spyspace.com when they're stealing secrets. And, I'm pretty sure those foreign keyboards don't have a hyphen."

    "It's every bit Facebook and YouTube for spies, but it's much, much more," said Michael Wertheimer, assistant deputy director of national intelligence for analysis. "It's a place where not only spies can meet but share data they've never been able to share before," Wertheimer said.

    This sudden openness seems to run counter to the creed of spies, which was recently put to verse in a Zutons song. Wertheimer concedes that secrets are for keeping and if you tell them, they lose their meaning, but recognizes that spies need to collaborate more than they currently do.

    "This is going to give them for the first time a chance to think out loud, think in public amongst their peers, under the protection of an A-Space umbrella."

    When asked for comment, John Ramsey, father of JonBen?t Ramsey, said that an umbrella of protection would be far more useful than an umbrella of suspicion, but that he would stick with his existing $2.99 Wal-Mart umbrella. "I can do all sorts of things underneath it, even when it's raining."

    The site's goal is to combine all the intelligence agencies date in a single place so a crucial piece of information isn't ignored, like the pre-9/11 email from an FBI agent warning of people learning to fly airplanes but not learning to land them.

    Users will also be able to stream their favourite tapes from NSA-monitored phone calls so they begin playing immediately when the page loads, and every new profile will start with one automatic friend so users don't feel so alone and overwhelmed at first.

    Government officials left out the details on how the site would be protected, though they did describe a "mechanism" called MasterCard, which will find suspicious behavior from users and report it to system administrators.

    Initial tests of the MasterCard system showed poor results -- because the user base consists wholly of spies, it was near impossible correlate suspicious behavior with unauthorized access by terrorists. Developers say they have corrected these problems and planned to release a new security system soon called Visa: any user who has a visa is obviously not a US citizen, and will be booted from the site.

    Man run over by former child star in Payson
    Animal lovers angry over puppy body bags
    John McCain's Walter Reed puzzle

    tagged as newsday, mock mock, favourites | permalink | 4 comments

    Wednesday, September 09, 2009

    Memory Day: Stuffed Animals

    In the halcyon days of my youth (a period after the idyllic but before the tempestuous), I owned more stuffed animals than a taxidermist with defaulting clients. The collection of roughly thirty completely filled up a rectangular laundry basket, and the animals were all shapes and sizes, like the hippo on the left who is surprisingly happy for a mouth-breather and was probably a hand-me-down from my sister.

    My stuffed animal collection obeyed three basic rules: none of the animals were given names unless they already had one, they all actually had to be animals, and they could not have any hard shell parts (Cabbage Patch Kids failed on all three counts). And because we lived in a home where good children made their bed up neatly every morning, setup and teardown of the animals became a part of my daily routine.

    I never really liked this crocodile, but could never pinpoint the reasons why. Perhaps it's because he won't stand up on his own, or because he looks perpetually high -- whatever the reason, he was relegated to the far back corner of the bed, up against the wall. The rest were arranged painstakingly at the head of the bed and in the narrow shelf on either side of the bed, in the exact same configuration each night (and sometimes I would even spell OCD with them).

    Today, I have very few of these stuffed animals left, and the few that remain sit on a basement shelf, quietly collecting dust and damp to brew some sort of airborne respiratory disease. The most likely vector of contagion might be Digger, the mole from Shirt Tales, who was my favourite for many years.

    The "Digger, Please" phase lasted until I become obsessed with dinosaurs and received the triceratops from the Natural History museum's gift shop. Triceratops easily outlasted the other animals, staying on the bed even as I grew older and got tired of setting up a menagerie every night.

    What was your favourite stuffed animal?

    Robber returns to ask for date
    Trapped girls call for help on Facebook
    New online Monopoly game ties to Google Maps

    tagged as memories | permalink | 4 comments

    Thursday, September 09, 2010

    Review Day

    There are no spoilers in these reviews.

    Observe and Report:
    I have mixed feelings about this movie. It was not the type of movie I expected to be watching (kind of like having a sip of beer and finding out that it's fruity) but it never fully embraced the dark comedy style it was shooting for -- sometimes it felt like it wanted to be a dark movie without losing the audience expecting to see another Paul Blart: Mall Cop (who are going to hate it anyhow). Parts were good, but this movie was nowhere near as successful at being both dark AND funny as Bad Santa.

    Final Grade: C+

    More Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky:
    This is another, more recent, compilation of articles from joelonsoftware.com in Kindle format. Going in, I understand that most of the content is already free online, but sometimes it's nice to have a more digestible format than a web page. The problem with this collection is that it's pure shovelware: people may not notice if you use the same three paragraph example in two articles written two years apart, but when you stick them next to each other in book format, it just feels sloppy and unreviewed. A few too many articles center around the author's company and products as well -- these are obviously good case studies which the author is an expert with, but can occasionally teeter on the edge of advertisement. There are some good articles in the mix, but a little editing for cohesion or a greatly reduced price (maybe $5 vs $10) would have greatly improved the product.

    Final Grade: C

    Moon:
    Like District 9, I enjoyed this movie much more than I expected after watching. Without spoilers, the movie tells of a space miner who has spent the past three years on the dark side of the moon alone without human companionship other than the base computer (voiced by Kevin Spacey in an obvious HAL homage). With only two weeks until he's sent home, he starts going a little stir crazy and begins seeing things that might not actually be there. Short and tightly woven (like homemade spandex), this movie was very effective.

    Final Grade: A

    Husband says wife faked cancer for free goodies
    Belize mob torches Americans' animal sanctuary, but their will endures
    Forget Product Placement; Get Ready For Product Anti-Placement

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    Friday, September 09, 2011

    Friday Fragments

    it's like Roseanne meets Firefly

    ♠ The flooding is barely noticeable in our direct neighbourhood, although I may have passed Kevin Costner with gills holding up a sign that said, "I told you so!" on the Fairfax County Parkway. Fairfax schools are also closed for the day, and government personnel are allowed to stay home and unexpectedly get work done.

    ♠ When I was barreling through my public school education with complete disregard for retention, I never got to get out of school for something unique like a flood or a limnic eruption. The closest to catastrophe we ever came was the ice storm in January 1996 which kept us in the house for 4 days. Although this was in the days before teachers were Facebook friends with their students, I still had to do schoolwork because my physics teacher called everyone at home to give us assignments in preparation for the AP exam. "Ice storm is garbage!" he said.

    ♠ In retrospect, taking two years of physics in high school, the AP exam, and then two more years of it in college was probably overkill for a liberal arts major, but the other core sciences are far more boring. Knowing your terminal velocity when you're pushed out of a plane is also more useful than knowing how many moles there are, unless you're a bean farmer and have run out of traps.

    ♠ Plans for the weekend will probably include staying in to do work, both real work and self-imposed work, coupled with a trip back to Costco to get all the things I wanted to get last week when I forgot my debit card. We're also having Anna and Ben over for dinner on Saturday. They are providing the main course, side dish, and desert (Ella, Rosie, and Kathryn) and we are providing the oregano and Guinness.

    ♠ Have a great weekend! Don't sink!

    Dear nudists: Please cover up, the seat at least
    Woman dies after exposure to odor at McDonald's
    Waffle House index: How breakfast signals storm damage

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    Monday, September 09, 2013

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Friday evening, after repairing a hole in the foundation of the house, I ate an entire Primo Italiano pizza while brushing the dust off of some music pedagogy books. I also rewatched Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, which retains its low budget charm.

    On Saturday, we hiked two loops of the Billy Goat Trail on the Maryland side of Great Falls, bumping into an old coworker and also seeing how many people tripped over roots because they were busy looking at their phones. After seven miles of hiking, we stopped off at the Old Brogue in Great Falls for an early dinner and then closed out the evening with a Lost Cities championship.

    On Sunday, I helped build a brick patio in exchange for pizza and wings. As with all outdoor home projects, the most tedious part was the prepping and leveling process -- once we got to the actual bricklaying, we were able to finish quite quickly.

    Now it's time to kick off Birthday Week for my 34th birthday. How are you celebrating my life?

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    Tuesday, September 09, 2014

    Heard in a Game of Taboo

    "Hippie shoes."
    "Chucks! Chuck Taylors!"
    "The full name..."
    "Charles Taylors!"

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    Wednesday, September 09, 2015

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture of me was taken somewhere around 1983 in our family room. I'm drinking 7-11 soda through a straw that's definitely not sane. In our household, crazy straws were not a disposable commodity, but as imagined, crazy straws are not great candidates for effective washing. There was always a ready supply of washed straws stuck in the back of the drawer smelling slightly of mildew, until they were obviously too stinky to use again.

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, September 09, 2016

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez:
    This memoir offers a taste of working at Facebook, but it's much less incendiary and edgy than advertised. The writing style gets tiresome very quickly, and it's highly likely that you will not be interested in half the material presented. The author creates a disjunct hodge-podge of historical references, literary quotes, memoir-style stories, and dry explanations of how things like online advertising and hedge funds work -- just when you start to get interested in something, the book tangents into another area and kills any momentum. By the halfway point, I had gotten tired of the endless edgy analogies and "first writer syndrome" turns of phrases and started skimming to the end. The writer also does not seem to think highly of women, as evinced by his bro-y derogatory prose and the way he relegates every woman in the story except for Sheryl Sandberg to a nameless extra without any redeeming qualities. This would have been better (and 50% shorter) as a series of non-chronological blog posts with all of the fat chopped away.

    Final Grade: C-

    Modern Family, Season Five:
    It took us almost a year to watch this season because we were so tired of Cam. In small doses it hits the spot, but 24 episodes is far too many episodes to be centered around the planning of a gay wedding.

    Final Grade: B-

    Outsourced, Season One:
    This overlooked series is about an American sent overseas to run an Indian call center for his company. Dismissed by people who thought it was just making fun of Indian people, it actually has plenty of harmless laughs. It was cancelled after the first season, but is a pleasant way to wind down at the end of the day.

    Final Grade: B

    Why Am I So Happy? by Spose:
    Spose is a white rapper who comes off as a less serious version of Atmosphere. This album has some nice beats and clever lyrics, like the catchy "Greatest Shit Ever".

    Final Grade: B

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    Monday, September 09, 2019

    Bad Book Day

    We regularly get hand-me-downs through the ad hoc donation pipelines that magically spring up when you have a child. While this works wonderfully for clothes (I'm pretty sure we've never bought Maia a new outfit ever), it's less effective for books. The books that get donated by our friends tend to be the worst of the worst, like Rebecca's favourite about a pig that practices surfing on a surfboard on the beach and then magically surfs in the ocean and goes home satisfied.

    One of the worst offenders in my opinion is the "first reader" series for Pete the Cat. There are more of these books than there are Family Circus paperbacks and they possess comparable literary qualities. Take, for example, Pete the Cat and the Surprise Teacher.

    There are major spoilers ahead.

    Pete's mom subs his class and spends the entire day taking them to the wrong classrooms. At the end of the day, they thank her with a giant sign covered in construction paper cat heads. So essentially, an awesome day in Pete's mind is the day he discovers that his mom is a literal moron.

    Why would the school system hire someone who can't tell the difference between the playground and the cafeteria? Perhaps the titular "suprise" is that Pete's mom was able to get her teaching license in the first place without knowing how to read. Or maybe receiving the thank you sign is supposed to be more of a Godfather callback and the students are subtly telling her to get a new vocation using decapitated cat heads in a threatening way.

    The worst of the worst (so far) is Pete the Cat Play Ball!, a book that can't even get the grammar in its title correct.

    This book consists of over 30 pages of Pete playing a baseball game and doing absolutely everything possible except successfully hitting the ball. His team wins in the end, thanks to teammates that aren't content with mediocrity. There are two takeaway life lessons in this book: (1) associate with more successful coworkers to share in their glory without lifting a finger and (2) baseball is boring.

    tagged as mock mock | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, September 09, 2020

    Stuff in My Drawers Day: Bunnies, Part II

    Even more pandemic bunny drawing requests from Maia

    Other posts in this series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, September 09, 2022

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Will of the People by Muse:
    It's hard to believe that these guys have been making music for over 20 years now. Their 9th studio album is a lot of fun -- it sounds as if they took the most effective styles and sounds (more hard rock and less EDM) and reused them to make brand new songs. The result feels a little like a fake Greatest Hits album. You Make Me Feel Like It's Halloween is an example of the bombastic sound with over-the-top lyrics that I enjoy.

    Final Grade: B+

    Brooklyn 99, Season Eight:
    The bulk of this final season feels like a misfire. Written after the social justice events of 2020, it tries hard to be both serious and funny but fails. Not even the addition of John C. McGinley can prevent me from feeling like I'm being preached at in some of the episodes. That said, the series finale is pitch-perfect. On Hulu.

    Final Grade: B-

    It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Season One:
    I gave this show another shot after abandoning it a decade ago. I got through the entire first season but it's still not my cup of tea. I get why people love and quote it, but I just don't have any interest in watching horrible people be horrible. On Hulu.

    Final Grade: C

    Mario Party Superstars (Switch):
    There's a ton of Mario Party content in this compilation. Unfortunately the pacing of the experience is horrible -- too many setup options, too many dialog boxes, and too many distractions from the actual party game.

    Final Grade: C

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

     

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