This Day In History: 09/10

Monday, September 10, 2001

Every day these past few weeks, I've woken up with a song running through my head that doesn't go away for an hour or so. The only odd part is that usually the song is something I haven't listened to since I was a kid, or even thought of recently, yet the tune spinning in my head is complete to the last percussive hit. For example, the other morning I woke up to Fish Heads (by Barnes & Barnes, I believe).

In other news, I finally got all my remaining textbooks from Amazon.com, but I think they may have misplaced the DVD which was the best part of my order. That's what happens when you send things by USPS instead of UPS.

    "I was working [in the NBC house band] with a wonderful trumpet player named Charlie Margulis. Charlie was a don't-take-any-crap-from-anybody kind of guy. We were playing along and rehearsing in studio 8-H, and Paul Lavalle was rehearsing the band. He stopped the band because there was a trumpet unison passage. He said, 'Play it alone, trumpets.' So we played it alone. He said, 'Try it once more.' So we played it again. He said, 'Try it one more time, please.' And Charlie Margulis says, 'Why!?' Like that. And Paul Lavalle says, 'It isn't together.' And Charlie Margulis says, 'It's together back here.' And Paul says, 'Well it's not together up here.' And Charlie says, 'Well clean the sh_t out of your ears!'

    "What Charlie didn't realize is that up above us is the glass where the twenty-five-cent tours are going through, and they can hear it. That was the last time Charlie worked there." - Billy May in Arranging the Score: Portraits of the Great Arrangers

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Tuesday, September 10, 2002

In 1942, a shy boy receives an exuberant Jack Russell terrier that plays matchmaker and helps protect him from bullies.

Primetime TV tomorrow night looks like it will be a brave and heroic lineup of memorable specials written to remind us of the date (in case we don't have calendars). The WB is the only major network without a special, but it recovers nicely with the memorable story of a heroic and brave Jack Russell terrier.

Thank goodness life goes on with the TV off.

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Friday, September 10, 2004

Here's an effective use of tax dollars: . A psychiatric study shows that teens are sadder after their friends commit suicide. WOW. At the end of the article, it's revealed that most of the teens in the study were already sad, so the brilliant conclusion of the study may not be generally applicable.

Nothing really new to report today, so I'll leave you with two politically-themed articles:

30 nations pick Kerry
The Curse of Dick Cheney

And if you still haven't read it yet, here's the Cheney Daily archive:

Why context-sensitive ads aren't always great
Montana overrreact to incendiary letters
Women of McDonald's will no doubt be followed by Women of NASCAR and Women of the Masonic Lodge
Cure for syphillis? "Get plenty of rest."

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Monday, September 10, 2007
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shredding Day

Yesterday was Shredding Day in the BU Household, although there was no Guitar Hero involved since I'm intrinsically horrible at that game. When I attempt to translate the 100% abstract shapes flying at my face into simple motor skills, I feel like I'm playing a live action version of Frogger while dosed up on a Quil Bomb (a half pint of Nyquil with a shot of Dayquil), slipping further and further behind until I finally force the song to end prematurely because mediocrity is no longer an acceptable level of video game skill.

Shredding Day in my vernacular is the day I drag the three foot high paper shredder out of the closet and commence the complete obliteration of a single year's worth of receipts, bills, and pornographic notebook sketches. There's always plenty to shred on this day, because I save anything and everything for at least three years (my stage name is Buri Packarat). The time limit on saving used to be "indefinitely", until I sensibly realized that I would never again need that receipt for two hash browns from 1997 unless I were planning to bury my filing cabinet as a time capsule. And even in that case, why would anyone from the future care that there used to be a Dollar Menu?

It's a very satisfying feeling to watch my shredder get down to business. The motor inside is so powerful that you could probably despine your latest issue of Cosmo and send all the pages into the JAWS OF DOOM all at the same time. A year's supply of mortgage stubs from 2004 that only exist to remind me that I have eight billion dollars left of principal to pay off disappears in a puff of confetti, which I can then use to start small porch fires to scare unruly neighbours, lower property values, and decrease my land tax. I imagine that in a pinch, the shredder could double as a hamburger maker, or a processor for half-frozen filets of tuna.

Even better, the shredder has a CD mode -- with the flip of a flap, you can convert a used CD full of blackmail documents into an avant garde work of art that will never be loaded into a CD tray ever again. Today, I had a full spindle of twenty CDs to destroy which the shredder consumed gleefully, without complaint or malfunction. The only danger of having this much horsepower in your study is the tiny voice in the back of your head, egging you on to destroy bigger and tougher materials. Science project backboards! Spatulas! Very small rocks!

Bulgaria requests a skunk rule
Man blames bad driving on spilled beer
Man has eaten 23,000 Big Macs in 36 years

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

Breaking Bad, Season One:
This is one of those critically acclaimed experiments that's actually really good, but fails to find an audience, like the game, Grim Fandango, or one of Doobie's tuba recitals. Bryan Cranston, the dad from Malcolm in the Middle, stars as a high school chemistry teacher who starts cooking crystal meth to support his family after he learns he has terminal cancer. Everything about this show bleeds "good" from the acting to the plots -- the problem is that the dramatic parts do "unrelentingly grim" so well that it can be hard to watch. The first season is seven episodes long (because of last year's writers' strike), and the episodes that focus on the fish-out-of-water aspect of a teacher in the drug world are very enjoyable. The ones that deal with Walter's cancer and mortality are artful but obviously not entertaining, and I tend to watch TV shows as a BREAK from real-world problems. Reviews of the second season suggest that the tone gets even grimmer, but I don't think I would justify watching another twenty hours of downers solely for the great acting, when there are more escapist shows to be seen.

Final Grade: B

Rage Against the Meshugenah by Danny Evans:
This book is written by the man behind Dad Gone Mad (in my Bloglog), the next in the line of bloggers-turned-authors, and it's a memoir of his experiences with depression, fatherhood, and other deep-seated issues that I hopefully won't have to deal with for at least a couple more weeks. The prose is well-written and easy to read, and the humour is handled expertly (as you would expect if you read his blog). Towards the end, the mix of flashback anecdotes seem a little disjointed from the main narrative, and maybe 20% of the book has already appeared in some form on his blog (which I've read from the beginning), but neither issue kept me from enjoying it.

Final Grade: B-

Scrubs, Season Eight:
The seventh season of Scrubs was easily the worst season ever -- one of those unfortunate mistakes that you wish you could quietly excise from the main mythology and hope no one remembers (see also, The Covenant and the time a company I knew tried to become a Large Business by hiring a thousand people in a week and then had to lay them all off). Season Eight redeems the series (which had been slipping ever since season five) and wraps everything up well. It's not a series high point (and Ted and the Janitor are both still overused) but it's once again a Scrubs worth watching.

Final Grade: B+

Adventureland:
In hindsight, the "TRULY HILARIOUS!" on the cover should have warned me, because things billed as hilarious never are (except when I make fun of NASA or Kanye West, or both at the same time). Despite the appearance of so many Apatowian stars (including Bill from Freaks and Geeks), this movie about a pretentious English major working in a theme park for the summer is slow, unrewarding, and not worth the time. It might have been better if the main character were at all likable, and not just someone you'd want to drop-kick out a window if you met them at a college party. They were going for "shy and earnest" and came away with "awkward and annoying". (I haven't used enough parentheses today so here's another pair).

Final Grade: D

Repentant man breeds 4600 scorpions
Super glue assault victim: 'It got chaotic real quick'
Man flings jellyfish at teens

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Sleuth Day Answers

Here are the answers to my Sleuth Day challenge.

  1. Why are there two toothbrushes in the cup?
    Whenever I go on a trip, I either used to forget my toothbrush at home, or I'd put it in my travel bag too early and have to get it out to brush the last few times before I left. With two toothbrushes, I can pack one and still have one out.

  2. Why are there small gouges in the wall on the right?
    After I put toothpaste on the brush and start brushing, I toss the toothpaste next to the sink. Sometimes, the ridge in the cap chips a dent in the paint.

  3. What kind of toothpaste do I use?
    Colgate

  4. Why do I use this kind of toothpaste?
    It was on sale in bulk at Costco.
Researchers give robots the capability for deceptive behavior
Study: Flamboyant male dancing attracts women best
Tended lawn's wedding proposal works for Mich. man

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Monday, September 10, 2012

"Make Your Own Fun" Day

If you happen to be bored one afternoon, update any public online profiles (like Facebook or LinkedIn) with exuberant, yet mildly believable lies. Online profiles are the most likely way that print media will get background information about you, should you die, win an election, or get involved in a scandal. Exploit the laziness of their fact-checking pursuits and become whatever you want to become.

Here is an example:

Mike (of Mike and Chompy) was indicted today on twelve counts of coupon fraud. According to his LinkedIn profile, Mike is an award-winning ballerina with the Imperial Russian Ballet Company, having performed The Nutcracker on every continent of the world (except for North America). Before his coupon empire collapsed, Mike was also involved in the establishment of Judaism in and around Tallahassee, Florida."

Mike's last tweet before his arrest was "My coupon fraud has a 100% Success Rate!" The hashtag, #freechompy, is currently trending on Twitter.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Invention Day: Stick Figure Trolling

filling needs the world never knew it needed

Stick figure families are pretty ubiquitous in our area -- four to six cutesy cartoon figures decorating the lower left side of an SUV's back window (sometimes with names attached to aid hopeful pedophiles), directly across from the window stickers identifying the fifteen sports the kids play at Herndon High School.

Coming soon from my invention labs, using the profits from the Hood-Baby, will be a set of bonus stick figures that you can use to troll your family friends. The first prototype (concept art on the right) will be the Creepy Uncle. The next time you visit your stick figure loving friends, surreptitiously slap an uncle down next to the family and see how long it takes to notice.

Based on the expected success of Creepy Uncle, other varieties will be released, such as The Other Woman, Last Single Friend, and a special negative tint sticker that will let you "disappear" family members one by one over a month (or a single day if you are trying to convince your friends that they are living out the plot of Back to the Future).

Preorder your Creepy Uncle today!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Beach Day


Two days of thunderstorms leads to big waves and rip tides.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Suits, Season Two:
I described the first season of this show as "breezy fun without much depth or drama", and sometimes that's exactly what you want to watch. The second season is slightly less funny, but makes up for it with a more cohesive overarching storyline and great guest stars.

Final Grade: B

Narcos, Season One:
This Netflix original is very well done, with great cinematography that feels very movie-like. The show tells the tale of Pablo Escobar and cocaine in the 1980s -- one of those eras where I recognize the names from being alive in that time, but was too young and concerned with He-Man to actually know anything about. The show transitions from almost too much English narration in the beginning, to a majority share of Spanish with subtitles by the end, so be ready to read. Overall, the show is engaging and does a good job of setting up season two, but world-changing impending doom foreshadowed in the pilot narration never really solidifies onscreen. There's also a fair amount of unnecessary sex for the Game of Thrones contingent, but it's peppered through the subtitled scenes for those of you who are visual learners. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A-

Wool: Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey:
This probably the best dystopian future sci-fi book I've read in a long time -- good enough that I'll probably get it for my mom for Christmas. Wool is the first book of a trilogy, consisting of five shorter fragments (and the Omnibus edition contains all five). The tropes and the general ideas expressed are not new, but the way everything is tied together is impressive, and shows a masterful grasp of storytelling. The author does a great job of balancing exposition against action, steadily answering old questions while introducing new ones, and the way characters are phased in over the first few chapters works very well. A couple sequences, like an underwater repair mission, outstay their welcome, but this is a minor quibble. Characters are also very fleshed out, and much more intriguing than the flat caricatures that sometimes creep into sci-fi books. I've already started the next book, Shift.

Final Grade: A

Libgdx Cross-platform Game Development Cookbook by David Saltares Marquez and Alberto Cejas Sanchez:
This tech book was the polar opposite of the book I'd purchased on JavaFX. Supported by reams of sample code and clear, concise prose, this book does a solid job of introducing all facets of the libgdx game development library. The book could be improved by offering more detail on entity-component-system systems like Ashley, and how a real-world project would organize and integrate Ashley, Box2D, and libgdx code, but the existing content is solid.

Final Grade: B+

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Beat Saber Day

Since the treadmill broke down, Beat Saber has been my regular cardio workout. Here are a few recent videos of some of the more challenging songs.

Can't Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake (Expert) (previously posted)

The Nights by Avicii (Expert)

Gangam Style by Psy (Expert)

Otter Pop featuring Hollis by Shawn Wasabi (Expert+)

New Rules by Dua Lipa (Expert+)

tagged as games | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, September 10, 2021

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Super Cool Tree House by Seth Sentry:
This is a pretty mellow, lo-fi pandemic album, where Seth Sentry solicited beats and wrote each song in a week. The lack of hooks means that no one song is particularly memorable, but they're all fun. I'm Not Sad is a good representative track.

Final Grade: B-

Bright Night Flowers by Jon Fratelli:
Another solo album that is about as far as you can get from the raucous Fratellis sound as possible. Evangeline is one that gets stuck in my head a lot.

Final Grade: A-

Greatful by Classified:
There's a few good singles on this album from Canadian rapper, Classified, like No Pressure featuring Snoop Dogg and Having Kids Is Easy but the rest was pretty forgettable.

Final Grade: B-

May Island:
We ordered food from this Japanese restaurant while visiting my mom last week. A little on the pricey side, but a good mix of flavors and presentations. The tempura stuff was delicious although the teriyakis were a little overcooked. The sushi was excellent.

Final Grade: B+

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