This Day In History: 09/20

Thursday, September 20, 2001

I sat in on a Fundamentals of Music Theory class yesterday for a pedagogy assignment and was amused by the amount of stuff that people don't know coming in as freshman music majors. It's strange to realize how many students simply cannot read music to start with. Of course, it doesn't make them any less of a musician, but I admire the tenacity it must have taken to get this far and be as good as they presumably are.

Here's a musical palindrome for you, courtesy of a classmate: Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.

"'This is why you got it wrong, dummy.' Isn't it funny that we can't use the word 'dummy' in the classroom anymore? We can buy books with 'dummy' written all over...we have no problem labelling ourselves as dummies." - professor, on how to explain a student mistake

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Friday, September 20, 2002

Another weekend's here. This one, I plan to spend using to research the programming language LINGO for future enhancements to the web applications for MUT 1001. Right now, students can do random fundamentals drills all day long and it's completely anonymous. Eventually we'd like to have a sign-in so a teacher could ostensibly track how long students spend and how well they do. I bet the freshmen will just LOVE that. If this all works out, MUT 1001 will eventually be an online-only course.

AFLAC commercial degrades ducks

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Monday, September 20, 2004

Today will be another "What I'm Listening To" update. As before, most of these songs are available for purchase online, and you can also hear more samples from the groups on Amazon.com. The downloadable fragments here are greatly reduced in sound quality.

(MP3 295KB)
Bottle by Paul Weller, a song from this year which nicely captures that 70s funk/soul feel

(MP3 486KB)
Butterflies and Hurricanes by Muse, a song that actually has some musical acumen behind it

(MP3 268KB)
First of the Gang to Die by Morrissey

(MP3 255KB)
I Love You by Dogs Die in Hot Cars (I like the chorus)

(MP3 144KB)
The Show by Girls Aloud, the cookie cutter pop group created from Britain's American Idol, Pop Idol

Besides these singles, I'm also liking music by Dido, who's got the least annoying female voice in history, Maroon 5, and the Charlatans UK. The Charlatans do a good job of playing music at both ends of the harshness spectrum.

(MP3 281KB)
How High by Charlatans UK

(MP3 284KB)
Try Again Today by Charlatans UK

And just for fun, here's a song by 50 Pence: (MP3 571KB).

Let me know what you think, or recommend your own music in the comments section.

Pens are Kryptonite's Kryptonite
W-B man: 'Witches are trying to kill me'

tagged as music | permalink | 1 comment

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I gradually woke up this morning at 3:54 AM to what sounded like multiple ghost raccoons running back and forth over my head. I sleep in the back corner of my house so the roof is relatively close to my bed, but I do have an attic space, so I shouldn't be able to hear any small animals on the roof. I laid in bed for two or three minutes listening to the continuous pitter-patter of feet (which never abated for that whole time) before the ghost beasts ran to the corner of the roof. Then, it sounded like they all dived down the chimney -- as if Bob Barker had dropped seven or eight Plinko chips down the Plinko machine all at once. At that point, I got up and went to the window, half expecting something to be leering at me beyond the curtains, but nothing was amiss. After I went back to bed, I remembered that I have no chimney.

I'll have to remember to take a peek at the roof when I get home in broad daylight today. This was the first "odd" event at my house since I moved in over a year and a half ago. Maybe I unlocked the ghost box by talking about ghost cars yesterday. Or perhaps, it was just a highly personalized ad for CBS's new show, Ghost Whisperer where Jennifer Love Hewitt (and her "assets", which undoubtedly get top billing since they can probably act better than she can) play the role of a girl who sees dead people and must try to help them. This is a highly original show which has never been done before . Here are some other highly original shows appearing on primetime TV this month:

Surface:
A bizarre new sea creature is discovered and four people react to it in different ways. You don't actually get to see the creature. NBC's version of Lost.

Just Legal:
19-year-old legal prodigy teams up with alcoholic lawyer for hilarious hijinks. The WB's The Practice. I thought the actor playing the 19-year-old (Jay Baruchel) was funny in Undeclared, FOX's college comedy that was prematurely canned like all of their shows are.

Out of Practice:
Psychologist with two doctor parents and a plastic surgeon brother get involved in family hijinks. CBS's ER meets Alias, perhaps?

E-Ring:
Pentagon-based military story about some sort of urgent situation. NBC's version of 24 meets West Wing and also their Emmy submission for Worst Title Ever.

Invasion:
Hurricane strikes Florida, but maybe it was caused by aliens! ABC's version of X-Files meets Lost, except they already have a Lost!

Criminal Minds:
FBI agents track down serial killers in Quantico. CBS's milking of the CSI franchise.

Killer Instinct:
Detectives investigate heinous crimes in San Francisco. FOX's theft of CBS's Criminal Minds (see also, Wife Swap vs. Trading Spouses, and The Next Great Champ vs. The Contender).

Inconceivable:
Three doctors work at a fertility clinic with hilarious hijinks. NBC's entry in the "We're putting this on Friday night so we don't have to move it to Friday night when it tanks" category.

Last night's premiere of Arrested Development was very funny -- I'm surprised at how good the writers are at devising storylines that tie all the characters together in the ending, even two seasons later. It's like Seinfeld, but funny and not annoying. Kitchen Confidential was pretty flat and won't last long. Bradley Cooper turned in a good performance though.

Now that one of the desperate housewives has won an Emmy, how long before there's a massive catfight on the set and they all end up in the hospital?

Do you have any shows you're looking forward to, or would like to recommend? Leave a comment! Maybe I'll watch it and post a review.

When I first saw it, I saw the big U, and I had to back up just to see if that's what it really said
A Czech town has built a $1800 bridge to protect a handful of squirrels from a busy road, but do not know if they will use it
Rat fink calls hurricane kids "yard apes"

Yesterday's search terms:
jaood footman guide, kitten hasn't pooped in 2 days, prostate cancer survivor jewlery, frequent visits to bathroom

tagged as random | permalink | 16 comments

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Where Are They Now?

When I was a young and impressionable primary schooler at Polk School, I had a friend named Tony who lived a few streets over. Tony is the star of a news update I posted last year about the boy who farted while doing sit-ups. He had a little sister a couple years younger who performed in every single school talent show by doing a dance routine to popular songs by Tiffany, like I Think We're Alone Now with her friend, Emily Beatty.

Tony was a little odd, and he had a particular hang-up on that pivotal friend activity: the sleepover. The one time he slept over at my house, it was in fifth grade and he was unable to sleep in a strange house. This was perfectly understandable even though I was out cold on the air mattress next to his, and he had his parents called up so they could take him home around 10 PM. I slept over at his house sometime later that year and we went to bed around 9 PM. Immediately after lights out, we started the usual chatter/goof-off routine that's tradition for every kind of sleepover. I wrapped a blanket around my shoulders and lurched around his room like I was a mummy, which he didn't find scary in the least bit although he acted more annoyed than anything else. Minutes later, he slipped out of his room and disappeared downstairs.

When he returned, he was accompanied by his parents who quietly pulled me aside and said, "Tony says you're bothering him and he really needs his sleep." The time? It was 9:04. Who goes to bed immediately at a sleepover? That was the last time I ever slept over, and as we moved into junior high, we drifted apart as young friends are wont to do. In seventh grade, he started hanging out with a different crowd and getting into fights at lunch, and after that -- well, I don't know what happened to him. He isn't in a single yearbook after 6th grade and I never heard from him again.

Where have the Tony's of the world disappeared to?

Thief turns himself in
Thief steals computers while on trial for computer theft
Doctor accused of giving stripper a hand

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Review Day / Caption Day

One of the many fine gifts I received for my birthday was the New Yorker Cartoon Caption game from Rebecca, where players try to make up captions for pre-existing cartoons (not unlike the URI! Zone Caption Contest, but with negligible cash prizes). You don't always have to be the funniest or cleverest cartoon to win, because you also get points for guessing who wrote which caption (and sometimes the funniest ones are the most nonsensical ones from the people who couldn't think of anything). Here are some of the funnier answers from a recent round of the game.


"It's my turn to pay, and I ain't fuckin' around!" - Kathy

"Those humans and their bestiality -- look at the ugly kids I got stuck with." - Rebecca

"Cluck the government, cluck the police, and cluck the motherclucking establishment!" - BU

"Fine I'll promote you, just quit grabbing my ass." - Jason
Cultural differences in how the Heimlich Manuever is performed can lead to awkward moments. - Chris

The rules are very simple, and a single game takes about an hour. The most interesting game would probably have 4-5 players at a time -- anymore than that and you start to lose track of players when guessing. There are plenty of cartoons in the game (we barely made it through fifteen in a single game), and they can easily be reused with different crowds.

Bottom Line: A. It's tons of fun and a good mix-in with a round of Apples to Apples!

Man dies after head-attack from unarmed man
Test drive the new pain-gun
Virtual Fence is really really virtual

tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Milestones


BU achieves uncle status (and not just fake-Ahlbin uncle), with Samuel Harold Binder, born on the 17th a month early.


BU earns too many achievement points in Starcraft II.

DDMSence reaches version 1.7.0 and does a bunch of stuff with intelligence markings that you don't care about.

How was your weekend?

Man builds cat-sized village for homeless cats
Shaquille O'Neal Sued For Computer Hacking
Rare sighting in Laos of mysterious beast

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Composing Spotlight: Early Funk-Rock

I was on the road and/or in meetings all day yesterday so I didn't have a chance to compose a Museday excerpt. Instead, I've pulled an old composition from early 1997 out of the cabinet.

Early Funk-Rock (490KB MP3)

This was written in my freshman year of college, in the happy period after I was proficient at the technical and mechanical process of composing, but before I knew any "better" than to use major chords, I-VIIb-VI-V progressions, or write music that people might actually want to listen to outside of a student recital.

I think composers should spend as long as possible in that peppy pocket, before getting swayed by professors who want more wrong notes or colleagues who think that anyone not writing 12-tone music should be dismissed as a non-serious composer. Composing should be fun, and it should be something you do because you want to.

When I was in grad school for music, I recall walking past a gaggle of composers who were commiserating about how awful a particular 20th century composer's music was. I was about to chime in with wholehearted agreement, until I realized that they were only talking about a single movement of a single piece, and quite liked the rest of his body of work.

Qwikster: Not to be Confused With...
Drunk moose gets stuck in apple tree
Two men charged after taking their dead friend for a ride

tagged as music | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Weirdo by Donald Glover:
This is an hour-long stand-up routine by the Community star with the fun Twitter handle of "donglover". He has an engaging, storytelling style of humor, and definitely had enough material for the full hour. His act sometimes struck me as a far raunchier version of Bill Cosby, though nowhere near as raunchy as Dave Attell.

Final Grade: B

Breaking Bad, Season Two:
My Season One review of this show can be summarized as "great, intense, and very grim". Season Two is "great, intense, and not quite as grim", but it's still not going to be on any lists of "relaxing shows to watch after a long day of work". Everything about the show is high-quality, evinced by the framing of camera shots, believability of the actors, and continuity of the storyline. In spite of the overwhelming intensity (or maybe because of it), episodes sometimes feel a little too long, and I occasionally found myself watching with one eye on the TV and one eye on my laptop. I will probably watch another season, but am in no hurry to do so.

Final Grade: B

Beverly Hills Cop:
I somehow managed to make it through my entire childhood without watching this movie. Since it's free on Amazon Prime, and since I used to think that Eddie Murphy was funny, I decided to rectify the situation with a quick screening. Even when intentionally viewed through my "this is how 80s movies are structured" rose-colored glasses, this movie isn't particularly funny or good. All of those 5-star reviews on Amazon must be flavoured with a tablespoon of nostalgia.

Final Grade: D+

Pushing Daises, Season Two Soundtrack:
A pleasant, thematically cohesive soundtrack album from one of my "must-watch" shows. The first season soundtrack is more inviting, but the music on this one is more interesting.

Final Grade: B

tagged as reviews | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, September 20, 2013

List Day: 10 Most Used Electronics / Appliances

  1. Desktop Computer

  2. Laptop Computer

  3. TV / DVD Player

  4. Treadmill

  5. Kindle

  6. Toaster Oven

  7. Microwave

  8. Grill

  9. Beard Trimmer

  10. Cell Phone

tagged as lists | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Plural by Electric Guest:
The follow-up album to Mondo is a little more mature and mellow. It's a good listen, but doesn't have any super-catchy or highly memorable tracks on it.

Final Grade: B

Founder (PG-13):
This movie does a pretty good job of capturing the nationalization of McDonald's, with a perfect role for Nick Offerman. It won't change your life, but it will probably put you in the mood for some fries after it's over. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Rake, Season One:
I only got about three episodes into this show about a disgraced Australian lawyer before I quit -- it wasn't at all bad, but it didn't seem to be going anywhere and there were better things to watch. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: Not Graded

What Happened to Monday:
This sci-fi movie stars Noomi Rapace as seven different sisters who grow up in a dystopian future where parents are only allowed to have one child. Though it immediately recalls Orphan Black in its setup, it chooses instead to be more of a straight-up thriller / action movie. We enjoyed it from start to finish and now recite its movie title any time we wake up on Tuesday after finding that a whole day has been used up taking care of a baby. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, September 20, 2019

List Day: 10 Pieces of Sound Advice from a 40-Year-Old

  1. Work just enough for financial security and a little side pot. Do a little overtime early in your career to understand what it's like and "prove yourself", but don't fall into the trap of thinking that working more is ever necessary. With that in mind...

  2. Base your career around something that you enjoy enough, are reasonably good at, and pays a decent amount. The triangle is critical. By reducing the time and increasing the money involved in your job, you can do what you love on the side. Doing something you love for a living will make you hate it.

  3. If you enter a craft brewery that brews more than 2 sours or 3 IPAs, leave and find a better one.

  4. Do things (like cleaning the house) in small, regular increments. It is far easier to maintain a mostly clean house than it is to Marie Kondo the hell out of it in one giant explosion of productivity. This also applies to waistline maintenance.

  5. The most efficient time to go to Costco is 20 minutes before opening on a Tuesday.

  6. Eat everything anytime you want to. You'll be fine. Except...

  7. Always skip coleslaw. It's awful. If you go through many years of coleslaw hatred and consider trying coleslaw again in case your opinion has changed, you will be wrong.

  8. Have a mix of both interactive and passive hobbies and entertainment options (like video games and TV). This will allow you to tailor your free time to your energy level and make you feel less useless in your downtime.

  9. If you're watching a Netflix Original show and Episode 7 inexplicably goes off on a tangent into a random origin story of one of the characters, you can skip it without any impact on your enjoyment of the overall plot.

  10. Don't accept traffic. Travel in off hours and minimize your commute. You will never get back those hours spent in your car, and no podcast is that good.

tagged as lists | permalink | 3 comments

Monday, September 20, 2021

Ian Week #21 Battle Report

Ian is 21 weeks old (almost 5 months) and weighed 16.6 pounds at his last weigh-in.

He is currently in the phase where he enjoys bored banshee shrieking to the point where it sounds like our upstairs level is infested with pterodactyls. He's always kicking and can press his legs against walls to lift up his entire body and rotate 90 degrees. He holds toys, flips out when he accidentally throws them away, and has started contorting his neck backwards when he knows that a TV is on behind him.

Ian's sleep training went just fine and he currently sleeps through the night (or at least for an uninterrupted 7 hour stretch). Nap training is less successful -- he'll commit to 20 minute snoozes throughout the day but has only deigned to go down in the crib for a formal nap one time.

Still, this is better than his infant sleep routine. In the earliest days, I'd wear him from 8 to midnight while Rebecca slept, since his constant piggy grunts kept waking her up. This evolved into me being able to sing him to sleep while wearing him then depositing him on a bed from 10 until midnight when I gently transferred him upstairs to his crib. Now that he sleeps through the night, we finally moved him into his own room in Maia's hand-me-down crib.

The other new thing is solid foods -- Ian loves eating at the table with us and has tried avocado, squash, lentils, and applesauce. When finished, he wads his bib up and sucks all the nutrients out of it. Waste not, want not.

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

 

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