This Day In History: 09/22

Saturday, September 22, 2001

Not surprisingly, the Hokies beat Rutgers 50-0 today. Last year the score was 49-0, and the year before was 58-20. The bigger college football news was 5th-ranked Florida State's loss to unranked UNC. This should definitely improve Tech's chances for a decent bowl venue.

"As far as I know, the Canadians don't want to get involved too much, and don't really care to get their military over there. I mean sure, it's one guy with a slingshot, but he could at least show up for a day or two." - message board post on why President Bush didn't list Canada as a supporting country in his speech

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Sunday, September 22, 2002

While out grocery shopping this morning, I saw four war protesters outside of the State Capitol. Besides the fact that the Capitol probably wasn't even open today, the futility of protest has to be demoralizing. These people couldn't get more than four people interesting in their cause, and then the highest and most powerful place they can picket in Florida is Tallahassee, this hotbed of democratic conflicts I call home.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

J.J. Abrams' new show, Lost, premieres on ABC tonight. It's getting uniformly rave reviews and the previews look even dopier than the original Alias previews did, so it must be good. Give it a try if you're tired of fare like Trading Spouses and Survivor: Inner Harlem.

What's up with Macy Gray doing another remix of "Walk This Way"? It just sounds horrible.

Review of Lost
The Jon Stewart and Undecided Voter Connection

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

On Friday afternoon, I'm taking a weekend trip down to Tallahassee to visit the few remaining FSU people still clinging to the Spanish-moss-coated city like barnacles on a dry-docked hull. Florida-Mike and Florida-Kathy each chipped in a quarter of the cost of plane tickets for my birthday which was quite nice of them. I think it's ridiculous, though, that the flight from here to Florida is twice as expensive as a flight from here to San Diego, our country's Mexican outpost on the far seas. I'll be back on Sunday, so you probably won't miss any news updates in my absence.

I lived in Tallahassee and went to FSU for grad school from August 2001 (when these daily updates started) until April 2003, except for the summer of 2002 where I was a societal parasite by living rent-free in Anna's parents' house in Chantilly. I wasn't in Florida for long enough to really make a mark, so I never totally considered it to be my home. Since I left, I've kept in touch with a few old friends, but no one in the music faculty at all, and I've missed the people without really missing the place. I haven't been back since my departure, so I'm looking forward to seeing what's changed and visiting the ghosts of my past.

I wouldn't change my decision to go to FSU, even in favour of some of those prestigious-in-their-own-minds Midwest schools I got into, because I learned a lot about myself in those two years. I learned that I love teaching as much as I loved conducting. I learned that I hate most "contemporary" music that composers are writing these days, and that I would never survive a career where I had to keep pretending I liked it, or had to write it myself. I learned that the art of composing is a finite resource, and that I would rather not do it as a career, than be churning out derivative garbage fifty years from now. I learned that office politics are stronger and more annoying in the academic world than the business world, and that for every passionate professor there's one that's just phoning it in for tenure. Most importantly, I learned that I needed to stop preparing for life and just start living it. Up to that point, I spent far too much time waiting for good things to happen and bemoaning the fate of my life's timeline. I'm sure most college graduates go through that phase where they're leery about entering the "real world" because they don't feel ready or they haven't met their future husbands and wives, and for me, going to grad school was an easy-out that turned into a solid eye-opener. Now, I'm forward-moving again, and if good things happen to come along, then I'm perfectly ready for them. Looking back on the last two years, I'd say this philosophy has served me quite well.

Ultimately, I just felt like I had to escape the oppressive blanket of Southern slowness that permeates all aspects of life down there . I'm a Northern Virginia yuppy through and through, and will probably drive 70 miles an hour and live within five miles of a Costco for the rest of my life. Kathy will probably say that I'm bashing "the Hassee" if I end this post now, so here is a list of many of the good things I remember -- it's not all bad:

  • Living alone in my cinderblock one-bedroom apartment across from the graveyard.
  • Getting Popeyes chicken once a week from the Popeyes one block away.
  • Adopting Booty (Booty didn't like Tallahassee either though, she kept peeing on everything. She hasn't peed inappropriately since I moved back to Virginia).
  • Teaching the musical retards (the freshmen held back for failing the music entrance exam who everyone dismissed, when in most cases, they just didn't know how to read Alto Clef, or something equally obscure). They were much more fun than the musical know-it-alls.
  • Exploring a different beach or forest on the Florida panhandle every week and taking pictures of sunrises.
  • Flirting with impressionable undergrads in the music library (after making sure they weren't in my classes, of course).
  • Writing my Master's thesis, the only composition from that period which wasn't half-baked.
  • Losing every single game on the Music Theory basketball team (and getting so light-headed at one game from sprinting that I thought we were winning when the score was 90-20 or something).
  • Late nights at Mike's playing pool, Scrabble, painting, Super Smash Brothers, or "Chase Chompy around the Pool Table".

Another memory I have is arguing with a wasted composer in a parking lot for forty-five minutes before he let me drive his car back to his apartment, then sprinting a mile out of the unsafe ghetto to my place, past the homeless shelter and the streets with no lights. I don't think that's a good one though, just memorable.

Happy Birthday Judy!

New cat conspiracy involves suicide bombers
Leave your spearguns and nunchakus out of your carry-on bag
Unleash the Chomp, rather, the Chang

Yesterday's search terms:
peta / arkansas razorbacks, oregon institute of technology owl mascot, statistic of pet feeder, evil clown wav

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Fragments

♣ Like a dead pigeon blown off the 40th floor of the Empire State Building, my Warcraft time has fallen dramatically since I "won". This gives me more time for a smattering of Renaissance Man pursuits like composing, reading, exercising, and organizing my life, and Lazy Boy pursuits like sleeping and watching DVDs. I also touch my cats, but in the tactile petting sense, and not the role model sense.

♣ I've started my almost-annual reading of the Light and Shadow series by Janny Wurts which is both a blessing and a curse. I love this series and almost know it by heart, uncovering new layers of meaning and symbolism every time I read it, but I also can't just read one book -- I have to read the series in its entirety. This means that I have about five thousand more pages to go, which is only sad because I know that the ending isn't written yet, and that the last book ends on something of a cliffhanger.

♣ There are only a few things that I wholeheartedly recommend to my friends, like Alias and Memento. These books would be on that short list if they weren't so complex and intimidating. Wurts has a frightening grasp on the power of the English language and creates a world so ridiculously multifaceted that it could never be turned into a movie. I actually managed to convince two people to read this long ago. Ray was bored halfway through the first book and I'm not sure if Paige ever finished it. Still, it's a rewarding read, in that you will get as much out of it as you put into reading it -- it's just not for everyone.

♣ I seem to wax poetic about these books every year and a half or so on this site, but that doesn't matter, because most of you probably don't even remember what I wrote about last month. I should try to beat the system by finding topics I wrote about in years past and reposting them with different graphics. That's what I learned in my five years of undergrad.

♣ I also finished the second season of LOST, in time for the third season's premiere on October 4th. The season finale is, in my opinion, Really Really Good TV™. I don't like the direction they took Michael's character in this season though (next sentence has minor first season spoilers). If I had to listen to him cry out "They took my boy!" one more time I would have thrown a coaster through the TV screen. I blame the actor playing Walt for going through that whole puberty thing. I like how they made him hunch over in the few scenes he was in, so we'd think he was still tiny.

♣ All TV shows tend to lose their touch when the child actors noticeably grow up (See also, Home Improvement and Roseanne). They need to invent some non-invasive technology that makes child actors permanently children à la Farinelli. Think of the entertainment value for the general public!

♣ This weekend, I have some tentative lunch plans, and am also taking care of Anna's cats in Manassas while she and Ben flit off to a wedding in Pittsburgh. I plan to use the rest of the weekend to really dig into some meaty composing time. Next weekend will be my busy one, since I'll be weddinging in New Jersey, then coming home to help Kim move.

♣ Kim is moving one building over, to a larger apartment. Tragically, I'll return from New Jersey one day too late to move the five-thousand pound television set. Tragic.

♣ Happy Birthday Judy! Have a greet weekend, everyone!

CBC head quits after defecation, bestiality remarks
Who's arresting who?
Couple arrested in rock-throwing siege

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend Wrapup

On Friday night, we went to Jack's newly renovated kitchen in Arlington to play poker and sample home-brewed beer. Kathy came in first, followed by Kristy, and I clocked in at fifth place (which becomes first place after artificially weighting the score because of my minority status).

I finished watching the second season of Heroes on Saturday, which wasn't nearly as bad as the reviews would indicate, although the Maya storyline got old very quickly and could have been discarded. David Anders was a great guest star, but the only thing I could think of in Kristen Bell's scenes was "Veronica Mars can shoot lightning bolts from her hands!"

The dinner choice on Saturday night was Big Bowl in the Reston Town Center where I had calamari and a (suitably big) bowl of chicken dumpling soup. We then went to the theatre to watch Ghost Town which was highly amusing. Ricky Gervais doesn't fall on the short list of expected lead actors in a romantic comedy, but he definitely makes this one worth watching.

On Sunday, we drove farther out into the wilderness of Virginia to attend the Bluemont Fair, where a $10 entrance fee got us access to a wine tasting and the fair at large (complete with llamas). We discovered a dessert wine that didn't suck, and ate fried Oreos near the goat pen.

After returning to civilization, we cooked up a delicious meal of shrimp linguini in a creamy cheesy herb sauce and gave Amber a new kitted cat toy from the fair, packed with highly potent homegrown cat weed. Booty doesn't care about new toys, but got to lick up some of the creamy cheesy herb sauce.

What did you on the last weekend of summer?

Officials to pave over groovy road
Brother says he was stabbed over a Hot Pocket
Voting Republican may be a survival response

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Newsday Tuesday

Flu Trackers Encourage Patients to Blog About It

Think you have the flu? In some places, you can now go directly to the Internet and report your symptoms to officials eager to spot outbreaks. Say you feel sick, but before you see a doctor you search the Web for information, or blog or Twitter about the flu. Your worries will be detected by companies prowling the Internet for disease trends.

Researchers suggest a preemptive exclusion of Myspace from its monitoring, since the symptoms of being emo or "a member of a thrash metal band that hasn't quite made it big" are textually identical to the flu, resulting in too many false positives.

And someday, scientists hope, this "infodemiology" might help forecast and track a flu epidemic the way experts monitor the weather.

In other words, "mostly inaccurately". Early warning systems will anticipate a high pressure flu outbreak over the greater metropolitan area, which will actually turn out to be a light misting from someone's sneezes.

Google's public Flu Trends system, for example, is designed to pick up early clues by tracking and analyzing Internet searches for flu information. [...] Because people often search for information on the Web before going to a doctor, the system can provide an early warning of trouble [...]

Google has already used this technology to anticipate when other trends will crest, such as the outbreak of STDs ("it hurts when i pee"), the high probability of future nudity from Rachel McAdams ("hot chick nude"), and popular trends in venture capitalism ("mowable marijuana").

Other companies and programs scan live Web chatter for mentions of, or reports about, the flu. Boston-based HealthMap's automated system sends out an hourly Web "crawler" that hunts for flu information in seven languages.

HealthMap administrators ensure that you can opt out of this service by writing "Disallow: /" on your face.

Its creators on Tuesday launched a cellphone application called "Outbreaks Near Me" that can alert users to illnesses nearby. "If you move into a zone where there's an outbreak, your phone would actually alert you," said John Brownstein, assistant professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital in Boston [...]

As a public service, Apple has agreed to launch an ad campaign to promote proper flu treatment.

In Singapore, scientists have gone a step further, testing a system called FluLog that could use Bluetooth cellphone technology to locate people who had been in proximity to someone who has become infected.

Cynics have noted that using Bluetooth technology to spread the virus would be more sensible, as it would reduce the number of people wearing those ridiculous earpieces in public.

The CDC currently has a network of 2,500 doctors nationwide that reports flulike illness on a daily or weekly basis [...]. And the CDC issues a weekly public report on the Internet called Fluview.

CDC officials reported being disappointed at the rather bland name of their report, but noted that Floogle, iNfluenza, Yaflu!, TheFluegelhorn, and TheFluperficial were snapped up too quickly by domain name squatters. However, they confirmed that the Spanish-language edition of their report, Fluego, will be online in a matter of weeks.

Fast food surprise lodged in man's lung
Terrorist blessed with explosive diarrhea
Teacher disciplined for unusual creative writing assignment

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Random Chart Day

The overlay is left as an exercise for the reader, although crossing correlation and causation is conceivably counterfactual.

This Is the Worst Heroin-Smuggling Plan You Have Ever Heard
Wind could have parted Red Sea for Moses?
Hurricane Karl releases the crocodiles

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:
The Hunger games trilogy is another set of "dystopian future" books which, at times, reminded me of Ender's Game with more believable characterizations. In this future, the populations of the once rebellious Districts must send two children to compete in a yearly Survivor-like game, a game which the authoritarian Capitol broadcasts for the entertainment of its pamepered elite.

The hardest part of writing good science fiction or fantasy is to introduce the world of the story without obviously introducing it. The setting is conveyed here very naturally with a minimum of exposition, although the flashbacks occasionally last a little too long. The main characters are believable and sympathetic and kept me reading quickly to the end. There's a fair amount of violence for a teen series, but it doesn't feel gratuitous at all.

Final Grade: B

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins:
I'm a fan of any series where the plot deepens rather than broadens as the series progresses (for example, the Empire series by Janny Wurts versus the Matrix movies which really had nothing to add after the first movie). Collins enriches the backdrop she introduced in the previous book, and this book really gives a good context to the struggles of the main characters. The setting of the last third of the book is a little too convenient, but I still couldn't put it down.

Final Grade: B

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins:
The final book definitely stumbles, but provides a logical and consistent ending to the series (although it might not be the ending people want or expect). I feel like this book could have been trimmed a bit, since it's the only one that dragged, and it suffers from a few too many supporting characters that are never fleshed out enough to remember. I also felt like something was off during the pacing of the last sections of the book -- it felt jumpy and disjunct, not unlike trying to drive on the I-495 in Virginia between Great Falls and Springfield.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the series overall, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys this kind of story.

Final Grade: C+

Gunmen dump 35 bodies on busy avenue in Mexico
Kindergartner brings mother's crack pipe to show and tell
French boy finds 30-year-old human fingers in jar

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

  • Friday
    • Took an evening walk through the common grounds in our neighbourhood. Saw 1 deer.
    • Ate Cornish game hen for dinner and watched Amazon Pilots all evening.
  • Saturday
    • Did a Costco run for toilet paper and pork loins.
    • Stayed in while Rebecca went out to dish with Amanda. Downloaded Assassin's Creed IV because it was in a Steam Sale, but have not yet played it.
  • Sunday
    • Drove Rebecca's car to my parents' house to check on a potential oil leak with the right array of tools.
    • Caught up on Hearthstone daily quests.
    • Went to dinner at Ted's Bulletin with Rebecca's parents. Nice ambience but everything was seasoned with the taste of char (the blackened crust from searing, not the Zerg homeworld or Rebecca's step-mom).

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weird Search Day

or "How I Stumbled Upon the URI! Zone"

  • narration of a trip through florida to disney world including all expenses,tourist destinations and routes taken. you must also visit at least one relative on the trip and spend the night at their house. that teens created
    There are probably better choices of plagiarism material than a personal vacation log -- is that really something you couldn't create on your own? Won't your teacher find out when you talk about staying the night at your Grandpa Shostakovich's house when your surname is Chopra? Save the plagiarism for the thematic essay on Robert Frost, and churn out some BS for this assignment.

  • paddling upstream applet

  • happy birthday shams
    • the continuing copyright on the Happy Birthday song
    • Getting the free birthday desert without first confirming it's free
    • giving someone a present that's a donation in their name to a charity
    • Forcing your published age into an exponential limit as it approaches a round decade, such that you never actually age

  • Female closet shitting videos less than 4mb
    If you really want to watch someone poop in the closet, just buy a dog. Thanks though, for conserving bandwidth while searching out your fetish.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Maia Week #11 Battle Report

Maia is now 11 weeks old and somewhere in the 11-12 pound range. The Internet says she should gain a pound a week for the remainder of her life so she should be at a healthy 260 pounds when she's five years old (The math is sound).

At this age, Maia recognizes us with a smile whenever we enter her field of view and can grab a burp cloth with both hands to stuff in her mouth like she's in a hot dog eating contest. Today she grabbed a rattle and shook it. She still hates day naps, but we're getting better at recognizing the paradoxical state of overtiredness so meltdowns occur less often. We do an awful lot of singing these days, namely Senor Don Gato (the best song ever written), as well as Little White Duck and Itsy Bitsy Spider. Maia recognizes all of these and wiggles with anticipation when we begin. I also invent songs on the fly about the characters in her Enrichment Jungle and will share a few of those next week.

This past week was Rebecca's first week back at work as a Physical Therapist Assistant. She's gone for 8 hours a day, including commute, on Monday through Thursday, and then has Friday off. The first 4 days of Stay-At-Home-Dad life have gone pretty well -- Maia likes bottles and I sometimes have about 10 minutes of my own free time to start a game of Overwatch (I really need to install an older game that can be paused -- maybe back to Torchlight 2 or Fallout 4?).

Raising a small human is not a hard job per se -- it's just very demanding of all of one's faculties. As an introvert, I'm surprised at how socially drained I am after spending all day with someone who doesn't even respond in conversations. Babies are like anti-cats in that regard, as cats imbue introverts with energy while babies slowly leach it out, like Daddy is a gas range in a house from the 1960s. Luckily, I can do the chore-y and schedule-y portions of the job in my sleep because that's how I'm built, so I have more energy in reserve after the draining.

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

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What's Maia Up To Day

At age 4 1/3, Maia has become the coolest little girl I know. She has tons of empathy, and will often save parts of her dessert to share with Rebecca. She also likes making cards for people's birthdays.

She has gotten totally used to having a little brother now and will help out with small tasks like bringing a stuffed animal to calm him down or picking out his wardrobe for the day. She recognizes when he needs our attention and will play or read quietly until our attention can be redirected back to her again.

Her favorite foods are chocolate, bacon, and mac and cheese, with runner-ups being grilled cheese sandwiches, pesto, and whatever I'm eating for breakfast. Her favorite physical activity is jumping on the couch and she spends at least 40% of each day in a headstand on the couch.

A game we commonly play after dinner is "Stop and Go". She runs around the table on the screen porch and we give her commands, interspersed with trivia questions like "What is your favorite Berenstain Bear book?" and "What's 2 + 2?" When we run out of questions for her (about 15 minutes in), she'll take over and command herself like an autonomous robot.

On the video game front, we have finished both Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Ori and the Will of the Wisps. I am now teaching her how to play Mario Kart 8, which has a toggled feature that keeps the cars on the track so she can play all by herself. She is holding her own in the 50cc races, usually ending up in 4th place overall, and just learned how to shoot her items at other racers. I am disappointed that she will grow up in an era where blue shells (the most poorly-designed item) have always existed -- someday I will dust off the Super Nintendo and play Mario Kart the way it was originally intended.

Maia has also learned how to blame farts on Ian.

tagged as offspring | permalink | 2 comments

 

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