This Day In History: 09/23

Sunday, September 23, 2001

I've added a Coding page to the URI! Domain. Currently, it's just a storehouse of old C++ and Java code, including the newly released source code for my Sliding Tile Puzzle and my Battle Report. In the coming months, I'd like to post my work on the musical pattern recognizer idea there (I really need to come up with a witty acronym sooner than later).

I have a problem with all of Florida's major state parks charging admission fees. I realize that parks and recreation aren't prominent budget items these days and I wouldn't mind contributing a couple bucks, but charging $3.25 per car plus $1.00 per person in the car just to park and walk around seems a little excessive. This morning, I visited the entrance to Wakulla Springs State Park (admission required), walked around the underwhelming Fort San Marcos, drove through the yuppified Oak Point Island, and walked around Shell Point (a small beach town that's seen better days). I have yet to find anything comparable to the parks and hiking trails of Virginia, but the search will continue...

"I am very well aware that French composers do the opposite, but not everything is good simply because it originates in France or has a French name. Otherwise, the disgusting epidemic called the French disease would soon be held in high esteem as well." - Friedrich Niedt, on using the Piccardy third (1700)

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Monday, September 23, 2002

Portal of Evil news was outsquatted when it came time to renew their name, so their old site is now a Hong Kong scam site. If you read the site at all, you can now find it at www.poe-news.com, instead of www.poenews.com.

Our president's stellar approach to foreign policy again comes to the fore in his latest doctrine . I especially like how it refers to the US as the 'world's only superpower' -- it'll be great for provoking just the kind of threat Bush is worried about. Thank goodness there's nothing worth blowing up down here.

Well, maybe Wakulla Springs. Bombing the alligator boat ride would be a serious detriment to democracy.

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Lost was actually pretty good. It's hard to write suspense and tension into a TV show and have it somewhat believably portrayed. The stew of characters thrown on the island together should make for some interesting character studies as the show goes on.

Cheerleaders suspected of assault
Speeding at 205 mph
Diebold spokesman David Bear said by phone that no one would risk manipulating votes in an election because it's against the law and carries a heavy penalty. OH NO.
Wife mistaken for a monkey

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Fragments

  • In honor of my trip back to Tallahassee this weekend, I shaved off my goatee, so now I look exactly like I did when I lived there. Actually, I'd been considering shaving for a few weeks, since I've had the fuzz for about two years and I wanted a change. This is coming from the guy who rearranges the furniture in his house at least twice a year. My chin is now as smooth as a baby's ass, and I bet my being carded at the grocery store would increase by 15%, except for the fact that they already card me 100% of the time.

  • I don't know if it's legal to use "baby" and "ass" in the same sentence unless your baby is trekking through the Nevada wilderness on the back of a donkey, so just presume that that is the case.

  • Last week, a virtual plague hit the online world in World of Warcraft . Players found that they could contract the disease from an end-game monster and then teleport home before dying to spread the disease to other players. Apparently the administrators of each gaming realm tried to quarantine the infected players, but people kept escaping until the plague spread all over the world. I hear that weather effects are the next thing to be implemented in one of the next patches. How long before Hurricane Booty hits Orgrimmar and people's Maine Coons (I mean, Black Tabbies) are in danger?

  • Don't forget to fill up on gas today to avoid the automatic surge in prices that will occur after Hurricane Rita makes landfall. My friend who posts under the moniker Oompa Loompa Girl, her husband, and their woofer, Chewy Chomp, (or some similar name with Chew in it) have already fled Houston for parts unknown. When I lived in Tallahassee, only one hurricane ever came far enough inland to reach the city (about thirty miles inland) and by then it was just a bunch of rain. I was on the second floor so I barely noticed, but I'm sure the first floor had fun being flooded with swimming roaches. There were roaches everywhere down South.

  • On the subject of hurricane pets, some lawmakers are introducing a bill requiring evacuation plans to include pets, in hopes that more people will leave if they know their pet will be safe . I approve.

  • I have a program that parses my server logs every day so I can see all the cute things that random visitors and Rob Kelley type into Google to get to my site. Recently, I've noticed a massive increase in URLs for online poker and pharmaceuticals. People have actually written programs that automatically visit websites and dump their advertising URLs into server logs, which seems pretty silly, because who's ever going to see their efforts besides the guy in charge of the site? I should download such a program and spam the Internet with www.itsatrap.net.

  • The Quiznos ads from a couple years back with the crazy fuzzy monkey cut-outs singing were really awesome. These new ones with the talking babies are the complete opposite of awesome (awesome * -1 for Math majors). Babies with superimposed moving lips that sound like adults are creepy, and do not make me want to buy any subs. In other sub news, the Subway Sub Club is no more:. I always saved those little stickers, but I never had enough on me at any given time to qualify for a free sub. There would be three in my wallet, two in my desk, and a few more in the cubbyhole of my car.

  • Speaking of creepy, here are a few things I find creepy: dolls that go to sleep when horizontal but wake up when vertical, contortionists, and old-looking buildings in the middle of nowhere. We went to see Exorcism of Emily Rose last night and it included all of the above. For a hybrid movie that's half courtroom drama and half horror, it was very scary. I've never understood how movie people can just go back to sleep after unexplained scary stuff wakes them up in the middle of the night. Someday there should be a smart heroine that gets the hell out of town as soon as weird stuff starts happening. It would be a short movie, but much more realistic.

  • Ruby Tuesday has changed their menu again since last Saturday. I won't tell you how I know this, since it would be incriminating to admit that I've eaten at the same restaurant twice in the same week. Hypothetically speaking, if I had eaten at Ruby Tuesday last night, the menu change would not have affected me, since I would have just gotten their tasty chicken fingers again .

  • I don't always order chicken fingers when I go out to eat -- it just looks that way because Ruby Tuesday's are so good that I get them whenever I hypothetically eat there. Everywhere else, I get a burger or popcorn shrimp. My basic food groups are: meat, cheese, potatoes, seafood, and chocolate. Correction, seafood is limited to seafood you don't have to work at to eat. Why waste all that time cracking open a crab for an Asian-sized sliver of crab meat when you can eat 90% of a shrimp without any effort besides chewing?

  • I'm flying out of Dulles this afternoon after work. Hopefully the scattered thunderstorms won't affect my flight times, since I actually have one of the rare flights that doesn't require sitting in Atlanta for three hours twiddling various parts of my body. I will be back on Sunday at 3:33 pm. This is almost like 2:22 but nowhere near a sexciting. Sexciting was a typo, but I left it in because it's cute. I presumed sexciting would be a noun describing a Class A sexual misdemeanor, but a search on Google reveals that most people think it's an adjective. Have a good weekend!

  • The Clinton condom will be the top of the line. The Monicondom is not quite as good.
    Making mosquitoes pee
    Cops mistake sunflowers for marijuana

    Yesterday's search terms:
    hokie paraphernalia, information about john bellair the author the spooky writer, "fitness made simple" lyrics, you are sick creon!, "nuclear launch detected" carnage, does macado's take hokie passport, dental utilization the iceberg theory

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    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    Museday Tuesday

    Owlish: (adj.) Resembling or characteristic of an owl

    My Composition (0:32 MP3)

    This excerpt is written for string section and percussion. Instead of directly composing a piece that felt owlish, I decided to write from the perspective of the mice being pursued by said owl.

    Austin welcomes rescue squirrels
    Idaho cheerleaders ditch skimpy uniforms after fan complaints
    Analyzing music the digital way

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    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    Weird Search Day

    or "How I stumbled upon the URI! Zone"

  • applebees operational flow charts
    Applebee's is a shallow organizational structure, with the bulk of employees reporting directly to Mr. Applebee. In the event of the catastrophic loss of the CEO, the strongest employees will have a food fight to determine who will succeed him. My money is on the server armed with "con sizzle".

  • Reston Town Center drug dealer
    I highly doubt that someone in this line of work advertises their services on the Internet. Your best bet would be to visit the town center in person and sidle up to shady individuals near the fountain, asking them if they "have a cousin named Sven".

  • trajectory chart for crossbow bolts

    Instead of trusting that I actual remember anything from my 1998 Newtonian physics courses, you could just assume that the trajectory can be calculated without taking into account gravity or air resistance, since crossbows were invented and used in an era before either one was invented. In this case, the bolt will travel forever at constant speed, especially if Kevin Costner pretending to be an Englishman is the marksman and he is shooting at another crossbow bolt while the camera trails from behind.

  • what is one way of showing the earth on a flat piece of paper called?
    Drawing a map? Early Babylonian blasphemy? Photocopying an atlas?

  • bulk velveeta shells and cheese
    This is really the only way to purchase Shells and Cheese and not face an inadvertent shortage at some point. I generally have two five-packs of Shells and Cheese in my cupboard at any given time (except for the unfortunate months when Costco tried to promote "Annie's Mac and Cheese" as an alternative -- great cheddar, but it was not laced with the addictive additives one might find in Velveeta).

  • flaunting cleavage at the poker table

    This is actually one strategy I haven't tried at the poker table, although it might have more success than distracting with chocolate pie or playing bad pop music in the background. I'll be sure to try it out in the next poker game.

  • cups and balls craigslist
    If you are a budding magician and need secondhand supplies from Craigslist, your first step would be to go to Craigslist and do a search. I am not selling my cups or my balls.

  • is chad kroeger building a house in mexico?
    I'm not really sure what this obsession with Chad Kroeger is all about. I suppose that if you need someone to recite ninth-grade poetry in a voice that sounds like the forceful expulsion of the lungs, spleen, and duodenum, you might have a need for him. That talent does not necessarily make him a trustworthy carpenter.

  • picture of carp feces

  • are meal worms inside big macs?
    Big Macs are probably far more food than such an organism could eat in a single sitting, so if they have discovered such a bountiful food supply, I'm guessing they are happy meal worms.

  • bloodelf manawyrm dildo
    Please cancel your World of Warcraft subscription, back away from the computer, and get a girlfriend, or at least one night of companionship in a seedy motel.

  • shannon lucio fake naked pics

    This searcher did ask for fake pictures, after all. That definitely isn't John Basedow's body.

  • Cops caught playing Wii on the job
    Identical lottery draw was a coincidence
    Taser and handcuffs used on militant emu

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    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Ghost Day

    Early this morning, at 12:11 AM, I was visited by the pitter-patter of ghost raccoons on my roof. It sounded as if each one of the roofing shingles had transmogrified into a scampery mammal (a scammal), raced up and down the length of the roof, and then on cue, ran to the corner of the house over our bed and rolled off of the drainpipe in waves. The duration of the event was two to three minutes, so I was solidly awake by the end.

    This would be creepy and something of an anomaly (not unlike reading ten Amazon reviews and not finding a single one complaining about the shipping rather than the product) if it had not ALSO happened five years ago in an identical manner.

    Why would ghost scammals visit my house every five years around the First Day of Fall? Will it happen again in 2015? Share your best hypotheses in the Comments section!

    Hosni Mubarak left red faced over doctored red carpet photo
    Secrets in Plain Sight in Censored Book's Reprint
    Paleontologists Discover World's Horniest Dinosaur

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    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Movie Day

    By popular demand, here is a video from my 9th birthday in 1988.

    Man details sexual relationship with dolphin in book
    U.S. porn magnate funds $1 million quest to embarrass governor
    Koalas need tunnels and speed limits

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    Monday, September 23, 2013

    Weekend Wrap-up

    To celebrate the turning of the seasons and make up for the fact that we never host stuff anymore, we had a Fall Barbeque on Sunday afternoon. Tired of dogs and burgers, I went high class in the grilling department and cooked up blackened chicken breasts and grilled tomatoes with mozzarella cheese. We even managed to get a few court neighbours to show up.

    Because it was fall-themed, everyone showed up with Sam Adams sampler packs, which means we now have more beer than we know what to do with in our fridge (along with two prepped chicken breasts and six tomatoes). If you are hungry tonight and would like a plate of chicken with beer, please stop by.

    Besides the Barbeque and preparations surrounding it, the rest of the weekend was low-key. I played some more Skyrim and started the new Tomb Raider game, which was on sale last weekend for $12, but got bored after the 50th "mash this button on your keyboard to pretend that you are actually interacting in this cutscene" event.

    How was your weekend?

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    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    HIGI Day: Computer Programming

    "How I Got Into..." my habits and pastimes

    • Fall 1986: My parents purchase Zork I for our monochrome 8086. I spent every evening after first grade classes playing the game, occasionally getting stuck.

    • 1987: I decide to get into the game-writing business, and write my first text adventure in the arcane programming language called "WordPerfect 4.2". My parents patiently explain that writing the transcript of a game session in a word processor isn't sufficient for an actual game.

    • 1987: My parents introduce me to the version of GW-BASIC bundled with MS-DOS 3.2 and how it can be used to write games. Every subsequent birthday for many years would include one of those books full of programs that you could type into the computer.

    • 1987 - 1990: I wrote a trilogy of bad text adventures, Zendof, The Sword of Tholin, and Perils of Replocian, in GW-BASIC, featuring puzzles lifted from other Infocom games and Invisiclues hintbooks printed on a dot matrix printer.

    • 1994: At the request of Jack Wilmer, to bug his little sister, Julie, I learned how to code MS-DOS Batch files. After he installed my file, the computer would insult her every time she tried to play Eco-Quest: The Search for Cetus.

    • 1996: My parents encourage me to have a sensible backup major because music won't make any money, so I go to Virginia Tech with a double major in Music and CS.

    • 1996: My first programming class is in C++, and one of the assignments asks us to process shipping packages with three possible attributes (like overnight, extra bulky, and insured). My solution of assigning each attribute the numbers 1, 2, and 4, and then being able to tell which attributes are set based on the range 0-7 is called out in class as being "quite clever" by the Irish professor -- apparently I also invented binary addition.

    • 1997 - 1999: All subsequent programming classes are in Java 1.3, because it's a hip technology. No one is good at teaching object-oriented programming yet, so we spend a lot of class time in group projects creating triangles and squares on a canvas. That assclown, Shane, borrows my Java book at the end of the semester and then never returns it, denying me $4 in sellback profit.

    • 1999 - 2000: I write a real text adventure called Augmented Fourth in the Inform 6 language, which has more square braces and semicolons than the emoticons in an AOL IM convo.

    • 2000: I grow disillusioned with the personalities in my CS classes and decide to go to grad school for music.

    • 2002: After two summers of interning at a company with a minimum of CS personalities, I decide to stop my music education and go into computer programming full time.

    • 2003: I plunge into computer programming full-time, doing mostly Java work.

    • 2009 - 2011: My work morphs from 100% programming into a mulatto blend of programming, data standards, and translating programmers' thoughts for manager consumption.

    • 2010: I become an open-source developer as an outlet for the lack of programming I do at work. Programming is obviously in my BLOOD.

    • 2012: I spend a year doing zero programming while being a tech lead on a dangerously political government data standard where 10% of the work has technical acumen and the other 90% is dodging political sniping. I spend an exorbitant amount of time in an edit war on its Wikipedia page, where the standard's detractors try to change the verb tenses to past tense in order to convince the brass that the standard is obviously dead ("Wikipedia says so.")

    • 2013: The standard actually does die, and I go back to my mulatto-blend job.

    • Today: I have been at the same company since I started interning there in 2000. I'm currently responsible for the transition of a legacy WebLogic JavaEE enterprise service to open-source technologies, which is exactly what I was doing in 2006. I supplement this dearth of interesting work with lots of online coursework, new languages, and continued open-source development. I have not composed a song longer than one minute in length since December 2011.

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    Wednesday, September 23, 2015

    Time-lapsed Blogography Day

    BU at multiple data points

    • 21 years ago today, on September 23, 1994, I played in the pep band in a Fall Sports pep rally (which was useless other than to give us an early dismissal schedule full of field hockey skirts), and then worked in the evening for the Alexandria Symphony setting up the stage for a rehearsal.

    • 20 years ago today, on September 23, 1995, I went to a barbeque at Ada Holland's house, whose dad was apparently well-known for his grilled sausages.

    • 16 years ago today, on September 23, 1999, I was in the marching band at the VT-Clemson game, where we won 31-11 and Corey Moore had a sack, forced fumble, and touchdown all on the same play.

    • 14 years ago today, on September 23, 2001, I came up with the name / acronym for my open-source music library: PRIMA, or Pattern Recognition and Identification through Melodic Analysis. It could programmatically identify and transpose musical scales with proper enharmonics in all keys and modes.

    • 10 years ago today, on September 23, 2005, I got on a plane to Tallahassee for a weekend visit with Kathy, Returned Mike, and Chompy. The air conditioning was busted on the plane, so they made us sit in the cabin for an hour while they fixed it.

    • 9 years ago today, on September 23, 2006, I took care of Kitty and Sydney in Manassas while Anna and Ben went to a Pittsburgh wedding.

    • 3 years ago today, on September 23, 2012, I met Rebecca's distant cousin, Pam, as she moved through the area on her way back to Oklahoma.

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    Friday, September 23, 2016

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Limitless, Season One:
    This short-lived TV series picks up where the "forgettably entertaining" Bradley Cooper movie left off, and even uses him as an occasional guest star. Telling the tale of a burnout who takes a drug that expands his mind's potential and starts solving cases for the FBI, this show maintains a very consistent tone of light comedy that never veers too deeply into melodrama. It's very much a network show so it won't challenge you much, but is a pleasant joyride with a solid, cohesive plot that gradually deepens over the season. The show was cancelled after one season, but the finale has a very good ending that wraps everyone's storyline up nicely. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B+

    You're Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day:
    This is a pleasant, quick read that barely stuck with me at all after I was done. As a memoir, it seems to skip hefty chunks of time, but the tone strikes a good balance between actual content and "being quirky". As a fan of The Guild, I found the sections on World of Warcraft interesting, but someone not familiar with Felicia Day's acting or web shows probably wouldn't get much out of this. I finished it in about a day.

    Final Grade: B-

    Love Stuff by Elle King:
    I bought this album partly because of the single, Exes and Ohs, but mostly because I needed to get my Amazon basket up over $25 to get some much-needed Add-On items shipped. With few expectations, I was surprised by a solid album of southern rock. Her voice occasionally goes into "ugly country" timbre, but the songs are consistently well-written and catchy.

    Final Grade: B

    IT Crowd, Special:
    The Brits love their Christmas specials, and this one provides an epilogue to the series finale from Season Four. As an extended episode, it takes a bit to get going, but eventually reaches the levels of absurd humour seen in the older episodes. Definitely watch if you're a fan of the show. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

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    Monday, September 23, 2019

    Invention Day: IoT Mouse Trap

    The latest idea from the BU skunkworks is an Internet-of-Things-enabled mouse trap.

    My mouse trap would allow you to avoid the unpleasant situation where the trap has sprung in a low-traffic area (like the basement crawlspace) during the hottest days of the month. As you search out the source of Death's miasma two weeks too late, you discover a bloated mouse corpse that has already begun to become one with the concrete floor. You jostle the trap while scooping everything up for sealed disposal and the corpse gently pops open to reveal literal scores of adult maggots, like the worst surprise birthday stripper in a cake ever.

    Technology has progressed too far to accept that this situation still occurs.

    The IoT Mouse Trap will send an SMS notification to your cell phone as soon as the trap has sprung. Complex machine learning algorithms will include a probability score in the text for MOUSE / NOT MOUSE to avoid false positives from chaotic sprickets and toddler fingers. The trap will also integrate with existing Amazon Ring cameras so the data can be abused by local police forces whenever someone breaks into the neighborhood Cheese Shop.

    As a stretch goal, the IoT Mouse Trap will come equipped with tiny motors and be able to communicate with other IoT Mouse Traps to subtly move towards a potential mouse based on motion sensors. The result will be similar to the velociraptor pack hunting scenes from Jurassic Park.

    Support my Kickstarter today!

    tagged as inventions | permalink | 4 comments

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020

    Time-lapsed Blogography Day: Fifteen Years Ago Today

    Fifteen years ago today, on September 23, 2005, I took my first trip back to Tallahassee since my grad school career ended in 2003.

    Following an extended delay in Atlanta due to a broken plane, I arrived in Tallahassee and had dinner at the classiest of restaurants, Applebee's, with Mike and Kathy. We then went to Mike's apartment at 222 Lake Ella Drive because Kathy wanted to teach us a new board game, Settlers of Catan. (Got any sheep?)

    I only kept 2 pictures from my brief weekend trip -- one of Chompy (the dog), who was surprisingly fit, and one of Kathy's real-adult-looking apartment, where I spent the night to avoid getting diseases from Mike's futon.

    The last time I hung out with Mike in person was July 2019, and I saw Kathy just last Monday the 14th! In contrast, I haven't seen Evil Mike since before the pandemic, and Doobie since 2006.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 3 comments

    Friday, September 23, 2022

    Maia's Art Day

    Even at 4 (this was painted in May), Maia was better at watercolours than I ever was.


    A rare crossover fiction between Bunnytown and Cattown. They are sharing near a volcano.


    This is a bunny family with a baby bunny hopping in the background. You can see the action lines.


    Maia drew this bunny with fancy coloured pencils at her grandparents' house.


    One of Maia's first Kindergarten assignments, she decided that the squiggly line was the butt of a fish.


    This is a tree at sunset. The tree was handcrafted and artisanally cut by Maia as well.

    tagged as offspring, media | permalink | 1 comment

     

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