This Day In History: 09/24

Monday, September 24, 2001

Every memorable project should have a witty acronym, so I'm officially kicking off my independent research as PRIMA (Pattern Recognition and Identification through Melodic Analysis). Over the next few days, I'll try to create some version schedules and brief design outlines on the Coding page. I've also updated the work in progress on the Music page for anyone following the progress of my string quartet piece.

Now it's time to study for tomorrow's pedagogy test. I've got a fairly busy day planned out... I need to get ahead on my class research, do some work for Dr. Wingate, and meet with the resident trumpet professor about my upcoming audition. The trumpet chops are coming back pretty fast, even though I didn't get much opportunity to play over the summer.

Florida State dropped out of the top ten yesterday, to 15 in the USA Today poll and 18 in the AP poll .

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Tuesday, September 24, 2002

With so much time to devote to composing this semester, I find that I'm generating the same amount of music as I did in the past. Instead, I tend to throw out or refine ideas much more than I used to. My 'crap' folder is already burgeoning with discarded ideas, and that's something that normally doesn't happen until late in the semester. It's still to early to tell which approach results in a better final product though.

"Mine is a much better silent piece. I have been able to say in one minute what Cage could only say in four minutes and 33 seconds."
California '06: Terminator vs. Meathead?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2003

The longer I go without an update, the more difficult it is to sit down and actually write one. I've been up to the usual shenanigans here and I'm happy that the weather is actually getting cooler in September. Hurricane Isabel gave us a lot of rain, but the power never went out and I managed to go to work the next day without problems. There were a few downed trees and dead stoplights but that was the extent of the damage on this end. I hear, though, that Old Town Alexandria and Belle View flooded out, putting people hip-deep in water along the Potomac.

I created a new custom game for Warcraft III called Burrow Command. It's similar to Bunker Command from Starcraft, where the goal was to destroy other players' bunkers while defending your own. You can get the latest version (1.01) from my Games page under Warcraft.

I finally finished watching the first season of Alias which looks great in that special HDTV format. The third season opens this Sunday -- good times. On a side note, Alias received eleven Emmy nominations again this year, including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor, and actually won two of the eleven. On a further tangent, the Emmy broadcast was inundated with annoying new commercials, like the beeping Nextel commercials which have to be the most obnoxious commercials of all time (not including the smarmy truth commercials).

The music at the Emmy's was pretty horrible as well. Some not-too-clever arranger took the theme songs for every sitcom of every presenter and winner and set them to Muzak orchestrations with strings and everything. Songs like the theme from The Sopranos just weren't meant to be arranged that way. The Sopranos won several Emmy's including best writing for an episode (which wasn't hard considering it had 3 of the 5 nominations in that category).

As always, there are new cat pictures on the Photos page. Kitty just ate a grasshopper.

3 Feet of Feces
The Bugler is Dead
Stupid humans
The secret to composing memorable music
The Music Pad Pro

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Friday, September 24, 2004

Another weekend is here. I'm going in to work a little tomorrow, and then my dad and I will be laying some concrete on Sunday. This update is incredibly deep, which is why it's so short. If you don't understand its deep significance, maybe you need more time to reflect on your own spirituality.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

List Day: Ten Things You Can Learn About Sterling from this Mural

  1. The white kids will make sure that they're on the same pick-up basketball team. The girl and the minority go on another team.

  2. No one in Sterling will pass the ball to a black kid.

  3. Girls can't make a shot unless they hip check.

  4. In Sterling, creepy pedophiles are welcome to watch kids play. This one probably has an upskirt camera hidden in his nondescript leather bag.

  5. The Asian kid and the chubby girl are too scholarly to play sports, and could probably use a Trapper Keeper.

  6. Little dogs poop cubes. There are no leash laws in Sterling.

  7. Black women in Sterling have no discernable facial features, no matter how close you get to them.

  8. People who sell balloons should be wary of little pissants who throw forks at their wares, even if they have a ferret on their shoulder.

  9. The architecture of the Sterling Court House is Greco-Deco, with classic Ionic columns backed by giant plate-glass windows (so you can see all the high-profile trials from the street).

  10. Mothers are required to transport their babies in perambulators with very low centers of gravity to prevent accidental tipping.

What does this mural say to you?

Newscaster not shown in the breast of circumstances
MIT student proves Ivy League intelligence with fake bomb
The wurst place to hide sex toys

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stuff in My Drawers Day

Artwork of 1985

This first picture was drawn on a trip to Smoke Hole Canyon in West Virginia. From the nearest town of Petersburg, you apparently can only reach the canyon by canoe on the South Branch Potomac River, passing through a scenic field of daisies. After paddling a ways, you should take Exit 22 to reach the canyon, which is nestled between two prickly African boobies.

If you choose not to take Exit 22, you will have to get out of your canoe and walk up the road into the Land of Zero Depth Perception. Otherwise, look for the SOKO HELL sign, which obviously advertises that you can play the hardest levels of Sokoban in the canyon.

These two self portraits might give you an idea of what I looked like when I was five years old. In the first, I'm wearing my SLUGGER sweatshirt and thinking about how cool it would be to build a treehouse (I LIKE IT!). I was very vain, as demonstrated by my disproportionately swelled head, and apparently think that treehouses should be very tiny so that no one gets injured when falling out.

In the second picture, my ego is somewhat in check, although I'm still wearing a T-shirt that says "I'M A STAR!". Apparently, I've used the psychedelic balloon with the Batman-TV-Show-style hypnotic spinner to brain wash the giant seagull, who then proceeds to pop the dirty balloon covered in cat hair on the right. This gigantic flying bird seems to be some sort of chicken.

Woman suffers orgasm-related stroke
Teen fined for poking koala
Monster pig traps woman in home

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

Burn Notice: Season One
This show is kind of like Alias-light. Michael Westin is a spy who has been burned by his agency and dumped in Miami with no explanation. Over the season, he tracks down the people who burned him while solving odd jobs on the side. The main plot progresses slowly but steadily, and you can easily miss a couple episodes without getting confused -- the plot really just sets the stage for "cases of the week", fun spy stuff, and Macguyveresque lessons about how you can fashion a bomb from a drinking straw and a gecko.

Because this is a USA show (like The 4400), it is over-the-top cheesy, but that adds to its charm. From the retro 80s theme song to the gratuitous camera tricks uselessly spliced into the aerial shots of Miami, it's supposed to be campy. The main actor seems to be constantly channeling Guy Pearce (which works well), and every other segue features random and plotless shots of Miami women in bikinis. We went out and bought the second season as soon as we'd finished this.

Final Grade: A-

Half Life 2: Episode 1:
I suppose that if you want to write a sequel to a game but don't want to go up a full version number, this kind of expansion pack naming scheme suffices, but it's still annoying that Episode 1 is the second part of Half-Life 2. A similar problem can be seen in the title, New Super Mario Brothers, which will be exacerbated in November with the release of New Super Mario Brothers Wii. Overall, this expansion pack is just more of the same. It's quite short, there's nothing really new to experience, and you spend half of the game running through an unlit underground parking garage. Your off-again-on-again sidekick is back, permanently this time, and cracks stupid jokes throughout.

On another note, it feels strange to be playing so many games that aren't World of Warcraft. This must be what dating after divorce feels like.

Final Grade: C

About a Boy:
Movies where Hugh Grant can be unlikeable and snarky are fun. In this one, he concocts an imaginary kid so he can pick up woman at a single parents' club and unintentionally bonds with someone's son, with sexy amusing results. The soundtrack is a complete set of Badly Drawn Boy songs (the group that thwarted many people in one of my Name That Tune contests).

Final Grade: B

Goodbye Blues by The Hush Sound:
In old reviews, I said that The Hush Sound showed promise, and their sound is definitely unique and cohesive here. There are quite a few catchy numbers on this CD, although I think I enjoyed Like Vines a little more. The one problem here is the female lead's voice -- she seems to have taken vocal lessons because the timid, wispy sound from previous albums is replaced with a rich, strong tone. However, though the tone is vibrant, it's marred by a distracting quiver throughout the CD (think Michael Ball in Aspects of Love, or the palpitations of a caffeine addict if you think musicals are lame). You can hear samples here.

Final Grade: B

Hanged man with "fed" written on him "might be" a victim of anti-government sentiment.
Store launches underpants for left-handed men
In Wellford, SC, the cops won't chase you

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Fragments

now seeking commercial partnerships to name your baby "Urizoné"

♠ As part of a drive to improve company morale (and to inure us to the day when the RFID chips are implanted in our armpits), everyone in the company is wearing a pedometer for a month. The competition started while I was at the beach, so I'm already about a week behind, but it is interesting to learn that my stride is two feet eight inches (taller than some piccolo players) and that I average 1.5 miles a day even when I'm not doing anything (once labeled by Tammy Hale as "the purposeful Uri stride"). It's an interesting diversion, but I do not love the device so I am not a pedophile.

♠ Based on the braggy CC: ALL email from the guy who's averaging 6 miles a day, I may never win the race to get fit, but I'll be at the front of the line in the race to get fat. Give me a call when there are bacon-meters that you can hook up to your esophagus.

♠ I am also transforming my crazy distance skills into two more trips for the month of October -- one to New Hampshire to help Mike (of Mike and Chompy) get acclimated to his walker on the occasion of his 31st birthday, and one to Blacksburg to visit the new nephew. The latter visit coincidentally coincides with three separate marching band events: MV Alumni Day, Band Parents' Day, and something called "Band-A-Rama" which foreshadows disaster -- nothing good ever happens when you put "Rama" on the end of words.

♠ For example, consider the word, diorama, which plants the seed of unpleasant, runny feces in your brain before germinating into the safer, less edgy, cardboard box filled with Scotch tape and poorly drawn stick figures that only gets an A when your parents do it for you.

♠ Speaking of the poorly drawn, I mixed in some extra effort in today's fragments column by bringing back the hand-drawn illustrations that thrilled one or more readers in January. This is to make up for last weeks' fragments column which only had 4 fragments, an act of exaggeration that might better be titled, Friday Fraudulence.

♠ There are no amazing plans scheduled for this weekend, but it'll be good to have some downtime before an already busy October. I may go to Costco and get some more of this delicious frozen grilled salmon that's even easier to make than spaghetti.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Lost language unearthed in letter
Aliens are on to our nukes
Robbers nabbed trying to drill into bank from above

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Monday, September 24, 2012

12 of 12 Fallout

My weekend did not meet the minimum threshold of interest to devote a whole post to -- I learned some Ruby, started playing Torchlight 2, started watching Homeland, and grilled burgers with a distant cousin of Rebecca's who was passing through town on the way to the airport.

Instead, today's post will draw back on six years of 12 of 12 participation to show how I've evolved in that time. Because today is the 24th (which is twice 12), and because sequences are the easiest questions on the SATs, here is a selection of 36 pictures of me getting ready for work. My evolution in physical appearance is readily apparent.

It's not every day that you can discover a picture montage of BU hanging out in the bathroom. This is probably why the Internet was invented. It should also be noted that there were a total of 48 pictures taken in this locale to choose from, but I had to discard 12 because they had a different aspect ratio than 4:3 and did not fit into the montage well. BU looks better in fullscreen anyhow.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

List Day: Currently...

  • Currently listening to... Watermelon, Chicken, and Gritz by Nappy Roots, and Say That To Say This by Trombone Shorty.

  • Currently reading... The New Kingmakers: How Developers Conquered the World by Stephen O'Grady and Teaching Approaches in Music Theory, Second Edition: An Overview of Pedagogical Philosophies by Michael R. Rogers.

  • Currently playing... Skyrim and Tomb Raider.

  • Currently composing... nothing.

  • Currently considering buying... a new badminton net that doesn't disintegrate after two weeks.

  • Currently coding... student accounts with varying privacy levels for Auricle.

  • Currently planning... whether to get away for our anniversary weekend in two weeks.

  • Currently writing... this post.

  • Currently watching... Awake, Season One, The Office, Season Nine, and treadmill-watching Under the Dome, Season One.

  • Currently anticipating... a week off next week for open-source development.

  • Currently exercising... about two hours per week.

  • Currently weighing... 124 pounds.

This update was sponsored in part by LiveJournal.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken fifteen years ago today, on September 24, 1999. After a stellar performance of Scarabus during the Friday afternoon Brass Master Class, accompanied by Joetta Peterson, I drove to Jason Chrisley's house in Pulaski for dinner steaks and trampoline time. Also present were Philip, Mike Robb, Shac, Liz, Kelley, and Kelley's ex-girlfriend, Melody. Doobie did not attend, but he was there for the RV party five days later.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Morels:
This is a two-player mushroom-themed card game similar to Jaipur. You gather mushrooms and either cook them for points or sell them for the chance to get better mushrooms before your opponent. There's less setup than Jaipur, but a fair amount of card movement during the game to represent the mushrooms decaying over time -- this gets a little tedious unless you have a smooth playing surface, but the game creator offers an alternate board layout to reduce the card movement (which we have not yet tried). Overall, it's an interesting card game with a moderate learning curve that we'll play again when Lost Cities gets too dull and no one wants to sort the tokens in Jaipur.

Final Grade: B

Whiplash (R):
It's hard to imagine a successful thriller about a jazz conservatory drummer and his manipulative mentor without it straying into melodrama, but this movie is intense and gripping all of the way through. The ending is well-deserved and more complicated that the typical "montage + first place trophy" ending you might expect. You don't need to be a musician or jazz lover to enjoy the movie, but you might appreciate it more if you are.

Final Grade: A

Suits, Season Three:
Only 32 episodes in, and this show is already out of plot ideas. Characters revolve in soap opera spin cycle, and the laughs, though frequent, are all of the one-off chuckle (or quick exhale) variety. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: C-

Hand of God, Pilot:
This show about a judge who has a psychotic breakdown and may or may not be talking to God was just released as a full season, so I checked out the pilot. It's sporadically interesting, but glacially paced, and spends a lot of time blurring the line between the unstable perceptions of the main character and reality. This is the whole point, but if you dislike dream sequences in your TV shows, you may get irritated with the concept before it grabs you in the final moments of the pilot. Sideplots involving city corruption feel tacked on (not helped by "Bubbles" from The Wire starring as the Mayor), and the tone is generally grim. Based on the pilot, I'll be skipping the rest of the series unless nothing else is available to watch at treadmill time. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: C-

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday evening, we discovered a new brewery, Rocket Frog, less than 500 feet from our other local brewery, Crooked Run South. We had a good flight from a selection that was more than just IPAs (although there was 1 trendy sour on the menu), and ate wood-oven pizza from a food truck with an actual wood oven inside.

On Saturday, we went to the Fall Festival at our local park, Claude Moore. It was small-scale compared to something like the Arlington Festival, but had plenty of room to spread out and not feel like you would die should a mass panic ensue. Our across-the-street neighbour and his son met up with us there and shared baby snacks.

In the evening, we had dinner with Car and Ben, featuring too many grilled vegetables from the farmer's market and a comparison taste test between Virginia bourbon whiskey and Kentucky bourbon whiskey (the Virginia was smoother).

On Sunday, Rebecca and Maia went to Alexandria to visit Annie while I did tasks around the house like replacing surge protectors and tidying cables in velcro. I had dinner at Miller's in the evening, where it's slightly more annoying now that everyone is wearing a football jersey and cheering for the Seahawks.

How was your weekend?

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Friday, September 24, 2021

Review Day: Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Switch)

There are no major spoilers in this review.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a platformer in the "Metroidvania" genre, where further exploration nets you new tools that can unlock previously inaccessible areas. It combines a reasonably tight control scheme with visuals and music on par with anything in the Rayman series.

As the titular character, who isn't quite a bunny, you explore various environments in search of your owl friend and ultimately get swept up into a grander adventure. The game world is split up into several zones you can explore at your leisure and tightly choreographed chase scenes with very little room for error.

There are three difficulty modes, but they only seem to affect the health of enemies -- the acrobatics needed to get through the levels remains tricky even on Easy. The different movement abilities are fun to chain together, although the "Bash" ability is awkward to aim with the Switch's joystick. There are also time trials sprinkled throughout the world that require you to move as quickly as possible between two points, but they don't have a worthwhile reward for the time and practice required.

The orchestral score is nice and complements the unique color schemes of the different zones well. The story is pretty simple but expresses vibrant emotions that even a four-year-old can pick up on.

I would have enjoyed playing this game on my own, but also appreciated that it was a perfect game for playing with a youngster watching. In spite of a few scary bosses, Maia got really into the storyline and renamed two of her stuffed animals Ori and Ku (to go along with Revali from Zelda).

Final Grade: A-

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