This Day In History: 10/06

Saturday, October 06, 2001

Last night was the first Composers' Concert and there was a surprisingly good turnout of over eighty people. Sadly though, much of the audience turned out to be undergrads in search of a quick and easy recital credit. Works by five composers were performed, and I will say that I really enjoyed a couple of them. It probably wouldn't be polite to give my full opinions here without sharing them with the composers privately first. I think one of the best things a composer likes to get (after good recordings of their music) is feedback.

One non-composer trait I will mention though, is performer gesticulation. While it's great for a performer to really "live" the music, sometimes body language can get out of control and go off the deep end. In my mind, a few choice gestures can really bring something special out of a piece, but looking like an intoxicated Muppet while performing is more than a little distracting, and usually ends up hurting the performance.

Anyhow, I think the first concert went over very well. I wish I could put a work on the next one, but I'll be out of town that weekend, attending the "Retirement Concert" of one of my undergraduate professors.

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Sunday, October 06, 2002

I'm nearing the end of the second section of my thesis now, and it's coming along satisfactorily. I've roughly plotted it out to be a nine-part continuous work for chamber players, lasting around fifteen minutes or so. I'm still groping a little bit, but hopefully I'll hit that point of reverse inertia sometime soon and compose to its inexorable end. (MIDI is on the Music Page under Work in Progress, as always).

I picked up a copy of the 10th Anniversary concert recording of Les Miserables yesterday. The price tag always deterred me in the past, but after listening to it, this recording is easily the best of the three recordings I'm familiar with, both because of the cast and the orchestration. I may take a couple of days this week and compare the three recordings as a 'special feature' of sorts, so if you hate musicals, please come back on Thursday.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I watched Fahrenheit 9/11 last night, Moore's one-two punch against George Bush. My feelings on it were mixed -- the Bush-bashing parts were stupid because making fun of George Bush happens every day and Bush is far too easy a target to really give it any significance. The underlying conspiracy theories were not fully fleshed out, and it seemed like Moore failed to use his movie to support his theories, ending up with a bunch of vague scandalous plot segues instead.

About halfway through the movie though, Moore runs out of steam with the Bush bashinig and it becomes a documentary about the war in Iraq, from the perspectives of troops and families of the troops. It's in these parts, where both George Bush and Michael Moore can't be seen, that the movie is very effective. For intelligent viewers, the movie does a great job demonizing the war, but only a marginal job demonizing the administration behind the war. Perhaps if Moore had stopped being so Moore for a few months in the editing room, he could have crafted a much more effective marketing tool.

After the movie, I caught the last half of the Cheney-Edwards debate, with Cheney's one-two punches against Edwards and Edwards' two-three punches right back at 'im. Apparently they've got Edwards in full "defer to Kerry" mode which probably should have been more balanced out with "Who is Edwards" mode. They also spent too much time defending flipflopping by accusing the other side of flipflopping, rather than making the distinction between flipflopping and re-evaluating decisions based on new evidence.

We had frost last night.

Deviant driving practices and crash involvement also are related to a syndrome of problem behavior including marijuana use, heavy alcohol use, smoking, and trouble with the law. Plus, people are idiots.
A vibrating sex toy was mistaken for a bomb, causing the emergency evacuation of a crowded Mackay Airport.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Alphabet Thursday

Alias: Fifth-season debut of the now-pregnant, now-Mrs. Ben Affleck's action drama suffered the show's worst opening numbers ever -- just 8.2 million viewers. We wondered why and, since we've never gotten this one, turned to one of its most ardent fans, who directed our attention to a recent "Alias" promo in which ABC managed to jam the words "child," "father," "daddy," "pregnancy" "hormones" and "baby" into just 30 seconds, and added, "Loving a show is like loving a man -- you're only going to get your heart broken." - Washington Post

B.W.I.: I was up at 3:30 this morning to take someone to the Baltimore-Washington-International Airport -- the one that fools you into thinking it's closer by putting "Washington" in the name. If I ever convert my home into a bed and breakfast, it will be called the Palm Springs - Hartford - Homestead. That should cover all my bases.

Cancer: Conductor Fritz Velke II died of cancer on September 30. He was the conductor of the Alexandria Citizens' Band when I was in it in high school, and also an All-District judge of concert bands.

Doom: They're making a movie of the computer game, Doom, with The Rock as the Nameless Marine. Computer-game-based movies are never good for business.

Eggos: How can Buttermilk Eggos taste so good while Homestyle Eggos taste like poop?

Firefly: I finished the DVDs last night and am now looking forward to seeing the movie next week when Kim gets back. They should have continued the series -- at least there were no cliffhangers in the last episode.

Google: You can now personalize Google as a portal site, so it looks like a Yahoo! with out all the useless crap.

Hokies: The Hokies play Marshall this weekend.

I: I am pretty tired at the moment.

Joke: Q: What is George Bush's opinion of Roe vs. Wade?
A: He doesn't care how people got out of New Orleans.

Karen & John: I recently found out that a couple I knew in college had a baby last year. I called the baby a boy. I chose poorly. Damn those gender-neutral names.

Lost: I wish they had let the counter run out.

Mikado: The music is pretty tame-sounding, so I'm sure 2nd trumpet will be no problem.

Naps: Forty-five minute naps are perfect. Less and you aren't refreshed, more and you wake up feeling scungy.

Orange Juice: I buy OJ in four-packs from Costco and drink it all in a week.

Pythons: Python eats crocodile then explodes .

Q-T: This is a cute picture, taken by Anna. Notice the action blur of the paw:

R: Arr!

Salmon: Massive flying salmon coming to an airport near you.

Tom Cruise: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are expecting a kid, only six months after he brainwashed her.

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: The 18th edition is being released in the next few weeks.

Ventor Avenue: Monopoly is back at McDonald's. It seems like the game is never quite long enough to actually win anything unless you eat there daily. Smart business move.

Warcraft: My secondary character, a Shaman, is now level 56. Besides that and my 60 Druid, I also have a 37 Priest and a smattering of lower-leveled characters.

Xylem: I don't know any good xylem jokes, but the punchline would have to include "phloem". Phloem phloem phloem.

You: How are you doing? Leave a comment.

Zazzara: I got back in touch with a band director I used to work with to do some Finale work and possibly some arranging or a middle school fight song.

Yesterday's search terms:
nin sheet music hurt trumpet, torpedo factory va prom, what does the name katrina meen

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Fragments

The leading cause of childhood blindess in Norway and its environs

♣ The premiere of South Park which revolved around World of Warcraft was hit or miss. It was too WoW-centric for non-WoW-fans to enjoy, but not quite enough to really make it hilarious to people who play WoW. It had its moments though, and definitely got a ton of the cliches and absurdities correct.

♣ The premiere of LOST was pretty good even though it's once again taking us in a different direction without answering all of the old questions. I think this could be a really strong season -- I just hope they don't keep giving flashbacks to the people with boring lives. I'm glad they brought back Henry Gale as a main character -- as an actor, he's impeccable.

♣ The English language would not nearly be as fun without adjectives and synonyms.

♣ I love how every political scandal gets assigned a representative noun or adjective from the media that will stick in your head long after the scandal is forgotten. For the Foley scandal, it's "lurid", and for Allen's recent brushes with controversy, it's "scrutiny". Scrutiny appears seven times on the first page of this article .

♣ Foley D-Fla sounds like a hip hop name.

♣ George Allen's campaign manager is not very good at the "deflecting the blame" game. He is quoted in the article as saying, "What I will say is the preponderance of scrutiny of Sen. Allen, as opposed to lack of scrutiny of Webb, suggests that one candidate is getting all the scrutiny, and the other is getting away with no scrutiny at all". He later commented on the liberal theory of migration, "The fact that Canadian geese fly south for the winter merely suggests that they are not flying north, east, or west."

♣ It's finally starting to cool off now, but it's at that annoying midpoint where it's too warm for covers when you go to bed, but too cold to get out from underneath them when you wake up in the morning. Australia is on their way to summer right about now -- I should get a winter/summer house down there and just relocate every fall/spring to enjoy the warmth and then migrate back in the spring/fall just in time for summer/winter.

♣ I also need to buy winter clothes, a need that I have every year but never get around to fulfilling. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

♣ This weekend I'll be working full-time on both Saturday and Sunday since we're in one of our yearly tight periods. In my minimal spare time, I'm also watching Scrubs: Season Three, reading Fugitive Prince, and writing a comprehensive strategy guide for Warsong Gulch in WoW. I was also going to paint my porches with my dad, but the rain cancelled that.

♣ Happy Birthday Mike Robb on Saturday! Everyone else, have a great weekend!

5 shrimp, 5 scallops, 1 unhappy diner
Gizmondo's Spectacular Crack-up
Millionaire Bruce McMahan loved his daughter so much, he married her.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up

Saturday, October 4th, was Poker Night.

Early in the game, a four-of-a-kind appeared on the table. This was followed by a straight flush -- Seven of Hearts through Jack of Hearts (and someone else also had the Six of Hearts). This is the sort of magic that happens when I move poker upstairs into the kitchen for the winter months when the basement is chilly. Hearts was pretty much the only suit to appear on the board after that.

After three people were out (myself, Rebecca, and Anna), the consolation prize of mini eclairs came out, because if you've just lost $10, the best remedy is to eat yourself into oblivion. While opening the tin, Rebecca remarked that it "felt very light", and then noticed that it did not contain any eclairs.

In the ensuing chaos, during which Anna believed that Rebecca had sliced her finger open on the box and/or been stung by a killer bee, I took a knee and proposed. (This is probably the only socially acceptable way to give someone a box of delicious eclairs and not face disappointment that the eclairs aren't anywhere to be found!)

Despite the excitement of the newly-engaged, the game continued eventually ending in a win for Ben. The REAL eclairs also came out, cleverly disguised in a plain old tupperware. In one of the final hands, the Four of Hearts from my well-played deck of cards became cracked and marked, rendering the deck useless. I also took credit for this, saying that it was a sign that October 4th was a good day for proposals.

I could kick David Copperfield's ass at magic.

We're engaged!

Tallahassee woman shoot self, and misses McNuggets
Serial killer in training
Girl who bleeds without being cut

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Room-delivered breakfast of fresh fruits, pastries, and guava juice on our private porch that opens up directly onto the ocean.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Stuff in My Drawers Day: ID Cards

My collection of ID-related wallet cards used to be much larger when it included every hotel room card from every hotel I'd ever been to.

For some reason, I no longer have my junior high school IDs, but I do have the bus note from kindergarten that would be pinned to my shirt on a daily basis.

Brazilian clown elected to congress
Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground
Anthem crooners told not to do it their way

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

UML Distilled by Martin Fowler:
Unified Modeling Language is the specification that allows you to model your complex code designs through diagrams, for the illiterate in your audience. The full specification is heavier than I am, but Fowler successfully pares it down in this book to 200 pages of "the parts he finds most useful". This is more than sufficient for an overview, and his perspectives are very sensible. Fowler sees the power of UML as way to relate a design through whiteboard diagrams, and not as a rigid blueprint for generating code, and his successful distillation makes a dry topic pretty bearable.

Final Grade: B

Koop Islands by Koop:
This is one of those weird jazz CDs that's part nightclub combo and part dinner music, but it's effective and enjoyable to listen to. I first heard the song, Koop Island Blues on Pandora.

Final Grade: B

Deathspank:
I picked up this bargain bin indie action RPG because of the design participation of Ron Gilbert, the creator of the Monkey Island series. It mixes Diablo-style action with humorous dialogue trees and a minimum of puzzle-solving, and seemed like it'd be worth a playthrough. The base action of fighting monsters and gaining loot are pretty standard (and mildly boring), and what sets the game apart is the Monkey Islandesque humor when talking to characters in the game. Unfortunately, funny dialogue isn't as effective as it was when I was 12. I think that the problem I have with this game (and other funny-dialogue games like the new Sam and Max episodes) is that I read too fast. The dialogue isn't as funny when I've already read it before the characters actually speak, and I'm too impatient to sit through a bunch of voice acting with or without the text appearing onscreen. I played this game for about four hours total and then drifted back to replay Portal 2 again.

Final Grade: C-

The Corner by David Simon and Edward Burns:
This nonfiction book about urban problems in Baltimore doesn't directly drive the plot of The Wire, but all of the components that make The Wire a successful show can be seen germinating here. At times, the book feels like Les Miserables set in Baltimore, as the authors focus on a few sympathetic characters against a backdrop of many faces, occasionally interjecting diatribes about the state of society that run on for a few pages before returning to the characters.

It is also like Les Mis by virtue of the fact that it's about 20% too long. It's definitely worth reading and makes a compelling case, but white guilt fatigue will set in fairly early on, making the remaining 500 pages a grim chore to slog through. It could have used a bit more time in the editing room, both to make the narrative tighter and to correct the noticeable level of misspellings and grammar issues.

Final Grade: B-

Swiss speedster trapped by his own mobile phone
Qualify first, drink later: Advocaat tells Russia
U.S military to field-test "throwable" robots in Afghanistan

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

Friday: Closed out the week with Wegmans sushi, cabernet franc, and an epsiode of Person of Interest.

Saturday: Took an anniversary trip to Harper's Ferry. Hiked all over the mountains and town. Had dinner at Dish in Charles Town, where Rebecca went 3 for 3 in ordering the best meal on the menu (always choose the pork). Caught the sunset on the Shenandoah River and had ice cream at Scoops. Walked over 30,000 steps that day and then promptly lost my birthday-gifted Fitbit in the dark, somewhere between the river, the town, and the parking lot. (Four years ago this month, I lost another pedometer on Piper Mountain in New Hampshire, while celebrating Mike's birthday).

Sunday: Dodged the hungover guests from two separate weddings for the hotel's free hot breakfast. Returned home by way of scenic Route 9 and lazed about for the rest of the day. Ate a mixed leftovers meal of pork chops, baked salmon, cheesy grits, potato-bacon hash, and mashed potatoes for dinner.

How was your weekend?

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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Missing the Point

I try not to descend the spiral staircase of futility into political discussions as much anymore, but I was truly disappointed by this quote from an article about Carly Fiorina's unpaid debts from her failed Senate campaign:

    "People are just upset and angry and throwing her under the bus," said Jon Cross, Fiorina's operations director for her Senate campaign. "If we didn't win, why do you deserve to get paid? If you don't succeed in business, you shouldn't be the first one to step up and complain about getting paid."

I'm sure that this operations director would say the same thing to his loan shark if he borrowed a million dollars and then bet it all on RG III surviving more than two Redskins games without injury, and I'm sure the loan shark would shrug and proclaim, "You win some and lose some, buddy!" before going out for beers and hugs. That's obviously how the real world works.

I've never run for office, mainly because none of the job descriptions interest me (until someone creates an elected office for Czar of Eliminating Autotune from Popular Music). However, even I can smell the ridiculousness of assuming that losing your campaign equates to a Get Out of Jail Free card on your invoiced goods and services. Unless all of the companies that provided services to the campaign were actually operating as unpaid interns given pizza and bus fares, this sounds like a matter for a collections agency.

Regardless of Fiorina's political positions or whether she was an angel or a demon as HP CEO, the fact that she and her operatives don't recognize the significance of this issue is more telling than the issue itself. I have the same disappointment over Hillary Clinton's flippant "Like with a cloth or something?" line about server wiping -- she can (and obviously does) have her own opinion on the controversy, but by dismissing it the way she is, she's implicitly dismissing the concerns of all potential voters for whom it's still a problem, and going further by deeming those concerns to be illegitimate.

Belittling the electorate is a pretty tone-deaf way of showing that you'll listen to them once you're in office. Feel free to prove to me that any given controversy is not a big deal, but don't try to tell me what I should and should not deem important.

It's like rechanneling an argument by telling everyone to calm down. Everyone here's already calm and you're being patronizingly smug. WHY DON'T YOU SMUG DOWN!

tagged as politics | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, October 06, 2017

Maia Week #13 Battle Report

Maia is now 13 weeks old (or 3 months if you prefer to measure time in glaringly uneven increments instead). She is now great at grabbing things and cooing as a form of communication, and loves our near-daily walks in Claude Moore Park. Her weight still goes up and down around 12 pounds as we had a few days where she wasn't particularly interested in eating stuff. We suspect that she will end up being a slow eater in the future, based on her average time at the spigot now.

Maia continues to be a very agreeable baby in most regards. The hardest and worst part of parenting right now is putting her to bed during the day. She usually hates to go down for a nap unless it's a short catnap in a front carrier that just makes her more tired. Our process manual for putting her to bed ends up being an extended list of one-off tricks that worked great exactly once and then never work again -- Cosmopolitan magazine might as well write a top ten tricks list about getting a baby to sleep because it will be just as realistic as their other lists and something ridiculous might actually work.

In the past two days, we have gotten her to enjoy sleeping in the bassinet more -- this is great for my back and joints, which protest mightily when I wear the carrier around the house all day long. I tend to have my smartphone around much more often these days, since I never know when I'll get stuck hovering near the bassinet for up to an hour . I definitely feel like I have "earned" the right to sleep at night!

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

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Wildlife Day

I got Rebecca a wildlife camera for her birthday this year and we've been having fun placing it in different areas of the backyard.

Here are some other notable stills from the past few weeks.

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