This Day In History: 10/07

Sunday, October 07, 2001

Having grown up in a strong band tradition, the music I compose tends to be strongly accessible -- definitely not esoteric by any stretch of the imagination. It's not that I hate dissonance and non-tonal music, it's just that I don't really feel like its the proper language for my voice. Writing music or telling a story in a language that's not your own is like walking around in someone else's underpants. I think there's far too many possibilities in tonality to be ignored, and probably won't change my mind until I've exhausted all of those possibilities. To me, studying contemporary music is more important for redefining the boundaries of dissonance in my writing, rather than introducing a whole new way to compose.

By the way, the Hokies beat West Virginia yesterday 35-0 on Mountaineer turf. The stereotypical attitudes of West Virginia's fans really make that stadium a horrible place to visit and play ball. I think Tech's made a good decision in deciding to phase WVU out as a "big-rivalry" opponent, and bringing in Pittsburgh in its place. For the first year in quite a while, the Marching Virginians didn't travel to Morgantown, but they will follow the team to Pittsburgh next month.

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Monday, October 07, 2002

I've been up to my neck grading papers today, so special feature week will not start until tomorrow.

President Bush continues to rattle his sabre, much to the world's chagrin. I anticipate that we'll be involved in some sort of military action against Iraq within 30 days, with or without popular consensus.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I would like to meet the genius who invented the new Yoplait ad with the slogan "Together We Can Lick Breast Cancer". Sounds like a great way to sell yogurt...

I've been busy with maps -- there's new updates for Micro Arena and Burrow Command on the Games page. I also have a few new cat pictures, but there weren't enough to warrant a full update, so I'll post those in a couple days.

So how many of my staid Republican readers would vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger today if they lived in California?

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Thursday, October 07, 2004

I consider myself to be of the Controlled Apathy political party. In this party, you feel that the capitolism of politics and democracy are irrevocably broken but that regular people will get through their life just fine regardless of who you put in the White House. The candidates are generally so similar on the issues they will actually take action on that choice isn't so important, and the areas where they might actually make a difference will be quietly ignored after election time.

The only caveat that the Controlled Apathy party has, is that the candidate who goes in should not make things significantly worse in this country. This really isn't that hard a contract to follow, as Presidents have been able to do it pretty well for the past few hundred years. If you're given a shot at running this country and you blow it with a one-two punch to both foreign and domestic policy, the Controlled Apathy party just isn't going to back you the next time around. This is the reason I'll be voting for Kerry in November.

I voted for Gore in 2000 but once Bush finagled his way into office, I didn't really care, because neither candidate would really have an impact on my day-to-day life. Now that Bush and his administration has shown their willingness to milk this country of all its resources and foreign goodwill in favour of his big business backers, I see no reason to let the country stay its course and be even worse off in 2008.

My other argument against supporting Bush is that he really isn't a very intelligent man. This in itself isn't a big deal, unless you surround yourself with shadowy ultra-conservative puppetmasters who convince you to follow harmful agendas and then convince you that it was your idea. Bush is not intelligent enough to tackle most issues (leading by gut instincts is unacceptable except when fishing or gambling) and the people he relies on for input are not accountable for their actions. The Patriot Act, using terror as a campaign ad, and the suggested constitutional amendment on gay marriage are all prime examples. No doubt Bush will eventually champion constitutional amendments for gays in the military, gays drinking alcohol, gays baring arms, and gays voting at the age of 18.
Why Conservatives should vote against Bush

tagged as politics | permalink | 5 comments

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday Fragments

  • It's no secret that people have invented sticky labels that peel off without leaving any residue. What I don't understand is why this stuff isn't used on everyday household items you buy in the store. Most of the goods in my house have at least 25% of the label left on, generally on the side facing the wall.

  • On a similar note, I hate the thick form-fitting plastic molding that seems to have replaced boxes for most electronic items. If you try to open one with scissors, you first must fight through the double-wide ridge around the outside. When the scissors blades have passed that obstacle, that ridge then acts to block the handle of the scissors and slice your hands open as well.

  • Speaking of plastic surgery, I hate these makeover reality shows because of the irresponsible way they prey on peoples' insecurities. I guess I just can't understand how people can invest so much importance in their physical appearance that they absolutely require the changes. I also can't understand how hearing your family and friends' opinions of how ugly you are will make you a better person after you're pretty. It doesn't show that you got pretty -- it shows that you have shallow friends. I remember one plastic episode from about two years ago where the woman said she had to get pretty because her husband said he would leave if she didn't. That's not the kind of behaviour you want to reinforce.

  • It's raining heavily here for the first time in about two months. I will probably have to reseed my grass again since last month's seeding didn't result in any greenery. I like the sound of rain in a forest canopy, which is another nice reason to have a forest in my backyard.

  • I forgot to watch Alias last night and didn't really care -- this is a first. I still have the guilty pleasure of reading the Alias spin-off books. I throw a few in my Amazon cart whenever I make a new order, since they only cost a few bucks and take about two hours to read. The original books were typical trashy high-school level books, but the more recent APO series have the feel and pacing of a real episode. They're worth a read if you're a fan.

  • I don't count travel time as part of my vacation, which is why I always leave on road trips at the crack of dawn. I would rather take a four hour trip at 5 AM and have the whole day in front of me, than get on the road at 9 and lose a few more hours to traffic.

  • In this article about coping with gas prices, one family wrote, "The kids no longer get fresh fruit or vegetables and no longer get turkey sandwiches. Now we buy only canned goods and the cheapest lunch meat possible.". I don't think I've ever been so poor that I had to choose between sliced turkey and gasoline, and I hope I'm never that poor. Coming from a soundly middle-class family, we never really had to worry about costs as kids. In the present, being a stingy bastard and not having a career in music means that I can still live comfortably without changing my routine around gas prices. In fact, I think I've driven more since gas broke three dollars a gallon. Excuse me while I go abuse the hired help.

  • There should be a rule that prevents you from driving gas-inefficient vehicles like SUVs unless you have at least five passengers with you at all times. If you're caught violating this rule, they take away your cell phone and your high beams, and then replace your tires with low riders so you're only about six inches off the ground.

  • I almost never open my front door to random knockers, but yesterday afternoon this little brat was selling chocolate for his school and knocked about seven times over the course of five minutes, also saying "I know you're in there!". I stole his money envelope and then told Booty to dismember him, feeding the remains to the hired help.

  • It is left as an exercise for the reader to use the phrase "random knockers" at least once in conversation today.

  • This weekend is looking to be as busy as last weekend. Tonight, I'm going to do nothing but clean the house and play Warcraft. Tomorrow, I've got several shopping errands to run, some Java Training planning to do for work, and then I have to check in on and/or steal Kim's cats (who are cute, but not "first place in a beauty contest" cute like Booty, who would also win "first place in a Booty contest", but maybe they could take 3rd or 4th and win $5 in Monopoly money) in the evening. Sunday, I'm getting an oil change, picking up some furniture, and carpet, and watching Desperate Housewives. Just kidding, if I watched that show it might turn out to be good and then I couldn't make fun of it anymore. I think Bree killed Gabrielle in rock quarry with the lead pipe.

  • Have a good weeekend!

  • A British cleric was thrown out of a school after he told pupils that Harry Potter was gay.
    Bush passes the buck up the chain of command
    Student passes out in President's office

    Yesterday's search terms:
    girl gagged with bandana, how heavy was sir lancelot du lake, what songs do the "marching virginians" play during football games, baby showers at work

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 2 comments

    Tuesday, October 07, 2008

    Museday Tuesday

    Academic: (adj.) Theoretical or hypothetical; not practical, realistic, or directly useful

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)

    When I think of academic music, I picture lines of music education majors lined up for their continuation exams, hoping that they're just barely good enough at their instruments to continue with the part of the degree where playing is not required.

    I decided to write the intro to one of those sonatas that every incoming freshman has to play at least once -- in this case, a sonata for trumpet and piano. Among the devices that make it academic: blatant repetition of motives in different voices, chords with 9ths and 11ths in them, and the occasion Lydian mode, all bundled up in a fine Kennanesque impersonation.

    Man fined for unchivalrous picture
    World's heaviest man getting married
    Smoot measurement reaches new heights at MIT

    tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, October 07, 2009

    Sunset over Kiahuna Beach, following Free Mai Tai Hour.

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

    Thursday, October 07, 2010

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Version by Mark Ronson:
    This CD contains covers of several popular songs by alternate bands, wrapped together with Mark Ronson's "horns and funk" style. Some of the covers are even catchier than the originals. This CD is a must-listen, if for no other reason than to hear a cover of Britney Spear's Toxic featuring American rapper, Ol' Dirty Bastard (lyrics Not Safe for Work).

    Final Grade: A

    Lost, Season Six:
    I've been rewatching the sixth season on DVD while digging various mines in Minecraft, and find it to be a lot of wasted potential. After watching the obligatory really good Desmond episode midseason, it really seems like they're on the verge of some awesome explanation, but they fritter it away in the finale with an ending that simultaneously nullifies the importance of 50% of this season's storyline and also makes all of Desmond's doings irrelevant. On the plus side, there's a 10 minute "Epilogue" on the DVD featuring Ben Linus that's satisfying and reflects more of what I'd hoped for in the finale.

    Final Grade: C- (stop after the fourth season)

    Fuzzbox by The Section Quartet:
    There seems to be a large subculture of string groups playing arrangements of rock music, although the vast majority seem fixated on reproducing the same one or two Led Zeppelin songs over and over. I first stumbled upon the Section Quartet after hearing their cover of Muse's Time is Running Out. This CD is an enjoyable change of pace and really drives home the idea that a musical composition that still stands up after removing the lyrics and all of the original instruments is rare and should be appreciated. I'm not familiar with all of the arrangements, but there's also some Radiohead and The Strokes on the disc.

    Final Grade: B+

    Catch a thief from your armchair and win cash
    Cookery for dummies in Berlin one-stop shop
    Astronaut Sues Dido For Using His Photo In Album Cover

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, October 07, 2011

    Friday Fragments

    a beacon of impartial news reporting

    ♠ I've been doing more cooking recently to increase my portfolio of low effort meals. Recently, I've made easy cheesy peasy chicken, and pasta with shrimp and diced tomatoes. On Monday night we had Cornish Game Hens, which we garnished with Sodium, Midnight Peppercorns, and pretensions.

    ♠ I don't think that the name "Cornish Game Hens" really makes them feel any fancier than they actually are. I'd be just as likely to buy them if they were called "chicken midgets" (but less so as "small children of chicken").

    ♠ Speaking of chicken, the Classic Banquet Chicken Dinner now only contains a thigh and no drumstick. Having consumed over five thousand of these in my youth, I was shocked to discover this reduction last week while stealing food from my parents' freezer. Not that the food was ever that appetizing to begin with, but at least pretend that you aren't ripping off the buyer.

    ♠ Among other rip-offs is black toner, which is now running at $60 for my old 2002 HP LaserJet printer. Apparently the toner has been discontinued to sell more printers, so it's probably going to be cheaper to just buy a new printer the next time it runs out.

    ♠ I have only owned 2 non-photo printers since I went away for college, both of them LaserJets. In the olden days, we were on the cutting edge of laser printing technology, making me the only 8th grader with professional-looking reports.

    ♠ I actually have plenty of free time this weekend, as the only plans set in stone involve Beer Club on Saturday night. Since Mike (of Mike and Chompy) no longer lives in the same time zone, we are relieved from the obligation of celebrating his birthday on Sunday, until the time comes when he realizes his error and moves back.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Crazy ants invading Gulf Coast
    Steve Jobs Funeral To Be Picketed By Westboro Church
    Fashion designer makes clothes from milk

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, October 07, 2013

    Weekend Wrap-up

    Anniversary dinner at Ice House Cafe on Thursday Night.

    Because of the government shutdown, we had to hike an additional 1/2 mile just to start hiking!

    A turtle named Toby that we met on the trail to Split Rock, outside of Harpers Ferry.

    The view from Split Rock.

    The path of our eight-ish mile hike.

    On a Harpers Ferry ghost tour, which was not particularly scary.

    Not pictured: Dinner at "The Dish" in Charles Town, or Rebecca's relaxing massage.

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

    Tuesday, October 07, 2014

    List Day: 10 Failed Yankee Candle Fragrances

    • Apple Bottoms

    • Autumn Seduction

    • Baby Surprise

    • Exotic Hash Browns

    • Mountain Dew Jacuzzi

    • Newark Breeze

    • Okra Memories

    • Rustic Lumberjack

    • Sulfur & Damnation

    • Velvet Risotto

    tagged as lists | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, October 07, 2015

    Memory Day: Nineteen Years Ago Today

    Nineteen years ago today, on October 7, 1996, I was a freshman at Virginia Tech. The URI! Domain had been online for just over a month, and had recently been added to the VT Music Department's Student Homepage Links page.

    On this particular evening, I was sitting in the CALC lab doing my ear training assignments in MacGamut. I don't even remember what CALC stands for anymore, but it was some jumble of buzzwords to make the department look like it was on the cutting edge of music technology -- there may have also been a forward slash in the acronym somewhere. In reality, it was a cramped room the size of my living room filled with broken MIDI keyboards and Macs that rarely started, with the exception of the student administrator's machine at the front of the room which was always in perfect shape.

    The room was fairly crowded with music majors checking their email in Eudora or failing to identify augmented fourths. The admin that night was a senior clarinetist named James T (who would go on to be a senior for a couple more years, because that is what music majors do when they don't know what comes next). Over the quiet bustle, he suddenly asked the room, "Does anyone know a Brian 'Err-i'?" Before I could say anything, he continued, "Because he's got the weirdest homepage ever. There's pictures of llamas and stuff all over it."

    Now at the time, my homepage opened up with a disclaimer that satirized smoking warnings from the Surgeon General, websites that told you what screen resolution your monitor should support, and the constant rain of useless advocacy websites from the early 90s before

    Below this warning was a picture of a llama named Sam stolen from the homepage of a local llama farm and then a bunch of boring links to my music compositions and creative writing. Because I had only discovered that the college library had scanners the day before, there were no pictures of me yet on the site. This allowed me to remain incognito as James continued to pose incredulous questions about who I was and why my site was "so weird". It wasn't bemusement -- it was the complete failure to comprehend that a web page with a warning about llamas wasn't supposed to be taken seriously.

    Finally, I piped up and said, "Actually, that's my homepage." James looked at me and completely shut down for seven seconds. You could see the gears grinding in his mind as he struggled to reconcile this new information while backtracking on his previous tirade like a Hungry Hungry Hippo who has just eaten a rabbit dropping and realized that his digestion can only go in one direction.

    "Dude, your homepage is pretty cool."

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, October 07, 2016

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Jarvis Adjustable Standing Desk (Ergo Depot):
    I'm very satisfied with this desk, having used it consistently for about a month now. With the push of a button, I raise it up and down multiple times a day to vary my working position. There were a couple hiccups in the assembly (one accessory came with screws that were too long for the desktop) but customer service was very responsive and helpful.

    Final Grade: A-

    Broadchurch, Season One:
    I just realized that I screen-capped the French version of the DVD cover, but wouldn't it be great if you could go to a craft brewery and order TV-show-themed saisons? The LOST saison would taste great at first, but it'd come in a giant boot (with three toes) and start to taste like a sour beer less than halfway through it. Anyhow, Broadchurch is one of those brooding British mystery shows full of interesting, normal-looking characters. I enjoyed the build and the mystery, but it does tend to be a bit slow (not as slow as Bloodlines). I probably won't watch the second season unless there's nothing else to watch. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

    Everything You've Come to Expect by the Last Shadow Puppets:
    The Last Shadow Puppets are a collaboration band including the lead singers of Arctic Monkeys and The Rascals, and their initial release was my favourite pop/rock album of 2009. With their second album, I was unimpressed during my first listen but liked it a lot every time afterwards. This could end up becoming another favourite.

    Final Grade: B+

    Luther, Season Four:
    Luther didn't really need a fourth season but it's a good one. The glaring problem is that it's only two episodes long so it feels more like an incomplete movie than a "season". There are a lot of good hooks that I would have liked to see explored more, but it was over just as I was getting invested. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

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    Monday, October 07, 2019

    Maia Battle Report: Year 2 Month 3

    Maia has grown about an inch since her 2nd birthday and is now solidly over 23 pounds. She is learning about the days of the week and starting to recognize letters and numbers in isolation. She still counts "1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10", but I prefer to think that she's just experimenting with exponents in some advanced way. She's starting to gain spatial awareness too -- when I told her we were going to drive to the grocery store, she said, "We gonna pass Maia's school!". She recognizes the outside of restaurants without prompting, based on the type of cartoon cup her milk comes in. "WE AT THE VEE! I GONNA GET DINOSAUR CUP."

    "Just for 2s" school is going well: Maia has made art representing A for Ant and B for Bird, as well as the obligatory handprint poem and an "All About Me" pizza. In terms of activities, she regularly gets out into nature through "Free Forest School" with Rebecca on Fridays and "Free Activities With No One Dad Has To Talk To" every afternoon with me. She has also gone fishing in the park with her friend, Nolan, and family.

    Maia is at the stage where crying is super cute rather than grating -- there have been no true tantrums for a long time, and her disappointment usually fades quickly. At bedtime and naptime, her hour-long story hour before falling asleep persists, but is now intelligible. For the most part, she makes up stories using bits and pieces of her day. I try to write choice phrases on the whiteboard and am hoping to commit one afternoon to a full transcription for fun. Among the things I've heard so far from the confines of her crib:

    • "I gonna do numbers. 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10! 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10! 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10!"
    • *clap clap* "I clappin' my hands."
    • "Here come the cats. Those cats came on a boat! Helloooo, cats!"
    • "I fishin'. Cast! Cast! I caught a fish!"
    • "This unicorn is smiling!"
    • "Christmas Cat standing on Snoopy. He tall!"

    Life is going very well for the rest of us. I have a great schedule at work where I can pick assignments that best fit my available time where I think I can contribute the most. I'm starting to reserve more time for exercise and relaxing in the afternoons and am definitely not as tired in the evenings as I was in the first two years of Maia.

    I don't grill as much as I once did because broiling is so much easier with a toddler underfoot. I may experience the shame of having a propane tank last longer than a year for the first time in the history of grilling.

    How are your genetic heirs doing?

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

    Wednesday, October 07, 2020

    Stuff in My Drawers Day: Bunnies, Part III

    Even more pandemic bunny drawing requests from Maia

    Other posts in this series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, October 07, 2022

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power (first episode):
    I have no skin in the RING for whether this show succeeds (I'm not a big LotR fan at all, either the books or the movies) but I thought it was interesting that it had been review-bombed so heavily that Amazon actually hid all reviews from their site. I gave the first episode a shot and was pretty bored throughout. The dialogue, plots, and characters felt exceptionally generic. There should be a dRINGking game for all of the cliched touches. The lush, orchestral score behind every single scene was completely distracting and unnecessary. Introducing a new fantasy show or world is really tricky to get just right -- The Dark Crystal on Netflix had an awful first episode and an amazing rest of season while Game of Thrones on HBO had such a great first episode that even Rebecca liked it. This one was fine, but not intriguing enough for me to keep on watching. On Amazon Video.

    Final Grade: C-

    The Outlaws, Season Two:
    Season two picks up right where the first ended, and feels more like the missing half the story rather than a brand new season. It felt like the writers weren't sure what to do with all of the characters and plots at the end of Season One, but they recover nicely here. The ending is a satisfyingly final wrap-up without cliffhangers. On Amazon Video.

    Final Grade: A-

    Sorry to Bother You (R):
    This movie stars Lakeith Stanfield (who we loved in Atlanta) as a struggling call center employee who suddenly finds success by using his "white voice" (dubbed in perfectly by David Cross). It's bizarre, unsubtle in its message, and kind of morphs into a weird dystopian sci-fi movie for the last half hour. Even so, we were entertained throughout.

    Final Grade: B

    Reservation Dogs, Season One:
    This is an under-the-radar series about friends on an Oklahoman reservation trying to get enough money to get away to California. It's very fun, especially the scenes of Dallas Goldtooth channeling Doug from Weeds as a spirit known as the Unknown Warrior. On Hulu.

    Final Grade: A

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment


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