This Day In History: 10/10

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

The problem with internet content these days is the scarcity of new material. All too often, I'll discover a great new site and spend a few days enjoying the old content and archived stories. Of course, there's never enough to last forever, and it's disappointing to hit the latest story or article, because updates on most sites tend to be few and far between. Even blogs have this problem to some degree, as I have the bad habit of reading peoples' blog archives in one sitting and then being out of luck in waiting for more.

If you're hungry for some fresh sites with big archives of good content, try a few of these out for size (they should be read from the beginning of their respective archives to really appreciate): The Cheney Daily (since 3/2001), The Seanbaby Probe (since 1999, possibly offensive to some), Sluggy Freelance (since 1997)

"10-08: They finally gave me Internet access from my bunker." - The Cheney Daily

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Thursday, October 10, 2002

Part III of V

Marius: David Bryant (B) would make a good Marius in Les Misérables: The Muppet Edition. Otherwise, there's nothing particularly memorable about his performance. Michael Ball (C, T) does a great job in turning the role into a believable character, where it was falt and boring on paper. His performance on the Complete recording is slightly better and less wavery than the later Tenth Anniversary recording. On the latter, he sounds more like he did in Webber's Aspects of Love.

    David Bryant, Broadway (MP3, 316KB)
    Michael Ball, Complete (MP3, 281KB)

Eponine: Frances Ruffelle (B) is my favourite for the role of Eponine, although not every likes her bluesy-pop interpretation of the part. In anattempt to make the cast on the Complete recording more international, they chose the Japanese edition of Eponine, Kaho Shimada (C). Though a neat idea and great for equal opportunity, the result is an uneven performance from a singer who knew no English and sang everything by rote with a voice coach on hand. Some of her delivery is laughably bad and in other parts she sounds like an 80s pop star. The excerpt below is probably the best and least jarring passages she sings on the recording. Finally, Lea Salonga (T) has the best diction of any singer. Ever. It doesn't help in this role, however, and the harshness of her consonants kills Eponine. She was a great Kim in Miss Saigon, she was fine as Jasmine in Disney's Aladdin, and she was probably great in Disney's Mulan, but she just doesn't cut it as Eponine.

    Frances Ruffelle, Broadway (MP3, 393KB)
    Kaho Shimada, Complete (MP3, 340KB)
    Lea Salonga, Tenth Anniversary (MP3, 388KB)

Cosette: People seem to hate Tracy Shayne (C) in this role, but I think she has a very attractive voice. Tracy is one of the few sopranos I've heard with an incredibly high-timbred voice that is also very clear. Judy Kuhn (B) tends to be the normal favourite, but her performance just gets on my nerves and reminds me of a musical saw. Plus, she looks a little goofy and blank when she sings. The fact that Marius could fall in love at first sight with Judy Kuhn makes him seem more shallow. Though not necessarily bad, she would also be a good addition to the Muppet version of the musical.

    Judy Kuhn, Broadway (MP3, 622KB)
    Tracy Shayne, Complete (MP3, 534KB)

To be continued...

Dave McGarry has a new batch of songs for download, and they're much more refined than his previous stuff . The recording quality is top-notch too although there's still a whole lot of E and F# major. It must be a guitarist thing.

Virginia Tech plays Boston College tonight at 7:30 on ESPN.

tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pointless Vignette Day

He's there with clockwork predictability, no matter what time of the day you visit. He's there when you slip in at 9:25 on Saturday morning just as the big gates open, he's there when you stop by the Costco at 2:00 on your way home from work, and he's there at closing. He's the guy that sits alone at the Costco eatery with a pizza meal that plays understudy to breakfast, lunch, and dinner spread across the table in front of him.

Look to your left as you pass the geriatric bouncer and you'll spy him there, hunched over his meal. Once you've made your purchases and arrive in line behind the Vietnamese guy with the flatbed cart full of bottled water, you'll see him again. He's never that interested in the meal itself but it's always one of his props. He talks to no one and always faces away from the eatery, watching some invisible point beyond the warehouse at large, eyes unfocused and lost in thought. He may not be the same person every day, but he and his brethren always have the same habits.

Is the food really that good? Why would you come to Costco at 9:30 in the morning just to eat pizza? Is he just a worker on break? If so, where's his uniform? Maybe he hates shopping with his wife and finds less argument in waiting for her to browse than tagging along through the store. Or maybe he's staging a sit-in for some kind of Civil Rights movement, except he eats instead of hunger striking. He could just be people watching, but his eyes never really focus on anything tangible.

Who is this mysterious Costco Eatery Man?

Man eats 247 Jalapenos to win contest
Porn model sues radio host
Woman shoots lightning out of her ass

tagged as random | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pointless Vignette Day

The intersection of Church Road and Sugarland Run is a nondescript residential intersection whose most exciting feature is a four-way Stop sign. On the road running from lower left to upper right in the picture, there are small concrete medians between lanes intended to help drunk drivers and the British to stay in their proper lanes. That, at least, was the theory behind installing them, but not a month would go by without some left-turner blowing out a tire or crushing the concrete edges of the median.

The next step was to add a universally-understood sign to each island (which either means "Stay to the right of the median" or "lean right to avoid codpiece"). This failed as well, probably because no one knows what a codpiece is and why you would want to avoid it. Not two weeks would go by without seeing the sign completely flattened to the ground, no doubt caused by a soccer mom alone in her SUV on a cellphone trying to turn the corner with one hand and not even feeling the bump.

After about two and a half years of repairing this sign with alloys of ever-increasing indestructability, Loudoun County finally added a giant flattened bumblebee to the sign, about two feet tall and blazingly bright. Their reasoning was: if you are turning past the median, and you fail to see the seven-inch raised concrete island, the multiply-reinforced signpost, and the sign with the giant booger on it, you will still notice the new warning and drive around it to avoid getting stung.

This was pretty effective until just yesterday, when I was driving home from work to find the intersection congested. A pair of high school girls in a tiny blue hatchback had not only managed to hit the median dead-on, they also managed to get their low-riding car stuck on top with four wheels spinning, unable to get off the island. The distressed pair was being assisted by middle-aged men from all walks of life, because when you help out a young girl with car trouble she will obviously want to go out with you.

The white guy with the potbelly was directing the scene, while a couple of Hispanic guys in their tiny Toyota truck attempted to pull the blue hatchback off the island with a length of twine they had in their truck bed, blocking the entire intersection in the process. Before anyone suggested that they just build a raft, the twine miraculously worked and the cast of the farce drove away in their separate cars, leaving the island with just one more battle scar.

I'm hoping that the County will consider some sort of incendiary device when they come out to repair it again.

Chimps don't mind being chumps
52-cent doughnut may cost man 30 years to life
Man sentenced in pride killing of ostrich

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Fragments

thwarting Windows Defrag for the third year running

♠ Traffic has spiked incredibly this week, probably due to the casually dropped news of my engagement. Surprisingly, I got more traffic from the engagement than I did when I posted the link to the nearly nude cheerleaders in Idaho -- I guess monogamy is not 100% dead yet. Here's another picture of the ring, since it should be worth about 25 female visits today.

♠ Now that I've won the marriage primary, I suppose I should campaign to get the relationship accepted by the general public. I promise free kittens, Guinness, and those leftover wedding coozies that Rebecca found at work with "To Have and To Hold and To Keep Your Beer Cold" printed on them to anyone who will endorse my wedding.

♠ I find it humourous that these coozies were printed up and then returned for some long-forgotten wedding. I can just picture the groom ordering them as a surprise for his wife-to-be before becoming crestfallen at the fact that they don't really gel with the theme of "Disney Princess Weddings".

♠ I actually knew a girl named Hilda from high school who had a Disney-themed marriage. She also worked at the Disney Store for several years, so perhaps those are the benefits they got instead of health coverage. I did not attend the wedding, so no word on whether Goofy officiated.

♠ Now that we have officially announced our engagement by changing our Facebook status to "Engaged", I am bombarded with wedding ads like a London flat during World War II (if London had been subjugated by The Knot). I suppose that ads telling me I should lose 20 pounds before I get fitted for a tux are better than the ads that Facebook used to have that tried to convince me that my Mom lived in SimCity.

♠ I never really enjoyed SimCity because it was impossible to build a normal true-to-life city. I would usually just enter the cheat code to get a billion dollars and then lay out a strict grid of railroad tracks and police stations. I never understood why those silly Sims would rather live next to the pollution-less railroad tracks instead of a road. Riding the train was fun in Europe because stops were everywhere. In an American version of SimCity, you'd only be able to get on and off in Lorton and Florida, and you'd need roads at both ends to drive your car out of the auto-train (and the engineer would be busy text-messaging).

♠ Speaking of auto-trains and Disney, the first time I took the auto-train was with my parents after my sophomore year of high school, when we visited Disney World for a week. I clenched my jaw while I slept, and the next morning all of my front teeth were shaken loose and painful from the train vibrations. I had to eat cream cheese out of a packet for breakfast because I couldn't chew anything. The second time I took the auto-train was when I moved to Florida for grad school in 2001.

♠ It's now been seven years since I started grad school. There's no good point to mentioning this again other than to tell Kathy to finish writing her dissertation already. I suppose I could threaten her cats -- it worked for Mike (of Mike and Chompy) when he was writing his thesis in 2003.

♠ Writing theses as a composition student is probably easier than writing feces -- you create a musical work, send the score to a bunch of professors that are already thrilled with you, show up for the defense and walk out ten minutes later as a Master (hopefully Of The Universe).

♠ This weekend, the plan is to start preparations for the upcoming Halloween extravaganza, study for Java Certification (three chapters, seriously!), visit some of Rebecca's relatives, and meet at the DC pad of Mike (of Mike and Chompy) for an all-night birthday celebration before heading to work on Columbus Day.

♠ Have a wonderful weekend! Don't forget that Sunday is 12 of 12!

Cactus Kid advert ordered off air
Man's 'Viva Viagra' missile misfires in NYC court
Angry about the economy? Smash some plates and move on

tagged as fragments | permalink | 3 comments

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sunrise over the eastern shore of Kauai, which is far cooler than the eastern shore on the mainland. This picture was taken by Rebecca right from our balcony (I was too busy sleeping).

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Memory Day: Ten Years Ago Today

October 10, 2002 was the first death knell for my adolescence-prolonging grad school career. It was on this date that I sent an email to the company that I had interned at for three summers to see about a full-time position:

(This is not a date I celebrate regularly with paid time off and a parade -- I just happened to be doing a search through every email I've ever written last night, and it turned out that this was the only email sent on the particular day).

My reasons for switching from music to computers were outlined in this post, but the gist of the matter was that I was, and still am, a lazy introvert (albeit an extremely efficient one), and the amount of non-composing-related work I would have to do throughout a composing career to sell myself was not very appetizing. I didn't want to have to write music for rent money or subscribe to the obituaries to find backwater colleges where the tenured composer had just croaked in hopes of fighting twenty other composers for a job. I especially didn't want to have to smile and nod through endless concerts of atonal contemporary music where everyone in the audience secretly knows that mainstream listeners will never take any of it seriously.

Once I'd gotten the offer from FGM (software developer level 2 of 6, at $58k), I put my Masters coursework on autopilot and spent the remaining months in Tallahassee working on my thesis, playing Scrabble with Mike and Kathy, and buying Booty. With ten years of perspective, it was definitely the correct choice!

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Now You See Me (PG-13):
Crossing the heist genre with the magician genre seems like an obvious idea, so I was surprised that something like this hadn't been done before. The movie tells the tale of simple magicians and con men pulling off various bank heists while onstage in front of audiences, and the cop who's trying to bring them down. The whole thing becomes meaningless in the last 10 minutes, but the ride to get there is a lot of fun. Jesse Eisenberg plays the same character as he always does and only irritated me about 50% of the time.

Final Grade: B

The Libertines by The Libertines:
The very first song on the album, Can't Stand Me, is catchy but the remainder of the album rolls downhill into a cesspool almost immediately. In contrast to the first song, the rest of the album is an echo chamber of miscellaneous musical noise with lead singers that are rarely on pitch, barely understandable, and not catchy at all.

Final Grade: D

The New Kingmakers by Stephen O'Grady:
This is an incredibly brief (so brief that it looks like a pamphlet more than a book) overview of the importance of software developers in the new economy, and what companies need to do to woo and retain developers. It's an interesting, if not surprising, narrative, and would probably work best as a quickie read for a boss who doesn't understand how developers are important. For someone already involved in software, there's nothing newsworthy.

Final Grade: B-

Under the Dome, Season One:
This high-concept show about a small town that becomes cut off from the rest of the world by an impenetrable dome had a pretty decent pilot that showed a lot of untapped potential. Unfortunately, the show spent the next twelve episodes going nowhere and getting progressively worse. Among its flaws:

  • Every character starts out as a caricature (in typical Pilot form), but very few characters ever see any growth or development. The lovestruck teen son introduced in the first episode is immediately cringeworthy, and then changes his motivations each episode to support the plot. Is he crazy? Secretly smart? Check whether the episode number is even or odd to determine. The sheriff's deputy comes off as a dumber, equally annoying Michelle Rodriguez.
  • Most of the show involves characters standing around and spouting exposition in boring locales. Not only does the show tell us instead of show us, it also tells us things we should be able to figure out on our own -- there are actually exposition-teens who wander around the town explaining the plot for the viewers while getting into Dawson's Creek-like drama.
  • Many scenes simply exist to move people around to different locations so they're staged for whatever the next big ensemble scene will be. Others exist only to be Windows tablet commercials.
  • Anytime an interesting idea pops up, like a shortage of supplies or a health outbreak, it's merely used to further the nonexistent plot and is generally solved completely by the end of an episode. They solved meningitis in 30 minutes.
The bottom line is that this might have been an interesting miniseries idea, but it's held back by weak acting, weak dialogue, weak plot, and being stretched into a regular multiple season show. Skip it.

Final Grade: F

tagged as reviews | permalink | 6 comments

Friday, October 10, 2014

Questions Day

It's proposal season at work, and I only have a finite number of interesting, complete sentences that I can type in a single day (not unlike composing). So, the ball is in your court to ask me questions in the Comments section, and I'll reply to them next week.

Happy Friday!

tagged as you speak | permalink | 4 comments

Monday, October 10, 2016

Have you considered putting it in the cloud?

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Jack Ryan, Season One:
This is a well-constructed, if extremely generic, addition to the military/terrorist genre. In spite of a few unique sparks, it retreads ground already covered by better shows like Homeland without much new to say. John Krasinki mostly overcomes his typecasting as Jim from The Office, but might be the most boring protagonist to base a story around. Wendell Pierce from The Wire is woefully underused. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: C+

iZombie, Season Four:
Following the big setting shake-up at the end of the third season, this season goes about where you'd expect it to go. It's always fun to watch, although a few character developments used to drive the plot forward strain credulity -- a weird thing for me to say about a show where zombies exist. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson:
The second book by The Bloggess (whose blog I haven't read in several years now) retains the same absurdist humor that made her blog so fun, although the style gets old in big doses. Luckily, this book is more a series of essays than a through-composed narrative, so there's no harm in reading it in small chunks.

Final Grade: B

Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid by Die Antwoord:
I often drop songs I like on Pandora into my Amazon MP3 cart and then purchase the albums for new music exposure. I don't remember how this South African rap group ended up in my cart, but it was completely unexpected. The album offers a unique mashup of 90s dance music, Tim Burton, performance art, and way too much swearing, as if Judd Apatow was banned from Hollywood and forced to make Adult Swim cartoons. I'm glad I listened to it once, but will probably never listen to it again. Banana Brain is one of the more popular tracks on the album.

Final Grade: C

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Monday, October 10, 2022

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday night, we had leftover stuffed salmon from Costco for dinner. Maia had a hotdog because, "I'm not so sure about salmon."

On Saturday, Rebecca took Maia to see Disney on Ice, featuring abridged versions of Frozen and Encanto performed by ice-skating singers at the Patriot Center (which I just learned was rebranded with the ridiculous name, "EagleBank Arena", in 2015). Meanwhile, Ian and I visited my parents in Alexandria where Ian acquired new noisy toys to delight and enchant. The singing dump truck has the worst song every embedded in a toy -- even worse than the songs that Violet sings. Once everyone had returned home from their respective hajjs, we all went to the last hour of SterlingFest together. Maia jumped in two bounce houses and pet a bunny, then got sad when her balloon sword came untied and ultimately popped in the grass. Ian climbed the bars around the petting zoo and licked them heartily.

On Sunday, morning, Maia opened up an ice skating studio where she taught us how to ice skate:

The rest of the family went to the farmer's market while I stayed home and played Overwatch 2, a game which has nothing in it to justify the "2". After lunch, we built our first Fall fire in the fire pit and made s'mores while teaching Ian the ins and outs of not falling into a fire. We made a tray bake of chicken and farmer's market veggies for dinner.

How was your weekeend?

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

 

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