This Day In History: 10/11

Thursday, October 11, 2001

I've never understood the fascination people have with making their cell phones play a melody when a call comes in. I think cell phones would be a lot less obnoxious if they actually sounded like real phones, and didn't make a garish effigy out of some classic (or not-so-classic) work of musical literature.

I'm still finding it incredibly difficult to get motivated in areas that I really have no interest in. To keep from having to study for my History of Music Theory test yesterday, I started and completed my entire modal counterpoint project which isn't even due until next week. I may be horrible at doing anything classified as "work", but the projects I do instead certainly benefit as a result. In fact, I made this website over the summer instead of rigorously studying for my music placement exams, and that seemed to work out well for everyone involved.

My new toy, the Roland SC-8850, won't get here until next week -- it's shipping from the manufacturer's warehouse in Washington state. For once, when they say UPS Ground, they really mean UPS Ground.

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Friday, October 11, 2002

Part IV of V

None of today's characters are major enough to hurt the musical through bad casting, but a good choice always adds a little extra oomph to the recording.

Gavroche: All three actors of Gavroche are about equal in their roles. The Complete recording's Gavroche (Ross McCall) has the most believable accent, but makes his death scene ridiculously protracted, gasping for air after every syllable.

Young Cosette: The Broadway actress is the most believable as a singing tot, but Marissa Dunlop (C) has the prettiest rendition of the character's only song. Hannah Chick (T) does a decent enough job but stumbles a few times (probably because it was live).

    Young Cosette, Broadway (MP3, 171KB)
    Marissa Dunlop, Complete (MP3, 157KB)
    Hannah Chick, Tenth Anniversary (MP3, 179KB)

Enjolras: Anthony Warlow's (C) powerful voice captures the character of the student leader who is completely consumed by thoughts of revolution. Michael MacGuire (B, T) sounds a little tentative in the role, and I don't like the way he enunciates his big entrance (in the excerpt below).

    Michael MacGuire, Broadway (MP3, 258KB)
    Anthony Warlow, Complete (MP3, 239KB)

Grantaire: Grantaire only has a few lines in the musical, but his part is greatly enhanced by Kenny D'Aquila's voice, which has been described as "brandy-soaked". The raspy, gruff timbre is perfect for the part of thedrunkard student. The Broadway Grantaire has a good voice, but an embarassingly canned laugh in the excerpt, which sounds like he was reading the score and it said "Laugh here."

    Grantaire, Broadway (MP3, 217KB)
    Kenny D'Aquila, Complete (MP3, 197KB)
    Anthony Crivello, Tenth Anniversary (MP3, 199KB)

To be concluded...

tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Saturday, October 11, 2003

There hasn't been a recent picture of me since last August, so here's one to satiate you. There's also some new cat pictures on the Photos page.

Buttered Shoes
California researchers have found a physiological basis for social pain by monitoring the brains of people who thought they had been maliciously excluded from a computer game by other players.

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Monday, October 11, 2004

Blizzard Entertainment recently instituted a policy in their online fantasy game, World of Warcraft, stating that all character names had to be reasonably fantasy-sounding and that other names would be changed by game moderators. One player posted the following on their forum:

My character used to be named Indica which basically means of or relating to India, which is possibly my favorite place on earth. I log on today after school and find out my name has been changed to Omilan. What in the world is going on? I page a GM and explain my problem and get told that because there is a strain of cannabis that happens to be cannabis indica, my name is therefore a drug reference and was changed. My name is not a drug reference. My name is a culture reference: India. Suddenly an entire culture is narrowed down to a single plant? This is massively insulting.

If somebody can roll up an entire culture, an entire continental region and everything native to it, and throw it out the window, ignoring everything but a single plant that grows there and call every bit of it a 'drug reference,' I am outraged. I will not ask to get my name changed. It will be a testament to pure ignorance and abuse of policy.

To which a Blizzard rep replied:

The part that I seem to have the most problem understanding in this is the following... You had another character name changed at the same time named "Kindbud". I am sure this had to do with being a gardener of some sort as well.

No Nude Bush Allowed
FOX News sympathetic to man robbed by Darth Vader
Yuolanda Taylor toted rocks through a riot-wracked neighborhood and sold small rocks for $1 each and bigger ones for $5. She later used the money to pay her cable TV bill.
I got screwed while screwing; you might have, too.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Happy Birthday Mike! This is a picture of you and Booty sharing a good time when you were only 23 and Booty was only 6 months. Now, you're old and 26 and Booty is still 90% younger than you are.

Actually, Mike's birthday was on Sunday, but time stands still in the URI! Zone on the weekends. Couple that defiance of age with the fact that I didn't update on Columbus Day and you have an easy-to-follow recipe for a two-day belated birthday wish. I figure that as long as everyone is growing old, I may as well savour as many national holidays as I can (although I did go to work yesterday, just like any other day). Any illusions that I would permanently remain in the idyllic days of my youth were erased when I noticed that Amber had grown to the point where she could no longer fit entirely into her sleepy basket (Evidence of her growing intelligence include the time she ran full speed towards a desk, tried to leap onto it, and chest-planted the edge). I'm pretty happy that time is moving forward though; I have good feelings about what the future might hold. I used a semicolon in the previous sentence, because I use the double-hyphen far too often -- on an unrelated note, I hate how Microsoft Word converts hyphens and quotation marks into special characters.

Side note: At this moment in history, Amber is sitting atop my bookshelf trying to get the second hand out of the clock. She's all about some stopping time too.

The only time that time isn't flying by is when it comes to processing security clearances. Mine finally finished up on Friday, a mere twenty months after I originally applied. Apparently, the investigation span even exceeds the life of two-sided sticky tape that you put on the backs of magnet boards so they don't fall off your fridge. Having a clearance on file means that I can requisition private vehicles for emergency use or jump to the head of the line for the Big Bad Wolf roller coaster, and I am now taller than the "You must be at least this secret to look at this file" line. However, the value of the clearance on the job market has drastically declined in the past two days, since it was revealed that the FBI is considering hiring more potheads . Why pay outrageous wages to cleared citizens when you can hire a pothead for a side order of fries and some E.L.Fudge cookies?

I'm not complaining about the big bucks though, because it allows me to buy first-world necessities such as this entertainment stand to hold my sound system in the basement. It was a Target special (and on sale for $60 off) and, though it may not look like it, it's a do-it-yourself assembly. I love do-it-yourself furniture, because it's like playing with Legos but at a much grander scale. I like the precision with which the holes are pre-drilled and how following the instructions leads to a solid product with very few chances to screw things up. I also think the guy who invented the self-tightening cam (that little metal circle that catches a dowel and grabs it tightly as you twist it) was a genius since it makes assembly require a minimum or grunt work. I may be a little bit crazy.

Those two doors on the entertainment stand hide cabinets which are completely empty. This is a true representation of the rest of my house, which is 55% living space, 10% stored goods, and 35% empty storage space. I love having so much storage space because it lets me organize everything to the o-th degree -- if only I had more useless crap to store on my empty bookshelves, cabinets, and closets, I'm sure the house would be much happier. You don't ever want to meet a crabby house.

Match.com's criss-crossed lovers
Chili before bedtime helps you sleep faster (but not your bedmate)
Squirrels in south London could have become addicted to crack cocaine.

Yesterday's search terms:
bordello in miami, how to challenge the elementary overachiever, hotass disney, inappropriate language for newscasters, weird clips of people doing awkward things

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

All About Me


I am Brian. I like to go to the swimming pool. I like to watch TV -- especially Batman. I like to go to my firend, Megan's, house. I like to go on vacation to the fun places. The fun places are just south of the border on I-95 and also in my pants. My grandpa has a garden. He lives in Michigan. I play with the cat there and probably got fecal cat disease from all the times it scratched me because it was an outdoor cat and never had its nails cut. I like the scarecrow (which apparently is a mutation-cross between a bald eagle, a manatee, and a operatic soprano in an evening dress) and the corn.

I like to ride my bike every night. It has training wheels. I like to make tracks with it. I like to do stunts. One time I barrelled down a hill over the curb and jumped a Yugo. I like to make skid marks with it. The wheels were made of plastic, and if you keep making skid marks with plastic wheels eventually you don't have any wheels left. I keep my bike by the table. He Man rocks.

My dad's painting the house. The sun is saying "Hi". I am saying "Hi". My mom is saying "Hi". My dad is saying "Hi". My sister is saying "Hi". This is what's known in the "biz" as a "hi five". We cut roses together. We have to fix the chimney because only one puff of smoke is coming out. Obviously the fact that the house is holding all the smoke in is the reason the entire family is "hi".

This is my kitchen. I like to eat these foods. Actually bananas suck. Yellow milk sucks. Pears suck but not as much as peaches. Olives are key. I like to help my mom wash the dishes. I like to help my mom cook. I get the things out. I like to sit at the table and wait for dinner. Sometimes if I'm good my parents give me dinner every day and I don't have to fight the rats for it.

I like to wait at the bus stop. We always talk about things. I like to meet my friends there. I went to kindergarten at the M.C. Escher School of Design. It was guarded by camouflage alligators that disguised themselves as trucks. That's how my friend, Paul, got eaten. He thought his dad had come to pick him up.

My house always has lots of birds around it. My dad doesn't like dogs barking. We help cut the flowers. We spray the birds' nests so those avian scavengers of the suburbs don't come knocking around here. This page is just like the page about my family except that I moved into a multi-story hotel, painted blue. I like blue.

Yale student's video resume raises eyebrows
Google Code Search reveals coder comments
Vote for pubic office

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

List Day: Five Costco Coupons

Every month around this time, I receive a big book of coupons in the mail, aimed at enticing big spending on bigger boxes. The deals range the gamut from "inspired economy" to "if I buy that I should really be donating more money to charity". Here are five sample coupons from this month's brochure:

1) For eighteen hundred dollars, you can purchase a security system consisting of 8 mountable cameras, a DVR to record your surveillance tapes, and a 19" LCD monitor to watch your grounds in real time. If you aren't in the right income tax bracket to have "grounds", you can also use the system to film your remake of the music video to Video Killed the Radio Star, or get a local job as a janitor and install them in the locker room of your choice.

2) As you can see from the picture, these shanks are fashioned from bone so they don't set off any metal detectors. The perfect prison-fight weapon for wrongfully imprisoned lambs who've done mutton wrong.

3) In a normal orientation, this might just be a birthday cake made of bling, but turn it upside-down and you have a high-class chandelier that brightens any wine and cheese party (for only four hundred and eighty dollars). Plus, when your guests are openly admiring your style, you can say, "Why yes, it's a Pecaso."

4) I originally thought that Spanakopita was the Spanish version of the popular online encyclopedia, but apparently it's something you put in your mouth and swallow. It may be $3 off, but I've learned that there's an inverse relationship between the number of syllables in a food and how good it tastes.

5) The ad copy for this coupon was obviously written by an electrical engineer who spent one too many nights working on the logic gates in his project box, but that doesn't prevent this bargain from being a steal! Mix your own cocktail by choosing a maximum of five different drugs to get you high. When addiction has claimed your job and your home, keep warm on the streets by wrapping yourself in ThermaCare heat wraps.

Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

Boy tries to go to Applebee's
How to rescue a 250 pound bear
Mexico Pol Stripped of Marathon Title

tagged as lists | permalink | 1 comment

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunset at the Beach House Restaurant (dinner courtesy of Kelley and Kathy).

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Museday Tuesday

As part of this feature, which I started in 2007, I compose a very brief work (under 30 seconds) inspired by a randomly generated title from an online word generator or suggested by a reader. The composition can be for any instrumentation, and could even be a purely synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.

I work on the excerpt continuously for an hour and then post whatever I've managed to complete, even if it could be the hit single from Glenn Gould Plays Tatu.


Scurfy : (adj.) Resembling, producing, or covered in a flaky or scaly substance

My Composition (0:28 MP3)

I decided to change tack this week and stay away from the woodwind and brass samples, sticking only with patches that were obviously popular in the 80s.

Divers left behind by charter boat
Beetles die during bottle sex
A few million monkeys recreate the works of Shakespeare

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

My Name Is Earl, Season 1:
This is an older sitcom about a petty criminal who decides to make up for all of the bad things he's done in his life. The "checking things off the list" approach lends itself well to individual episodes and the show sometimes has a surprising amount of feel-good in it for what's essentially a trailer-trash comedy. Free on Amazon Prime, and worth every penny.

Final Grade: B+

Kick-Ass (R):
This is a fun, different take on super-hero movies, featuring a normal guy that isn't very good at being a super-hero. It's unabashedly violent, and is notable for featuring the little girl from Hugo as a swearing, destructive sidekick, Hit-Girl, as well as a surprisingly low-key Nicholas Cage who isn't overacting about bees.

Final Grade: B

How I Met Your Mother, Season 7:
This show needs to end now. Season seven retreads plenty of old ground and has a few worthy laughs, but whenever it tries the Scrubs approach of injecting some seriousness, it just ends up with "depressing" instead. It doesn't help that so much of the future has been foreshadowed now that there is no reason to get emotionally invested in any particular new relationship between characters -- we've already been told that they don't work out.

Final Grade: C

2nd Law by Muse:
You can read my full review of this album over on Amazon.com. In a nutshell, it was disappointing. The music was spastically all over the place with less of a focus on thematic coherency and more focus on filling up the CD. There are a few decent tunes towards the beginning of the CD, but the last half is forgettable.

Final Grade: C+

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Friday, October 11, 2013

List Day: 10 More Things I Will Never Understand the Appeal Of

to go with the original 15

tagged as lists | permalink | 4 comments

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

American Vandal:
This is a pitch-perfect satire of the true crime documentary genre (such as Serial and Making a Murderer), with a small team of high school students investigating who drew 27 dicks on cars in the teacher's parking lot. With a setup like that, it would be easy to stick with the obvious jokes -- the reason this 8-episode season works so well is because it's played completely straight, allowing you to get swept up into a fun snapshot of modern high school life in the days of social media and Youtube stars. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Fortitude, Season Two:
The second season of Fortitude strays a little too far into mysticism and meanders through several disjointed storylines before jumping the shark in the last two episodes. The final episode felt so poorly written that I actually thought I'd missed a few scenes somewhere along the line. Watch the first season and stop. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: C-

Raven Locks, Act 3 by Dirt Poor Robins:
The Dirt Poor Robins have been releasing this pop musical one act at a time over the past few years. The final act seems to have the more memorable songs, like Welcome to Lady Hell, front-loaded. Listening to all 3 acts together reveals a nice, cohesive whole.

Final Grade: B

Falling and Flying by 360:
I bought this CD because I thought the single, Boys Like You was pretty catchy. However, it turns out that 360's songs are catchy solely because of the backing vocals and arrangements, as he's a pretty forgettable rapper. Many of the songs on the CD start out interesting then turn bad as soon as he starts rapping.

Final Grade: C-

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Stranger Things, Season Three:
Finally, a season of Stranger Things I can stand behind. There's no bloat or unnecessary episodes and the pacing kept my interest from episode 1. The show transcends its traditional overreliance on 80s nostalgia to tell a compelling coming-of-age story full of humor and fun characters. The homages (like an episode featuring horror movie tropes in an under-construction hospital) are still there, but serve the story rather than overshadowing it. Winona Ryder is finally given something to do besides freaking out about a missing child.

This season is worth a watch even if you don't totally remember everything that happened up until now. It functions well as a trilogy ender if there are no more seasons coming, in spite of a very minor cliffhanger after the final credits. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A-

Interpreting the Masters, Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen by Bird and the Bee:
I'm not sure if the world needed an indie re-imagining of songs from Van Halen, but it is what it is. There's nothing wrong with any of them, but they all feel a little forgettable. I'd rather get an album of new original material.

Final Grade: C

Money Heist, Part Two:
This is a perfect treadmill show -- interesting enough to make me want to exercise, but not so good that I want to binge it. Part Two has a few good twists and builds the tension well, although there are a few too many flashbacks and repeated scenes to pad it out. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Between Two Ferns: The Movie:
This movie is based on the webseries where Zack Galifianakis asks weird, insulting questions to real movie stars that don't appear to be in on the joke. The awkward, Andy Kaufman-esque humour is intact, although the road trip storyline that glues all of the interviews together here feels obligatory and not as funny. The best part of the movie is actually the 10 minutes of outtakes at the end where the movie stars can't help but to laugh at the ridiculous questions. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

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Monday, October 11, 2021

Maia's Art Day

The neverending torrent of arts and crafts from preschool included these two insightful works.

Maia had to draw a bunny on her own to get credit for a Farmer's Market activity. She often runs out of room while writing her name and puts the last A on another line. (On the back is a farm with some farm animals which I helped with).

Bunny lives on our court. Bunny has a striped car and his house has two chimneys shaped like bunny ears. This is a highly accurate rendition of the surrounding streets.

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