This Day In History: 10/15

Monday, October 15, 2001

I think one of the main reasons I compose and do computer programming is because it gives me the opportunity to create something new. While sitting in History of Music Theory today, I realized how miserable I'd be if I devoted my entire life to different permutations of things that already exist, like theory and analysis. To a lesser extent, I think performance is included here as well, because I'd much rather create my own works than interpret someone else's. I guess it just comes with the territory of having a short attention span with anything I view as "work".

I've gotten back in the habit of doing crossword puzzles again; something I haven't done regularly since early in my undergrad years. I do the Washington Post puzzle over breakfast and the USA Today puzzle over lunch (online of course). If you know of any puzzles that are about the same difficulty level, let me know.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Registration for Spring classes started today, so I'd better get off my ass and get some paperwork signed. I'll also need to decide what my plans are fairly soon, since my courseload for the Spring will hinge upon it. I requested an offer for a full-time position at FGM this weekend, so I should hear back about that pretty soon.

Have you seen the iMac TV spots featuring real people talking about their switch from the PC to an iMac? If you haven't, watch a couple of these (notable Hamilton Morris and Ellen Feiss), and then watch this parody made by someone at a forum I frequent (AVI, 1.67MB). It's the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I suppose uri.nl is a bad idea for a domain name. Any other suggestions? Right now I'm leaning towards orgella.org because it's repetitive, easy to remember, and short. Plus, I can use it for other purposes if I ever do more than a personal page (unlike uridomain.com or something). uridomain.com is a porn site. Choosing net or org for that might lead to some confusion...

The Doctor is In

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Friday, October 15, 2004

Tonight is Poker Night. This weekend I'll be working and doing a little house stuff as well.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Basement Nostalgia Day

This panoramic picture was taken just days after I'd closed on the house in February 2004. I spent an entire day listening to Tower of Power and scrubbing grime off of the walls. It was very apparent from the markings on the walls that the basement had recently been subdivided into tiny apartments, no doubt to house a burgeoning immigrant population.

My first "lazy Sunday" project in the house was to convert a set of basement shelves into a bar. I started by tearing the backs off of shelves, to let some light into the dark corners for my housewarming party in June 2004. Next, I completely tore out the shelves so I could carve hollow grooves into the sides to house the electrical wiring for two fancy lights.

The pool table arrived in the summer of 2004, and I bought a slick pool table light off of Yahoo for about $120. Work then lagged for a year while I spruced up the parts of the house that I actually lived in, and renovated one of the guest rooms so Kathy could freeload for a summer. Next up (in the summer of 2005) were some classy jazz posters in frames that were 50% off at Michael's and one of my parents' cast off TVs (they tend to cast off a TV every two and a half months or so).

During the last half of 2005, I put the basement to good use, hosting (and losing) multiple poker games, throwing a wild and crazy Halloween party, and starting the tradition of a "Month of Thanksgivings", where I invite a different batch of friends over every weekend in November for turkey.

I didn't do a damn thing to improve the basement in 2006, although my dad snuck into my house while I was on vacation at the beach to finish my bar. I did host another "Month of Thanksgivings", followed by a St. Patrick's Day extravaganza in 2007, but I was too busy painting my upstairs bathrooms the colour of an 80s glam star's vinyl jacket to renovate anything in the basement.

When September 2007 rolled around, I had finally finished working on all the other parts of the house and had time to focus on the basement. Rebecca helped me pick out paint (milk chocolate), replacing my old seeing-eye-dog, Anna, who is now married and has her own paints to worry about. After a couple days of painting last month, my dad and I faced the hairy task of moving the pool table so we could lay carpet underneath it. We accomplished this in a cost-effective manner by raising it up on two dollies from Costco (and then returning them for a full refund afterwards).

The new and improved basement features a wall of mounted mirrors, four high-tech speakers on the walls (such that when you stand at the focal point of the sound waves, Pimpin' All Over the World can burst your ear drums), new curtains, and a calico cat. It's all done!

Mexican cops arrest cannibalism suspect
Chocolate expert damages truffles
Japanese make PETA-friendly frog

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Time-Lapsed Blogography Day

carefully preserved in journals and the Wayback Machine

Friday, October 15, 1993: A typical day in my sophomore year saw my English class reading Julius Caesar out loud in its entirety (...we only have sixty more pages to go...) because our near-retirement teacher also ran a bed & breakfast in Berryville, and tried to think up as many substitute-friendly activities as possible to stretch the lessons out without any actual teaching.

In art class, we had a substitute that looked like Rasputin with sunglasses, and the only reason I knew this historical figure was because Rasputin sneaks onto the rocket ship in the computer game, Martian Dreams, and gets blasted to Mars where his body gets possessed by a Martian when he sits in a Dream Machine. (The game was as ridiculous as it sounds, and ran at about the same speed as a no-legged dog on my 286).

Seventh period band was cancelled for one of those ridiculous high school bonfires where every fall sport gets to run past an oil drum fire that even a hobo would scoff at, the only redeeming feature being the field hockey players in their short skirts.

Saturday, October 15, 1994: Today was Homecoming Day at T.C. Williams, which meant that the marching band got to march a circuit through the parking lot at the Bradlee Shopping Center. My dad had returned to tuba playing as a hobby the year before so he provided me with some teenage angst by marching in the parade with us, playing his sousaphone. Today was also Alumni Band day, where the four trumpet players from the Class of 1974 stand around on the field, trying to get their arms up over their potbellies so they can play really badly on trumpets that still have the gum lodged in the mouthpieces from the last playing in 1975.

We also beat Hayfield 16-10. This was important to us because Hayfield was ranked #12 at the time, and we were just rank. I'm pretty sure our 16 points came from five field goals and an extra point from a very confused kicker.

Sunday, October 15, 1995: I worked on some really horrible pep band arrangements today and also biked to Ultimate Frisbee club, but only three people showed up. I was excited because Monday the 16th was the Million Man March, which meant that most black men in the city were skipping work to prove that they were dependable, upstanding human beings. Because of this, I got to drive the Dodge Spirit to school instead of taking the bus (apparently my dad believed me when I ventured that all the bus drivers were black men).

Apparently, nothing of note happened in my first two years of college...

Thursday, October 15, 1998: Tonight was the dress rehearsal for Joe Ehrenberger's senior recital, featuring my first commission that was actually requested. Every budding composer has his share of crappy songs written simply because a performer friend once made an offhand comment like "I'll have to play one of your songs someday!" while high and drunk -- this was the first time someone actually sat down with me and wanted me to write something unique for them. Dave McKee (who also dubbed a later composition, "that Grade IV trumpet solo with the Grade VI accompaniment") had the ignominous honour of conducting the ensemble.

Friday, October 15, 1999: Pinnacle Brass, the third greatest brass quintet at Virginia Tech, had a paying gig commemorating the opening of Harper Hall, a yuppy dorm filled with yuppy suites and yuppy walk-in closets. After rocking the second trumpet part, I went home and played Warcraft II with Kelley Corbett all night long, because he was obsessed.

Jumping a few years further in time...

Tuesday, October 15, 2002: Nothing happened in the real world today, but Jamellan from the NoHunters community released his pre-YouTube-era video mocking those ridiculous commercials about why iMacs are so great. Watch it here (1.7 MB AVI).

Friday, October 15, 2004: By now, I was living in Sterling. Friday night was Poker Night, but no records exist as to how far in last place I came in back then. I also had a migraine that day.

Saturday, October 15, 2005: My Honda Accord broke 40,000 miles (it's now at 71,000 because friends refuse to live in an appropriately close city) and I did my Saturday morning shopping routine of Shoppers Food Warehouse, Home Depot, Costco, and Target. After a few hours of remodelling in my storage room, I spent the rest of the day doing a fifteen-man run of Upper Blackrock Spire in World of Warcraft, where we forced Tordin to kite General Drakkisath into another part of the dungeon with his [Blastershot Launcher], while other thirteen players launched anemic attacks against his underlings and I typed /purr over and over again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008: I'm now 29 with two cats, a steady job of five years (eight with the internships) and a lady-friend. I no longer play the trumpet or march in bands, and compose very rarely, but still play Warcraft almost every other day. What are you doing with your life?

Tattoo clue led to car thief
Wang assault on guard results in counseling
Rabbit invasion shuts down Mandela museum

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Today, we spent all day sitting or snorkeling at Anini Beach.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Fragments

how is this month half over already?

♠ I've been walking all sorts of miles every day for my company's fitness drive, but there's no tangible proof (not unlike the moon landings) since I seem to have lost my pedometer in New Hampshire.

♠ The handstand picture on the right shows the first time it wriggled its way off my belt, after which I somehow managed to find it again on the way back down Piper Mountain. Between there and Dulles Airport, it went missing yet again, probably because exercise is for losers and this point needed to be driven home with a mystical sign.

♠ It's interesting how easily mystical signs can be confused for coincidence. For example, it has been exactly two years since I wrote a post about what I was doing exactly X years ago. This is a mystical sign that the URI! Zone is fashioned around a higher mathematical synergy than is apparent to the naked eye, because there are no coincidences in math.

♠ No coincidences besides the nine-times table, that is.

♠ When I was a kid I used to know all of the nine-times tricks (like the fact that the digits of any multiple of nine can be summed down to nine, or putting down your Xth finger in 9 times X would reveal the digits of the answer, as in 9x7=63). The latter trick is not recommended if you're doing math in the inner city as you might coincidentally mystically reveal your gang affiliations.

♠ If I were going to join a gang, I would want to join one full of people who are either double-jointed or have too many fingers from living near Chernobyl. There don't seem to be a lot of artistic possibilities for flashy gang signs when you only have ten normal fingers. Such a gang would probably be a good candidate for performing Liszt transcriptions as well.

♠ Plans for the weekend include shopping and poker, and possibly some DDMSence while Rebecca runs in the NOVA Community College 5K Race. I could also spend some time shopping for a Halloween costume, except that I've already got everything I need!

♠ Have a great weekend!

Why So Many People Can't Make Decisions
Glendale woman super glues eye shut
Happy coffins make funerals less grim

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Random Cartoon Day

Following the conclusion of LOST, Harold Perrineau was fortunate to find continued acting work as the spokesman for a drill company.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Recipe Day: Easy Buffalo Meatballs

Timing

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat toaster oven to 450 F.
  • Combine butter and wing sauce in a small pot. Cook over low heat, stirring until melted and mixed.
  • Combine beef, egg, bread crumbs, and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand. After wing sauce is sufficiently cool, pour into bowl and continue mixing.
  • Evenly coat the surface of a baking dish with vegetable oil. Roll beef mixture into 3/4 inch balls and pack snugly in baking dish.
  • Bake for 18 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve with pasta or simply toss them up in the air and catch them in your mouth.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken twenty years ago today, on October 15, 1994. My dad had recently rediscovered his love of playing instruments in the tuba family and, as the official band photographer, got permission to join the band in the Homecoming / Alumni Day band parade (despite not being an alumnus). As a high school sophomore, my body language is the physical manifestation of parental embarrassment.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Rare Bird by Whitton:
This album is a fun mix of jazz and pop songs. The artist has a weird affectation to her timbre that comes and goes and makes her sound cartoony, but it grew on me over time. A representative song that I like is B Sting.

Final Grade: B+

Luther, Season Two:
Luther continues to be a great example of a police procedural done right. The performances are top notch, and the stories are given room to breathe which effectively builds suspense (each "case" spans two episodes, and the season is four total episodes). This was the weakest of the three seasons because it felt like they weren't sure how to effectively use one of the main characters, but I still enjoyed it. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Fargo, Season One:
This remake of the movie from the 90s is a surprisingly successful -- it has clear ties back to the source material but manages to be something as good as (or even better than) the movie that can stand completely on its own merits. It has whimsical elements that are used just enough to not feel like a cinematographer's circlejerk, and even an overused plot device employed in the 8th episode was able to keep me interested where other shows might have stumbled. The cast, including movie stars like Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Platt, Keith Carradine, and Colin "Mini Tom Hanks" Hanks turn in uniformly excellent performances.

Final Grade: a rare A+

Modern Family, Season Four:
Reliably funny with slightly fewer tedious Cam stories than Season Three.

Final Grade: B

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Monday, October 15, 2018

List Day: 30 Old Facebook Status Messages

I found these status messages from 2011 - 2016 while scrolling through my Activity Log on Facebook, long forgotten since I regularly hide old posts from my Timeline. It is left as an exercise to figure out the month and year they were posted.

  1. You shouldn't be allowed to write a Top 40s song called "Trumpets" and then use synthesizers from the 1980s to represent said trumpets.

  2. Asking me if my parents are home is not a good way to start your door-to-door sales pitch.

  3. If Microsoft Word's "Bullets and Numbering" controls made real bullets, not even the shooter would be safe.

  4. "Casual" is a peculiar name for a dryer setting. Is it reserved for the clothes one might wear out to Chili's?

  5. I call dibs on wrapping all of the rectangular presents with well-defined edges.

  6. Calling it now: The first major DC snowstorm will be dubbed "Edward Snowed In".

  7. "Pressing 4 to send a fax instead of leaving a voicemail sounds like a delightful idea," said no Verizon subscriber ever.

  8. The Y2K bug is more subtle and insidious than expected -- Costco started selling nativity scenes and light-up snowmen today.

  9. Jeff Bezos only purchased The Washington Post to improve Amazon's shipping infrastructure -- the paper's delivery drivers were found to be 88% more accurate than LASERSHIP.

  10. "This Maynard Ferguson album would be greatly improved with more Maynard on it," said no one ever.

  11. There's no reason to keep funding the arts now that we've invented Autotune and MIDI.

  12. The faulty fluorescent light in the men's room has slowed its flickering down from "you deserve some epilepsy today" to "you might be in a slasher film".

  13. Your "I ♥ My Exchange Student" bumper sticker crosses the line of paternal pride into creepiness.

  14. My porch light isn't off because I'm a registered offender -- it's off because I want to eat all of the candy myself in peace, in a dark room at the back of the house. #jumptoconclusionsmat

  15. Facebook has become an apocalyptic wasteland of dogs and babies dressed as stuff!

  16. So is Sandy a boy or a girl?

  17. Candy consumer is a more rewarding role than candy distributor.

  18. There should be a "NEVER, NOW STOP ASKING" option when the gas pump asks if you want a car wash today.

  19. Of course I have an "Earth, Wind, and Fire" Pandora station. You DON'T?

  20. Theme from Halloween + Theme from Doogie Howser, M.D. = Sadly overlooked mashup potential.

  21. Raddatz should conclude this debate with a Bachelor-style Rose Ceremony.

  22. If you clowns had voted for me four years ago, you'd be getting a much better show right now.

  23. Disapprove all you want. Steak fat is DELICIOUS.

  24. "I hope that clicking on this headline will take me to a video of a local news broadcast instead of a written article," said no one ever.

  25. Morgan Freeman is easily the hardest-working athlete in these Olympics.

  26. Why do all of the male Olympic swimmers look like Chris Klein?

  27. Pop & Lock is just a conspiracy to legitimize mimes in modern culture.

  28. No Internet or phone at home, and no stoplights on the Parkway. It's like the apocalypse but with Chick-fila for lunch.

  29. The new "Facebook Timeline" would be cooler if you could customize your page with assorted rainbow colors, fonts, and animations. And maybe an embedded music player that starts streaming Nickelback as soon as you load a page.

  30. Brian Uri is looking for friends via the Tools You May Know tool.

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Friday, October 15, 2021

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Profile (R):
This movie tells the story of a journalist who tries to gain the trust of an ISIS recruiter but ends up sympathizing with him. The whole movie is told through a view of the journalist's laptop screen with video chats and instant messages. It's a unique, tense watch, although the final motivations of the main character fall apart a little in the climactic moments.

Final Grade: B

The Lion's Roar by First Aid Kit:
The vocalists on this album sound like Christina Perri if she wrote hippie music. This is a nice sound for a single (which is why I bought the album), but wears thin quickly when every song on the album has the same timbre.

Final Grade: C+

Lupin, Season Two:
The first part of this French heist show was a sleeper hit that both Rebecca and I enjoyed. The second half maintains the momentum and surprises. I kind of hoped that this would be the wrap-up, as the penultimate episode felt very complete, but there is a third season brewing. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch):
This is the game that Maia and I play now that Ori and Breath of the Wild are done. Maia enjoys it because she can finally play on her own instead of just telling me what to do. From my perspective, it's fine as a Mario Kart game but feels full of recycled content without much innovation -- I felt the same about many other games that were ported over from the failed WiiU to the Switch. The racetracks are well-done and full of little details. The item game is still awful, with emphasis on unavoidable items that make the game more about luck than skill (see also, later editions of Mario Party). It's no fun being in first place, where you get the worst items and are targeted by the best items. One annoyance is that the unskippable credits scene plays after every Grand Prix once you start the 100cc circuit, forcing a close-and-reload of the software.

Final Grade: B-

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