This Day In History: 10/30

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

I have a lesson with Martin Ellerby tomorrow, a guest composer from England. I went to his concerto seminar this afternoon, and I really liked the sparse selections that he played, as well as some other recorded music of his that I own.

I really wish mayonnaise jars weren't so deep. Once you reach the bottom, you have to go spelunking just to make a turkey sandwich, and then the knife's coated with old mayo funk. A tube of mayo would be the perfect solution.

"Let's go on to the Mozart... the hell with Beethoven; he never knew how to part write anyhow." - professor, on clear examples of diatonic seventh chords

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Wednesday, October 30, 2002

So, computer programming sounds fun, no?

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Thursday, October 30, 2003

I purchased Halo a while back and have been playing it in my spare time. Overall I'm underwhelmed. The game is fun enough and the squad AI is gimmicky, but it seems like the game to date is just more of the same (I was also unimpressed by Half-Life and won't be buying Half-Life 2 when it comes out). Plus, the levels are boring.

In other gaming news, Patch 1.10 for Diablo II finally came out, some two odd years after it was first announced. Despite the lag time, it's nice to see a gaming company supporting software for free so long after its commercial success.

Bush has more urgent plans
Sexual Karaoke
Black hole hums Bb

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Fall

Even though the first day of Fall was over a month ago, the season has now arrived in earnest. One way to tell is by the clock-flip of the utterly useless Daylight Savings Time -- although some people may get excited at the prospect of bringin' daylight back, it doesn't affect me in the least bit. Working on the "six to two" schedule means that it's still going to be dark when I wake up, and it's still going to be light when I get home, regardless of chronological contortions. Instead of continuing to use a system that makes Arizona feel left out, what we should do is enact a year-round system that takes one hour away from the workday and adds it to the sleeping schedule of all Americans (because it's been proven that a sleeping American uses much less electricity than one that's awake). Write me in next week and those are the kinds of innovative forward-thinking ideas you'll see on my platform.

Actually, screw Arizona. What kind of nutter wants to live in the desert year-round anyhow?

Another sign of Fall: the leaves around my house have turned this brilliant shade of orange (it can solve quadratic equations without paper). After a particularly fierce wind storm that shattered the very backbone of my beliefs (if my beliefs were a patio table with a giant umbrella supported by rotting wood), roughly half of the leaves made the one-way trip to the ground.

It's always hard to figure out the best times to rake -- you have to find the sweet spot where enough have fallen to make it worth your while, realizing that another round is just going to fall again in a few weeks. Plus, waiting too long turns the once eminently rakeable leaves into a soggy concoction that sticks to the rake and the grass. When I'm rich, I plan on solving the problem by renting a helicopter to fly out and hover over my house for a couple hours every weekend during the Fall. Bonus points if I can blow away a deer or two.

Don't forget that the deadline for last week's Name That Tune contest is Tuesday at noon!

Six word stories
Murder juror kicked for using numerology
Vampires a mathematical impossibility

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Computer Day

The Windows XP operating system is being discontinued at the end of this year, and since Windows Vista is a real operating system like Kappa Kappa Psi a real fraternity, I decided to purchase a new computer for the first time in three years to get a fresh copy of XP before it vanishes forever. Last night I shelled out $650 for a Dell desktop and then another $380 at various cheaper dealers for things like memory and graphics cards.

As I was comparing the various options for processors and graphics cards, I realized how far out of the loop I've gotten on computer hardware since the innocent days of my youth when I'd gladly blow a couple grand on the fastest model of computer because it had one extra expansion slot which would be perfect for my adapter card that converted binary numbers into chocolate chip cookies or automatically added major thirds to all my chords. It used to be easy to pick out a computer -- find anything called a Pentium and get the one with the biggest number. Now, there are dual cores and quad cores with numbers smaller than before, but which are actually faster because they can do two things at once. I plan on testing this out by installing a copy of Doom 3 and My Little Pony Adventures on the new machine and trying to play them side by side in two windows.

For the interested geeks, I ended up getting an Inspiron 530 with an Intel Core Duo E6550, 4GB 800MHz RAM, 340 GB Hard Drive, and a GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCI-Express graphics card. Roughly the same machine in the "gamer" line was nine hundred dollars more. I probably could have gotten better game-friendly gear, but I haven't really played any computer games since World of Warcraft and I would rather spend my evenings cleaning up from Halloween parties than figuring out if the 8600 is faster than the 8700 or which one makes animated boobies jiggle more realistically.

With the new computer becoming my primary machine, I'll have four total running computers in the house (this is probably more than in the entire country of Burkina Faso) -- the second existing solely for backing up data and the third to play music in the basement and living room. I'll probably take the most recently fast one (the one that this update is being typed on) and either sell it on eBay as the creative wellspring of the URI! Zone, or learn how to install Linux on it and turn it into a test environment for work (since even the slowest machine in my home is faster than the 2003 gerbil I have running at work). This will have the side effect of making me enjoy working from home more, and preserving the environment by taking a fourteen-mile round trip off the road a couple times a week. I do it all for the Earth.

Hi Earth.

Scientist republishes The Time Machine as fact
Caught in a sex act (with a bike)
Whistleblowers in anonymity

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Review Day: World of Goo

World of Goo is one of those games with a ridiculously simple conceit that ends up sucking you in and being more challenging than you thought possible. This is the kind of game you might stumble upon at work as a Flash applet and waste the remainder of your afternoon trying to solve (Be forewarned, Fantastic Contraption addicts).

The goal of each puzzle is to build a tower of goo balls to a suction pipe in the sky (a certain number of goo balls must enter the pipe to pass the level). You can pick up a goo ball and drop it anywhere on the screen -- if it's close enough to other goo balls, a sticky little network is formed. However, the goo balls obey the laws of physics, so placing too many on one side of your creation will see it topple over before you can reach the pipe.

The difficulty level starts out simple, but gradually introduces new types of goo balls, such as balloons that give your structure a little extra upward mobility, and adhesive goo balls that stick to walls. In the level on the right, the exit pipe is on the far side of a spike-filled tunnel -- you must balance out your use of balloons and normal goo so you don't go too high or low.

This might sound frustrating, but you can take a step back in time at any point during the game by touching one of the white bugs flying around the screen. This design decision encourages experimentation, and allows you to reduce frustration by seeing what happens when you let your goo balls fall into the rotating saw blades (see also, the Mass Self Destruct button in the old Lemmings game).

It helps that the entire game is perfectly polished. As a $15 WiiWare download-only game, I was surprised at how professional the game appeared (it's also available for PC, but the Wii Remote is perfect for it). Levels have a consistent art style and the music is catchy without being obnoxious.

Bottom Line: Charming, cheap, and addictive.

One-legged roller coaster rider sought
Frozen poop flavor not a hit
Vietnam suspends plan to ban small-chested drivers

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Fragments

teetering on the edge of the sphere

♠ I don't really care for the new format and typeface of the Washington Post. It's as if people living in an Arial world suddenly rediscovered Times New Roman and thought it was a great idea, despite the past examples of New Coke and the original Roman Empire. Now it just feels like I'm reading a very liberal edition of USA Today with a harder crossword puzzle.

♠ When I was pretending to be a doctoral student at Florida State, we would gather for lunch at The Loop where my lunch would consist of the $2 side of fries and we'd tackle the USA Today crossword puzzle as a group. This got me into a daily crossword puzzle habit that ran from 2001 to the middle of 2004 (or right when I got moved to a project at work with tangible things to work on).

♠ My very first project as a full-time employee involved babysitting a consultant for days at a time while he tried to convince us that a content management system for posting news stories on an intranet was a good fit for managing all the documents in the Department of Defense. He would fly in on a Monday, write barely working code on Tuesday, and fly out on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday consisted of us trying to make his code work.

♠ Speaking of work, they stock Coke Zero in the free soda fridge at work now, although this might have been a fluke, since I drank it all this week and it hasn't been restocked yet. Still, three Coke Zero's a day is far healthier than my internship -- remember when I was drinking a 7-UP every hour?

♠ I didn't originally plan to have all my images be black and white this morning, but an occasional palette cleansing is highly recommended. Try the ginger.

♠ Plans for the weekend include three Halloween parties in two days, spaced over forty miles and in a straight line, such that when you draw a line between them all, you get a straight line. This year's costume is better than 2008's Ugly Betty, but not as good as 2007's Very Special Kwanzaa Box, so I may decide to whip out my box for old times' sake at one of the parties. I also plan on coming up with a delicacy to replace cheese soup that's easier to make and fits in better with a Thanskgiving dinner while Rebecca hops off to Front Royal for some kind of candle party (Colonel Mustard did it).

♠ Have a great weekend!

Hot-Dog Stand Triggers a Frank Debate
Dead deer in clown suit left on Iowa porch
4 Teens cited for McDonald's Rap

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Day

Remember back in high school when you would gamble on the likelihood of a snow day by not completing your homework the night before? Well, that's why I have nothing prepared for today's post. I've had belches stronger than this hurricane.

In other news, we have begun to use dirt as currency.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Time-lapsed Blogography Day

Eighteen years ago today, on October 30, 1995, I was a senior, and unimpressed with my curriculum.

October 30, 1995 6:26pm Monday

Today was just a normal day. Before class, I went to the guidance office and got my class rank (for this year not last year) and I'm 1 of 512. But anyone with over a 4.0 is 1 so I'm not that special. Theory was pretty dull. There's two guys that don't understand anything that's going on and it's really annoying when they guess random answers to questions. In english, we discussed the book we're reading, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man some more. I don't like the book too much. It's too deep.

Fourteen years ago today, on October 30, 1999, I was composing stuff and going to Halloween parties. Also, the night before, I had given my roommate, Kelley, a copy of Starcraft as an early birthday present and he went on to nearly fail out of college.

10/31/99 10:13pm Sunday

Saturday morning was a brass rehearsal. We practiced ~7~ for today's concert, and then I went costume hunting with Shac, Kelley, and Nikki. We ended up at Walmart and bumped into John, Jason, Rosie and Jen who were also costume hunting. In the evening, I went to Symphony with Shac, Liz, and Nikki. The concert was quite good. After that, I went to Squires and played through the Arutunian in preparation for Monday night's solo competition. I think it will go well. Once done, I took Nikki and Liz to the tuba house for the grain party. A few other people I knew were there but not many. Rosie showed up later on and we all took pictures with each other.

Here is a picture from that party. When math majors asked what I was, I said "a physics major", but I told everyone else "a math major".

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Armed and Dangerous by William Queen and Douglas Century:
In the midst of Sons of Anarchy viewing, I reread William Queen's book, Under and Alone about going undercover with a biker gang, and then picked up this book to pass the time on the plane home. This companion book details his attempts to catch a mountain man criminal in the hills of San Bernadino. The main case isn't particularly exciting, and the author seems to realize this, as he spends more time on tangential cases before reaching a rather ho-hum climax. I finished it in about two hours on the plane and had to start reading Ender's Game again to finish the flight.

Final Grade: D+

How I Met Your Mother, Season Nine:
From a technical viewpoint, this season already had two strikes against it -- the entire season takes place over a single weekend (drawing out the already overlong story), and one of the cast was off filming a movie (requiring contrived green screens and a solo storyline to keep him involved). This show is at its best with its quick one-off flashback jokes and at its worst when it tries to be serious or tease at the main storyline. Once the season finally starts wrapping up, it gets pretty good. Unfortunately, the season finale, while properly set up within the context of this season (so it's not really a twist ending), is illogical and useless against the character development set up in the last four seasons of the show. Had the show lasted only 2 seasons, it might have made sense, but after 9, it just felt like a slap in the face.

Final Grade: C-

Sons of Anarchy, Season Five:
Each season of SoA gets grimmer and more intense, becoming more of a stylized, violent family soap opera. This season isn't as good as the fourth, but kept me watching in spite of the occasionally unnecessarily long run-times of episodes.

Final Grade: B-

Tah-Dah by Scissor Sisters:
There's a number of good songs on this album, but nothing particularly different than their other albums. In this case, that's just fine.

Final Grade: B+

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Friday, October 30, 2015

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2015 album.

  • Events
    • Celebrated our sixth anniversary with dinner at Tuscarora Mill on 10/3.

    • Went down to Blackburg for the Marching Virginians Practice Center opening on 10/8 - 10/9.

    • Met Kathy at Red Robin for drinks and gossip on 10/15.

    • Attended Carolyn's wedding on 10/17.

    • Went to the average Not Your Average Joe's for dinner on 10/23.

    • Rebecca started her new job on 10/26, after a trip to Yogaville (10/19 - 10/21).

    • My sister had son #3 on 10/27.

    • Weekend plans to go to a Halloween potluck at the Lowry household on 10/31.

  • Projects
    • I took over the web hosting duties for the Paravia Wiki, and it's now IN THE CLOUD.

    • Replaced an aging light switch and a dying car battery.

    • Wrapped up work on the Java half of my job, with plans to be a full-time Python developer next week.

  • Consumerism
    • Enjoyed watching seasons of Luther, Fargo, and iZombie.

    • Enjoyed playing Elder Scrolls Online. Hearthstone is still fun, but has become the game I play in the background when browsing the Internet.

    • Enjoyed new music by The Herd.

    • Bought a new lamp for the living room and now there is light.

October's Final Grade: A, lots of free time, no overtime, and it's Fall!

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Monday, October 30, 2017

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2017 album. Google Photos sucks.

  • Events
    • Celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary on T 10/3 by taking care of some baby.

    • Took Maia to see some old coworkers in Reston and bought a freezer for our doomsday-prepper levels of extra breastmilk on W 10/4.

    • Went to SterlingFest where Rebecca won a raffle prize of $400 worth of hair products that are mostly undecipherable on S 10/7. Then, went to Joe and Katie's for Emma's 2nd birthday party.

    • Started back at Novetta after an eleven month hiatus on T 10/10.

    • Went to Anya and Matt's wedding on F 10/13 while Maia stayed home with some grandparents.

    • Went to the Reston Farmer's Market and ended up walking the trails for two hours on S 10/14.

    • Rebecca and Maia went to Grace's wedding shower while I stayed home and played Overwatch on S 10/15.

    • Stopped by with Maia for an impromptu trip to Grandpa's house on H 10/19.

    • Traveled to Anna's for the weekend on F 10/20.

    • Had Maia meet her Great-Uncle Cork and Aunt Annie on T 10/25.

    • Went to Ghalazey and Michael's Halloween Party dressed as Kim Jung Un, Piglet, and a Workout Instructor on F 10/27.

    • Met Jessika and Rebecca's parents at Lake Anne for the Dog Costume Contest on S 10/28.


  • Projects
    • Went back into the work-world with some florid prose about cloud architectures.

    • Purchased and built a tiny shoe bench for muddy shoes in our foyer.

    • Fixed some creaky floors near the baby's sleep zone.

    • Took care of some baby.

  • Consumerism
    • Got to level 862 in Overwatch.

    • Started seasons of This is Us and Silicon Valley at a langorous pace.

    • Not much new in the new music department this month.

October's Final Grade: B, busy and tired but running on optimism

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2019 album. Google Photos sucks.

  • Events
    • Dad-daughter dinner at Fireworks Pizza on T 10/1.

    • Went to the Uri grandparents on F 10/4 and had dinner at Fat City Kitchen.

    • Took a trip to Montreal, S 10/5 - M 10/7 while Maia stayed with the grandparents.

    • Dad-daughter dinner at Fireworks Pizza on F 10/11.

    • Went to SterlingFest with our neighbours and won an Alpaca Sweater, then had Poker Night on S 10/12.

    • Had dinner with Tammy on S 10/13.

    • Family dinner at Bungalow Lakehouse on M 10/14.

    • Family dinner at Beer-Bourbon-Burgers in One Loudoun on S 10/19.

    • Family dinner at Bungalow Lakehouse on M 10/21.

    • Dad-daughter dinner at Miller's on T 10/22.

    • The Uri grandparents visited to see Maia and troubleshoot a recurring power issue in the house on W 10/23.

    • Went to the Sterling Community Center Halloween party as the Berenstain Bears on F 10/25.

    • Went to Mike and Ghazaley's for dinner on S 10/26.

    • Had the Loudoun relatives over for a family Halloween party on S 10/27.

    • Dad-daughter dinner at Fireworks on T 10/29.

    • The Uri grandparents visited again on W 10/30.

    • Went to Maia's "school" party on H 10/31. Took Maia Trick or Treating on the court, avoiding the tornados.

  • Projects
    • Pushed out a new release of Sparkour on S 10/19.

    • Participated in a "Puzzle Boat" with coworkers at P&A Magazine.

    • Finished adding another book to the Paravia Wiki (one more to go!)

  • Consumerism
    • Enjoyed watching Stranger Things, Season Three and El Camino this month.

    • No music or games of note.

October's Final Grade: B+, Good to just be home after a year of mini-trips.

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Friday, October 30, 2020

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2020 album.

  • Events
    • Rebecca and Maia visited Aunt Carol in Taylorstown on H 10/1.

    • Celebrated our 11th Anniversary at home on S 10/3.

    • Rebecca and Maia joined the Edwards in Nag's Head, F 10/9 - S 10/18 while I stayed home.

    • Maia started a class at the Community Center with 2 other students on W 10/21.

    • Back Porch visit with the Uri Grandparents on H 10/22.

    • Pizza Night with the Smiths on S 10/24.

    • Back Porch visit with Rebecca's parents on T 10/27.

    • Did a round of Trick-or-Treating with the neighbors on S 10/31.

  • Projects
    • Continued my web development side gig with the upgrade of the Maitz & Wurts Studio Shop on S 10/4.

    • Launched Puzzle Boat 7 with my work team from last year. Currently at 73 puzzles solved out of 145.

  • Consumerism
    • No shows or movies of note.

    • No games this month, with every spare moment taken up with puzzles.

    • Recently discovered Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox, and am enjoying watching and listening to hours of music.

October's Final Grade: B+, Puzzles and staycations!

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