This Day In History: 11/03

Sunday, November 03, 2002

I've updated the Work in Progress page. I'm scant measures away from the end of the fifth section of my thesis, and I'll go back to do the fourth this weekend. My goal right now is to have the first seven parts done by Christmas, leaving the rest for that slow period before classes start. Hopefully everything will be complete around January, at which time I can start editing and making scores.

Officer confuses taser for gun
Water Ballooning is now Assault
The evil clown generator

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Monday, November 03, 2003

I watched two movies this weekend, The Life of David Gale, and Runaway Jury. The first was good but predictable. Kate Winslet gets on my nerves for some intangible reason, but wasn't bad in this movie. Runaway Jury was great, and even better than the Grisham book it was based on. John Cusack is another actor who gets on my nerves but he was good in his role. Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman were excellent, this being the first movie they've ever been in together.

The Hokies obliterated #2 Miami on Saturday night, 31 - 7. With only two undefeated conference teams left, it's a toss-up as to who the BCS computers will pick for the Sugar Bowl if someone else loses.

I've updated both the Archive and Links sections of the site with the latest and greatest in formatting and clean code. If you find any errors there, please let me know.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Did anyone seriously expect a different outcome? I was hoping for a little rioting. I need a new stereo.

I think it's interesting that I live in a neighbourhood that's probably 70% Hispanic, but there wasn't a single Hispanic at the polling place on Tuesday morning.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

2/14/1997 9:56 PM

To all CS Majors on CSLAB,

On Friday the 7th, I mailed out a malicious email to CS Majors. Not only was the message malicious, it was also fraudulent. I repeat the message in question was not sent out by Markus Groener, but by me. For producing and sending out the message I can only ask for forgiveness from Mr. Groener. It was wrong for me to produce and send out the message. In the process of doing so, I not only violated the Honor Code for fraud; but I also violated the CNS and CS appropriate use policy.

Another issue I would like to address is mostly for new students and freshman. As most of us are new to this college environment we find that we sometimes have no real avenues to display our content or discontent on certain things. This is how I felt, when I did the mass mailing. At the time I produced the mass mail, I was under the impression that Mr. Groener was grading unfairly. Now I understand that not all sections had the grading policy set forth for the class enforced as strictly as Mr. Groener had. In fact this was probably the cause of most of frustration, because I believed that the CS Dept had a double standard of grading. After have a discussion with Mr. Groener and Professor Edwards, I now realize there are many things I could have done differently. The very first thing I could have done was to talk to the instructor. Sometimes instructors seem unapproachable but if you try to approach them, they usually will respond positively. Another thing, since Mr. Groener is a GTA, I could have contacted his supervisor with my grievances. Another avenue was to contact Dr. Verna Schuetz. I am told she is always available to talk to about a certain instructor. Dr. Schuetz is also is charge of all TA job assignments, so she oversees them for their entire TA career in the CS Dept. Of course one of the slowest avenue is the end of semester evaluation. At the time of my mass mail, I did not know that those evaluation comments are shown to the instructor. I believed that only the multiple choice comments were shown. This is not the case, in fact ever thing is shown to the instructor. The only problem with this avenue is that the instructor will not see these evaluations until the middle of the next semester. So therefore there is a very slow turn back time on the evaluation. So in defense of what I have done, I really have none. At the time it was the only way I saw that I could release my frustration on Mr. Groener's grading policy. Now that I am going through this ordeal I find that what I did was very stupid and immature. Besides that fact there are many other ways of doing things, that are legitimate. I would like to take this opportunity to ask for Mr. Groener's forgiveness and also the forgiveness of you all. The email was not only harmful to Mr. Groener but also to all users of the CSLab. Also this gives me the opportunity to warn all of you out there that might be using the mass mail list. DON'T DO IT, IT ISN'T WORTH IT. Mass mailing is not the answer for anything. That is unless you have permission. Mass mailings not only fills up unnecessary disk space, but also take a lot of processor time.

Hoping for your forgiveness,
Shashi Bhushan

  1. This clown posted an e-mail to the listserv which said "If anyone has a problem with the way I grade, please discuss it on the listserv :) Markus Groener" and believed not only that people would think it was real, but also expected that no one would catch him. He was obviously a high-quality CS major destined for great things. I wonder where he is today.
  2. It's true that the CS department's grading scale was not consistent, but the class he was having troubles in was Introduction to Operating Systems where you learn what to type to show a list of files or delete something. If a few points is going to make a life-or-death difference in your grades, you may be in the wrong major.
  3. I like how most of the e-mail was obviously dictated by an angry professor while the clueless student typed at gunpoint. I even cut out an entire paragraph that restated the guidelines for acceptable use verbatim from the student handbook.
  4. One of the people listed in the e-mail as someone you could always go to for a kind handshake and an open door was the biggest swamp monster in the history of swamp monsters. That particular professor used the position as the supreme seat of ultimate power in the fiefdom, and would decline to help you merely to show off the power. This professor tried to hold me back for a 6th year of schooling, implying that I was stupid for not being able to finish the curriculum in 4, ignoring my other major and the fact that they changed the requirements in my 5th year. Some day I will get my revenge and cast the foul beast back into the swamp from whence it came.
  5. There were maybe four professors total in that entire department that were decent, caring people. The rest were so caught up in their research and egos that you would have thought our department was accredited or something.
  6. The TAs in that department were pretty useless. At least when I was a music TA, I actually showed up for my office hours and tried to help people. In CS, if your TA couldn't fix your problem, he would give you an answer just to get you gone, and then mark it wrong when he graded the paper.
  7. In other TA news, the TAs at NYU are threatening to strike, which is a ridiculously stupid thing to do . Regardless of how well or poorly they're treated in their jobs, TAs seem to forget the fundamental reason for their employment: getting a graduate degree. Even if you are the worst-paid TA in the universe, have nine classes to teach, and part of your job description is to clean the seats of the New York subway with your tongue like a cat, you are doing the job because it's aiding you in getting to your post-college degree (which will no doubt increase your yearly salary by 4500%). If you aren't willing to be overworked for a few years to get that degree, then you need to make the decision about whether the degree is a big enough prize for the aches you go through and drop out if it isn't. Don't strike like a moron. The world does not owe you a thing.

Today was List Day if you couldn't tell. If you missed the crazy Christian lady on Trading Spouses last night, you can watch the original clip here: (1 MB WMV). I'm glad I didn't grow up in that household, because I would have turned out even crazier than I already am.

Who exactly did they "show"?
Herb Leger doesn't have the skills or know which way an 'S' faces
The performance caused bafflement among the public, many of whom do exactly that every Friday and Saturday night, without getting paid

Yesterday's search terms:
men notice nipples, dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro problem

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Fragments

how Kenyans learn English since 2004

Pussycat by Wyclef Jean is a pretty catchy tune (400KB MP3). Usually I find his songs ranging the gamut from Annoying to Unnecessary, but this one's got a neat sound and uses resampling to good effect.

♣ The two pussycat interlopers are invading the house again, sleeping in other peoples' beds and eating their porridge. They're here for the weekend because Kathy's off at the glamorous Society of Music Theory conference in scenic Los Angeles, which is probably a rip-roaring good time for music theorists, but akin to watching a pothead try to move a cigarette butt across the coffee table using only the powers of his mind at 3 AM for the rest of us.

♣ I would never have survived in the academic world, because to me, publishing papers and attending conferences just isn't intriguing in the least bit. Even the thought of flying somewhere for a computer skills training conference or spending eight hours in a single day at the Java convention in Reston makes me want to crawl into myself and hide until I'm no more than a building block for nanotechnology. Why would I want to go and hear about "Intuitive Syllable Deployment and the Case of Brussels 5557 and Its Concordant Sources"? Just enjoy the music!

♣ When I was in twelfth-grade English, I used to assign ridiculous titles to my essays, because a catchy title will obviously make the paper more exciting for the teacher to read. Among the titles that graced her desk: The Memoirs of Juniper the Hyena, Professor Pootwaddle and the Flying Hippopotamus, Professor Pootwaddle and the Mystical Elixir of Buffalo Breath, Volume IV: Professor Pootwaddle and the Underground Buffalo Ranch, and From the Further Adventures of Professor Pootwaddle Vol. 64: Flapjack John and the Maple Syrup Malefactors.

♣ If any of those appear on the cover of the last Harry Potter book, I plan to sue as quickly as possible and then retire to a secluded tropical island with high-speed Internet where I will pay the yard boy, Julio, to do my web updates for me. Rumour has it that J.K. Rowling will finish writing the story by the end of this year, so we'll know very shortly if she filches one of my stellar titles.

♣ Janny Wurts recently finished writing Stormed Fortress so the book itself should be out towards the end of next year since the book publishing industry moves like an amputee glacier (unless it involves some sort of Dummies manual). Last week I finished my sort-of-annual reading of her War of Light and Shadows series, covering about 4000 hardback pages in just under five weeks. Her books are an army of polygons hiding behind rocks -- I'm always uncovering new angles. Next year's book will be the concluding section of the middle story arc, which has been up in the air since 1997, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

♣ Now that the pleasure reading is off the list, I'm currently buried in several work-related tech books, since we're ramping up to another three month crunch period soon. None of them have any dragons yet. However, I remain optimistic.

♣ This weekend, I'll be reading more about the Spring WebFlow framework, pressure-washing the back porch for painting, and writing up my lesson plans for the classes I'm teaching in two weeks time. I'll be talking about best practices and design patterns in software engineering on one day, and Java in web development on the second day. If I could just think up two or three more topics, I could host my own conference and make millions in registration fees, then retire to a secluded tropical island with high-speed Internet where I will pay the yard boy, Julio, to do my web updates for me.

♣ I would pay him enough that he would refrain from using cut-and-paste to fill up space. That is such an amateur device.

♣ Have a great weekend!

Gym bans grunting
Bus driver fired for flipping off Bush
Woman dies next to her own grave

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

After getting the motor in my heating system repaired, I spent Halloween evening at Rebecca's house eating Halloween Party leftovers and watching The Illusionist, which is about as close as you can get to a Halloween-themed movie in a cabinet full of chick flicks. We ran out of candy fairly early in the night, and got to employ the classic child molester technique of turning off the porch light to signal the candy shortage. The next door neighbour tried to put a bowl outside with a TAKE ONLY ONE sign, but that just proved that today's kids are incapable of counting to one, since the bowl was long depleted by the time I arrived.

Saturday was a low-key day filled with raking and gaming, and in the evening we traveled to Winchester for Emily & Matt's going away party. Air Force bases are set up in out-of-the-way places like Oklahoma because inexperienced pilots crash a lot, and the military wants to make sure that nothing of importance is lost -- my proposal to turn all of Maryland into a giant base is still under review). All five Spellerberg sisters were present, as well as all 8 of their kids -- it is left as an exercise for the reader to name them all from oldest to youngest.

We came back from Winchester that night to enjoy the extra hour of sleep from Daylight Losers Time without being trampled by early morning kids, but went back out to Purcellville on Sunday to meet Rebecca's cousin's family. Sunday afternoon was slated as a whirlwind winery tour, both for imbibing and weddinging purposes. The first one we visited was the Bluemont Winery, which came with a nice view, decent prices, and a reception area where they were apparently recreating the planetarium from The Dark Crystal.

From there, we hit Breaux, Hillsboro, Doukenie, and Loudoun Valley in quick succession. Their wines were good (with Breaux's 14-bottle tasting being the most cost-effective), but they all lacked dedicated indoor areas. Since Rebecca's friend recently got married on the day of Hurricane Hannah, tents were not high on the list of wants. Her niece did enjoy the goose poop at Doukenie's lake, although I feel like you wouldn't want to get married at a place that almost sounds like dookie.

The last winery on the tour was Sunset Hills, which had a really nice reception / tasting area but might be a little on the small side without some creative seating techniques. Luckily, I was a pro at the old game, Sokoban, so I discovered extra nooks and crannies where you could seat the people you don't really like but feel obligated to invite. Also, the bathroom seated 3.

After dinner at Main Street Wings in Purcellville (a little dry, but with good sweet potato fries), we returned to the fringes of civilization in Sterling and got ready to begin the month of November (also known as A Month of Thanksgiving Dinners).

What did you do this weekend?

Email error ends up on road sign
Giant Lego man appears on beach
How we used to vote

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Museday Tuesday

  1. The composition can be for any instrumentation. It can have an actual score or be a pure synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.
  2. It must not be longer than thirty seconds.
  3. It does not necessarily have to have a start, middle, and end -- it can just be a fragment of something grander.
  4. It should be composed in thirty minutes or less. If time runs out, I post whatever I managed to finish, be it good, indifferent, or makeup on a corpse.
  5. The title of the piece must be a word from a random word generator, although this word doesn't necessarily have to be incorporated in the piece.

Tenebrous: (adj.) Gloomy, dark, obscure.

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

I pictured this word as "cloudy with spider webs", and though I tried to make it stand apart, it does share a few qualities from the Tenebrae theme of the old computer game, Ultima 8. This one's not written for a particular instrumentation -- I just used whichever patches happened to sound good at the time.

NH Restaurant sets meatball record
Police win with Marco Polo
The two are now friends.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Stuff in My Drawers Day

Rebecca is currently studying the Immune System in her human anatomy class, and last night, I pulled out my 10th grade presentation to learn her a thing or two about them antigens. While searching through my portfolio of oversized art, I came across a batch of drawings from the Cartooning class I took at the Torpedo Factory in 1992 (which was really just an excuse to spend too much money on oversized paper and then waste it).

Here is a cartoon I drew in one of those classes. I'm guessing the sign is blank because I was never clever enough to come up with a good punchline, and not because I was being existential (existentialism starts in about 11th grade). Can you do better? What would you write on the sign?


Spanish prostitutes ordered to wear reflective vests for their own safety
Pizza chain offers $31,000/hour part-time job
Movie Shoot Turns Fatal

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

The Town (R):
This Ben Affleck film is a heist movie where the heists actually take a backseat to the characters. I found it entertaining but not game-changing, probably because I have no sentimental tie to the town of Boston. This applies to pretty much any film where reviewers say "the setting is so well-done that it's one of the characters!"

Final Grade: C+

Home Improvement: 20th Anniversary Set:
This complete boxed set comes in a toolbox that contains a functional tape measure. Cute, but of limited utility when I already own three. Although this was one of the few shows I watched religiously as a kid, I seem to have missed far more episodes than I caught. The show is at its strongest in the early years before the boys Hermioned their ways through puberty, and the last couple seasons are obligatory and derivative. However, it's a harmless, fun show to have on in the background, and the set is cost effective, at about $0.36 per episode.

Final Grade: B

Initiate's Trial by Janny Wurts:
The Wars of Light and Shadows continues to be my favourite fantasy series of all time, to the point where I purchase the books simultaneously in multiple formats and am the sole contributor to the official Wiki for the series. This series is deep without feeling sprawling -- you may not need to remember the names of all five hundred cousins of the King, but you will constantly find that a passing remark or observation is unfolded in a later book, forcing you to completely reevaluate your perspectives. The onion-layered prose is thick but manageable, and rereads are always rewarding.

Initiate's Trial is the first part of the two-part Arc IV, Sword of the Canon. It's a brisk read, with a different storytelling style than previous books. Although the book begins long after the end of Arc III, it covers a very short window of time, which adds to the immediacy and intensity of the story. This time gap provides some much needed freshness to the story, as many events have happened in the intervening time, and bits and pieces of this hidden history are dangled in the present day as bait for your continued reading.

Specific to the Kindle, the world maps (a must for any fantasy series) are impossible to decipher in e-ink, but I know them by heart anyhow.

You can read my complete review on Amazon.

Final Grade: B+

Fire at Magic Castle is no Halloween trick
Snake in a cash machine
Woman gets cold cash rather than cold cuts

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Monday, November 03, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

Welcome to November!

On Friday night, we received one moderately-sized batch of Trick-or-Treaters around 6 PM before we escaped to our friends' home in Fairfax, where there were more children running around than in a mall playground. We ate stew, played Gloom, and ate a majority share of the remaining candy once the flow of tiny panhandlers had subsided.

Saturday was a lazy day that opened with a Costco run and entailed zero productive activities. Rebecca's parents stopped by briefly on their way to other errands, and after their departure, we ate dinner at Taste of Burma just before the dinner rush. That night, we watched the movie, Neighbors, to take a break from all of our TV shows.

On Sunday, we squandered our extra hour of daylight by sleeping and not going outside into the windy maelstrom. In the afternoon, we did winter preparation activities like draining the hoses and murdering the tomato plants. Dinner was Asian fusion pork with a side of Hearthstone and Person of Interest.

How was your weekend?

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Tuesday, November 03, 2015

List Day: Ranked Freshman Classes, Fall '96 - Spring '97

From worst to best, ranked on real-world usefulness, number of times I fell asleep, and nineteen years of perspective...

  1. HUM - Roman World and Early Christianity: The type of class you have to take to be considered an Honors student. (Also, why I decided not to be an Honors student the following semester).

  2. MATH - Intro to Discrete Math: Less salacious than the title would imply.

  3. MATH - Elementary Linear Algebra: Three-man projects with the third guy never showing up.

  4. CS - Intro to Computer Science: Binary addition is fun for about four days.

  5. CS - Operating Systems Tools: Unremarkable, other than this scandal.

  6. MUS - Trumpet Lessons: The sun shining through Dr. Bachelder's venetian blinds triggered migraines abou 10% of the time.

  7. SOC - Intro to Sociology: Lifelong tips to manipulate everyone.

  8. MUS - Theory / Harmony: Partwriting is boring but Dr. Bachelder is not.

  9. MUS - Symphony Band: 50% new compositions by Mark Camphouse and 50% oboe sectional.

  10. MUS - Marching Band: Fun until it got cold.

  11. MUS - Sightsinging: Also known as "Let's sing things for 30 minutes with a bunch of people from marching band, including Dave McKee"

  12. CS - Intro to Data Structures: Arrays are like fruit.

  13. CS - Intro to Programming in C: I was good at it, and this was the semester in which I didn't overwrite my boot partition with a bad pointer.

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Friday, November 03, 2017

Maia Week #17 Battle Report

Maia turned 17 weeks old yesterday, which is in that limbo spot between 3 and 4 months of age that's not quite either one. She cannot roll over yet, but is able to roll on her side and contort her neck back so her head can look at things "above" her -- her body resembles the boot of Italy in this position. She also believes in quality over quantity, saving up her poops for one massive release party per day, usually in the early evening.

Maia also giggles, which is very cute, and has learned to make noisy shrieks, which is not so cute. She often sounds like that old Internet animation of the hamster riding a motorcycle, but with more piercing timbres.

Naps are still 30-minute affairs, almost to the point where you can set a watch to them. While some longer naps would be appreciated, at least she will nap in bed occasionally now. I do find that it's pointless to plan to get anything non-baby-related done when I'm on duty while Rebecca's at work -- it's better to get everything done that I wanted to beforehand, rather than hope that Maia will nap or play long enough that I can be independent.

We have been lucky enough to keep the Claude Moore hikes going every day (rain or shine), which allows me to get 2 - 4 miles of walking in and uses up a precious hour of the day where Maia is content to identify coniferous trees and then nap. As it gets colder, we'll probably have to switch to an indoor activity like mall walking. The last time I went to the Dulles Mall on a regular basis was 11 years ago when Sears wasn't a total disaster and I needed some PUFFIN BAY GREY paint for my house. Hopefully the mall will be awesome and space-age upon my triumphant return.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Offspring Comparison Day

The one on the left could sit up easily at 27 weeks, while the one on the right is too unwieldy. However, the one on the right has better natural camouflage with our updated decor and can reach the decibels of a lawnmower.

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