This Day In History: 11/04

Monday, November 04, 2002

I finished the fifth movement in time for my lesson today but it was postponed until Friday. So with no other worthy pursuits (or none that I felt like pursuing), I wrote another report for www.battlereports.com , and posted my previous one on the Writings page. It feels good to be writing for a voracious audience again; although it's a lot of work, it's a different kind of work than composing, and helps provide a change of pace every now and again. Tomorrow I'll start working on the fourth movement and that whole "studying for comps" thing.

I need a haircut too.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I've gotten in the habit of writing updates the night before they're posted, which is what's kept me daily for so long now. The only problem withthis approach is that topical news is either really early or a day late.

My latest contribution to the world of arranged music: The Theme from Mash for brass quintet and voice, great for your next Mash-themed holiday party. Listen to it on the Music page under Miscellaneous. I'm working on a way to link straight to pages in the Zone from here, but until then, you'll have to take the extra step and click on the Music link above.

The Olio section has been cleaned.

Girls pummel man who exposed himself
Magical flying boulders
Yahoo writes good headlines
When not to sing "I Shot the Sheriff"
Cats demonstrate geometric replication

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Thursday, November 04, 2004

I recently picked up the first season of the series, Arrested Development, the comedy/mockumentary on Fox that got an Emmy but no one watched last year. It's very funny in a dry, sarcastic sort of way. Pick it up if that's your style.

Come bite me!
Monkeys attack 300 children
When in doubt, blame it on voter error
Naked bid to fly Down Under

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday Fragments

Because it's Friday and no one wants to read a novel

  • $75,000 in bull semen was stolen from a Maryland farm this week. There are so many ways to make fun of this crime that my head has exploded and is now leaving a trail of brain fluids wherever I walk, much like the what will happen to the thief's thawing cargo should he not own a portable freezer. The authorities have already brainstormed ways to catch the crook (like a lack of genetic paperwork at a sale), so this should really be a seminal step in building a nationwide repository of information to prevent future thefts.

  • That's actually a picture of a lady siphoning bull semen up there. I did a search hoping to find a funny cartoon of some kind and ended up with that. Google Images wins again. I'm not sure why she needs such thick ocean-blue gloves, but maybe she's trying to trick some seamen.

  • For every reporter that gets to write about frozen bull extracts and men dying from having sex with horses, there is one poor reporter who gets to write about what is in Bush's pockets. This is the journalistic equivalent of that lady on the football field who doesn't get to say anything important.

  • How long should Molly the Llama wear that pumpkin on her head? I'm all about some leaving holiday decorations up for far too long.

  • I'm listening to the new movie soundtrack of the musical, RENT, which arrived from Amazon yesterday. I didn't even realize that someone was attempting to turn it into a movie but it comes out at Thanksgiving time. All of the Broadway artists reprise their roles on the CDs except for Mimi and Joanne. So far, the arrangements are cleaner and tighter (though the singers are obviously older sounding), which may or may not be a good thing. I'll have to listen to it all the way through before I can form a good opinion on it.

  • Also in the same package was the second season of Arrested Development on DVD and a Mitch Hedberg comedy CD, mitch all together. Mitch Hedberg is one of the few stand-up comedians that I find hilarious -- his material isn't necessarily the funniest, but his stilted delivery makes most of it hysterical. Here's a sample: (444KB MP3). The CD also came with a DVD of his Comedy Central appearance and had both the aired and uncut versions of his show. This was interesting to watch, because the pacing and quality of the uncut version was painfully horrible and I nearly fell asleep, but it became much funnier when they chopped out all the stupid parts.

  • As you can tell from yesterday's post, I have e-mail from eons ago still sitting in my mail client. I generally delete most of the school and work e-mail after a couple years, but I have e-mail from people as far back as 1996, even one-liners. I keep meaning to go through it all and perform a spring cleaning, but the longer I wait, the harder that task becomes.

  • As examples of my pack rat tendencies, I have a one-line 2000 e-mail from Paige calling me a psycho for hiding a picture of Kermit the Frog in her notes months earlier (because we had a music teacher that sounded like Kermit), a 2001 e-mail from Anna, freaking out after 9/11 because she couldn't reach her family (she later found out that they had all gone to the beach for the week without telling her), and a one-line 2001 email from Kelley that just says "Hey, f_ck you buddy. Thanks for the thought though. Bitch." I don't remember the circumstances around that, but it is quite indicative of most of our e-mail communications.

  • My copy of Finale arrives this afternoon. I'm looking forward to maybe doing a little composing now that I've been out of the game for a couple years. I went back and listened to my 2001 string quartet a few days ago and hate it now. There are lots of great ideas in it, but the transitions are horrible and it doesn't tie together as well as it did when I was immersed in it. If I could create a cow in my laboratory using the stolen bull semen, but I was able to use a different prize bull for each body part in the cow, then I stitched it all together, killed it, and put make-up on its corpse, that would be my string quartet. Analogies make things easier to understand.

  • This weekend I'll be doing three performances of Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado which means I have to make multiple car trips into the heart of Georgetown, far from any friendly Metro lines. On Sunday, I'm going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for a bunch of folks. Eating Thanksgiving leftovers for the rest of the week constitutes a good time in my world. I also need to do some raking at some point. Raking is fun when your backyard is adjacent to a forest -- I don't have to bag anything at all because I can just drag a big tarp full of leaves into the wilderness and leave them for dead.

  • Have a good weekend! Bull semen.

  • Brought to you by the letters W and Q, and the number 20
    Mommy's in the closet!
    Marry me and win a free house!

    "I wish my name was Brian because maybe sometimes people would misspell my name and call me Brain. That's like a free compliment and you don't even gotta be smart to notice it." - Mitch Hedberg

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 10 comments

    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    List Day: Top Six Reasons to Vote for John McClane

  • In Die Hard with a Vengeance, the terrorists placed a bomb in a school. John McClane worked hard to ensure that NO CHILD WAS LEFT BEHIND.

  • John McClane cares about the ECONOMY and INTERNET SECURITY. In the same movie, he thwarted the attempts of villains who had loaded up dump trucks with gold bullion and then tried to escape through a series of tubes.

  • John McClane has a proven track record against all sorts of TERRORISTS, including the standard American and British villains, as well as the classic German villains.

  • John McClane has a black friend named Jesus. This puts him in a unique position to bridge the gaps of RACE AND RELIGION in our country.

  • In the fourth Die Hard film, John McClane is driving on a ridiculously contrived interstate with arching exit ramps and multi-leveled lanes that don't actually seem to go anywhere. Through clever maneuvering, he tricks an F-35 into destroying this INTERSTATE TO NOWHERE.

  • John McClane cares about CHANGE. The pay phone features prominently in Die Hard with a Vengeance.

  • Vote John McClane today!

  • Rear-view cameras don't show that kind of rear
    Stevens juror actually went to the horse races
    Nudit group wants clothing-optional polling site

    tagged as lists | permalink | 2 comments

    Wednesday, November 04, 2009

    Hawaii Honeymoon Part II

    When it comes to beaches, Kauai does everything right. Besides the rule that every beach is public property, regardless of which movie star's house abuts the area, There are also picnic pavilions, showers, and reasonably clean bathrooms available at major stopping points. Camping is allowed at several beaches, and because being an island leads to a very high proportion of coastlines, you can usually just roll your car into one of the million little highway shoulder spots and find your own personal stretch of unofficial beachspace.

    We went to seven beaches on our honeymoon (because we value methodical research and sitting), and each one was different enough from the others to warrant the visit -- picture the Outer Banks if the scenery changed every half a mile.

    Hanakapi'ai Beach:
    This pleasant North Shore beach with an unswimmable winter current sat at the mouth of a boulder-strewn river, and was filled mostly with lunch-munching hikers. The fact that it's at the end of an arduous two-mile mountain hike did not stop the gaggle of barefoot teenagers who hauled their surfboards all the way there to catch the waves, or the crazy barefoot runners just out for some exercise.

    Hanalei Bay Beach:
    This is the beach pictured in this photo -- a giant crescent-shaped bay surrounded by high-end resorts and coconuts on the North Shore. We spent an hour just walking from one end of the crescent to the other, although the dock area had been conquered by a band of mosquitoes.

    'Anini Beach:
    We looked for the "On this spot on August 4, 2006, Kathy and Kelley tied the knot" sign here, but it must have been defaced by the same locals who erected the "DRIVE SLOW: THINK OF THE CHILDREN" cardboard sign on the road. This beach was protected by a coral reef about five football fields away from the shore, so the water was crystal clear and shallow. We tried our hand at snorkeling here and saw more fish than a viewing of Finding Nemo.

    Donkey Beach:
    Donkey Beach is small, secluded by a five minute walk, and does not resemble a donkey in the least bit. However, this East Shore beach was completely empty when we visited, so we had the whole thing to ourselves, including an odd assortment of ropes and urns hanging from trees that resembled a chicken playground.

    Waipouli Beach:
    This was "our" beach at the condo and was divided into three sections: a tidepool filled with all sorts of crabs, a normal beach, and a rock-enclosed pool where ancient Hawaiians fattened up their biggest fish for feasts. On one of our last days, an endangered monk seal rolled up on the northern end of the beach, and the velvet ropes immediately blocked off a twenty yard radius around him while he napped. It's illegal to taunt a monk seal, so they get the royal treatment whenever they come ashore. The downside is that there aren't many chick monk seals left to boink.

    Kiahuna Beach:
    Sometimes renamed Sheraton Beach, this one was tiny but mere steps away from the resort. The South Shore was in winter mode, so the area was very crowded, but this was balanced out by the little flags you could stick in the sand to get beach-side drinks.

    Kekaha Beach:
    Kekaha Beach is the only West Shore beach we visited -- it's in the arid region, and there are just miles and miles of soft-sand beaches without any city centers. The entire left shoulder of the main highway is a beach parking lot, so it's easy to find a private spot. We considered driving all the way to the end (another 15 miles), but worried that it would void our warranty if the rental car got stuck on one of the dirt/sand roads where the paving stopped.

    To be continued someday...

    Fellatio keeps male fruit bats keen
    Police seek serial groin-kicker
    County seeks to prevent shouting at inmates

    tagged as travel | permalink | 3 comments

    Thursday, November 04, 2010

    Baby Day

    Here are a few pictures from our trip to Cici's last night to meet Emily (Spellerberg) Lund's daughter. Emily is on a whirlwind tour of Virginia from Oklahoma, before moving to Seattle as part of the Witness Protection Training Academy Matt's military deployment.


    We also cannot forget the local babies.

    I should have brought Booty for this picture -- she weighs enough to have eaten a delicious baby.

    Bonus Pictures: My nephew in Christiansburg, taken two weekends ago.

    Law curbs Happy Meal toys
    Mark Saunders officer 'planted song titles' in evidence
    Denver voters reject space-alien commission

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    Friday, November 04, 2011

    Friday Fragments

    the most exciting thing on the way to Baltimore is Scaggsville

    ♠ The volunteer midnight shifts have come to a close now that the 24/7 exercise of the software we inherited is over. Not that I know anything about the conditions that the previous developers worked under, but it seems like a reasonable requirement to expect that resetting someone's password should not require VPN access, a server command line, and a set of database scripts. It would have been nice if they had thrown fifty bucks at the problem and put a Reset Password feature on the website itself -- look, I can reset your password here with minimal development costs.

    ♠ Since only a handful of password requests came in at night, mostly from faraway countries like California, I spent much of my shifts wandering the tomb-silent halls of the building (silent but for the wide screen TVs blaring CNN all night long every 50 feet), burning kindling to keeping warm after the central heat shut off, and catching the occasional nap under the near-diurnal glow of fluorescent lights.

    ♠ I suddenly have a plethora of free time. Now that winter is approaching and the days are getting shorter and colder, I'll have to switch from summer activities (sitting at the computer) to winter activities (sitting at the computer with a space heater). Historically, this has been the season where I blow fifty bucks on a new role-playing game and hope that it keeps my attention (see also, World of Warcraft and Torchlight). Usually though, I get bored after a few days or weeks (see also, Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Quest XI). Or, maybe the lesson learned is that I should avoid games with "Dragon" in the title.

    ♠ In the meantime I've been playing Terraria, which is far superior to Minecraft in the genre of "virtual hole digging and cave exploration", but these games are less about enjoying the experience and more about mindless relaxation and/or addiction. Like a Law and Order marathon or a minor in Mathematics, it's very easy to let something like this fill the downtime in my schedule, but I don't have much to show for it after the fact.

    ♠ Looking back at my Math minor, I can safely say that my retention level after eleven years away from the material is as close to zero as it could be without actually being zero (In Calculus terminology, that means that the limit is 0, but I learned that in high school). Drawing on my strong powers of recall, I can only remember something about pigeons in holes, the Math Emporium, and a shy professor who got hit by a car while biking to school and arrived at later lectures limping with bandages.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Sabre-toothed squirrel fossil discovered
    Sperm Whales Really Do Learn From Each Other
    Eagles gang up on paraglider

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 3 comments

    Monday, November 04, 2013

    Weekend Wrap-up

    • Finished reading the books, Naked Statistics and Hyperbole and a Half.

    • Started watching Person of Interest, Season One.

    • Returned to Harpers Ferry for an 8 mile hike so Rebecca could enjoy the colourful leaves that, to me, are monochromatic.

    • Visited the 868 Estate Winery for a tasting.

    • Had dinner at Delmarva's, where it turned out to be "Keep the Glass" night. Left with a matching set of 4.

    • Reorganized my entire CD collection.

    • Picked up some pre-marinated pork at Wegmans, which was tasty and convenient, but nothing we couldn't have done ourselves.

    • Did lots of laundry.

    • Planned out our voting stratagems for Tuesday's election. (Yes to public safety bonds, no to athletic field bonds, no to "Doing yoga invites the devil into your soul" Lieutenant Governor).

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

    Tuesday, November 04, 2014

    Washington Travelogue, Part III of IV

    The area around Lake Crescent was a bit more rainy than Seattle, probably by virtue of it being a temperate rain forest. Luckily, the bulk of the rain usually occurred in the morning or overnight, minimizing the impact on our outdoor times.

    We woke up early on Wednesday and did a short 1/2 mile hike to Marymere falls, across bridges and up switchbacks staged for maximum spectacularity when we finally reached the overlook. We then returned to the Lodge for a hearty breakfast of breakfast meats for me and oatmeal for Rebecca. The ending of the rain storm was timed perfectly with our meal, so we hurried from breakfast to our first big hike, Mount Storm King.

    After an ominous sign warning about angry wasps at the foot, we branched off the flat family trail into the hills. Mount Storm King was only 2.2 miles one-way, but its peak was at 4,500 ft -- this meant that we were continuously going up on the way, and continuously destroying our calf muscles on the way down.

    We arrived at a peak with a spectacular view, and saw that someone had left a sketchy rope out to go further up the mountain. We had decided to deem our location the end of the hike, until another young couple from Florida appeared on our back trail. They had been told by a Lodge employee that the ropes were an official part of the trail and were hell-bent on reaching the true top.

    After some cajoling, we went up the rest of the way with them, relieved to find that the first sketchy rope was actually securely knotted, providing reliable support on an otherwise narrow, crumbly precipice. The picture on the right does a much better job showing the narrowness and scale of the location than the one I posted two weeks ago. Three more rope lines later (none of which were as daunting as the first) took us to the tippy-top of the mountain, where we startled more deer who took off sprinting down a 50 degree slope.

    The way down sucked.

    In the afternoon, the weather was still mostly sunny, so we took the hour long trip up into Olympic National Park to see the views at Hurricane Ridge. Unfortunately, it had reached 37 degrees with whipping rains and snow by the time we got to the top. We were the only ones there, besides a shifty fellow parked next to us by himself. We did a quick sprint to the overlook but couldn't see anything, least of all the wild attack goats from all of the warning signs.

    After a drive home and a scalding shower, we finished the night off with another dinner in the Lodge.

    On Thursday, we left Lake Crescent and took a road trip to our next lodging. We visited Salmon Cascades, which was definitely oversold -- the signs essentially said "you'd see salmon jumping here if people hadn't caught them all while fishing", so they should probably just rename it "Cascades". We then drove through the town of Forks (and saw no Twilight-themed attractions) to the Pacific coast.

    Once again, the sporadic rain stopped as we got ready for outdoor time. The most impressive thing about the beaches of Washington was the colour palette -- after days of millions of shades of green and brown, the blue tint reflected off the water was a refreshing change. Many of our pictures actually look like oil paintings, or the background of a Smithsonian diorama on the Pacific Ocean.

    We hit three separate beaches on the coast: Ruby Beach, Beach #4 (name probably inspired by Mambo No. 4), and Kalaloch Beach. We walked several miles along the last one, and even spotted a bald eagle nesting on the cliffs.

    In the late afternoon, we finally made it to Lake Quinault Lodge, which was much more commercial than Lake Crescent, with more options and nicer rooms. With the rain held at bay, we walked along the lake at sunset and took some great pictures.

    To be concluded tomorrow...

    tagged as travel | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, November 04, 2015

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture of my sister and I was taken in the fall of 1982. My sister, in her finest Joe Theismann apparel, has a bandage on her neck from the repair of a bronchial cleft cyst (according to my dad, the historian). The picture isn't out of focus -- that's how 1982 really looked!

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    Friday, November 04, 2016

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Narcos, Season Two:
    The second season of Narcos feels pretty obligatory, focusing on the real-life decline of Pablo Escobar's drug empire. It's pretty slow-paced for only being 10 episodes, and it introduces too many minor characters with minimal payoff. It's okay if nothing else is on and you don't mind endless Spanish subtitles. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: C+

    10 Cloverfield Lane (PG-13):
    I'm torn on this movie. For the first 90 minutes, it's a claustrophobic psychological thriller featuring John Goodman as an unsettling doomsday prepper. Then, the last 15 minutes changes tone completely and feels utterly out of place with everything that came before it (apparently in an attempt to tie this movie to the world of the Cloverfield movie, which I never saw because shaky cam is dumb). I loved it up until then.

    Final Grade: B

    Blurryface by Twenty One Pilots:
    Songs from this album of well-crafted pop music comes up on multiple Pandora stations I have, so I finally bought the whole thing. It's great shallow pop music with few duds, although it feels a little ridiculous to hear twenty-somethings sing about how they're too old and want to be kids again.

    Final Grade: B

    Civilization VI:
    I gave this turn-based world conquering game a try because LA Mike is super into it. After 8 hours, I can see why fans of this genre enjoy it, but it didn't do much for me. There's too much complexity in the various game systems and an overabundance of micromanagement and clicking required to coordinate your empire. Units have such restrictive turns that it feels like nothing ever gets done in a single turn -- that's the whole point in an epoch-based timeline, but it just felt too slow for me. Luckily, I got 20% off with my Prime discount.

    Final Grade: C

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    Monday, November 04, 2019

    Vote BU 2019

    In need of a write-in candidate for tomorrow's election? Look no further! Here are a few of the benefits you are GUARANTEED to claim if I am elected to any office anywhere in Loudoun County for any amount of time.

    1. A stimulus will be provided to local Safeway grocery stores to make them look less like Greyhound bus stations on the inside.

    2. All the new "me too!" streaming services must license their exclusive TV shows to Netflix after 6 months.

    3. New data centers must be built completely underground, with walkable commercial areas at ground level, and hipsters living one floor up (the cool suburban hipsters with scruffy beards that microbrew, not the whiny urban hipsters that haven't paid rent in a year and refuse to get a job to support their Bohemian lifestyle).

    4. Pandora will now pay you 3 cents every time it repeats an ad from its pitifully tiny selection of ads.

    5. Neighborhood names within Sterling will be eliminated in the name of inclusiveness, diversity, and cleaner maps.

    6. All craft breweries must provide timely, accurate food truck schedules in an easy-to-find location on their websites.

    7. Posting a review of an online recipe where you swapped out more than 3 ingredients will be a Class 3 Misdemeanor.

    8. No penalties for hitting a W&OD Trail bike warrior trying to cross a four-lane highway without signalling or stopping (plus, you get to keep the bike as spoils).

    9. You will get a $1 credit in your Amazon account every time Alexa fails to understand you.

    10. All drivers that stop in the merge lane while turning right onto Route 7 will lose 3 points on their licenses and be forced into remedial driving courses.

    tagged as lists, politics | permalink | 3 comments

    Wednesday, November 04, 2020

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Schitt's Creek, Season Two:
    The second season is still pretty shallow (Moira in particular feels overused and one-note), but it starts to show tiny signs of growth. The season finale is warmly pleasant. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B-

    Schitt's Creek, Season Three:
    This season works very well because the characters are finally allowed to evolve past the "fish out of water" cliches that held the first two seasons back. I enjoyed it and finished it quickly.

    Final Grade: B

    Sarah Cooper: Everything's Fine:
    This is a comedy special from the comedian who became Internet-famous for lip-synching to Trump's unedited monologues. It's not just lip-syncing (which is great because those are the weakest, most obligatory parts) but it's pretty hit-or-miss. The special really feels like it wants to be the next I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson but never quite gets there. However, it does make us want to watch Tim Robinson again. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: C

    ISILER Space Heater, 1500W:
    I go through space heaters like Maia goes through Elsa dolls. I got this one for potential portable use on the screen porch as autumn sets in, but there's not quite enough oomph to it to warm the entire family. However, this tiny model really packs a punch in my office, heating the whole room up in minutes. It only has two downsides: (1) the tip-over safety is a button on the bottom so it needs to be on a hard floor (or my Learning from Data book that I never finished because of all the math). (2) When the thermostat hits its threshold, the heat stops but the fan keeps going, blowing unheated air. I get around this by simply turning the thermostat all the way up so it never stops heating.

    UPDATE: This heater died after 8 months of regular use. The fan would only turn on sporadically, independent of the heating element, which is not a good situation when you prefer that your house remain standing and not on fire. I'm now going back to my tried and true heater that has lasted for over a decade.

    Final Grade: B D

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

     

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