This Day In History: 11/06

Tuesday, November 06, 2001

I'm back in town and trying to play catch up now. I'll try and talk about my trip over the next couple days, but in the meantime, I've posted a few new pictures of my cat on the Photos page. I have very few classes until next Tuesday because of upcoming conferences and such, so there should be ample opportunity to get my head back in the game. In hindsight, I probably should have just lengthened my trip and stayed in Blacksburg until next week.

Guber: "Do you know who Dmitri Shostakovich is?"
Harper: "I told you Scott, I like basketball... I don't follow hockey."

- Boston Public, 11/05/01

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Wednesday, November 06, 2002

I'm hoping to kickstart my agenda a little bit and get more composing done before next semester starts. Kickstarting either works or it doesn't, but it'd be nice to have nothing to worry about but proofreading next year. I should probably get my committee together sometime soon, since technically you're not supposed to start working on your thesis until you've submitted a signed prospectus. Procedures around the School of Music aren't always straightforward -- I had to visit the office on three separate occasions just to sign up for my three fake classes!

Memorizing musical biographies for the sake of regurgitation is incredibly boring. Maybe I'll get drafted into the Oil War before I have to take my comps.

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Thursday, November 06, 2003

The general consensus on the latest Matrix movie seems to be that of horrible disappointment. Online reviews tend to rate it even lower than the second movie of the trilogy (if that's even possible) and agree that there should only have been a single movie.

Without having seen the third movie, I'm of the opinion that the first movie was mildly interesting with good special effects, but far too pretentious for its own good. The second was incoherent filler that should never have been picked up off the cutting room floor. Any movie where Keanu Reeves plays a futuristic Jesus figure has to be treated with some level of skepticism.

In the picture above, you can see a variation on one of his acting techniques, "stoic in the rain", which is companion to "stoic", "incredulous", "straining at the stool", and "attempting to form a complete sentence". Watch the movie and see how many of his excellent techniques he employs.

I have to admit that he was good in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, most likely because it didn't require any acting on his part. He could just be himself.

    "Yeah, I mean bad reviews suck, man," Reeves says. "It's terrible. It's a drag."

    In conversation, Reeves is highly articulate, though he peppers his speech with dude-like "yeah, mans" and the occasional "most certainly."
Cell phone driver dies by crashing into cell phone store

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Vote URI!

  • As an Eagle Scout, he not only earned the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, but also the Citizenship in the Nation and Citizenship in the World merit badges. This makes him a prime candidate for public office.

  • He has a three point platform, and triangles are the most stable structure in the natural world.

  • Once while on a camping trip, a coyote threatened his family. He punched that coyote in the face and sent it packing. He would do the same for you when the terrorists come.

  • He has a winning or undefeated record against every foreign nation he's ever declared war upon.

  • He is a Pro at Life.

  • He is Korean (the good one not the evil one).

  • He's not afraid to kiss babies or own dogs to earn public favour. And because he's so efficient, he'll probably just kiss a baby dog.

  • His opponent is a practicing thespian and a consummate homo sapien.

  • He's a strong supporter of the "Three Day Work Week" initiative.

  • He promises not to vote on any issues you don't care about.

  • By regularly exposing himself to Popeyes, he has developed an immunity to the bird flu pandemic, and he'll keep on working for YOU while you're slacking off to lie around and vomit.

  • He will not air any TV ads, call you at home, or knock on your front door. He will use his campaign funds for a lavish party.

  • Accident adds to scrutiny of Roloff family
    "BUTT SEX!" shriek almost 2,000 women, rearing up from their chairs.
    Public Enemy Number One going back to jail, but has the blueprints for an escape

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    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Museday Tuesday

    in which I have thirty minutes to write a thirty second song

    Surefooted: (adj.) Not liable to stumble or fall.

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)
    Old Musedays:

    Share your impressions in the comments section!

    Happy Birthday Annie Mueller!

    Kind of a shitty way to get high
    He resumed eating his Sausage McMuffin
    The secret room of Mold

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    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    Capsule Review Day

    Mitch Hedberg: Do You Believe in Gosh?:
    "If you're a fish and you want to be a fish stick, you have to have very good posture. You can't be a slouchy fish or you will be a fish clump."

    This 40-minute CD is a live recording of one of the last shows before Mitch Hedberg's death. It's very much a work in progress -- a few jokes are hilarious, and others would have become hilarious after a bit more practice and timing. Mitch's delivery is much more confident than Strategic Grill Locations, but this CD isn't nearly as amazing as mitch all together, which is really the only CD you need to understand why people think he's funny. (Like buying things online, it's all about the delivery).

    Final Grade: B

    Weeds, Season One:
    From the network that rolled out Dexter comes this show about a suburban widow who turns to selling pot to support her family and lifestyle. The season consists of ten half-hour episodes that are nicely story-arc'd and does an amusing job of satirizing upper middle class life (starting with an opening credits sequence that reminded me of the beginning of Edward Scissorhands). The first couple episodes are all over the map, but it finds its voice pretty quickly. We're currently in the middle of the second season, which is even better.
    Final Grade: B+

    Happy Birthday Annie!

    Fox News throws their VP under the Straighttalk Express
    Marathon runners are wusses compared to this
    Out of the boot camp and into the compactor

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    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Friday Fragments

    offering the secret of the universe as a self-study decryption exercise

    ♠ After six and a half years of a Pentium 2, I finally got a new computer at work that zooms along at the speed of speed. "puffin" will now be the birthplace of amazing coding miracles, and "llama" will be relegated to the pile of useless machines that ultimately turn into webservers because they can't handle anything more complex.

    ♠ There are only two problems with the new computer -- it's running Vista, and it has no AGP slots for my World-of-Warcraft-era graphics card. How am I supposed to get any raiding done at only 12 frames per second? Then again, that's a phenomenal speed for someone who makes eyeglasses.

    ♠ In Virginia, you can't buy new glasses without a prescription that's less than a year old, so every time I get new glasses, I stock up on 2 - 3 pairs. While looking through my cupboard last week, I discovered that I now have 5 pairs of glasses with slightly varying prescriptions that are all in perfect condition. With the proper care, I could probably make it to my dotage and never need to return to the optometrist. Of course, the easier solution is to just keep wiping them on my pants until they get scratched up like an emo lottery ticket.

    ♠ I have never bought a single lotto ticket, but we were allowed to scratch one of our grandparent's tickets every week in Michigan. My net winnings came out to $5 and a free ticket. I had much better luck with the Monopoly McDonald's game -- I was a pro at getting the grand prize "free small drink".

    ♠ This weekend is the first of my Thanksgivings, featuring a supporting cast of work folks and their kids. I also may do some raking and watching of the first season of Dollhouse, which is good so far despite the retarded introductory sequence.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Man accidentally ejects himself from plane
    Rebels ban musical ringtones
    Moonshine turns horse race rowdy

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    Tuesday, November 06, 2012

    Music Tuesday: Anything Can Be Pep Band Music

    When I was first getting started in composing in 1995, my bread and butter was pep band music. Each arrangement was fairly short, subtlety was less important than projection, and the style was usually more fun for high school kids to get into than wind band stuff.

    This was especially noticeable at T.C. Williams in the mid 90s, as we were something of a special needs marching band. In the years before Bob Zazzara flooded the group with enthusiasm and its own zip code, the T.C. Marching Titans rarely peaked at 50 players, and couldn't afford much in the way of music (we had to wait for the quarter notes to go on sale for a dime). In this environment, where we alternated between a song called "Bread Man" and "The Wanderer" over and over, I thought it would be really neat to apply my newfound, inept skills to donate some additional music to the playbook. Plus, band girls like composers, right?

    As a budding musician who expected to make millions selling his own sheet music, I wanted to do things the right way, and started writing to all sorts of music publishers for permission to arrange their music. (This was before I learned in college that a true arranger just writes songs in nearly the same style as the desired song and calls it artistic license). For the most part, music publishers treated me like any other arranger and sent me a form letter and a request for $50, which is about what the band as a whole spent on our trip to the Peach Bowl. I actually ended up paying for rights to the Darth Vader Theme and Cantina Band with Warner Brothers, but passed on most of the other songs. It didn't seem worth it to pay for the privilege of writing what could possibly be the most inexperienced arrangement of Louie Louie ever heard.

    I also sent a similar letter to Nathan Wang, composer of the soundtrack to Return to Zork, a cutting-edge computer game that featured really bad actors in full-motion video, and a novel soundtrack that was actual recorded music on the CD, rather than tinny MIDI music. It was a long shot, and I never did hear back before pep band season ended.

    However, the following Spring, I received this letter from Michael Schwartz at Activision:

    I eventually did go on to arrange a couple fanfares and short cheers based on the music from Return to Zork, for completionist's sake, although they never ended up getting performed. Here's one of those arrangements in MIDI:

      Listen (0:14 MP3)

    Still, I always thought it was very cool that someone took the time out of their day to reply to a random high school kid's letter and give them permission, for free, to try their hand at music arranging.

    I would also hear from Michael a couple years later -- Activision needed a school band to do some kind of recording and he wanted to know if T.C. would be interested. Knowing that this would end horribly for all involved, I politely declined.

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    Wednesday, November 06, 2013

    Stuff in My Drawers Day: Evolution of Artistic Talent

    Thanksgiving Turkey, Kindergarten 1984: Excellent spongework.

    Thanksgiving Turkey, First Grade 1985: Kind of emo, but excellent attention to leg detail.

    Thanksgiving Book, Third Grade 1986: I don't remember hiding a robot in this cover.

    Thanksgiving Turkey, Fourth Grade 1987

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    Thursday, November 06, 2014

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Alpha House, Season Two:
    The second season of this Garry Trudeau comedy about Republican senators is a little tighter than the first, plot-wise. However, there's still not much in the way of grand schemes or resolution -- it remains a funny, pleasant satire that probably won't age well. The show occasionally takes the easy route of low-blow one-liners that come across as more mean-spirited than lightly mocking, but can still be enjoyed at a character development level, ignoring the politics. Free on Amazon Prime.

    Final Grade: B+

    Neighbors (R):
    This is a throwaway comedy about a fraternity that moves in next door to a married couple, with escalating tactics towards eviction. It features fun bit parts with Lisa Kudrow and Hannibal Burress, although Rose Byrne feels completely out of place as Seth Rogen's wife.

    Final Grade: B-

    IRIS Neat 'n Dry Floor Protection and Training Pads for Puppies and Dogs:
    These pads are perfect for Booty's pee issues. They come in boxes of 100, and she's even learned to pee completely within the borders of the mat and to fold it over so there's no clean-up required on my part. By the time I clean the litter box daily, the pads have chemically solidified and I can just toss them out and replace with a fresh one. The only way they could be improved is if they could eliminate odors as well -- Puppy pee's got nothing on cat pee.

    Final Grade: B+

    BISSELL DeepClean Essential Full Sized Carpet Cleaner, 8852:
    Steam cleaners never last particularly long, but they're essential when your pets vomit as often as ours do. This cleaner is reasonably inexpensive and portable, and has lasted six months so far. I dislike that the soap receptacle has been removed from this model -- you now mix the soap directly in the fresh water, which means that you can't save the unused portion after cleaning.

    Final Grade: B-

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    Friday, November 06, 2015

    Stuff in My Drawers Day

    I sketched this doodle of my dad watching TV at the age of 9, on November 12, 1988. The couch was one of the uglier, more uncomfortable iterations in a long succession of couches stretching back to the beginning of time. In the background near the stairs, you can see the laundry my mom had just finished folding.

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    Monday, November 06, 2017

    Data Day: Overwatch Level Over Time

    One's account level in the game of Overwatch has no bearing on skill, but it does show the world how much time you've wastedinvested playing video games. By charting my Overwatch level over the months since the game was released, I can see how my different jobs and offspring have affected my play time.

    Conclusion: Children have a more detrimental effect on video game play time than any job.

    tagged as data, games | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, November 06, 2019

    Maia Battle Report: Year 2 Month 4

    Maia is now 2 and 1/3 years old, somewhere around 33" tall, and about 24 pounds. Her favourite part of last month was the build-up to Halloween and her Sister Bear costume. We discovered that she had gained an instinctual fear to realistic decorations like creepy humanoids or giant spiders, as she wouldn't enter the Halloween costume store without being carried. This is also where she started giving us big, tight hugs -- sometimes now, she initiates big hugs unprovoked while lazing around the house.

    Maia likes the new variety of clothes she can wear now that the weather is changing, and we spend a great deal more time outside. She's a climber at the playground, able to go up ladders without considering heights (like a cat chasing a squirrel up a tree). Her current game of the moment is to order me around -- "Daddy, come here", "Daddy, drag me across floor", "Daddy, roll!". In the woods this week, she "invented" the game of "Red Light, Green Light" based on her extensive experience sitting at traffic lights in northern Virginia. We spent a good portion of the nature walk standing still then running 3-4 steps ahead in little spurts.

    Daylight Savings Time absolutely broke her brain. We put her to bed on Saturday with the common sense expectation that she would wake up on her normal cycle, now 1 clock hour earlier. Instead, she woke up 2 hours earlier, resulting in the longest Sunday ever. Napping went poorly and the night concluded with a huge meltdown. This repeated on Monday and it wasn't until Tuesday that we found some semblance of normalcy again.

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

    Friday, November 06, 2020

    Maia Battle Report: Year 3 Month 4

    Maia at age 3 is showing small signs of brilliance, like asking what's going on on the other side of the world when the sun goes down, or making a connection between something brand new and something we learned and forgot months ago. She is into a rhyming phase where she likes to string rhyming sounds together like "hocky, blocky, docky". She has definitely entered the WHY?? stage of life which is more irritating than I thought it would be. All it's doing is training me to hold back the reason for something I say so I'll have a follow-up ready for the inevitable WHY??

    We're working on her joke abilities, and she has over a 50% chance to guess the punchline of jokes following a known pattern, like animal sounds: "What do cows call the carousel?" or "What do bunnies say to celebrate a birthday?", or "Where do horses live?"

    Among other fragments of her life:

    • She thinks "toots" are funny and games often center around a bunny pooping in the toilet.
    • She invented her own version of the alphabet song that ends, "W, X, Y and Z. That's my alphabet and those are the letters we have!"
    • Pink is her favourite color.
    • She's really good at navigating mazes without crossing walls, as long as you show here where START and FINISH are.
    • The second season of Superwings got really weird, so we switched shows, and she now likes some show about animals that deliver baby animals to parent animals. We started Emperor's New Groove last week but she seems indifferent to finishing it.

    For the past couple weeks, we have sent her back to her Sterling Community Center class, 1 hour twice a week. She is the 3rd of 3 students, with masks on and a classroom subdivided into distinct no-travel zones so the kids don't roll on each other. The social time has been good for her although it has restarted the firehose of oddly-sized crafts of questionable artistic value.

    Daylight Savings Time, as usual, wrecked her sleep schedule, so her usual sleeptime is 8:30 - 7:30 each night without a nap. We still do about 90 minutes of quiet time in the afternoon, where she plays by herself in her room and Rebecca takes a nap before going to work (still just twice a week). My work is unchanged, with all hours done at home for the forseeable future.

    tagged as offspring, lists, day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

    Monday, November 06, 2023

    Vote BU 2023

    Please make sure to write me in when you head to the polling stations tomorrow. I have a winning or undefeated record against every other candidate, and an actionable, common sense platform.

    1. Target will be required to keep at least 3 manned checkout lines open during business hours.

    2. Diners will receive 20% off their orders at any restaurant that uses a QR code for their menus.

    3. Amazon can no longer sell goods from mysterious knockoff companies whose company name was invented by mashing the keyboard with CAPS LOCK on.

    4. Senators from the great state of Virginia can steal 1 vote from West Virginia by rolling a natural 20.

    5. Influencing Google rankings by writing a ten paragraph article to answer a simple yes/no question will now be a Class A misdemeanor.

    6. The content libraries of all streaming services will be merged and nationalized as a critical ad-free public service for $9.99 per month. (Legislation Rider: Old episodes of Boston Public will be permanently added to the content library).

    7. Loudoun County Public Schools will only be allowed to send you 1 email per week.

    8. All funding for new fire stations will be redirected towards craft breweries with fewer than 3 IPAs on their menus.

    9. People that put a clap emoji after every word in a sentence will be required to pass a 100-level writing class before regaining social media privileges.

    10. A tax on dog owners will be implemented to fund a stimulus for cat owners.

    tagged as lists, politics | permalink | 1 comment


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