This Day In History: 11/10

Saturday, November 10, 2001

A Weekend in Blacksburg: Part IV of IV

Monday morning, I wandered on to campus to catch up with the music faculty. The BT still provides free transportation to students and I'd brought along my old Hokie Passport, kept around for the sole possibility of conning unsuspecting transit companies out of the $0.50 fee. Even though the buses were slow as ever, it was still a better solution than driving the rental car that I didn't have to a campus with twice as many students as parking spots, where the fines are usually $30 per ticket.

I checked in with the faculty, dropping off Brick House, Edition II with Dave McKee, and securing a possible performance of Badinage on a CD with Dr. Bachelder. Then I sat around a table at Hardee's (I still call it Hardee's) with Dr. Cole, Dr. Holliday, and Dr. Polifrone, drinking orange juice and talking politics. It was a scene taken from any typical morning in my five years of schooling, except that usually it was just the three of them.

After going back to Anna's apartment for a lunch of plain spaghetti (I couldn't find where they kept the onion salt), I took a nap in hopes of outsleeping my cold. This did not work. Around two o' clock, Anna and her cousin/roommate finally made it back into town, just in time to drive me back to Roanoke for my flight.

The flight back to Tallahassee was much the same as the flight out, only in the other direction. I barely got searched at all, so I guess my weekend's growth of chin stubble made me look less suspicious this time around. All in all, it was a successful trip. I wish I could have spent more time with my old roommate, and I wish I had had a car so people didn't have to chauffeur me all over. Other than those quibbles (and this lousy cold), I'm glad I got to catch up with all my friends and professors. Since I'm not going anywhere for Thanksgiving, I guess this trip counted as my Fall Break as well.

Plus, the recital excused my absences from class...

The End

Today, I managed to recover a good deal of my lost e-mail, although there's still some major gaps. With e-mail so important as a written record these days, it's like I haven't existed since my last backup in July. On the good side, the reformat's made my computer run much more smoothly (although it still locks up when I touch the PCI slots in the back). I also didn't install Shockwave this time around, so I can safely go online without hearing about that damned "Amazing XCam2 Camera!!" every minute and a half.

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Sunday, November 10, 2002

Today was a fun day. After shopping and studying for comps, we went to the county fair and took advantage of last day prices. We spent several hours frolicking amongst the obesity of Tallahassee and riding classic fair rides, and also took in some livestock, prized baked goods, and a ventriloquist with an incredibly irritating puppet that stuttered.

Later in the evening we played a spur-of-the-moment game of basketball on campus and actually managed to round up seven people. I definitely need more 'alley' and less 'oops', as illustrated by my shooting average. I also jammed my left index finger on the ball, so any typos in this update can be blamed on the fact that the finger is soaking in ice water while I type with one hand.

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Monday, November 10, 2003

Another high quality episode of Alias was on last night. Apart from the usual kudos for plot and acting, the orchestrated score is really coming into its own. It's rare that you find a television show with a fully-orchestrated and performed score, and even rarer when one effectively uses character motives in varying combinations for the actors on the screen.

Unfortunately, the world will probably still be in the dark on the quality of the show, since it was a forgotten slice of ham in the exploitative sandwich that was Saving Jessica Lynch on NBC and The Elizabeth Smart Story on CBS.

New ads postpone the inevitable doldrums of the Matrix

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Holidays in the middle of the week are stupid. I'll be going in to work regardless and my commute can't get any shorter, no matter how many cars are on the road.

Vote Hacked? Heavens no.
The overly electronic "Stronger" is so lamely feel-good, it could have been the theme song to a "Karate Kid" sequel.
The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Audience Participation Day

If you are a regular reader of the URI! Zone, and you have never had any unfortunate run-ins with crazy stalkers who chopped the legs off your stuffed animals, which ultimately led to a paranoid fear of displaying your zip code to the public eye, take a moment and add yourself to my Frappr map of URI! Zone patrons. Frappr is a cute little hack for the Google Maps interface which allows geographically challenged members of a group to figure out where they live based on their zip code (or city, for the United-Statesally challenged).

I am one of those web site owners that is addicted to web statistics. I peek at my counter every couple hours at home (and roughly every eight and a half minutes from work) and run the reports for all the funny Google searches every morning when I wake up. As you can see from the table on your right (left in Great Britain) which lists all the visits since I bought the domain name in October 2003, my site caters to a mostly North American crowd, although I have a decent minority of Aussies, Brits, and Germans. For this reason, I occasionally throw in some non-North-American content, like this joke:

    An Australian, a Brit, and a German walked into a bar. Ouch!

Little touches like this cement my worldwide appeal, as proven by site regular, Rachel, from the penal colony country. What worries me though, are the final two countries in the list: Unknown and The Rest. Since the report generator chose to separate the two, I'm presuming that Unknown is a real, standalone country inhabited by three-headed wheat people who get their Internet via fiber-optics.

My ADD is not limited to counter pages -- as mentioned on my 222 Things page , I cycle through my bookmarks repeatedly even when I know that CNN has posted no new news, or Chompy has not updated his blog since last Thursday. I am usually the first to see breaking news, whether it's the time George Bush choked on a pretzel and passed out, thus increasing the damage to his brain or when other bloggers dramatically reformat the look of their blogs for your viewing pleasure.

I check my e-mail when I first wake up in the morning, and I check it as soon as I get home from work (even though I checked it right before I left, seven minutes earlier). This does not help me respond to e-mail any faster though -- I either respond immediately or nine months later. If I have not responded to an e-mail after a week, it will generally fall into a "they didn't follow up so it must not have been urgent" folder before being forgotten for good. I am also notorious for being the one to end a back-and-forth e-mail convo, simply by not replying. This must be done with style -- when you decide that you're going to stop, you can't just stop writing back, because then people will think you choked on a pretzel and will call 911. You really need to use the Force of Friction approach, where you progressively slow down your responses as if you're running out of letters to type and must conserve them. Eventually, only the most persistent corresponders will be left behind (right behind in Great Britain).

How to tip a cow
Cat plays game of Frogger
"Start making children soon. Don't let me down," Chinese Consul Peng Ren Dong told a couple dressed as pandas.

"I wanna hang a map of the world at my house. Then I wanna stick pins in the locations that I've traveled to. But first I have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won't fall down." - Mitch Hedberg

Yesterday's search terms:
nude schoolies, in square miles how big is the country of monaco, andrew simmons trumpet, centaurs and college mascots

tagged as you speak | permalink | 12 comments

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Fragments

posted solely to appease the four people that visit on a Federal Holiday

♣ Whenever there's a holiday on which people don't have to be at work, the number of visitors reaches that of a live performance of Popo Zao. This is why I usually don't update on holidays.

♣ There was a time when I posted every day of the year, but my writing is like a precious natural resource which must now be conserved so it will never run out. If I am the natural gas of the blog world, then we should all hold that gas in for as long as possible and hope that Peak URI! never comes.

♣ Now that the election is over, I expect oil prices to rise immediately. Had they stayed up before the election, it would have been an issue, and if they go up now, voters will blame the Democrats. I do believe I've cracked this puzzle called politics.

♣ I almost had a caption contest for this photo of Rick Santorum's family at his concession speech, but then decided that it would be too easy.

♣ During LOST last night, ABC interrupted the feed twice to let viewers know that Associated Press had decided to call the Virginia Governor race for the Democrats. I'm watching LOST for entertainment and escape -- why do I care that a news organization knows that another news organization has made a guess about the outcome of a race that's still open? They might as well interrupt every show to remind us that it might rain tomorrow.

♣ LOST has been pretty good these past couple weeks, although Wednesday night's cliffhanger was a stupid way to close for the holidays. Also, the actor who played Captain Mal Reynolds on Firefly was too typecast in my brain for me to see him as a character on LOST.

♣ I have mixed feelings about the LOST strategy of showing 6 episodes, breaking for 3 months, then showing 16 more. I like the lack of reruns, but I think 6 was too short to really get us into the season. It would have been better if they just showed every episode back to back starting in January, or made a more even split of 11 and 11. In fact, TV would probably be better overall if there were two smaller seasons every year rather than one season with tons of dead time. I'm getting too old to wade through extended TV seasons.

♣ Speaking of old, tomorrow is Kelley Corbett's 27th Birthday. Prety soon he'll be fat, bald, and double-chinned, wandering around the kitchen making dinner for his executive-powered wife, having sold his trumpet for a loaf of bread and some paprika. Happy Birthday!

♣ Tonight I have dinner plans as reparations for taking care of Kathy & Chris' hooligananimous kitties, and tomorrow I'll be shopping and preparing for the first of several Thanksgiving dinners on Sunday night. November, as older readers will recall, is the Month of Holiday Dinners month, where I try make as much food as possible and eat leftovers all week long afterwards.

♣ Have a good weekend!

Robot thinks humans taste like bacon
Deer gets head stuck in pumpkin
80% of Deer prefer Target to Walmart

tagged as fragments | permalink | 5 comments

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

Now that the holiday season approaches, weekends fill up with social events faster than poop in a porta-john at a chili festival. We kicked off the weekend in high spirits with a fancy jaunt to Co Co Sala in DC, a high-class bar/restaurant where everything is chocolate-tinged and the wait staff tries to inflate their tips by flaunting cleavage in sharp red dresses. Besides the chocolate stout and the chocolate mojitos, we ordered the three-course dessert meal, resulting in a neverending parade of sampler mousses, candies topped with flakes of gold, and fried stuff in fudge. This would probably be detrimental to your wallet and waistline if you ate here every day, so visit it sparingly.

Annie's birthday celebration continued at the Black Rooster Pub, which we discovered several points to the northwest with our orienteering merit badges and refined Metro skills. The bar was small and half empty, which was perfect -- not too loud, fast orders from the bartender, plenty of seats, and a minimum of drunk sorority girls trying to join a frat by injection. Rebecca and I left around 1 to return to Sterling, but things were still hopping when we left.

On Saturday night, we returned to DC to visit a coworker of Rebecca's in Dupont Circle. She lived in a swank building of condos next door to the Scottish Rite Temple, and said she occasionally heard chanting emanating from the basement. I looked around for Kelley's car, but I guess his days of goat sacrifice have come to an end. Another coworker showed up, and we played a game of Loaded Questions, interspersed with work-related gossip about who was boinking who. I did not participate in this conversation since I don't work there and am also a carrier of testosterone.

To conclude my weekend of manliness, we returned to the Sunset Hill Vineyard to talk with their events planner about wedding stuff. The place looks promising but no decision has been made yet.

This morning, I woke up at 5 AM to commute to Bailey's Crossroad for my biweekly work junket. Booty likes to stretch up and claw the curtains over my nightstand to wake me up, and today she was in the process of shredding when the alarm went off, startling her. Because she was tangled up in the curtains, she flailed all over the nightstand, eventually taking out a lamp and the clock before disentangling and running down the hall. I'm deducting the cost of the light bulb from her daily rations.

A gig-goers' guide to queue jumping
Blinded pilot guided to safety after mid-air stroke
British journalist caught on camera in drunk, plagiarism rant

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 5 comments

Tuesday, November 10, 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.

Vigilante: (adj.) Done violently and summarily, without recourse to lawful procedures

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This evoked a western cowboyish theme in my mind, something like any one of James Curnow's band fanfares. In spite of the crappy trumpet patch, and the fact that the counter melody kept trying to become the theme from that high-school standard, Emperata Overture, this one was fun to write.

Beatle seen in a drop of water
I live without cash - and I manage just fine
Brazilian student expelled for mini-skirt

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

List Day: School Reports in My Drawer

  • Squash (third grade)
  • Leonardo da Vinci (fifth grade, seventh grade, ninth grade -- reuse is GREAT, even outside of computer programming)
  • The Code of Hammurabi (fifth grade)
  • How Long Do Batteries Really Last? (fifth grade)
  • The History of Idaho (seventh grade)
  • Global Warming: How Will It Affect the Agricultural World? (seventh grade)
  • Do Students Consider Waste When They Buy Food? (eighth grade)
  • Does Listening to Music Affect Your Ability to Concentrate? (ninth grade)
  • A Study in the Composition of Regional Surface Water (tenth grade)
  • London's House is Falling Down (tenth grade -- my biography of Jack London)
  • Flapjack John and Maple Syrup Malefactors (twelfth grade -- because "A Comparison of A Light in August and Beloved" was so tame)
  • An Idealized History through Divine Miracles (freshman year, college -- taking an early Roman Christianity class with so few students that you cannot skip is a BAD IDEA)
  • A Provocative Study of Neoclassicism through the Eyes of One Who Was Not Yet Born (fourth year, college -- hello, Dr. Polifrone's Contemporary Music class)
  • The Symphonic Style of Sergei Prokofiev (fifth year, college -- co-authored with Paige)
  • Hauptmann's Conception of Meter and Rhythm: Unification Through Hegelian Dialectics (first year, grad school -- History of Music Theory)

Although it may seem from the natural progression of these reports that I became smarter over time, I would wager that my report on squash was more useful than the one on Hauptmann's treatise, especially since it contained a recipe from the Joy of Cooking (properly cited, of course).

Eat more cheese, but stop eating cheese
Cowboys suffer domain name losses
Man With Urine Fetish Could Be Punished Under Law He Inspired

tagged as lists | permalink | 3 comments

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

The Wire, Season Five:
The fifth and final season of The Wire goes out on a high note, tying every aspect of the previous seasons together (even the second season which, to date, has seemed more like a prologue to the third season). At times it feels a little more sensationally dramatic than previous seasons, but this works well since one of the season's themes is media sensationalism. I would definitely recommend the complete series without hesitation.

Final Grade: A-

Waltz for Koop by Koop:
Koop Islands was a fun, quirky jazz CD with some fresh sounds. This album is its precursor and mainly features throwaway combo jazz that is unmemorable. The fact that the CD was over before I had finished lunch is also a major negative point against it.

Final Grade: D+

Terraria:
I know I've talked about this plenty already, but figured I should have an official review for the game as well. Terraria is a mining/building sandbox game with a look and feel from the days of Super Nintendo. Although it's not three-dimensional, it's essentially Minecraft done right -- decent soundtrack, a sense of progression, and a vast catalog of craftable items. Scrolling through the list of crafts when you have a lot of ingredients can be mildly tedious, but I generally spent more time digging and fighting than crafting. I did not try multiplayer, but do appreciate the fact that you can transfer characters and items between worlds, and that your very expensive pickaxe doesn't degrade over time.

Final Grade: B

The Cage by Dirt Poor Robins:
I first heard Love Again on Pandora. While the rest of the album is good, it is not in the same style as that song, which could be a disappointment. The Evanescence-tinged vocals are perfect for the serious "these are the most important songs you'll listen to in our lifetime" genre that Muse also subscribes to. Some songs are better than others, and some songs I deleted as soon as they got annoying.

Final Grade: B-

Stolen wedding album returned after 17 years
Doctor turned serial killer in WW2 Paris

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

Mike (of Mike and Ghost Chompy) flew into town this weekend, looking not a day older than his last visit in November 2012. On Thursday night, we had dinner at Jackson's, overloaded to be both a welcome-Mike and a happy-birthday-Annie occasion. After that, I taught him to play Hearthstone, which he proceeded to play for the next 24 contiguous hours, pausing only briefly on Friday morning for brunch at Eggspectation.

On Friday afternoon, Evil Mike stopped by to continue the fake LAN Hearthstone party, and we were later joined by Rebecca, fresh out of work and yoga, Taje, driving separately from Evil Mike to reduce her exposure to Hearthstone, and the Ahlbins, kids left with grandma and ready to party. We devoured a dinner of steak (3.75 pounds for 7 people) and potatoes, and then played our first game of poker since 2011, while trying to convince the Ahlbins to name their next child and first son, White Fang.

Mike ultimately won in poker, taking home the top prize of $40. I came in second, winning $20, and Evil Mike took 3rd, breaking even on his entrance fee. We also tried a game of Taboo which petered out after the clue for "snob" was "door", as in "doorsnob".

On Saturday, we went on a winery tour for Annie's birthday, starting at Quattro Goomba, and ending at Pearmund Cellars. The first had a few good, yet pricey wines, while the last had too many sweet whites and not enough peppery reds. From the winery, I returned home to introvert while Rebecca and Mike joined the party bus back to Ballston for more socialization. Rebecca also took her first trip on the Silver Line to get home, finding the ride to be on time and fast, with a slightly confusing Kiss and Ride location at Wiehle.

Sunday was a lazy day, during which we finished the third season of Person of Interest, did some laundry, and grilled some glazed salmon for dinner.

How was your weekend?

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Random Chart Day: Things That Affect My Steak Consumption

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Acoustic Songs in a Church by The Hoosiers:
This is a collection of Hoosiers songs recorded purely with acoustic instruments, apparently in a church venue. I'm not totally sure who the intended audience is supposed to be other than long-time fans, but the songs are fun from a nostalgia perspective. I definitely like the fully orchestrated versions much better, but this is a $6.99 plate of MP3 tapas that's pleasant enough for what it is.

Final Grade: B-

Pinewood Smile by The Darkness:
Last of Our Kind was a great album, and this fifth album is a pretty weak follow-up. There are a few good songs in the mix, but overall, it seems like a retread of much that has come before without much character to stand on its own.

Final Grade: B-

Master Of None, Season Two:
It took us forever to get through this season (5 whole months) because of its slow pace and uneven delivery. The episodes that progress a main plot forward are fun, but there are many pit stops for random experimental ideas that are interesting but not particularly compelling. Whenever the plot momentum drags to a halt, Aziz's acting style starts to get very grating -- he's fine as a Tom Haverford, but not nearly as polished in a starring role. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C+

Riverdale, Season One:
This show is a modern reimagining of the old Archie comics with more edge and a murder mystery baked in. It starts out with potential, but ends up relying on one-dimensional uneven characterizations that change solely to further the plot. The murder mystery is not very solvable in advance, and does a lot more "tell" than "show". Additionally, there's some laughably awful developments in the final episode that make it feel like the writers ran out of ideas. Overall, it plays out like a D-list version of Veronica Mars. Looking back, I'm a little amazed that I finished the season, but it was easy to have on in the background while Maia complained about various hot-button issues or drank milk. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: D+

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Puzzle Day

My work team is still in the depths of Puzzle Boat 8, having finished 65 puzzles in the past 19 days. While impressive, we still have 86 puzzles to go! I'm constantly impressed by the intricacy of these puzzle challenges from P & A Magazine. Each puzzle is approachable yet devious, with multiple "aha!" moments. Some of the puzzles require creative leaps, but everything remains internally consistent and solvable in retrospect.

To give you an example of the kind of puzzle-solving a Puzzle Boat takes, here's a puzzle from a previous year and how we solved it.

Phase I: There are rarely any instructions in a Puzzle Boat puzzle. You get a title, a cryptic clue in italics, and some kind of game board or clue list. The clues are usually approachable enough that you can start solving them without knowing where it's all going to end up.

As you fill in clues, some patterns might start to emerge. Maybe every answer starts with the same prefix, or uses certain letters of the alphabet. Here, we noticed that there was an extra word in each clue that didn't fit. For example, "Dawson's Creek" is a long-running show but has nothing to do with boating.

Phase II: Eventually you reach the point where all the clues have been solved but a final answer is not apparent. This is when the next creative leap is required. Based on the italicized clue in this puzzle, we looked at the "Best in Show" winners in the Westminster Dog Show for the years listed at the bottom of the page.

We noticed that each dog's (crazy) name used 3 words from our clue answers and that the extra words made a brand new clue. For example, the 2018 dog's name used BELLE, CREEK, and LOVE, and the extra words were PUSSYCAT'S BOATING PARTNER. The answer to this, of course, is OWL.

We solved each new riddle and ended up with 15 new answers, matching the dated boxes on the bottom of the original puzzle page. At this point, something seemed wrong. Some of the answers we came up with weren't long enough to match the numbers in the boxes. For example, the 2017 box answer was "RUMP", so the "11" there couldn't be used as a length or an index (the 11th letter).

We sat here stumped for several days until someone had another inspiration, based on the italicized clue about hidden cats. (We had previously looked at cat shows to no avail).

Final Step: In the midst of puzzle delirium, a teammate realized that our 15 new answers were fragments from the names of cats from CATS:

These names were long enough that we could now use the boxed numbers as indexes and extract certain letters to make one final riddle: "BOREANAZ ON BONES". The final answer (which we type into the website to confirm) was the name of the character that David Boreanaz plays on that show. As one last bit of cleverness, the answer is always related somehow to the puzzle's title.

I spend equal amounts of time each year feeling brilliant about solving the puzzles and in awe of the puzzle-maker's skill at creating hundreds of these every year!

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

 

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