This Day In History: 11/11

Sunday, November 11, 2001

There was a joint senior trumpet recital this afternoon, but it was not particularly well-done. The Kennan was just plain sophomoric and the Ewazen, which is one of my favourite trumpet works, didn't fare much better. The performance lacked any kind of soul or drive -- there were no peaks or valleys, just a flat sameness throughout. It was like someone slapped the Ewazen around and told it to behave and be polite. I have to give the girl credit -- it takes balls to put a piece as demanding as the Ewazen on any program -- but when you're taking notes down the octave after only forty measures and there's still about six hundred measures to go, something's gone wrong somewhere! She did have a very pretty tone though, and the pianist played the crap out of an exceptionally tough piano part.

I don't begrudge anyone for being a bad performer -- I know I'm not an excellent one myself. However, it amazes me that people can continue to foster false impressions of their abilities, and that their school and/or professors do nothing to show otherwise. Sometimes I wonder how bad performance majors ever hope to survive as a competitive musician when there's so much amazing talent out there. The music I heard today should not have been acceptable to any mature senior, and yet the audience continues to madly cheer for friends and ending high notes.

I'm not out to get the performers -- I just hope that they aren't oblivious to their faults because now is the best time in the world to correct them. Then again, maybe it's just my cynicism and disillusionment bleeding through... Virginia Tech definitely did its share of graduating performers of meager skills and dedication. It's no one person's fault, but it is disappointing.

I finished the 3rd Edition of Badinage this afternoon for Dr. Bachelder's possible performance. I took many of Martin Ellerby's suggestions from our lesson a few weeks ago, and I really liked the way it's turned out. This is the first time I've really fine-tuned a piece after freezing the initial score, and you can hear the results on the Music page.

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Monday, November 11, 2002

It's tough to type with a bum finger, and even harder to complete chords while composing. It's still swollen up and bruised, but it doesn't hurt at all, so I guess I just have to wait for it to heal up.

Comps exams start tomorrow so I'll be suitably occupied until the end of the week. I may not update this page during that time. I feel pretty comfortable with most of the materials; the only areas that might catch me offguard are the random historical tidbits I'll need for the essays.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003

There's a feature missing from Mozilla Firebird's Preferences console concerning the cache. If you want your browser to compare new pages for changes more often, do the following:

  • In the location bar, type in "about:config".
  • Scroll down to "browser.cache.check_doc_frequency"
  • Set it to one of the following:
    • 0 = Once per session
    • 1 = Every time I view the page
    • 2 = Never
    • 3 = When the page is out of date (default)

I have mine set to 1 with good results.

Happy Birthday Kelley!

Cow falls in swimming pool
Mother to give baby to gorillas
Wife kept husband in bathroom for 3 years
Catching a thief with your teeth

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Traitor's Knot, Part 4 of 5 of Book III of V of the Wars of Light and Shadows is coming out soon -- this is the only fantasy series that I really eat up. The last book came out in January 2002. For more exposition on this series, see my news posts from 12/8/01, 1/29/02, and 2/13/04.

Happy Birthday Kelley Corbett!

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday Fragments

Because there is nowhere else suitable for stories about bull semen

  • Happy Birthday Kelley Corbett! I have not seen Kelley since Pip's wedding two summers ago, so he's probably a grey-haired hippie with a potbelly by now, but that's what happens when you finally turn 18 and pass the puberty exam.

  • The previous statement is probably a good example of why I get profanity-laced globules of sarcasm from Kelley via e-mail. And, he is actually 24 or something.

  • You may find it unusual that I'm posting on a federal holiday. Federal holidays are only good excuses for killing updates on days where I actually have to think of something to write about, and Friday never qualifies as such. Plus, there are far too many birthdays in the queue, with both Rosie and Roseanne's birthday coming up on Sunday. Sometimes I wonder why I post birthdays of people who don't even read this site, and then realize that it will make me look like a caring, conscientious friend, should we reacquaint fourteen years from now. I picked the number fourteen randomly, but it turns out that I will be 40 at that time. I guess 40 is as good a milestone as any to reconnect with people of the past (plus I can purchase a mount in Stormwind for 90G).

  • Honestly though, I just forgot that it was a holiday today until I was on the phone last night with gloating people who have the day off. It's a good thing I leave at noon on Fridays anyhow. I scoff at your holidays.

  • The hardest part of writing sections of my updates the night before is remembering whether to put verbs in the present or past tense. Sometimes I just give up and use both interchangeably. That's probably why people say I'm two tense.

  • If you would like to hear the definition of "Musical Atrocity" find a recording of Rasputina's cover of Led Zeppelin's Rock & Roll. I heard it on the radio this morning, and it's already on my fabled list of uniquely bad music, which also includes M.I.A.'s Bucky Done Gun, Groove Armada's I See You Baby, Elena's With Those Eyes, and Tatu's How Soon Is Now.

  • My ukelele finally came last week. In order to get my $19.95 worth, next year's Halloween costume will have to include it somehow. I'm thinking "ukelele player" or "ukelelephant". The make-up would probably be pretty tough for the second one.

  • I was reading an article in the Post yesterday about indecency fines imposed by the FCC on radio and TV shows, and found it amusing that there was a fine imposed in 1989 for playing a Bangles parody, "Walk With An Erection" over the airwaves. The article online is accompanied by a complete list of fines and the exact reasons behind them, which makes for a very amusing read:. Host Scott Farrell tells caller he will "stuff his package" into caller's wife's mouth.

  • On a Veterans' Day note, I am constantly amazed by the people who put their love for country or cause ahead of the love for their family. A Lorton father of five who was just married this summer was recently killed in Iraq. I don't understand their motivations, and alternate between thinking it's very noble and very stupid. When I am married and have a family, I will do everything within my power to not be fighting in a foreign country, because I think the duty to your family always trumps the duty to your country. I honestly don't think there is a single cause that I would be willing to join a war for, unless the terrorist was actually sitting on my front lawn, posing a direct threat to me and my own.

  • My weekend will be filled with a fun movie night and more Thanksgiving festivities. I will also make a trip at some point to pick up some decorative knick-knacks for the upstairs guest room. A comforter would be nice -- it's getting chilly and I've stolen all the blankets off that bed for my own maniacal purposes.

  • Have a good weekend! Don't forget to put your name on my map of readers.

  • Principal Ridicules Innocent Child, Parades Her Around School
    Typical NOVA women, always on their cell phones

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 7 comments

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Newsday Tuesday

    T-Pain Cranks Out Hits Thanks to Auto-Tune Software

    T -Pain is tired of hearing the sound of his own, heavily processed voice. Actually, the Tallahassee hip-hop star is tired of hearing everybody else simulating the sound of his synthesized voice -- the one that's run through a software program called Auto-Tune for a giddy effect that makes him (and them) sound like a singing cyborg.

    I have always been of the opinion that the increased popularity of the Auto-Tune effect was one of the worst things to happen to music since they gave TATU microphones. The effect first gained notoriety with Cher's dance hit from the 90s where she asks the audience if they believe in life after love, suffers anterograde amnesia, and then asks continuously for another four tortured minutes -- if repetition is the key to Western music, this song must be one half of our da Vinci code (with the other half being "Funk Soul Brother").

    "Every time I hear somebody singing one of their songs, it sounds like them singing karaoke of one of my songs," T-Pain says . . . "Don't think I'm not going to hear it when you take that whole style from me. It's pretty much everybody; they're taking the sound I came out with, which was real different, very distinctive."

    If you often write for five saxophones in open-voice harmony and shadow the bass line with a vibraphone, you might be able to make a claim about having "a sound". If you sang into a box and turned a knob to the right until it couldn't go any farther, you don't have a sound -- you have a cheap effect that even a cow could produce if it had opposable thumbs.

    The chart-topping Auto-Tune converts Lil Wayne and Kanye West are given a pass by T-Pain, having asked their occasional collaborator for his blessing to use the effect. ... "If you don't like autotune," West wrote on his blog earlier this year, "too bad cause I love it."

    Kanye's application of the Auto-Tune effect can be heard in the recent single, Love Lockdown (200KB MP3), an instantly forgettable plate of sheep tripe which tries hard to be minimalistically artistic, but ends up as a poor man's version of "Drop It Like It's Hot". Its one saving grace is the fact that, for an all-too-brief four and a half minutes, you don't have to experience Kanye believing that he can rap.

    The great irony of the Auto-Tune explosion is that the software that's now being used to distort vocals in an intentionally obvious, attention-getting, over-the-top way was originally created to do something stealthy in the recording studio: correct pitch problems.

    The software was created by a composition major from Rice University, Harold "Andy" Hildebrand, who admits that he doesn't listen to pop music. He created the Auto-Tune effect twenty years ago and then dropped it on an unsuspecting public without caring that it might make Cher popular again. (It is standard operating procedure for composers to create things without worrying about the people who will later have to deal with them -- just look at any one of my wind band arrangements).

    Antares is releasing a discounted, stripped-down version of Auto-Tune this month to coincide with the release of T-Pain's album. Whereas Auto-Tune plug-ins typically sell for more than $300, Antares is offering the Auto-Tune EFX for $99 through Guitar Center -- "for the guy who wants a simple T-Pain effect or simple pitch correction," Hildebrand says.

    Unless they make this freely available for the recitals of music education majors, inventing an Auto-Tune that anyone can afford is pure bad news, and will only serve to pad out an already burgeoning musical genre -- "Unnecessary Music". Examples of this genre include frat rock songs by bands with missing vowels in their names, the complete discography of Katie Melua, and Avril Lavigne's recent cover of "Scientist" by Coldplay.

    Ironically, Avril might have benefitted from a dose of pitch correction, unless she intentionally patched her voice through a Cocker-Spaniel Effect and called it "her sound".

    Happy Birthday Kelley!

    Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

    Mexico City's water monster nears extinction
    Otto the octopus wreaks havoc
    Sarah Palin blamed by the Secret Service over death threats
    How do you feel about the Auto-Tune effect?

    I love robots. (2 votes, 25.0%)

    I never notice it. (0 votes, 0.0%)

    I hate it. (1 vote, 12.5%)

    I like turtles. (5 votes, 62.5%)

    tagged as newsday, favourites | permalink | 4 comments

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Memory Day: November 11

    Happy Veterans' Day / Kelley Corbett's Birthday. I'll be working from home today since our company contracts to the government, and the government takes their holidays very, very seriously. I'm sure there was at least one government program manager who took the day before or after this one off to give a little more time of reflection and/or golf to the enlisted men.

    I've never been a big fan of the concept of floater holidays that turn successive years of holidays into musical chairs where you must stop working regardless of how retardedly they break up the week. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln had the right idea claiming Monday holidays instead of this floating nonsense (this is also why I prefer table layouts to pure CSS -- the "float" attribute is a communist disruptor).

    For the breadth of my career in the working world, I've worked every Veterans' Day, so I've never had any special plans to observe this blatant overuse of the number 11. Back in the tenth grade, circa 1993, I celebrated Veterans' Day by going to an Eagle Scout dinner at the Mark Radisson in Alexandria -- a hyperly-hyped event where new Eagle scouts were paired up with big names from the business world to show how we could become even bigger tools in the future.

    Of course, my sponsor didn't even bother to show up, so I spent an evening listening to ridiculously bad speeches and drawing everything at my table on the program. The motto printed on the program was "There is no end to the Eagle Scout trail" which can either be ambitious or depressingly maudlin, depending on how naive you are, and the motto for the evening might have been "There is no end to this dinner".

    By the time I had run out of space on the program cover, we were two and a half hours into the speeches with no conclusion in sight. This is when I walked out to wait for my ride and to preserve my sanity.

    Unfortunately, I did not exercise the walk-out option later in life when Shac made us watch The Thin Red Line in the theatre.

    Wedding ring found in ten tons of trash
    Miss England surrenders crown over bar brawl
    Milwaukee muggers see Army ID, return wallet

    tagged as memories | permalink | 5 comments

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Veterans' Day

    Happy "Realize the Uselessness of Fixed Date Holidays in Vacation Planning" Day and/or Kelley Corbett's birthday.

    Mystery missile seen launched off coast
    Slave-making ants target the strong, not the weak
    Harford robbers planning a massive LAN party

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    Friday, November 11, 2011

    One Day

    Because the general populace of the Internet seems to have powerful private pants parties whenever the date can be written with just one digit, here is a preemptive post for your satisfaction, containing more ones than the diatribe of an Internet troll who can't find the Shift key:


    Personally, I'm looking forward to 22/22/22 with much more enthusiasm, but causing that to happen will require a massive acceleration of the deceleration of the Earth's revolution over the next eleven years. This may seem like a Quixotic task, but my master plan is already in progress. Phase one was to fatten up the populace of Austin, Texas beyond previously known limits, and phase two will be to trigger another Ice Age, such that they all move down to the equator. Have faith in angular momentum.

    In addition, the news aggregation site for weird news stories that couldn't be found on Digg or Reddit finally went quiet after 16 years, so the daily news links may be reduced for a little while. If I have time, maybe I'll create a story submission tool so you can send me interesting stories.

    Have a great weekend!

    tagged as random | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, November 11, 2013

    Weekend Wrap-up

    • Wrote unit tests to increase code coverage.

    • Continued watching the fifth season of Parks and Recreation.

    • Started reading Learning From Data, and then decided to take a nap on page 2 where all of the mathematical symbols started appearing.

    • Purchased a 3DS XL (my first new console purchase since 2006), and am pleasantly surprised (so far) by how much the 3D doesn't suck, and the fact that it hasn't given me a migraine yet. Currently playing Super Mario 3D Land, and Fire Emblem: Awakening.

    • Went to Costco to stock up on ham and bacon-wrapped scallops.

    • Drove out to Linden, Virginia, for Rebecca's cousin's birthday. Enjoyed the pleasant, yet chilly, Blue Ridge view from Fox Meadow Winery.

    • Raked the front 40 and the back 40 (for a total of 80).

    • Celebrated an early Thanksgiving with the Newdorfs and the Wilmers. Simultaneously solved the entire week's worth of dinners through leftovers.

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Veterans Day

    Happy Veterans Day! Thankfully, we have gotten past the milestone where the date can be written with neverending strings of 1s, greatly suppressing the number of date-related posts you can expect on Facebook today. In fact, today's date string, 111114 (or 141111 if you prefer order-of-magnitude sorting like me, or 11112014 if you're one of those pansy programmers already worried about a Y3K bug) has absolutely no significance in the natural or man-made world. The only time you will ever see 111114 in other contexts is if you do really, really poorly on a binary math exam.

    I am working today, but using the holiday as an excuse to take the day off from new website content, since the intern who transcribes my posts is on federal leave (and he was the only candidate who could correctly spell HREF when I said it out loud during the interview process).

    To pass the time in your quiet office, free of governmental distractions, enjoy this Newsday Tuesday feature I wrote six years ago about Autotune.

    tagged as green (recycled) content | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, November 11, 2015

    Time-lapsed Blogography Day

    BU at multiple data points

    • 22 years ago today, on November 11, 1993, I worked on my Weather merit badge and my science fair project, A Study in the Composition of Regional Surface Water. (It had no chance against current FCC CIO David Bray's project, which used computers to model the spread of oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and won $3000).

    • 21 years ago today, on November 11, 1994, I had an optometrist appointment (with the same optometrist I use now) and then bought the computer game, Under a Killing Moon: A Tex Murphy Adventure. It had full-motion video and came on 4 CDs.

    • 20 years ago today, on November 11, 1995, it was Senior Band Day, and my mom came out on the football field. There was a thunderstorm after halftime, so we all went home early. I spent the evening printing scores for the Indiana University Music Competition on our HP LaserJet 4, which forced you to reinsert the paper back into the tray to print on two sides and jammed with more regularity than the meters in my compositions. I did not win the competition, probably because colleges hate tonality.

    • 16 years ago today, on November 11, 1999, I was at Philip's house, celebrating Kelley's birthday with Doobie, Kara, Shac, Nikki, Liz, and John Schurman. We watched a reality show called Greed and listened to Doobie being entertaining.
    • 14 years ago today, on November 11, 2001, I went to a bad senior trumpet recital at FSU and wrote a scathingly polite review.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, November 11, 2016

    Predictions Day

    I've had an unusually busy week, so I'll delegate responsibility for today's post to you. This has been a peculiar year to date, and there are still 50 days to go! We probably have room for at least one more alignment of the stars that manifests itself in a crazy, unexpected event, big or small. What are your predictions for something that will happen before the year is out?

    tagged as you speak | permalink | 3 comments

    Monday, November 11, 2019

    List Day: Currently...

    • Currently listening to... My Name is Michael Holbrook by Mika.

    • Currently (re)reading... Ash and Silver by Carol Berg.

    • Currently playing... no games in progress.

    • Currently considering buying... this year's batch of Christmas presents for the family.

    • Currently coding... updates to Sparkour.

    • Currently planning... to plant a tree in the front yard and launch our screen porch effort in earnest.

    • Currently learning... more about machine learning.

    • Currently watching... End of the F***king World, Season Two and Living With Yourself, Season One.

    • Currently anticipating... a quiet, trip-free ending to 2019.

    • Currently exercising... about four hours per week.

    • Currently weighing... 136 pounds.

    This update was sponsored in part by LiveJournal.

    tagged as lists | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, November 11, 2020

    Stuff in My Drawers Day: Maia's Puzzle

    I'm a little behind on writing new website posts because I've been dealing with some gross health stuff (I'm fine now!). To fill the void, here is the collage I created last year around this time for Rebecca's Christmas gift, a 1000-piece Ravensburger puzzle:

    In other news, I bought Maia the original Where's Waldo? book because she's bored of all her age-appropriate Look-and-Finds, I single-handedly solved a Puzzle Boat 7 puzzle that required an overlayed Ouija Board, and we have finalized our COVID-altered Thanksgiving holiday plans.

    How is your life?

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, November 11, 2022

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Mario Kart Live (Switch):
    This (too expensive) Augmented Reality game allows you to set up a Mario Kart course with a physical car in your house and then play it on your Switch. The novelty value is very high although the replayability seems pretty low. Maia loves setting up courses and then introducing other hazards (like Ian the Giant standing in the way) and the AR works pretty smoothly. It's fun seeing Mario driving around your living room (and it works on both floor and carpet). However, after you've done it a few times, there's not much more you can do. There are only 4 gates for each course so you're essentially constrained to a circle or a figure 8, and the signal from the Switch to the car is so weak that you really have to be within 10 feet of the car at all times -- this means that your course works best in a single room rather than all over the house. Recently, we spend more time just playing in "Explore" mode and driving around the basement rather than setting up a full course.

    Final Grade: B-

    Idlewild (R):
    This Outkast musical slipped under my radar at release. I used to love Moulin Rouge back then but hated Chicago, so maybe I was just burnt out on musical movies. The plot is cookie-cutter but the raps and artistic flourishes are a lot of fun.

    Final Grade: B-

    Memory (R):
    This suspense movie is about a hit man with a moral code who's also in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Other than the characters played by Guy Pearce and Liam Neeson, everyone is a flat caricature with bad dialogue. The movie is fine, not amazing.

    Final Grade: C+

    Mindf*ck by Christopher Wylie:
    This book, written by the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, describes how social media algorithms can be (and were) manipulated and exploited in the run up to Brexit and the 2016 US Election. The author presents a pretty approachable narrative and shows how PsyOps and Russian Intelligence may have put a finger on the scale just enough to alter the outcomes. The book sometimes drags, especially when the author is describing the places and people involved (like flavor text in a fantasy novel) but otherwise, it's highly quotable and full of great insights.

    Final Grade: B

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments


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