This Day In History: 11/17

Saturday, November 17, 2001

I'm having a really difficult time finding examples of enharmonic modulation for my upcoming presentation. The definition in the textbook of our professor is stricter than most books, in that it requires a visual respelling of the pivot chord, as well as an enharmonic function. I've found tons of examples where the pivot chord plainly has an enharmonic function, but most composers tend not to respell the chord on paper. I was looking through some obscure works in hopes of finding novel examples, but it looks like I'll have to go back to the tried and true works of Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Wolf, and Beethoven.

"Man guilty of assaulting Cookie Monster" . What a great world we live in.

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Sunday, November 17, 2002

There are no stores along Apalachee Parkway that sell thick white chalkboard chalk. In this town you have your choice of pastel pink sidewalk chalk, or thin white chalk that looks like a candy cigarette and squeaks on the board. I got all the way to Wal-mart before I gave up.

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Monday, November 17, 2003

The cold weather seems to have reversed the polarity of traffic, as all the slowest drivers are camping in the left lane on my way to work.

I just noticed that Eudora 6 has been released for a couple months now. I gave Thunderbird a quick run, but gave up on it after finding that all my legacy mailboxes did not translate well. I've got too many mail archives stored in Eudora to make the switch worthwhile.

Topics so difficult they require a seminar
How to get a wife
You know China is not friends with us. They're trying to get back at us. What's the best way? Teach kids when they're young to hate. It's scary.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What this site is missing is more cat photos .

Lost is on tonight.

Interview with Michael Giacchino
U2 is apparently the greatest band ever in the history of history
ABC apologizes for steamy MNF intro

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Extended List Day: 36 Memories from Primary Education, Part III of III

Ninth Grade

25) I was in ninth grade one year before it seceded to form its own union (making schools become K-5, 6-8, 9, 10-12) so being a freshman meant being at the top of the school, not the bottom. Somehow I was in the popular crowd and actually had my own cadre of kids that would follow my lead. We would often make fun of kids, especially the fat girl in band, for no other reason than the fact that we were kids, and kids are inherently cruel. One day after making fun of her, her friend asked me, "Why do you have to be so mean?" It was then that I had a Lifetime/Oh! epiphany that I was a mean little prick, and I wouldn't want to be friends with me. From then on, I've always been acutely aware of the people around me and the words coming out of my mouth. I like to think that I've become a pretty nice guy since then. Once, I fed a stray cat.

26) I spent a lot of time in the library. It was there that I first discovered Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game which is a must-read if you've never read it. There was also a book in the library by my favourite author that had been out of print for ten years, and had only been checked out a handful of times. It has been sitting on my shelf for thirteen years now and I've probably read it at least once a year since then. Had it stayed in captivity, it would probably still be sitting on the shelf, waiting for no one to check it out.

27) Doing Crew put me in contact with a lot of kids that went to the other junior high, G.W., and that's how I met my friends Jack Wilmer and Ben Seggerson. I ended up liking a G.W. girl and resolved to invite her to our Freshman Prom (a massive step for our introverted hero). While I was getting up the courage to ask, some clowns from my school decided that I would never get a date on my own and set me up with another G.W. girl (girl B). They told her that I wanted go with her, so she blindsided me one day by asking me if she could come with, expecting the yes to be a formality. At a loss, I said no and raised the ire of all the G.W. people who suddenly knew me, not by name, but as the guy that supposedly invited girl B and then dumped her. Despite this, I weathered the storm and asked girl A, who surprisingly said yes. In Act II, of course, the powers that be decided to host both school's proms on the same night, and girl A understandably wanted to go to her own. I wanted to give up and stay home since the prom was mere days away, but the pleading of my friends and the fact that my parents had already bought me a suit convinced me to keep searching for a date, in an increasingly embarassing round of sitcom-like situations (I even asked girl B, who said no, but we became friends after that so it didn't all turn out badly). Ultimately, I asked a pretty eighth grader in my French class who said she'd get back to me. When she called the next day, she declined, because it turns out that her freshman sister liked me. And that's who I ended up going with. I don't think either one of us had very much fun, but I did dance.

27.5) This story is the reason why I have an aversion to drama and never meddle or play matchmaker in other peoples' business. It never ends well, although I bet I could make a fortune selling a pilot episode to the WB. The actor playing me would have to be white though -- male Asians just don't sell. I love hearing about other peoples' drama, but I try not two add my two cents (20.7 won) unless asked.

Tenth Grade

28) Tenth grade at T.C. was a reasonably enjoyable year. The only shocking part was discovering that the upper echelon of popularity at Hammond Junior High could never get higher than third tier at T.C., where G.W. and Hammond students were forced by law to share the same high school environment. Suddenly there was a brand new clique of rich yuppy kids who had BMWs on their 16th birthdays and shopped in bulk at the Gap. I used my Asian skills of stealth to infiltrate these ranks via Crew, which was a rich man's sport, so I could hang out with all of them in a friendly manner without having to be rich and cool. I definitely was NOT cool.

29)I was still fooling myself into thinking that a colour-blind guy could make a living as an artist, so I was still enrolled in Art class. Kim says that her freshman art class was the central repository for delinquents and ADHD kids needing an outlet, and that pretty much held true at T.C. too. The only worthwhile thing I made in that class was this sculpture of a bear at a spring. Following my lawsuit with ABC concerning the origin of the "strange polar bear on an island" idea they're using in their hit show, I will use my litigation money to open an art gallery with all the abortions I called Art . Actually, the bear was only white because the other options were brown and pink. Apparently kiln-paint is limited.

30) I did indoor track in the winter because people said I was fast and I thought it would be fun to sprint. It is not fun to sprint. It isn't even fun to try working out in the winter, when any sane human being should be hibernating at home with a good book or computer game. I diligently went to every practice and track meet though, and they diligently put me in every race that didn't matter. I liked the 55m dash, because it was over in ten seconds. I hated 500m, because it was 2.5 laps around the track. I loved the 300m because it was the perfect length, but they never put me in that because I was too slow. It did put me in shape for all those spring Crew runs though. 7 miles to the airport and back is a long way.

Eleventh Grade

31) I hated Eleventh Grade with a passion. If my hatred were a fruit, it would be a passion fruit. My sister had just gone to college so I was suddenly the only child which made home life uncomfortable. All my old friends from Hammond were drifting off to do their own things and all my recent friends from tenth grade were in other classes. Plus, I had zero classes with the girl I was majorly in love with (as was every other straight guy in the school) and my poor attempts at spending more time with her didn't work out so well.

32) I did join Jazz Band this year which completely turned around my musical ear. Up to then, I never listened to music on my own (except my copy of Soundtrack from Dances with Wolves which was scratched to pieces) and I was only ever exposed to the choral music played by my dad at dinner (this was just before he started playing tuba again, at which time all the choral dinner music was replaced with low brass dinner music, if that is, indeed, a genre). After joining Jazz Band, I listened to big band jazz 24 hours a day. Every year, I would write to the publisher, Kendor Music, pretending to be a jazz band director and asking for their latest music. They would send me full minature scores of all their newest music with a tape of a studio band playing it all. This is how I learned jazz harmony and voice leading. I listened to those tapes and CDs of the Tonight Show Band religiously.

33) It was in this grade that I realized there was a seedy underbelly to our class, consisting of kids who looked and acted like any other during the day, but did all kinds of drugs, cigarettes and booze after hours. Surprisingly (or not), none of those people were from Hammond. To this day, I haven't done and drugs or cigarettes, and I didn't even drink until 1999 or so, but I know plenty of close friends who were probably not expecting to ever work for the government when they did things back then.

Twelfth Grade

34) I loved every minute of senior year, and I've concluded that the reason for this is that I had no serious boyhood crushes going on. Life is a lot more laid back when there's no relationship drama or pining going on. I did have crushes on two freshman at various points (SCANDAL!) but they were short-lived. If I were given one year of school to do over again as is, it would either be senior year or my fourth year of college. I looked at my senior yearbook and noted, with some sadness, that the number of signings talking about my mad calculator skills outnumber the ones mentioning musical things by about 3 to 1. When I go, I hope my tombstone reads "Musician, Playboy, and Statesman" rather than "Computer Scientist".

35) I was the sole drum major in my senior year, which means that I was incredibly cool in the band hierarchy (ignoring, for a moment, that even the most popular band guy barely beats Future Business Leader of America president in the Rock, Paper, Scissor battle of high school popularity). Kim was a tenth grade flute player under my benevolent dictatorship, but I honestly cannot recall ever speaking to her directly (maybe it was against the caste system to do so). I do remember conducting one of my compositions at Hammond Middle School and getting so exuberant in the finale that I knocked over the first flautist's stand. Dr. Jacobsen of VT told me once to stop calling flute players flautists because it makes them seem uptight, but I think it's a fun word to use. I learned it from reading Who's Bugs Potter? by Gordon Korman. I still have never read Bugs Potter Live at Nickaninny which is tragic. If I ever see it in a library, someone will have to stage a diversion while I permanently borrow it.

36) I finally enjoyed Crew in my senior year, probably because I felt more confident being the coxswain for a bunch of guys in my same grade level rather than a grade higher. I maintained my two year streak of NOT getting thrown in the Potomac River by being sneaky at the end of the year. I remember being an eighth grader and taking a bath as soon as I got home if the Potomac River even splashed on me in the boat -- all the horror stories about it being toxic like the exploding silo scene in Robocop were probably overrated.

This concludes my overly verbose memories of primary education. If you enjoyed reading these, let me know, and maybe I'll do a college edition some day. Have any fun or embarassing memories of your own? Share them in the comments section!

"If they want to fight, get a ring."
We will robustly prosecute anyone who breaches these new security measures because they have been introduced by the Government and we are obliged to enforce them.
The "Fish Flakes" cards show cartoon renditions of children who experience a whole range of traumas after eating fish

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Fragments

leading the fight against teenage rickets since 2006

♣ Time has just flown by this week. In a season where I'm working as much on the weekends as the weekdays, the best milestone of passing time is the writing of this weekly column. To recap: I made a meal for seven, came in fourth out of five in poker, read Expert Spring MVC and Spring WebFlow cover to cover, gave a demonstration of our project to a room brimming with corporate suits like an outlet sale at Big and Tall, taught a lesson on Best Practices and Design Patterns in Java, nursed a sick Burmese python back to health, attended a sales pitch for performance management software in exchange for free pizza, and prepared my notes for today's lesson, Web Development in Java. Can you pick out the lie?

♣ My dad also came out this week and painted my back deck New England Brick, a warm colour that doesn't quite have the humorous shade of PUFFIN BAY GREY. Tragically, yesterday's tornado watch and accompanying monsoon hit the deck so hard that patches of the paint became stripped away like panties at a Yanni concert.

♣ I actually own a Yanni CD, because the Marching Virginians played Santorini on the field in 1998. It seems like such a strange way to open a halftime show, but it did prove a critical marching band theorem: a hypothetical drunk band member will march equally horribly to a song in 7/4 as they will to a song in 4/4. The bottom line? Don't bother with a stupid time signature when the net visual effect will be the same.

♣ I find it amusing that over three quarters of the people you might meet in a marching band are so lacking in natural rhythm and tempo that they don't understand the concept of left foot on one and three, and right foot on two and four. They should create a Dancing With the Stars: Marching Band Edition that pairs mellophone players with real life dancers. I'm not saying that I'd watch it, but I would definitely tune in for the last five minutes (since that's when I turn the TV on for LOST).

♣ For a guy that pays $45 a month for cable, I watch a ridiculously low amount of TV. Yet, I will probably never cancel it. I know that I'd regret it the first time I decided to have a Hokie football party and didn't have ESPN, or the first time I started dating an illegal immigrant from El Salvador and the lack of Telemundo was a deal breaker.

♣ There was an article in the Post this week about fake marriages used to secure citizenship . Apparently Arlington is the marriage scam capital of the East Coast because you can get married with no wait on the same day. You'd think that would be a bigger threat to the institution of marriage than that silly same-sex amendment on last electon's state ballot.

♣ Speaking of dirty foreigners, my expat friend from college is coming to visit this weekend from Spain and will be staying at my place for a few days. There will not be any marriage scams involved since she's already married, but she will be around long enough to eat the local cuisine at Round Two of my "Month of Holiday Dinners" dinners. It's been four years since I saw her so we should have a rip-roaring good time.

♣ Next week's updates may be sporadic because of the holidays and whatnot, but I guarantee you'll get at least three of the five days. Check in daily and you might win a $50 gift certificate to Lionel Kiddie City!

♣ Have a great weekend!

Mid-flight sexual play leads to terrorism charge
Grape guy catches 116 grapes in his mouth
In this competition, you can't check out her guns

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving #1

Anyone need some turkey?

Vick wants to play, but what team would risk it?
Second Life sex causes divorce
Boy hits mom with saw and then tries hush money

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

List Day: Currently...

  • Currently listening to... Lost Songs by Ellie Lawson.

  • Currently reading... Coders at Work by Peter Seibel, The Cases that Haunt Us by John Douglas, and D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths.

  • Currently playing... Torchlight.

  • Currently composing... something for wind band.

  • Currently considering buying... New Super Mario Brothers Wii, in spite of the unimaginative title. Booty could make a better title pooping Scrabble tiles.

  • Currently storing... four pounds of leftover ham in the fridge.

  • Currently coding... updates to the Stone Band website and a document download servlet.

  • Currently planning... whether to travel somewhere for New Year's.

  • Currently writing... wedding gift thank-you notes.

  • Currently watching... Fringe: Season One, Burn Notice: Season Two, and How I Met Your Mother: Season Two.

  • Currently eating... a Blueberry Nutri-Grain cereal bar. I feel GREAT.

  • Currently anticipating... Popeyes for lunch.

  • Currently exercising... my right to not exercise.

This update was sponsored in part by LiveJournal.

The Google town that lives only online
Bad memories imprinted with lasers
Even quadriplegics have the right to bear arms

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weird Search Day

or "how I stumbled upon the URI! Zone"


    The capital letters may be warranted in this search query. Honestly, who would ever want to make out with a molerat?

  • fsu teacher fell off overpass on way to airport
    Unless the city of Tallahassee has recently gone through the dryer on high heat, it's a little too far to walk to the airport, so it's unlikely that a stereotypically out-of-shape academic would try. Besides the dangers of overpasses, you'd also face a myriad of challenges such as panhandlers, stretches of vacant lots and strip clubs, and the unruly students at Florida A&M.

  • making a hamburger assembly line with vanilla wafers for fourth grade economics
    Approximating the Industrial Revolution with vanilla wafers is like rounding pi to ten digits with a custard pie and all of your fingers. To really drive this lesson home, why not have the students create actual hamburgers? Most of the boy students will catch salmonella from handling the raw meat and picking their noses, leading to an overabundance of girls and various state-sponsored reproductive laws, and then BANG, you've also taught them about China. When class is over, you can also sell the hamburgers to the cafeteria, retaining all profits and forcing the selfsame students to purchase them for lunch, and BANG, the kids have learned about sweat shops.

  • brawl at kathys wedding

    After the amount of alcohol consumed by Table Eleven, I'm surprised that a brawl was not inevitable.

  • If somehow a ping pong ball should make its way into your rectum
    Is this the start of a poem? According to RhymeZone, there are no "perfect rhymes" for rectum, which is peculiar since, by its very nature, a rectum is the perfect end to a couplet.

    Seek medical attention immediately, for any tears will infect'em.

  • Sample quiz for Why should juvenile deliquents be thankful at Thanksgiving?
    On Thanksgiving Day, where would you prefer to be?
      A) Under supervised house arrest for that crack but far from recidivism.
      B) Baked for three hours, but at 325 degrees, not in the good way.
      C) Catching airborne contagions from some Puritans.

  • Man seeks Obama, Jesus restraining orders
    Paris bitten by New York-style bed bug scare
    Vending machine recommends drinks to buyers

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    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    The Mating Game by Bitter:Sweet:
    A few songs on this album were classily recommended to me by Pandora -- it consists of sultry female vocals set against strings and brass. Highlights include "The Mating Game" and "Dirty Laundry", but the entire album is pretty good. The timbres are evocative, and only one song, "Our Remains", sounds like it should be blaring over the loudspeakers at DSW.

    Final Grade: A-

    The Corner:
    This six-hour HBO miniseries is based on the book with the same name. On the bright side, this is one of the most solid book adaptations I've ever watched, and would definitely recommend watching it instead of reading the book (reading is for chumps). On the other hand, this is the documentary-style precursor of The Wire, so if you've watched that, you'll get deja vu here. It's especially noticeable and fourth-wall breaking when plotlines are reused or very familar actors play completely different roles.

    Final Grade: B-

    Dexter, Season Five:
    I think this is the first time that Dexter has stumbled from excellence, although I'll need to watch it again to be sure. I was very excited for this season after watching the official trailer (S4 spoilers!), which seemed to imply that the season would focus on Dexter's umbrella of suspicion related to the climactic moments of Season Four. However, the trailer is misdirection, and impact of that plotline is greatly diluted over the course of Season Five. There are some strong points, and it does get good towards the end, but too much of the season is spent aimlessly, and I felt like Dexter as a character took a backseat to his new guest star. I've always felt like this guest star was a distressingly bad actress, so perhaps it was my biases getting in the way, but when I'm watching Dexter, I care about the main characters already in play, not brand new ones. I'm also sick of the time-filler plotlines related to inter-office romances and marriages -- it's like they were channeling the second and third seasons of 24.

    Final Grade: C+

    Google Gets Literal: 'Verbatim' Searches Are Back
    Romanians use gift cards to turn donuts into dollars

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 4 comments

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Friday night, we trekked out to Manassas to visit Anna and Ben and play Dungeons and Dragons. Although it's the type of game one would expect me to have played many times over the course of my role-playing game-soaked youth, this was our first game ever and it went surprisingly well (more on that tomorrow).

    On Saturday, we drove out to Hagerstown for the birthday party of Rebecca's 11-year-old cousin, who was obsessed with some variety of toy involving the children of famous monsters attending high school. We stopped back in Leesburg on the way home and did a beer tasting at Crooked Run Brewery followed by dinner across the street at MacDowell's, which was full of loud drunk girls.

    Sunday was a house chore day -- I replaced the cartridge in a faucet whose water was starting to taste like a landslide, unearthed the humidifier for the winter, and did some file cabinet cleanup. We briefly considered an Alamo trip for a movie and a burger, but then decided that it would be more relaxing to stay in with free popcorn and cats. We watched Wolf of Wall Street and also qualified for Medicare somewhere around the two and a half hour mark. For dinner, I ordered a supremely unhealthy Domino's pizza while Rebecca made a giant salad.

    How was your weekend?

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    Tuesday, November 17, 2015

    Questions Day

    It's time for another Questions Day. Want to get a second opinion on something? Ask anything you want, be it about myself, Thanksgiving, or something you don't understand. Need some recommendations? I'll answer all of your questions next Tuesday!

    tagged as you speak | permalink | 4 comments

    Friday, November 17, 2017

    Maia Week #19 Battle Report

    Maia is now 19 weeks old and quite a different baby from last week. In the baby biz, there is a concept called a "wonder week" which is where the baby is precociously fussy and you "wonder" why you had it. This is supposed to last a few days at every developmental milestone, followed by the opening up of a broad array of new skills. Maia's week 17 wonder week lasted about 3 weeks, starting around week 16, confusing the straight line of time more than an episode of LOST. The Daylight Savings Time change had minimal effect on her, but her round of 4 month vaccines exacerbated the grumpiness like wet sand in your swim trunks.

    Since last weekend, however, it has all changed. Maia now goes to bed around 10 - 11 PM and then sleeps straight through until 7 - 8 AM. We did a few practice runs of letting her cry to sleep and it only took 3 failed attempts before she understood the concepts and mastered them with a gold star. When she's up during the day, she's calmer and more prone to taking it all in like a monk (on Wednesday, she spent a leisurely dinner at Cafesano with us without any fuss).

    On Tuesday, we gave her the first taste of solid food: a pureed bit of avocado. She had roughly the same reaction to avocado that I do -- "There's something weird on my tongue and I hope I'm not allergic to it". She'll probably have a better reaction to rare steak, which is probably the next edible milestone.

    We're still guiding her through calisthenics to improve her muscle tone for future autonomy. With support, she can SIT and STAND and other simple verbs from 1980s text adventure games. She is aware of Amber, and Amber is aware of her -- the cat will sit with Rebecca during feeding time but won't get too near Maia at any other point. It won't be long before they have their own Calvin and Hobbes situation though. I'm sure of it!

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

    Wednesday, November 17, 2021

    Maia's Art Day

    I post these pictures, not because I think the world should be excessively excited about the art of small children, but because I'd like Maia to see them ten years in the future and don't want to keep a file cabinet full of scraps in perpetuity.

    Bunnies remain her primary choice for drawing.

    This diorama is "Everyone is lined up to go to bunny's yard sale. The line is long because Sloth can't decide what to buy."

    Here's a rainbow and a sun. I don't know where she decided that suns should have spirals in the middle, but I like her style.

    "You're a bird in this maze and you have to collect all the berries on the way to the exit for the winter."

    "This is Bunny wearing a mask on July 6, getting 3 presents, turning 3, and 'quite good' sparkly pink." I don't know what the end of the sentence means, but she was adamant that I insert 'quite good' in there.

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, November 17, 2023

    Review Day: Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

    There are no major spoilers in this review.

    Red Seas Under Red Skies is the second book in The Gentleman Bastards series, by Scott Lynch. The book takes Locke Lamora and his compatriot, Jean Tannen, to the island city of Tal Verrar, where they recuperate from the events of Book One and come up with a plot to rob an extravagant casino known as the Sinpsire.

    The flashbacks focused on Locke's recovery from Book One's traumas and his growing awareness of the class inequalities in this world are the strongest parts of the book. The main plotline itself, however, is much less interesting and effective. The book suffers from a convoluted "road trip" structure that pulls the reader further and further from its initial premise.

    By the midpoint, Locke and Jean are sailing with pirates a long way from the Sinspire because of a plot within a plot within a plot. While the nautical sections are fun to read, they're orthogonal to the original heist in Tal Verrar. The hard pivot to sailing and swashbuckling makes the final resolution of the heist feel like a disappointing afterthought.

    I struggled a bit with the way the plot and characters developed in this book. I felt like the Gentleman Bastards relied far more on luck than skill and cleverness in this outing. I also felt like the author set up some interesting potential conflicts between Locke and Jean that were resolved too easily and not given the weight they deserved. After the overwhelming maleness of the first book, I did appreciate the addition of interesting women characters, like Selendri the disfigured casino agent and Zamira Drakasha, captain of the Poison Orchid.

    Red Seas Under Red Skies dampened my enthusiasm for the series to the point where I'm not sure if I'll continue on to Book Three, The Republic of Thieves. Still, I enjoyed this book more often than I didn't, and would say it's worth giving it a try if you were a fan of Book One.

    Final Grade: B-

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments


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