This Day In History: 11/18

Sunday, November 18, 2001

I've been pretty successful at getting an hour of trumpet playing in every day since I got back from Blacksburg. My motivation is still pretty slipshod though. Half of my brain wants to sit in the practice room all day and improve to performance proficiency, which I'm beginning to think is not just a pipe dream for me. The other half of my brain is quick to point out that all the hours I spend in the practice room are hours that I'm not composing, which is the whole reason for being in grad school. The third half of my brain then argues that I waste that time regardless of practicing, by playing games and posting inane news items on this page. (The fourth half then berates the first three for horrible math fraction skills and proceeds to buy a PS2 from the shady dealer listed a couple days ago).

Anyhow, in an attempt for better tone, I've switched down to the Schilke 15 mouthpiece again (from my old 14B3A). My endurance is much worse with this one, but with no pressing performances in the near future, I can afford to take a few months of rebuilding time.

Virginia Tech beat Virginia yesterday, 31-17. FSU went to Gainesville and tried to play too.

10:36 Jason will be getting a Blackburn trumpet.
10:37 "The trumpet f_cking blows!" - Shac
10:37 Shac will drop trumpet for carpentry.
10:38 Pip has never played Hummel in E.

- Highlights from the minutes of Delta Mu, the non-service music fraternity, 8/31/99

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Monday, November 18, 2002

We had a rehearsal for the Duruflé requiem this afternoon and it sounds like it will be a good performance. The ensemble is the University Singers under Dr. Fenton (who used to teach at Tech) accompanied by organ, string quartet, harp, timpani, and three trumpets. Come to Opperman tomorrow night, unless you're already roped into going to the competing Tallahassee Winds concert.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Terminator 3 is a pretty good movie. It doesn't take itself too seriously and has less of a wow factor, but is action-packed and over quickly. It's one of those movies where you go in knowing exactly what to expect, so it's enjoyable within your expectations.

Hanging corpse admired as sculpture
Southern drawl defeats voice recognition programs

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

What this site is missing is more cat photos. But I'm out of those, so you'll have to settle for more BU and House pictures .

Alias goes back to back with Lost
Cannabis users aren't the fastest starters, are they?

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday Fragments

Like a rainbow of joy in your mouth, except you can't eat it and it's not particularly colourful

  • A very strange weather front went through our area on Wednesday. We didn't get any rain, but an ominous stain of thunderstorms rushed by on the horizon all day long, in a hurry to get to the Northeast like a stampede of hungry office workers who have just gotten an e-mail saying that there's free food in the kitchen. The end result of this strange cloud migration was that temperatures dropped near freezing, and it is now far too cold to do anything but sleep and sit in front of space heaters. I really need to buy a new fleece soon -- preferably one that zips up rather than goes over your head, because the latter kind always screws my hair into unkempt whorls like Jay North's in Dennis the Menace.

  • The only review I ever wrote on is now one of the two Spotlight Reviews. I'm well on my way to becoming a full-time reviewer! Some day you will read me in your local paper as the new Ebert, except that I'll probably have to come up with a new system of voting which does not involve thumbs. Maybe I can use arm flab.

  • They bulldozed a forest near my house to make a gigantic parking lot for the local mosque. The new lot is easily going to double the capacity of mosque-bound cars. I'm not sure how this is useful, because 90% of the people who are leaving the mosque after worship are incapable of such basics as driving, turning, signaling, or not parking in a lane of traffic. They are all very good at opening doors into the through lane though. Someday, I would like to just hit a door and keep on driving with the door on my hood. Then I could sell my car as a work of avant-garde art called "Religion In Accord".

  • When I went to vote, I saw a beat up car from the 90s with two portable DVD screens tied to the backs of each seat, so the two rugrats in the back could watch their Teletubbies for the duration of the trip. I think this is a little excessive -- they should have saved that money and gotten a better car first. I saw these DVD screens again a few days later in an SUV. I can see the use of these screens on long trips (my kids will play video games all the way to Nag's Head when I am a dad) but it seems somewhat soul-deadening to turn them on for every tiny cross-city trip you take.

  • Speaking of driving, I saw an SUV get into an accident with a cart-return stand at Target the other day. Some clueless soccer mom got into her black Suburban which was parked immediately adjacent to the metal stand where you leave your cart (unless you are from Northern Virginia, in which case you park the front two wheels on a grassy knoll and run away before it rolls back into traffic). She started the car, turned her wheel all the way to the right, and then gunned it, sideswiping the cart stand in the process. This is why they teach you to roll forward as you leave a parking spot, to give yourself a wider turning radius. The cart stand ended up askew across another parking spot and the Suburban sported a basketball-sized crater in the passenger door. The driver then parked and ran out to inspect the damage, and then looked at the cart stand with that blame-shifting look that says "Why would they put a cart stand in a place that I wanted to drive?" Then she looked around to see if anyone had seen her and I waved.

  • AOL tried to add two bots to my buddy list -- computerized programs that you talk to like normal people when you need help shopping or looking for movies. I promptly deleted that bull crap and got a message from AOL saying "Hi, we noticed you deleted our bots." Hi, your bots blow like Birdo.

  • They must be really struggling for ideas in the yearly Mario Party franchise, because Birdo has a starring role in Mario Party 7. She has no voice, and just runs around the board with her gaping orifice. She can't even shoot eggs anymore. I guess she felt underutilized in the Mario mythos and demanded more screen time. I didn't even know Birdo was supposed to have any kind of gender, which is probably why they put a big red bow on top. See, girls like red and play with dolls or something.

  • This weekend, I'll probably do some shopping and come into work for a few hours (so I can get a few things done before the real Thanksgiving) and then I'm having another dinner on Sunday night for people from miles around. Only 36 days until Christmas! What do you want me to get you?

  • Have a good weekend! Some of you clowns still aren't on the reader map yet.

  • Tyson dinner ends in mass brawl
    I didn't flash anyone even though they fired me for flashing
    Spear said the suspect then colored on his genitals with a highlighter from the company's table

    Yesterday's search terms:
    ikea bed missing dokka midbeam, stories of alpacas unwanted, uri naked girls, fitness madesimple theme song, college hunks junk, humour and gordon korman

    Xylophone is spelled with an X. It's like X didn't have enough to do so they had to promise it more. "Okay, you won't start a lot of words, but you will have a co-starring role in Tic-Tac-Toe. And you will be equated with hugs and kisses. And you will make writing Christmas easier. And you will mark the spot. And you will incidentally start Xylophone. Are you happy now, you f_cking X?" - Mitch Hedberg

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    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Museday Tuesday

    Propulsive: (adj.) Tending to or capable of propelling

    My Composition (0:26 MP3)

    This definition made me think of all those high-school jazz charts with metronome speeds of 180 or higher, and the single word "Driving" as a tempo marking. In general, these charts were rarely as driving as intended, usually because of unskilled musicians and an overabundance of syncopation. By the time one of these pieces was finished being performed, the tempo had dropped to 136 and at least two players had died.

    This is also the final Museday of 2008 -- stay tuned next month when readers vote on their favourites and I convert one of these fragments into a longer tune!

    For More of Mexico?s Wealthy, Cost of Living Includes Guards
    Urine passes NASA taste test
    'Meh': new word for indifference enters English dictionary

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    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Hawaii Honeymoon Part III

    Having been tiny people since birth, most of the hikes on Kauai would have depleted our caloric composition to below zero, so it was in our health's best interest to consume as many different kinds of food as possible. Besides the fact that seafood is present in almost every restaurant, there is no specific Kauai cuisine. There's only an interesting hodge podge of ethnic plates from sushi to tacos to burgers. Here are four of the more memorable restaurants we ate at while on the island:

    Sheraton Resort: We ate all of our first week meals in the resort, at a restaurant called The Point, or another called Shells. The "Seafood Tinfoil" consisted of mussels, shrimp, ahi, and scallops cooked in a foil wrapper with vegetables. Though it came out looking like a failed Boy Scout camp dinner, it was delicious once unwrapped. On another night, I got the "Ahi Nachos", which came on a plate that was bigger than my ego. Take wontons and fry them into crispy chips, similar to the shrimp chips you might have in a Chinese restaurant, and then liberally douse them with cold ahi in a wine sauce.

    Of course, the resort also had a breakfast buffet with fresh fruits, all-you-can-eat bacon, and a pancake bar with chocolate syrup as a topping. Even better was the fact that you could opt to skip housekeeping for a day to get a free ticket for the buffet.

    Beach House Restaurant: The shtick at this restaurant is that they have a great view of the sunset, so if your partner is particularly ugly, you can face the sun and spend an evening blinded by the lights like Michael Geoffery Skinner. They also wait on you like royalty, handling refills and the smallest requests with alacrity. We started with a shared appetizer of sashimi, which I followed up with buttered sea scallops -- there's nothing better than a scallop cooked in butter, served in butter, with extra butter on top. In fact, I may still have some butter lodged under my tongue from this meal.

    Kintaro's: This was a Japanese steak and sushi house right across the street from our condo in Kapa'a. In the picture on the right, we claimed the last two available seats at the sushi bar on the left side, where we got to watch the sushi chef effortlessly slice and dish meals for the entire restaurant while talking about scuba diving with one of the regulars at the bar. We sat next to a couple who had lived there for years, and tried to come to Kintaro's monthly, so they gave us recommendations on sushi choices. We ended up trying five or six different types, including a fried hand-roll which turned out to be similar to a sushi waffle cone. Scallop-based sushi is good, and low-grade sake is intense.

    Hukilau Lanai: The restaurant was full when we got there, but the 45 minute wait shrank to a 0 minute wait when we simply sat down in Wally's Lounge and ordered from the roaming cocktail waitress. While we waited for our drinks from the five thousand page wine list, we were entertained by Wally himself, who sang Hawaiian sings and played the guitar, while his compatriot played the vibraphone and inserted unsually incorrect harmonies. Done with seafood by this point, I ordered the prime rib au jus, and was surprised by a massive whole steak cooked to rare perfection (had it been any larger, it would have lost its primality and become divisible by 2).

    Are you hungry now?

    To be continued someday...

    Would-be ninja impaled on fence
    What's in an unusual name?
    2009 word of the year

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    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Quick List Day: The Only Occasions When I Swear

    • Accidentally biting my lip with great force

    • Participating in the "1-2-3-Shit" football cheer.

    • Stubbing my toe

    • Hanging around with Kelley Corbett

    • Hanging around with Mike Catania

    • Anytime I reflexively think something will hurt horribly before my brain realizes that it was barely a scratch

    • Getting disconnected from a particularly intense game of Warsong Gulch

    GOP Frosh: Where's my health care?
    Evidence that we can see the future?
    TSA investigating "Junk" passenger

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    Friday, November 18, 2011

    RPG Day

    If you enjoy fantasy computer games at all, you should definitely pick up Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I sometimes end up disliking overhyped games -- I thought Half-Life was boring, and still feel that the best part of Dragon Age: Origins was the review that it spawned. However in this case, I can honestly say that Skyrim is the most fun I've had with a game in a long time.

    This is not a full review, but the game looks and sounds great -- that building you see on the rocky outcropping in the screenshot above can actually be traveled to, and there are actually people living inside. The world feels very alive, and occasionally leave me with a feeling of heady awe, similar to the very first days of World of Warcraft. I never played any of the earlier games in the Elder Scrolls series, but I feel that Skyrim is the spiritual grandchild of the Ultima series -- this is what Ultima 6 or 7 might have been with more powerful computers. The interface is kludgy (because it's designed for an XBox controller) but doesn't get in the way of my overall enjoyment.

    If you like role-playing games at all, you'll probably find many hours of enjoyment here. I expect that I'll play it all weekend while Rebecca tries out her new Kindle Fire, which is arriving today!

    Parents name son after Skyrim character, free games for life
    Skyrim Epic Rap

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    Monday, November 18, 2013

    Weekend Wrap-up

    With our basement roommate feeding cats and protecting our valuable collection of TV shows on DVDs from theft, we took the opportunity to get out of town this weekend. We headed down to a vacation house on Wintergreen Mountain, about twenty miles south of W'anusboro, in order to celebrate Annie Mueller's birthday in style.

    In spite of Rebecca's work schedule, we managed to squeeze out of Northern Virginia a few minutes before rush hour, probably shaving an hour off of the trip. In spite of that though, the trip was bookended by an hour of traffic in South Riding at the beginning, and an hour of driving in the rain at the end. Fortunately, the middle two hours were punctuated by tasty sandwiches and fries from a Sheetz on Route 29.

    On Saturday morning, sunny skies gave us a brief, yet full view of the mountainside, after which we were engulfed in a death fog for the remainder of the weekend. We passed the time hiking, playing games, hot tubbing, using up all of the firewood, and making fun of Mike Catania for opting to go to France instead of this cabin.

    On Sunday, we narrowly avoided dying in the death fog, and made it down the mountain to the Wintergreen Winery (quaint, inexpensive, but not amazing), and Blue Mountain Brewery (very good flights). We got back home around 5 after a 300-mile round trip, and did things like laundry and eating leftovers.

    How was your weekend?

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    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    D&D Day

    Our first DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS experience last weekend spawned from Anna's offhand remark that she'd never played before, and thought it'd be fun to try once just to say that she'd tried it. Up until then, my exposure to D&D had been limited to the two Community episodes (one of which involved Breaking Bad's Jonathan Banks repeating "I punch him in the heart!") and the classic skit about the pungent scent of mildew emanating from the wet dungeon walls.

    As much as I was obsessed with computer role-playing games in the 80s and 90s, to the point where I preordered Savage Empire on the day it was announced because "it combined dinosaurs and Ultima and, thus, had to be awesome", I had always stayed away from tabletop gaming. I was a Dungeon Master in spirit if not in name in fourth grade, when I used to draw mazes and let my friends fight through them during lunch, but intentionally stayed away from anything more formalized.

    Before the Internet, people did not celebrate geekdom, and the perceived stigma around something like D&D put those kids on the social rung even lower than me, as the kid who was two years younger than everyone in his grade and played video games all day long. Even at boy scout camp, where I had the chance to try playing without anyone from school knowing, I declined because the Dungeon Master looked exactly like Screech from Saved By the Bell.

    Thankfully, we have all aged to the point where it's okay to do "non-cool" things in the name of fun, even if there are still varying rungs to the ladder of geekdom (apparently, men that like My Little Pony, or "bronies", are still far down that ladder). With this in mind, I picked up the starter D&D materials with the hopes of figuring it all out and playing a game or two. I chose the most recent release, the 5th edition, because it supposedly had less emphasis on numbers and rules, and more on storytelling.

    The first thing you should know if you want to learn D&D is that the available books are awful for teaching or engaging. There are pages and pages of rules, charts, and tables (over 200 pages in the Player Handbook alone) with but a few pages devoted to actually learning the game. If you don't have much background in similar ventures, you'll have to really want to learn to get through it -- the books reminded me very much of poorly-written technical manuals that show you exactly HOW to click on a button in a UI without ever telling you WHY you would want to click that button.

    Luckily, my background in being a nerd, combined with that Design of Information class I slept through in undergrad, and the Music Pedagogy classes I took as a grad student (ignoring the Music part) allowed me to learn the system well enough to teach it. With the help of online blogs and other fan-made materials, I came up with a tailored set of instructions specific to the players (Anna, Ben, and Rebecca) that allowed us to skip ahead to the engaging, fun parts fairly rapidly.

    Although games can be played with just the stuff in the Starter Set, I augmented with extra sets of dice, a vinyl mat with graphing squares for drawing maps, generic tokens representing the players and monsters, and various game soundtracks on YouTube. Although imagination is the number one requirement for a successful game, the visual and aural stimuli didn't hurt as a gentle introduction for neophytes. I also used Zim Wiki on my laptop to set up a searchable archive of statistics and lore so I could spend less time flipping pages to look stuff up and more time weaving the story.

    It took a couple weeks of preparation on my part, but resulted in a first adventure that went as well as could be expected. I avoided a slow, boring starting session by doing character creation in advance (shielding the players from the boring calculations) and streamlining the rules down to a 20 minute tutorial covering the most common scenarios. The party of Bjornson, Rynn, and Nit survived a goblin ambush, convinced a shopkeeper to pay for a wagon full of supplies that didn't belong to them, and kicked a goblin in the crotch during an interrogation and rescue operation. Enough fun was had that we will play again soon!

    Have you played? Do you want to play? Share your stories in the comments section!

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    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken in December 1977, so I did not exist yet.

    The Uri family, sans me, was out in Fairfax County picking up a live Christmas tree for the season, wearing their best Starbucks cup costumes. The general lifecycle for live Christmas trees in the early years was three weeks in the living room in a giant metal bucket of water, followed by an anemic year or two planted in the backyard before dying off.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, November 18, 2016

    The Orge Family

    A children's book written in fourth grade language arts class

    Once upon a time, long, long ago, King Orge and his queen had sextuplets.

    Their names were: Worge, George, Horge, Morge, Corge, and Dwaborge.

    They were always clumsy.

    Dwaborge would pull the cat's tail while...

    ...George put a match in the gas stove.

    "We must do something about these kids!" the cook exclaimed.

    They never got the problem solved.

    By the time they were all 30...

    ...they became fighters and warriors.

    They were still clumsy.

    Morge was fighting when...

    ...his helmet fell off!

    One day, Corge took the King's throne.

    He didn't have a queen so he put up a vacant sign.

    Then he married a woman named "Torge".

    He was still clumsy. He went right past the castle after the honeymoon.

    When Corge called for a limousine and a driver... turned out to be a Volkswagen and a moose.

    A boy named Vorge broke a window, and...

    Corge didn't have a lawyer or insurance.

    Then the water tower broke.

    In the Orge family, everything has been the same forever.

    If you listen across the ocean at night... just might hear Corge's spirit yelling "I want my lawyer!" or "Who broke that window!"

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    Monday, November 18, 2019

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Friday evening, we made minestrone soup for dinner. Rebecca went out and met up with our friend, Catherine, after Maia went to bed while I stayed home and worked on Puzzle Boat puzzles.

    On Saturday, Maia did not nap. I was distracted from my office by the sound of knocking and realized the knocking was coming from INSIDE HER ROOM. Maia had climbed out of her crib and come to her door to inform me that she had crawled out like the protagonist in Big Bed For Giraffe. After she easily did it a second time for an audience, we took the side of the crib off and permanently converted it into a big girl bed.

    In the evening, we picked up carry-out from Cheng's in Chantilly and had Game Night at the Smiths. Maia alternated between placing Rebecca's Ticket to Ride trains in the ocean and diving off the couch into beanbags (a game apparently called "KABOOM").

    I was worried about how Maia's first night in a big bed might go, but she fell right to sleep. An hour later, she had rolled into the middle of the room where she stayed for the rest of the night. She then got up at the usual time, happy to have options, and got back in bed.

    Rebecca and Maia went to church on Sunday morning while I stayed home and did some minor organizing. We had Hannah over for a dinner of leftover soup, broiled chicken breast, and fresh broccoli.

    How was your weekend?

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    Wednesday, November 18, 2020

    Time-lapsed Blogography Day: Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

    Twenty-five years ago today, on November 18, 1995, I was a 16-year-old senior.

    I spent the morning polishing up the score for Sonorous Sonata, a sonata form assignment in my Music Theory I class. I had written the entire thing in 3 hours on the previous Wednesday, and it shows in how banal the whole thing is. (This is the only movement ever written because we had not yet learned that sonatas had other movements yet).

    I also watched Outbreak with my mom, a movie about a virus loose in the US and the near-decision to just nuke it all and start over. It was part of our weekly batch of Blockbuster VHS videos that we always picked up on Friday (we'd watch the best one on Friday night with Pizza Hut pizza for dinner then watch the rest throughout the weekend.

    Stonekeep and DOOM II multiplayer were the games of the time. In the evening, I picked up my friend, Chris, and brought him back to my house (as a 10th grader, he couldn't drive yet) so we could play against Jack over the 28.8k modem.

    The next morning, I started on my college applications (all in-state). The forms themselves took a trip through our old-fashioned typewriter, while the personal essay was dutifully tailored to each school and printed on our LaserJet 5 printer. One only needs to read the pithy closing argument to see why I got into college:

    The path I have taken through school has given me many options to choose from. I plan to attend college where I will earn a double major in Computer Science and Music Theory/Composition. I chose these two fields because they were interesting, meaningful in my life, and also because they were at completely opposite ends of the career spectrum. Today, when someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up, I simply smile and reply, "Taller." I leave myself open to new ideas and possibilities. Hopefully, I will be prepared for any road I travel upon after I have entered the rest of my life.

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    Friday, November 18, 2022

    Reunion Day

    20 years out of Florida State Music and still alive!

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