This Day In History: 11/29

Thursday, November 29, 2001

There's nothing like a little Mancini "smokey lounge" jazz in the evening. Popping in one of my several CDs puts me in a good mood and even makes me amenable to a little unpleasant work. Today I did the bulk of work on my history paper and presentation. I'll post that on the Writings page next week sometime so you too can read it and proclaim, "Hot damn, why didn't this treatise change music as we know it?"

Every once in a while, I'll get e-mail about the text adventure, Augmented Fourth, I released in April 2000. Where a commercial game would have vanished into obscurity after a few months, it's great to discover that people are still playing and enjoying my work. To any creator, whether they're writing games or books or music, feedback is a great motivator, even if it's just a brief one-line e-mail. Knowing that people enjoyed my game enough to take the time to write makes all those months of coding worthwhile. If you don't know what Augmented Fourth is, you can find out more on the Games page.

"I guess I didn't resolve my 7th down by step!" - Dr. Bachelder, after the fire alarm sounded during class

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Saturday, November 29, 2003

I'm playing around with my early Christmas present, the Canon Powershot G5 digital camera. I haven't even looked at any features beyond point n' shoot but image quality is worlds above my old DC256. Booty looks fuzzier and more vibrant, as you can see. To look at the original proofs, follow these links:

DC-256 (884KB)
Powershot G5 (1.9MB)

I've also added the last of the DC256 pictures to the Cats page in the Photos section. This new camera can do short videos, so soon you'll be able to experience Booty-wrestling first hand!

Update: It's Booty! AVI 3.21 MB

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Monday, November 29, 2004

Sitting busy.

I walked in the door and said 'You've taken my snakes - here, have my pussy as well', and slammed the jar on to the counter.
Vandals Glue Store Locks
They say Stewart has been grilled by officials at least three times, twice for smuggling eggs and once for "being too nice."
When asked, none of the organizations' representatives said they had played the games on their list, although a few said they had reviewed several of them.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I've been told by some people that I'm impossible to shop for, not because I have no interests, but because I buy everything I want for myself (although one person recently said that shopping for me was "easy peesy" so the sample size may be skewed). If there's something that would make a good gift, chances are that I preordered it eight months ago and got it on the release day. So I can be more of a "team player", here's a short list of stuff that I plan on buying after Christmas. If you were stuck on gift ideas, feel free to use anything on the list. If you weren't planning on getting a gift, don't make this compel you to do so -- I have way too much junk anyhow. Also, my parents are banned from using this list and people in Florida cannot get me a gift since they already got me a cool birthday present .

  1. Cool soap refills: The problem with Anna moving out last June is that I'm running low on all the girly stuff I stole from her, like Bath & Body Works soap. I do have an economy-sized refill of Dial Antibacterial Soap under the sink, but it's not quite the same.

  2. Rose-scented Yankee Candles: Regular scented candles don't truly work, but Yankee Candles actually fill up the house and cover the lingering scent of kitty litter and spilled turkey juice. I dislike the scent of potpourri and candles that smell like baked goods are gross, especially vanilla-scented candles. Perhaps if they had a fudge-candle I would buy it, but "Fresh Cut Roses" is an all-around happy scent. I must be domesticated.

  3. Bathtub Shelf: There's a reason all my good books have water spots all over their pages. I could use one of those yuppy-shelves that sits across the tub and holds the book. Actually what I could really use is a device that makes a book float in midair with the spine perfectly flat, where the pages turn via voice commands. Or maybe I just need to read lighter books.

  4. Scrubs, Season 2: Season one was superb, why should season two be any different?

  5. Friends, Season 10: It was a neutered season with only fifteen episodes or something, but I already own the first nine seasons, so I may as well pick this one up for completeness. I often choose completeness over quality, which is why I've read all of the Hardy Boys books and enjoy boxed sets of orchestral works. This is also why it's dangerous for me to participate in any promotion that starts with "Collect them all!".

  6. Stylish stuff for this room: I have not yet hung anything on the walls of the blue guest room, even though it's been complete for about a month.

  7. New Zealand: I need a naval staging area for my invasion of the Far East, and koalas are fun.

What do you want for Christmas?

Girl with peanut allergy killed by kiss
Each student was given a laptop computer with a keypad designed to be operated easily using only the non-dominant hand.
We're all for that. But one caveat that we have about that is they should probably look around themselves before they start taking a pill [because there might be some ugly guys and they will regret it later]

tagged as lists | permalink | 10 comments

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Game Box Trinkets

In the golden years of gaming, sometimes cracking the box open was as rewarding (or more rewarding) than playing the game itself. Game publishers in the eighties strived to start the game experience before the first disk went in by bundling their games with trinkets, trading cards, and silly gadgets that were tangentially related to the plot. Often this was purely self-serving, since the game company could insert special codes into the trinkets as a form of early copy protection (meaning that pirates who copied the disks but didn't have the knick knacks couldn't load the game), but sometimes the extra materials just served to enhance the fun factor and immersion of the game.

The two star companies in this regard were Infocom and Origin. Infocom apparently felt that their packaging needed a high wow factor (since all they made were pure text games) and often included hundred page encyclopedias, diaries of characters in the games, or imitation magnetic pass cards (though Floyd the Robot never made an appearance as a box trinket). Five years later, Origin picked up the torch, led by the crazy (or brilliant or both) Richard Garriott. Each game released in Origin's major franchise came with a woven cloth map, artfully etched spell books and bestiaries, pouches of runes, magic coins, and a pewter Egyptian ankh which I used to wear on a string in elementary school until it broke during a particularly hectic championship game of hopskotch. The extravagance of the goodies probably helped lead to Origin's demise as a company, but it sure helped their games become more engrossing.

How much of an 80s computer geek were you? How many of these trinkets can you match with the game they came from? I doubt anyone can guess more than two without the aid of Google, but a special prize awaits anyone who does.


1) Photo of Buddy Burbank and a palm tree swizzle stick

2) Cloth map of the continent

3) Letter from Jean Lafond and a fifty guinea note in an elegant velvet reticule

4) Crime scene photo and plastic bag of suspicious drugs

5) Blueprints of Rockville Estates with a sticky note

6) Encyclopedia entry on the Christmas Tree monster
Elderly woman tells of kind hijacking
Unschoolers break the mold
He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Review Day

Blades of Glory: If you add up all the true laughs in this movie and then round to the nearest ten, I'm pretty sure the answer is right around zero. Another movie that proves that Will Ferrell is very, very funny, except when he isn't. D+

Ratatouille: This was a pretty fun cartoon movie, but not as universal or enjoyable as any of the other movies in the Pixar stable. It didn't help that the two main characters are a rat and a human who cannot have a conversation (even though the rat seems to have a firm grasp on the nuances of English, which seems to be the official language of Paris). The animated movie, Car Wash, with Will Smith reminds me of this movie -- mildly entertaining but without any lasting effect. The best part of the movie was the preview that mentioned the release of a DVD consisting of all the Pixar animated shorts from over the years. C+

Shrek the Third: The Shrek franchise has essentially run out of ideas, but the movie is still enjoyable. There are a couple obligatory jokes that you're just supposed to laugh at because they were in the first two movies (and this is also what annoyed me about the later Austin Powers movies), but it's short and sweet. B

Scrubs, Season Six: If Shrek is trying to shake new ideas out of an empty Scrabble bag, Scrubs is on their third or fourth consecutive enema from the idea colon. The show is still half funny and half touching, but more of the jokes come from overusing character stereotypes rather than making up new situations. The season got better as it went along, and the musical episode (starring writers and actors from Avenue Q) was surprisingly not awkward. This season was about as good as season five, but I think seasons two, three, and four were the high points. B

MI-5, Season One: MI-5 is a BBC show that's like Alias without the mysticism. The pilot was uniformly dreadful, but the remaining five episodes of the first season weren't half bad. A good watch if you like spy shows and don't mind occasionally turning on subtitles. B-

Sopranos, Season Six Part II: Taking a page out of the playbook of Ultima VII in its title, the last half of the last season of The Sopranos was out on DVD for some ridiculously expensive price. Unlike half the Internet, I thought the final ending was decently artsy and fit the tone of the entire show. The sixth season as a whole was well-written, if not on par with the original two seasons, but it did a good job of tying up many of the loose ends from previous seasons. B

Meteos (DS): Meteos is a Tetris-like game on the DS that you play with the stylus and touchpad. Blocks with different colors fall out of the sky, and you can drag a block up or down in its stack. Line up three or more colored blocks and they will launch into the air, carrying any surrounding blocks with them. The goal is to launch all your blocks off the screen, and the game has a variety of worlds with differing levels of gravity and block speeds. Music and sound effects range from fun to kooky to annoying, and the game is addicting like Tetris -- there's no real point to playing it, but it draws you in for "just one more game". B+

Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS): Zelda was perfectly sized and paced for a handheld game. Every action is done with the stylus and touchpad, from drawing the path for your boomerang to scribbling notes on your overhead map to reveal secrets. Sailing is still annoying but faster, and there is one timed dungeon that can get frustrating as you visit and revisit it over the course of the game. Otherwise, the game is fun and even has a little humour in its story. A-

That Way Lies Camelot: I found this collection of fantasy and science-fiction short stories in a used bookstore and read almost the entire collection on the day that the world bolted my car's tire. Some are better than others, but I especially liked the four stories with the recurring character of Ensign Jensen, chasing a space bandit across the galaxy -- it reminded me of a written Firefly. B+

Stormed Fortress: Today's update is pretty long, and Kathy has probably already tuned out, so I won't go in-depth with this book. Instead, you can read my review on Amazon if you're interested. I engulfed this book in just a few days, and am now in the process of reading it at a more stately pace. I also read two WoLaS short stories recently, Reins of Destiny, and Child of Prophecy, both of which were great, if over too quickly. A

Zoo Fire Suspicion Centers On Armadillo, Lamp
Eighth wonder of the world?
Chinese doctors have warned moviegoers not to try some of the more ambitious sexual positions featured in the uncut version of the film.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

Among the activities which took place this holiday weekend:

  • Thanksgiving lasagna

  • A Relational Database Model for DDMS

  • Steak Diane and Kahlua Cocoa cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory

  • A decorated Christmas tree and associated wise men

  • Game Night at Anna & Ben's

  • Re-raking the back yard

  • The end of Dollhouse

Italy PM replaces penis on statue, angers experts
Government Workers Driving Nukes Got Drunk
Money can't buy you love - or social skills

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

End-of-the-Month Media Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2011 album. Enjoy!

Also, don't forget to vote for a Museday excerpt in the Poll on the right sidebar!

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Hot Cakes by The Darkness:
I was always disappointed by the fact that The Darkness imploded into cocaine after only two albums, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that they'd recently gotten back together and released a third. This album is better than the first and almost as good as the second (One Way Ticket To Hell And Back), although there aren't any obvious hits in the mix. It's more of the same, which is great when that's exactly what you like.

Final Grade: B

Argo:
Ben Affleck is definitely better behind the camera than in front of it, and this movie set during the Iran hostage crisis is great all the way through. I was surprised with how well they managed the suspense and tension -- you wouldn't expect a movie costarring John Goodman to be this taut and exciting.

Final Grade: A-

Chuck, Season Three:
The third season of Chuck remains strong, and the writers have a knack for mixing up the storylines as soon as they start to feel stale, rather than stretching things out to unbelievability. The plot line gets a little too needlessly complex around the 2/3rds mark, but it recovers nicely. I had to watch the last few episodes in a row, because they were too good to stop.

Final Grade: B+

Okami:
Paige recommended this game to me several years ago, and I finally got it as a bargain bin birthday present for $20. You'd think a game drawn in watercolor style where you use gestures to paint things into the world would be a good fit for the Wii, but it really just shows how bad the Wii motion controls actually are, as your circles get interpreted as hashtags. The game managed to hold my interest for about a half hour of obtuse Japanese storytelling and annoying helper fairies before I stopped and ate a really big sandwich. It wasn't necessarily a bad game -- just not one that intrigued me enough to keep playing it. The sandwich was delicious and had ham, mayo, bacon bits, mustard, and red onions.

Final Grade: Not Graded

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Friday, November 29, 2013

End-of-the-Month Media Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2013 album. May they warm your heart in your cold Black Friday queues.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2017 album. Google Photos sucks.

  • Events
    • Cancelled a trip to the grandparents' on W 11/1 due to a dead car battery.

    • Had dinner with Larry, Janice, and their kids on S 11/4.

    • Unaffected by Daylight Losing Time on S 11/5.

    • Voted for the better candidates on T 11/7.

    • Snuggled the fig tree in a blanket of leaves for super-cold temperatures on F 11/10.

    • Rebecca and Maia met Hannah at the Farmer's Market on S 11/11.

    • Took a family hike through Algonkian on S 11/12.

    • Did round #1 of raking and rearranged Maia's nursery on M 11/13.

    • Introduced Maia to avocado on T 11/14 (did not like).

    • Had a family night hike followed by dinner at Cafesano on W 11/15.

    • Maia met Catherine and Catherine Hicks on H 11/16.

    • Had a family night hike followed by dinner at Crooked Run South on F 11/17. Saw a bunch of Rebecca's yoga folks, including Sara's parents packed in next to a bluegrass band.

    • Held a meat-free yoga potluck on S 11/18.

    • Had a visit by the Uri grandparents on S 11/19.

    • Did round #2 of raking on W 11/22 (Maia helped / slept).

    • Went to Thanksgiving in Taylorstown on H 11/23.

    • Had a visit from Ben, Andrea, and Amelia on F 11/24 and donated a chunk of our doomsday milk supply. Had sushi for dinner, put up the Christmas tree, and bought plane tickets for an upcoming LA wedding.

    • Put up the Christmas lights and fake deers on S 11/25. Made homemade tilapia fish tacos for dinner.

    • Had the other grandparents over on T 11/28.

  • Projects
    • My dad repaired a leaky pipe in the ceiling and painstakingly restored the classy 1970s popcorning texture afterwards.

    • Worked on a few proposals in parallel in most of my free time.

    • Took care of some baby.

  • Consumerism
    • Got to level 910 in Overwatch.

    • Minimal TV watching this month, but still slowly enjoying This is Us.

    • Enjoying the new Just Jack album for some lo-fi relaxation.

November's Final Grade: B+, Heavy on work, but the schedule is starting to gel.

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Friday, November 29, 2019

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2019 album. Google Photos sucks.

  • Events
    • Family dinner at Cheng's Asian House on S 11/2.

    • Raked leaves and had dinner with Car and Ben on S 11/3.

    • Family "hike" in Claude Moore Park on M 11/4.

    • Took Maia to vote on T 11/5.

    • Took Grandma Uri out to dinner at Marumen on W 11/6 while Grandpa succeeded in fixing the ongoing electrical issue.

    • Had Katia & Ashley, Chih, Sena, & Nolan, and Tammy over for early Thanksgiving Dinner on S 11/9.

    • Rebecca and Maia went to church and had dinner with Ray and Christina, while I worked and then went to Shrimp Lover for a delicious clam chowder dinner on S 11/10.

    • Family flu shots followed by dinner at Fireworks Pizza on M 11/11.

    • The Uri grandparents came over to install new faucets on W 11/13.

    • Game Night with the Smiths on S 11/16.

    • Dinner with Hannah on S 11/17.

    • Family dinner at Ford's Fish Shack on M 11/18.

    • Work Happy Hour celebrating a $950M win on H 11/21.

    • Had Ghazaleh and Mike over for dinner on F 11/22.

    • Watched Maia while Rebecca taught anatomy to Yoga Teachers on S 11/23. The family spent the weekend with colds.

    • Put up the Christmas Tree and had dinner at Mellow Mushroom on S 11/24.

    • Visited Emily and her kids in Arlington in the evening on M 11/25.

    • Sara and Karl came into town and spent the night on T 11/26.

    • Had breakfast with Sara, Karl, and Car on W 11/27. Had an amazingly mediocre and overpriced dinner at Clyde's in the evening.

    • Went out to Taylorstown for family Thanksgiving on H 11/28.

    • Sara and Karl returned for drinks at Rocket Frog on F 11/29.

    • Solo dad dinner at Burton's on S 11/30.


  • Projects
    • Got a new red maple tree in the front yard on M 11/25.

    • Wrapping up the work-team Puzzle Boat after over a month (finally finished the final puzzle on M 12/2).

  • Consumerism
    • No amazing movies, games, or music this month.

November's Final Grade: B-, too cold and a roller coaster of toddler development

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Monday, November 29, 2021

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2021 album.

  • Events
    • Braved the throng of CRTers to vote for governor on T 11/2.

    • Maia caught a cold and stayed home from preschool on F 11/5 - T 11/9.

    • Rebecca taught anatomy at an IPY Yoga Teacher Training session on S 11/7.

    • Maia went to my parents' for the weekend, F 11/12 - S 11/14.

    • We had a Friendsgiving with Tammy on S 11/13.

    • We had early Thanksgiving dinner with my parents on S 11/14.

    • Rebecca and Maia went to Taylorstown for the day while I stayed home working on puzzles on S 11/21.

    • Rebecca got her COVID booster shot on W 11/24.

    • Thanksgiving lunch with Char on H 11/25.

    • Thanksgiving take-out with Tom on S 11/27.

    • Attended Justin's virtual bar Mitzvah on S 11/28.

    • Got my COVID booster shot on M 11/29.

  • Projects
    • Engaged in an ongoing, unfulfilled battle to eliminate a mouse in the house.

    • Drilled through walls to move the router and printer out of Ian's room.

    • Put up our Christmas stuff starting the day after Thanksgiving.

    • Finished all 151 puzzles in Puzzle Boat 8 on T 11/30, just in time for Advent of Code.

  • Consumerism
    • Enjoyed watching Arcane and listening to its soundtrack this month.

    • No new movies or games this month.

November's Final Grade: A-, Ian is getting easier and the holidays are fun!

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