This Day In History: 12/01

Saturday, December 01, 2001

The game today was great despite Grant Noel, and the Hokies almost managed to topple Miami, before losing 24-26 in the final few seconds. Though nowhere near as good as they were two years ago, I think they'll definitely put up a good fight in Jacksonville at the Gator Bowl.

Looking back at my history presentation yesterday, I don't think it deserved quite the level of praise that it received from everyone. I was actually more impressed with the last presentation of the day, because it was delivered well and managed to go in-depth on a smaller number of topics. I think my presentation was characterized by a "mad scientist" approach to teaching, with fast talking, frantic diagrams, and a rush to fit everything into the allotted time. As a result, I touched briefly on lots of topics, but didn't get to explain more than the surface qualities for any given aspect. Of course, I'm not going to say that to the professor. When you get stopped later in the day with praise from the person in charge of grading, it's usually wisest to keep your mouth shut and take the praise.

I need to start my Christmas shopping soon. Thank goodness for online stores.

Seventy-four works down, fifty-six to go for the listening exam.

"We're not dealing with Philip Glass here; we're dealing with someone who can write music." - professor

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Sunday, December 01, 2002

November went by far too quickly and now it's time to drag out the Christmas decorations again. I hope everyone had a good vacational weekend and did more than play Monopoly all day long. I've made a few minor updates throughout the site, most of them too minor to notice (so minor they're diminished! LOLZ). I finished a new report for that's already gotten a gold and this time you get two games for the price of one. There's a few new pictures up on the Photos page as well.

The last day of classes is December 6, and I'll be driving back to Virginia early on Thursday the 12th. On the composition side of things, I'm hoping to finish at least one more movement before I leave town.

I really need to update that mug shot below, since it's almost a year out of date and doesn't show off my rippling muscles. Usually my backlog of old news hides it.

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Monday, December 01, 2003

I had to leave work on Friday morning because Kitty crawled in the utility room and got stuck behind the water heater and dryer. She had just enough space to fall behind the appliances but not enough to get any jumping momentum. She was back there for about six hours before we finally got her out with some turkey as bait. We had to remove the middle panel in the washer/dryer combo and grab her as she jumped for the turkey, pulling her through the innards of the dryer and out to freedom.

I've finished the direct linking system for the remainder of the site. You can now link directly to pages in the Art, Photos, Music, and Words sections like this:

[This method no longer works. Links removed.]

See November 23's news to learn how to direct link to other sections in the Zone. These methods are a little too hard-coded for my tastes, but they get the job done. My next step will be to make a fake site map of the entire site so Google can index every single page. Right now, web-crawler robots are too stupid to get past the index page because so much JavaScript is used for linking.

How to overreact to hot tea
The loneliest dolphin

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Happy December!

Terminal was entertaining to watch but weak on characterization of some supporting characters.

Spiderman 2 sucked as much as the first one didn't suck.

Jug of pee flung from school-bus window has man pissed off
Peers peeing on piers
Authorities say Quinn was heating his lava lamp on the stove Sunday afternoon when it blew up. They're not sure why he was doing it.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Entertainment Thursday

  • I thought last night's LOST episode was excellent and easily on par with some of the best from last season. It's a far cry from the second episode of this season, which featured Michael and Sawyer sitting on a raft yelling "Walt!" for forty minutes. There was also a familar face on the TV screen in the corner of the enlistment office.

  • Every time I post about someone's disappointing acting skills, I'm pleasantly surprised the next time they turn in a performance. I should use this suggestive power for the greater good: Man, that Keanu Reeves is about as close to a real actor as a tofu burger is to real red meat. Now sit back and watch him win an Oscar.

  • Britney Spears turned her kid's room into a nativity scene. How strange is that? The only way it could get stranger would be if Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes had costarring roles in such a scene with Samuel L. Jackson given the role of jive-talking wise man.

  • A bill was passed in Idaho praising Napolean Dynamite for promoting Idaho tourism in a myriad of ways . When I become President, I'm going to waste taxpayer dollars on feel good bills that have absolutely no impact on anything whatsoever, like A Salute to the Mallard and National Make-Fun-Of-the-Handicapped Day.

  • I haven't seen the new RENT movie yet, but I've heard some pretty decent reviews of it. There was an interview on the other day where they mention the parody from Team America.
      Q: OK, last question: Have you guys seen the movie "Team America," which features puppets performing in "Lease: The Musical"?
      RAPP: Yes, we watched that number again during rehearsal.
      Q: The "Everyone Has AIDS" song?
      RAPP: Yes, it's hilarious.
      Q: 'Cause the lead puppet looks kinda like Roger.
      PASCAL: Yeah, but he's also wearing a scarf, too, so he's like a combination of Mark and Roger.

    Chad Darnell also has an amusing review up as someone who didn't like the film adaptation: .

  • ABC finally decided to cancel Alias at the end of its fifth season next May. This is not surprising, since the highest rated episode this year had over three million fewer viewers than the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special in the same time slot. This is still a show that's worth picking up on DVD -- it's not a spy show so much as a character show, just like LOST isn't really about a plane crash. The writing in the first two seasons was perfect, barring a couple horrible episodes featuring the goofy-looking Peter Berg as an old love interest. It's rare that a show can actually surprise you with a twist, but this show did it pretty much every other episode. The third season was great (despite Melissa George as the "hated love interest with black eyebrows and blonde hair" and the return of Francie) until the end when the new flock of writers admitted that they were just making it all up as they went and had no master plan. This led to a fourth season which really had nothing to do with the other seasons but was good enough for TV. Now we're in the fifth season where a pregnant Sydney makes uterus jokes -- oh how far the great have fallen.

  • There was a time in my life where sitting down to watch a new episode of Alias was the high point and the focal point of my week. It's nice to be able to have a constant like that to provide buoyancy to your life. Nowadays I have other things to play that role.

  • What a stretch!
    Some shops, for example, use "zit lamps," which drive teenagers away by casting a blue light onto their spotty skin, accentuating any whiteheads and other blemishes.
    Al Qaeda leaders bin Laden and al-Zarqawi haven't been found "primarily because they don't want us to find them and they're going to great lengths to make sure we don't find them"

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    Friday, December 01, 2006

    Friday Fragments

    spreading the seed of holiday spirit like a woodfinch drunk on eggnog

    ♣ To get this holiday month off to a holidaic start, I've made my cats wear Santa hats around the house, and pulled the Santa Llama out of moth balls for this site.

    ♣ I read an article in the Post the other day about the holiday decorations in Target. The always-eccentric fellow they had designing the stores decided that Santa and wood elves were no longer relevant to the Christmas idea. If you go into a Target this week, you'll find sharp angles, reds, greens, and whites, and a general theme that evokes a very modern feeling of the holidays.

    ♣ You won't find any Wii's though. You will find nine million copies of Zelda, because who's going to buy the game if they have nothing to play it on?

    ♣ I haven't had much time for gaming recently but I have had time to get my second priest to level 59. I now have four characters at 59 or 60, all of which are some kind of healer. Sometimes it's a relaxing change of pace to just sit in the back of the team pressing 3 healing buttons over and over.

    ♣ Kim has a new cell phone number which can be dialed using just 3 numbers on the keypad. This is almost (but not quite) as cool as my own number which entails hitting 4 a bunch of times followed by a couple more random numbers.

    ♣ "I hope the next time that I move I get a real easy phone number, something that is easy to remember. Something like 222-2222. And then people would say, 'Mitch, how do I get a hold of you?' And I would say 'Just press 2 for awhile. And when I answer you will know you have pressed 2 enough.'" - Mitch Hedberg

    ♣ "At my hotel room my friend came over and asked to use the phone. I said, 'Certainly'. He said, 'Do I have to dial 9?' I said, 'Yeah, especially if it is in the number. You can try four and five back to back real quick.' " - Mitch Hedberg

    ♣ I suppose I could do a complete list of Friday Fragments using only excerpts from the stand-up comedy of Mitch Hedberg, but that seems like it would be cheating. It is not stream of consciousness unless it is MY stream of consciousness.

    ♣ All of you readers will have your chance to influence the course of my updates sometime soon, as if you were members of my board of directors (without the 401k). I'm planning on doing a week where you guys pick each day's topic, which could either be highly inventive or highly disasterous. Only time will tell -- time and my infallible ability to rewrite history to my liking with the touch of an FTP button.

    ♣ Sometimes I miss the innocent days when I hosted the site on my own computer and didn't have to fiddle with FTP every day. The days when I could accidentally type something wrong in the JavaScript and instantly break the site for the millions of visitors I would get every day. Now I have to deal with uploading files all the time, a process made more arduous by the fact that I compulsively close unused windows (or windows I think I'm not using), forcing me to login to my server at least ten times in ten minutes. Then there's the fun times when I hit download instead of upload and overwrite my Pulizter-deserving news post with an old copy. The tribulations of the modern artist.

    ♣ This weekend will be a simmering blend of work and cleaning, though stronger on the work than the cleaning. I thought about hosting poker, but never quite got around to inviting anyone. Maybe things will be more exciting next weekend when the proceeds from my litigation against Arby's arrive and I can take everyone to a strip club.

    ♣ Happy Birthday to Cheeselog tomorrow! Have a good weekend!

    First time author wins Bad Sex award
    Three year old Power Ranger saves the day
    Father hangs on to roof of car

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    Monday, December 01, 2008

    Weekend Wrap-Up

    On Saturday night, we hosted the final Thanksgiving in my Month of Thanksgivings, and this time, our guest list was solely people directly related to us. The main course was an eleven-pound organic turkey, because the normal (read: cruelly-raised yet DELICIOUS) turkeys were all sold out on the day after Real Thanksgiving, and I didn't really notice a change in taste despite the extra $1.60 per pound I paid.

    The meal also included sour-cream mashed potatoes, spiced pears, marshmallow yams, stuffing, Big'N'Buttery croissants, leftover ham from last week, almond green beans, bacon-wrapped scallops, pigs in a blanket, and cheddar cheese soup, which I have decided to retire this year and replace with something more exciting next year. Maybe a dish involving grasshoppers?

    On Sunday, a cold drizzly mist was coming down all day long, closely equating to the misters at the National Zoo, or standing next to a trough urinal at a football game. We braved the digusting weather to buy our first (fake) Christmas Tree at Target, seven feet tall with wiry branches that you have to splay out like a deck of cards to achieve a natural look.

    We spent the afternoon listening to Christmas tunes, like Weird Al's "Christmas at Ground Zero", and hanging the starter set of ornaments we'd purchased, which included a complete set of Billiard ball ornaments, some traditionally coloured ornaments, and a set of blue balls that I personally chose. I like blue balls, and not just because of my colour-blindness.

    I was going to close the afternoon by hanging my Blue Icicle porch lights that Anna hates so much, but the rain deterred me. However, I did notice that the white neighbours across the street who never talk had hung some Blue Icicles of their own, so obviously I am a trendsetter. A decade from now, when Stering is the Alexandria of Northern Virginia, everyone will be Blue, and not just in the electorate.

    How was your weekend?

    To some psychiatric patients, life seems like TV
    Too much deodorant leads to death
    Carjacker clubbed with frozen turkey

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    Tuesday, December 01, 2009

    Museday Voteday

    I was only able to write fifteen musical fragments for Museday Tuesday this year, but this brings me up to 28 minutes combined over the past three years. During the month of December, I'll extend one of these works to a full-length piece about two minutes long. Vote for the one I should extend using the Poll in the right sidebar and I'll post the extended work on December 22. Any snippet with the double-thumbs-up icon next to it is eligible for your vote (these are the ones that seem to have potential for expansion, and are not necessarily the best of the bunch).

    For added artistry, I have described each snippet with exactly seven words.

    Portentous: Orddu, Orwen and Orgoch trade a cauldron.

    Adulterous: Repeating the A section is for amateurs.

    Reptant: Cool bassoonist plays quintuplets in the lounge.

    Oleaginous: I'd like to buy a vowel, Pat.

    Pellucid: Stay far away from the opium den.

    Supernatant: The dragonfly floats on a lily pad.

    Idyllic: Lieutenant John Dunbar befriends a white wolf.

    Coquettish: It's a little cuter than Count Basie.

    Contumelious: Bankrupt Trent Reznor stoops to theme songs.

    Distrait: Automated robots on a futuristic assembly line.

    Bellicose: You can't win the war without pants.

    Bombastic: The Indians fought the Aztecs and lost.

    Subaudible: Hearing a conspiracy through your sink drain.

    Tenebrous: Nothing good ever comes from spider webs.

    Vigilante: We'll head them off at the pass.

    You can also go back and listen to Musedays from 2007 and 2008.

    Moms step in after infant's mom dies
    Goncourt winner Littell wins Bad Sex Award
    Wisconsin man arrives too late to rob bank
    Which Museday fragment should be extended?

    Adulterous (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Supernatant (3 votes, 50.0%)

    Coquettish (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Contumelious (1 vote, 16.7%)

    Bellicose (2 votes, 33.3%)

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    Wednesday, December 01, 2010

    Vocabulary Wednesday

    A few snapshots of our recent Scrabble games, in which Booty finally makes an appearance. Anytime you see an incredibly low-scoring word on a Triple Word Score, it signifies my attempts to defensively use up the spot (generally to no long-term avail).

    Talking cats play Paddycake
    New York man jumps to save subway rider - and get to work
    Foie gras burger blurs fast food and fine dining

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    Thursday, December 01, 2011

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Bad Teacher (R):
    This movie tells the tale of a bad teacher who tries to win a teaching award so she can afford breast implants. It's hard to do dark comedy successful, and Cameron Diaz is no Billy Bob Thornton. Jason Segel plays every other Jason Segel role he's ever done, and if I see him in too many more movies, he's going on my Seth Rogen overexposure list. Save some time and rewatch Bad Santa again.

    Final Grade: C-

    Horrible Bosses (R):
    This comedy is a step up from others we've watched recently. It channels the vibe of The Hangover from start to finish and succeeds more because of its cast than its plot (which probably could have been told with just two horrible bosses, except that the movie would have been about forty-five minutes long). Charlie Day, channeling Zach Galifianakis, is more shrill than weird, and Jason Sudeikis kept reminding me of the genetic offspring of Ed Helms and Keifer Sutherland.

    Final Grade: B

    Role Models (R):
    Because we've finished The Wire, and you can only watch so many episodes of The Office in a row before it gets old, this movie was the result of our Amazon trolling, in search of a throwaway movie last Friday night. In spite of the horribly contrived set-up to stage your standard bro-mance movie, we found this movie to be a lot funnier than expected (and our expectations were rock-bottom). It was a pleasant way to spend 90 minutes, as swearing street-smart kids are always funny -- this is also why they should re-release Newsies as a rated R movie written by Quentin Tarantino.

    Final Grade: B

    How I Met Your Mother, Season Six:
    Ironically, this show is at its best when it's not talking about the mother. Every episode that toys with a possible mother-meeting tends to be worse than the pure sitcom episodes because they just serve to remind you that the main plot line will be drawn out to infinity or show cancellation. The bulk of this season was pleasant and over quickly, but they still rely on a few too many recaps which just waste time on DVD -- it's like watching a DVD of Whose Line Is It Anyways and having to listen to how each game is played every single time. I think this show had its high point around season two or three, but it's not so bad yet that I'd stop watching it. (I have stopped watching Weeds).

    Final Grade: B-

    Man accidentally gives away life savings to Goodwill
    Woman took 12 year Scientology cruise

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    Monday, December 01, 2014

    Week Wrap-up

    Because I now accrue leave at a faster rate that I can actually spend it, I decided to take all of last week off for Thanksgiving. This is a far cry from the early days of my career, where I would come into the office on every federal holiday in order to get work done while the halls were quiet.

    In fact, I went back through my old work records to see what Thanksgiving Week looked like 10 years ago and found that I actually worked all 7 days out of that week. To be fair, 99% of that time was probably spent waiting for WebLogic Workshop to compile and deploy portlets. I spent that Thanksgiving with Kathy and Chris in Falls Church, dedicating my minimal non-work time to the inception of "Cheese Soup", a recipe that chugged along fitfully for about seven years before I finally accepted that the demanding preparation steps did not give it a good cost-deliciousness ratio.

    The first couple days of my 2014 vacation week were lost to proposal work, but the remainder were quite relaxing.

    • I watched the new season of 24 on Amazon Prime, and was happy to see that they took my advice to slim it down to 12 with most of the fat trimmed off.

    • I pulled my trumpet out of storage and played for a grand total of about three hours over the week. I performed the Halsey-Stevens sonata very poorly for Booty.

    • I discovered that Mists of Pandaria had been added for free to my World of Warcraft account and, smelling a loophole, reactivated my account to give it a try. I then learned that this expansion was so old that everyone had gotten it for free and I had not actually stuck anything to the Man.

    • It rained and snowed on Wednesday, but only in a conversational way. "Conversational" snow means that no one can shut up about it even though it's mostly slush.

    • I had my first trip to Morton's with the visiting Gillises, to spend a work-bestowed gift card (from yet another proposal effort) on steaks. They were good, but not exponentially better than the ones I can buy at Costco and make at home -- I continue to remain convinced that there is no meal in the world worth spending more than about $28 on.

    • We had Thanskgiving lunch with Rebecca's parents, and then went to see the unnecessary bio-pic, Theory of Everything.

    • We went to a family reunion for Rebecca's mom's side of the family in Taylorstown on Saturday where they played their traditional chaotic group solitaire game, in which everyone plays solitaire but shares the ace stacks with the rest of the group. We also stopped off at Crooked Run again on the way home, enjoying the ambiance, but finding that their rotating beers weren't quite as exciting this time around.

    • We used a gift card we got from Mike for a dinner at Chili's (first date nostalgia) on Sunday night. We had only been to a Chili's once since that first February 2007 experience, and our local version had been renovated to resemble a luxurious... Pei Wei. The food was plentiful, and exactly what you would expect from a Chili's.

    How was your week?

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    Tuesday, December 01, 2015

    List Day: 10 Things This Proposal Effort At Work Seems Longer Than

    1. Multi-language FBI warnings on DVDs.

    2. The section of I-81 between Exit 222 and 118.

    3. The 2016 election cycle.

    4. The wait for a table at every Cheesecake Factory.

    5. The nonsensical, unskippable cutscenes in Ocarina of Time.

    6. The endings of the third Lord of the Rings movie.

    7. The third movement of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

    8. Eugene Delgaudio's (now vanquished) tenure in politics.

    9. Orange line trains out of DC after 10 PM.

    10. The opening credits on any David Simon show.

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    Friday, December 01, 2017

    Maia Week #21 Battle Report

    Maia is now 21 weeks old, which is the legal age for gambling in our household. Weighing in at 14.2 pounds, she can escape from tummy time through a sideways roll whenever she feels like it, but cannot roll onto her stomach yet. Her schedule has solidified to a 9 hour nighttime and an extended daytime with staggered 30 minute naps throughout. They're really not long enough to do anything productive in, so I squander the time as best as I possibly can.

    We continue to give her solid foods in addition to boob milk, and she greatly prefers salted lentils to avocado. Aware that there are different tastes in the world now, she watches us eat with more clinical interest and yearns for the day she can eat sour cream and onion potato chips like her dad. Her favourite toy is now Sophie, the squeaky giraffe that is pervasive across babified households, and she can fit an entire leg into her mouth like a turkey leg at the Renn Faire.

    All in all, we've got things pretty well under control. With our alternating schedules, Rebecca and I have to make sure that we also spend time with each other and we're not just handing off the baby all the time. It might be nice to have a few more hours in the day to relax and do non-baby things, but then again, Maia probably wouldn't sleep during those either.

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    Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    Ian Week #31 Battle Report

    Ian became 7 months old on Thanksgiving Day and currently weighs over 18 pounds (Maia was 16 at the same time). He wears size 3 diapers and 6-9M clothing and can vocalize "da" and "ma".

    Ian is rolling over now and usually travels 1 - 3 Ianlengths (Imperial measurement) from his original position. He uses rolling more as a method of getting things than transporation, but seems eager to start crawling as soon as possible. There is still a little patch of missing hair on the back of his head where he wiggles his head vigorously against the carpet when excited.

    He eats solids in the form of mixed pastes and loves eating more than many adults. However, each meal usually ends in crying when he wants to desperately keep eating but has no room in his stomach for more food.

    • Things he loves: Amber the cat, eating, drool, trying to watch TV
    • Things he dislikes: people cleaning off his face, naps, being alone for four seconds while we leave the room to get something

    He is on an iffy nap schedule, sometimes taking a 90 minute nap in the morning and an hour nap in the afternoon, or only catnapping while in a carrier or the car. Each nap is accompanied by 5 - 10 minutes of outraged crying before immediate silence, like an old phone that drops from 55% to 2% in a blink. His nights are pretty consistent, sleeping from 8 PM to 6 or 7 AM.

    We are all good in orbit around him. I'm starting to get free time back in my schedule again and Rebecca is planning to go back to work in January!

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    Friday, December 01, 2023

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Derry Girls, Complete Series:
    This is a fun, 19-episode sitcom about growing up in Northern Ireland in the 90s. The show is consistently funny although the absurd elements are sometimes so absurd that they nullify the impact of the occasional dramatic section. The third season feels like it got a big infusion of cash, with higher production values and guest stars, but I actually prefer the low-key nature of the first two seasons better. On Netflix.

    Final Grade: B

    Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (PG-13):
    This movie kind of feels like UHF if that movie had a budget bigger than $5. It starts out promising but my interest declined steadily throughout. By the time Weird Al was in the jungle battling Pablo Escobar, I was ready for it to end. I also wish there had been more actual MUSIC in the movie, rather than just the same two or three songs over and over.

    Final Grade: C+

    Only Murders in the Building, Season Three:
    The third season of this show is fine (and you can't go wrong with guest appearances from Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep), but some of the magic is gone. It doesn't help that the core conceit of the three main characters working together is delayed until midseason. On the positive side, the fake musical written for the characters to perform in the show is great. On Hulu.

    Final Grade: B

    Mario Kart 8: Booster Course Pass (Switch):
    It took two full years for Nintendo to release all of the content from this DLC, but it was ultimately worth it. Buying this pass doubles the number of Grand Prix cups you can choose from, with memorable maps from earlier iterations of the game. Very worth it if you our your kid are still into Mario Kart -- much less so if you've already moved on.

    Final Grade: B

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