This Day In History: 12/02

Sunday, December 02, 2001

After a late night of football games and pool, we sat around early this morning and had an interesting conversation about composers, composition, and identifiable motives. I had a great composing day yesterday and got a fair amount written that I'll probably end up keeping. It was akin to the days of high school where I had boundless energy for composition and no need for distractions. Hopefully I'll have more days like it; I feel like I've been writing much more slowly in Florida than in Virginia.

Now that my name's in the recently published phone book, I'm starting to get calls from the usual assortment of telemarketers. Unlike Virginian telemarketers, the cadre here seem to make each call personally, so you can't hear the auto-caller mechanism and hang up quickly.

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Monday, December 02, 2002

Michael Vick ran 48 yards for a touchdown in Overtime yesterday during the Falcons-Viking game . He might not be the brightest guy in the world, but he sure does have the instinct for finding holes.

This morning after my alarm went off at its normal 7:00 setting, I had an incredibly clear dream that involved eating breakfast, composing, going to class, getting back a quiz, and then teaching. After a full session of teaching, I was walking home when I woke up to see that it was 9:55. So as a result, I missed the first class of my graduate career, and ironically, the second to last class I'll ever have. The details of the dream were incredibly accurate to a normal Monday schedule, and were probably the reason that I didn't wake up shortly afterwards like normal. Looking back, the only detail out of place was that I was teaching my class vector geometry instead of music fundamentals. What the hell?

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Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The second season of Alias comes out on DVD today. You can get it for as low as $40 at Costco.

Because the kitty movies are so bandwidth intensive, I can't keep them up for more than a couple days at a time. However, here are some new ones for your viewing enjoyment:

Matrix Booty (AVI 2MB)
Flower Power (AVI 7MB)
Kitties in the Wild (WMV 7MB)

I still haven't captured a wrestling video yet, but it can't be long now...

Bonus burgers that expire soon
After Nick Smith voted no and the bill passed, Duke Cunningham of California and other Republicans taunted him that his son was dead meat.
Don't touch that hen
More government waste

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Thursday, December 02, 2004

By request, here is the recipe I used for cheddar cheese soup:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used self-rising because that's what we had)
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 1 pound NY Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • In a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until flour has blended with onion mixture.

    Add chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened. Add milk and heat just to boiling, stirring constantly.

    In covered blender at medium speed, blend about 1/4 of soup mixture at a time until smooth. Return to saucepan and, over medium heat, heat just to boiling. Remove from heat.

    With wire whisk or slotted spoon, stir in cheese until melted. If cheese does not melt completely, cook over very low heat about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

    Add bacon bits and regular croutons as toppers.

    tagged as recipes | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    Friday Fragments

    where the upper crust of the Internet come to read my musings and post in the comments section

  • I always knew there was something fishy about that woman. You have to wonder how she bought cars for everyone when she's obviously pouring all her profits into her ice habit.

  • Here's a brief sample of Nickelback's Chad Kroeger singing every syllable as if he's getting punched in the stomach (136KB MP3). Someone really needs to get him some vocal Metamucil before he gives himself an embolism from straining out that musical poop.

  • Have you ever looked at the top of a soda can before you open it? Especially in the case of sodas from the company fridge or soda machines, you can usually find a pleasant ring of black scum around the rim from the can which was stacked above it the delivery process. If you've never noticed this, you've probably consumed several hundred milligrams of crud in your lifetime. Sucks to be you!

  • I purchased a new Game Cube game on Wednesday (something I often do when my schedule is finally free enough that I should be doing something useful), Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. It's a turn-based strategy game dressed up as a role-playing game and seems pretty fun so far despite it's clichéd nonsense title. Usually turn-based games are too slow for me to get into, but this one's both relaxing and addictive, with cheesy old-school graphics and a retro Super Nintendo-y musical score. Maybe I'll post a full review after I've gotten a little deeper into it.

  • I hate when I accidentally swallow my gum. Maybe this only happens to me because I am special, but I'll be swishing it around in my mouth or peeling it off the roof with my tongue and it will rocket down my throat. Then you have that uncomfortable feeling of something lodged in your esophagus until you can escape to a water fountain. Speaking of chewing gum, I only chew my food with the left side of my mouth. I have always done this, but I'm not sure why. The teeth on the right side must just be for decoration.

  • We're expanding our fifth floor offices at work so a construction crew has been tearing down drywall for a couple days. I find it highly amusing that I got to work this morning and the entire lobby smelled like beer. I'm presuming, at least, that the construction crew had a happy hour last night, since our drunk software developers don't see the light of day until Friday evenings.

  • I am sorely in need of a haircut, since I currently look like some sort of indigenous Asian wildebeest. However, there are only twenty-three shopping days until Christmas, so I'm trying to put it off for a couple more days. My reasoning is that haircuts generally last about three weeks before they start to look scrubby, so if I can hold out a few more days, I won't look scrubby in the ubiquitous family pictures on the 25th. I could just get two haircuts, but I can't justify doing that when I could get a haircut and go to McDonald's three times with the same amount of cash. Besides, if I'm scruffy, maybe someone will mistake me for a homeless person and put me in a movie.

  • I'm done with all my Christmas shopping. This is made easier by the fact that my family gets the same genre of gift for each other every year since we no longer go overboard with the present-giving. I need to get my mom hooked on another TV show that has multiple seasons within the next three years, or else I'm going to be out of gift ideas.

  • Surprisingly, I have no plans this weekend, which is "as it should be" with winter weekends. That being said, if any of you would like to see a movie or go on a pirate adventure tonight or this weekend, just give me a call. Have a good weekend!

  • You can probably get a spanking for much cheaper by using local labour
    The Bucks stops here
    What is that? That's where you were going? Oh, man. You wasted my time!

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 13 comments

    Tuesday, December 02, 2008

    Museday Voteday

    During this year's Museday Tuesday featurette, I composed eighteen fragments of questionable musical impact. Now, it's time for the voting -- the fragment with the most votes will be extended into a longer work (about two minutes in length) and posted on December 23rd as an early Christmas present. 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.

    Damp: There is mold growing under the sink.

    Effuse: Hard to fly on a windy night.

    Accursed: Some quintets prefer easy-to-count arrangements.

    Furfuraceous: Dog itchy. Dog scratching. Fleas are everywhere.

    Afire: Brianne gets violas for having cute kid.

    Stertorous: Grandpa thinks he is a German general.

    Punchy: Squirrel Nut Zippers has a comeback tour.

    Knightly: Obviously written for a movie about knights.

    Flyblown: Feels like the sequencer is slowing down.

    Jerkwater: Country puppy is playing in the barn.

    Boggy: Almost like the fart bog from Labyrinth.

    Frazzled: Song hindered by way too much plucking.

    Uncomplicated: Dance your cares away at Fraggle Rock.

    Lachrymose: Too many alto flutes to be performed.

    Owlish: The Littles return in live-action movie.

    Academic: The music world requires fewer trumpet sonatas.

    Votary: The cult prayed then turned into zombies.

    Propulsive: Someone get this band a new metronome.

    Cast your vote before this Friday night using the Poll in the right sidebar! If you are interested in the Musedays from 2007, they can be found here.

    Japanese man releases hundreds of worms on the train
    Butt bandit arrested
    Ads arrive on math tests
    Which Museday fragment should be expanded?

    Damp (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Afire (3 votes, 42.9%)


    Stertorous (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Punchy (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Flyblown (2 votes, 28.6%)


    Owlish (2 votes, 28.6%)


    tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    Weird Search Day

    or "How I stumbled upon the URI! Zone"

  • catchy captions for heat capacity

  • what chapter does it talk about jem and the lightpole?
    This dialogue actually takes place in Chapter One of the ghost-written autobiography. In Chapter Two, technology advances sufficiently enough to allow the lightpole to diffuse the light, and by Chapter Three, the Holograms are complete.

  • news about basement plastic surgery in Lowell, Massachusetts
    Apparently Mike (of Mike and Chompy) has been running a side business in addition to his musical teachings and the cheating of online merchants. This is probably his proactive approach to the self-reported homeliness of the town's populace.

  • Marvin the Martian wedding flute

    Are you really walking down the aisle to the Looney Tunes theme? Hopefully your husband/bride bears little resemblance to Porky Pig.

  • can I have my spearguns with me in the airport?
    According to the TSA, spear guns can be checked in luggage, but not brought onboard. However, the frequency of white whale sightings in airports is relatively low anyhow (unless you're in Austin).

  • puppet script invasive exotic
    In Muppets of the Aztec Empire, Gonzo tracks his geneaology to a lost tribe of Muppets in Tenochtitlan, where he is abducted by aliens and comically probed.

  • november and i am still alone, lunch period in high school
    Eating lunch with other people is overrated anyhow. I spent most of my lunches eating at the back of the band room and reading voraciously, which gave me the encyclopedic knowledge of Gordon Korman books that undoubtedly got me into college, and also prevented me from having to share my brownies with my greedy, hungry friends. P.S. start an emo Myspace account while you're at it.

  • cougars in heat

  • Why does Brian feel awkward about handling the rifle and the butane lighter?
    I don't know. Perhaps they were in someone's butt.

  • gifted young red head girl sent to college early pot sex with mens basketball team
    This was actually a rejected script for the next Muppets movie, but could be the life story of any number of redheads from my college days.

  • songs about pt cruisers
    How about The Cat in the PT Cruiser?

  • Chompy the Crocodile

    When dressing Chompy like a crocodile, please remember to use a U-neck sweater (otherwise she will be an Alligator).

  • Drunken elk clears murder suspect
    Man mauled after bear picnic
    Why Craigslist is such a mess

    tagged as website, searches | permalink | 3 comments

    Thursday, December 02, 2010

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Fringe, Season 1:
    This X-Files-esque show from J.J. Abrams leaves something to be desired. As a set of standalone episodes with a new gory conundrum of the week, it's entertaining with a solid cast of supporting characters (even if the main one is very dull). The overarching story moves far too slowly though, and doesn't really give much incentive to "get to the next episode". There were a few brief sparkles of plot motion around episode nine where it looked like things were going to get interesting, but the show quickly reverted back to Law and Order with more disfigured bodies until the decent season finale. I would watch the next season if there was nothing else to watch, but would not choose it over any marginally better show.

    Final Grade: C+

    Dollhouse, Season 2:
    This thirteen episode collection is the second and final season of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, and after three forgettable throwaway episodes, the story cranks into overdrive and doesn't stop. The twists and turns keep piling on top of each other, obviously abetted by the fear of (and then the realization of) cancellation. The ending is satisfying in much the same way that the movie, Serenity culminates the watching of Firefly. My only complaint was that character development moved a little too fast by the end, so some of the emotional milestones didn't have as much impact as they might have with four or five more episodes. Also, any TV episode with an extended dream sequence is probably retarded -- this is the primary negative impact that The Sopranos has had on TV culture.

    Final Grade: A-

    How I Met Your Mother, Season 5:
    This season is at least twice as good as the previous, since the number of fake teasers for who the mother will be and the number of episodes with stories told out of temporal order for cleverness' sake are at a minimum. It's a pleasant throwaway show that'll make you laugh any time you fire it up.

    Final Grade: B+

    Author's insect imagery wins Bad Sex writing prize
    Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions
    Giant Noah's Ark bound for Kentucky

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, December 02, 2011

    Friday Fragments

    like tiny moles of insubordination, burrowing deep into your brain

    ♠ Wasabi is my favourite spicy condiment because it shows up, stays around just long enough to impress, and departs without any lingering spiciness. More things in life should adhere to the wasabi principle (also sometimes called the one-night stand principle), including buffalo wing sauce, Harry Potter movies, and election season.

    ♠ We had sushi from Wegmanns on Tuesday night. Comparatively speaking on the "crappy sushi you can eat in the comfort of your own home" scale, Wegmanns sushi is more expensive and has more variety than what you would get at Trader Joe's or Safeway, but lacks the pure economic punch of Costco sushi, which is something like $5 for 18 pieces. Still, it's probably the most tasty option when you're too busy to sit in a sushi restaurant.

    ♠ Last night, I was busy releasing DDMSence 2.0.0. It now understands simple phrases in most 16th century Western dialects and can kick a soccer ball fifty-two feet. v2.0.0 is the 20th release in 20 months, and I just now pulled the reverse-Walmart on the major version digit to go from 1 to 2 -- this is a practice known as "sane versioning", something which Mozilla Firefox is completely unfamiliar with.

    ♠ I actually don't have any problems at all with the rapid deployment of major Firefox versions, except for having to apply them on four computers, having the updates run when I open the program and actually need to do something rather than when I shut down, having my add-ons break unnecessarily, having the user interface undergo a reverse waterfall design towards the 1997 era Mystery Meat approach, and continuously receiving the popup message that Firefox is still open for ten seconds after I've closed it to restart it. On the plus side though, sometimes I can use it to look at things on the Internet.

    ♠ Speaking of the Internet, Amazon Prime is steadily growing their TV collection. When I first evaluated it about a year ago, they only had a bunch of BBC garbage that no one wants to see (but that I could borrow from my parents any day of the week for free). Since then, they've added many recent American shows such as the complete series of 24, nostalgia-inducing ones like Alf and Fraggle Rock, and shows previously prevented from release because of music licensing like Malcolm in the Middle and The Wonder Years. Their movie selection is still awful, but at this rate, I might sign up for Amazon Prime within the year (or as Jack Bauer might say, "within the next 8760 hours").

    ♠ The weekend is looking pretty tame at the moment. I'm going to kick it up a notch on voluntary overtime for work and will also start composing the end-of-the-year piece for Museday. On Saturday night, Rebecca is increasing the estrogeneration in our household with a Love Actually viewing, at which point I'll retreat into the computer room for a nice game of Skyrim.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Water Pump Hack mystery solved
    Gold ATM offers convenience, not glamor, to India jewelery

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, December 02, 2013

    Weekend Wrap-up

    Welcome to December 2013!

    We celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents and my sister's family in Alexandria. Because Rebecca is the new face at work, she didn't get Friday off, so she went off to work while I stayed home writing code and playing Zelda.

    On Saturday, we took a brief hike through Claude Moore Park, edged ever closer to the darkside of yuppyism by getting a Wegmans card (in order to buy crazy cheeses), played a round of Settlers of Catan while watching the new homeowners across the street dive into the suburban cult of Christmas lights. In the evening, I had a sub from Joe's Pizzaria and we finished the first season of Person of Interest.

    On Sunday, we celebrated Thanksgiving with Rebecca's parents, opting for homemade Chinese food rather than anything American. How was your weekend?

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

    Tuesday, December 02, 2014

    Spam Day

    I custom-built a spam prevention filter for The URI! Zone that almost completely nullifies unwanted comments spam. Less than 20 spam comments have ever made it through the filter since 2008. This may seem high until you consider that there were over 5500 attempted spam comments since I last rotated the logs in July 2014. That works out to about 41 spam attacks per day that get destroyed.

    Here is a word cloud of the spam that has gotten trapped in the filter in the last 5 months alone, built with Jason Davies' excellent Word Cloud Generator. The bigger words appear more often than the smaller words.

    People really want their cheap Uggs.

    tagged as data | permalink | 4 comments

    Wednesday, December 02, 2015

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture was taken around Christmas time 28 years ago, in 1987.

    This was part of a holiday pageant put on by the after school day care program we were in (as if staying behind at school for three hours every day wasn't enough extra time spent in a "multipurpose room" that smelled of feet, we had to come back one evening to put this on). My sister is in the back, surrounded by her friends, Laura, Gabi, Eric, some unknown NPC, and Rikki.

    Day care obviously couldn't afford real bows, so apparently we wore the plastic ties off of Hefty garbage bags around our necks. I was going for the windswept look.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, December 02, 2016

    Happy December!

    I've been spending two hours a day driving to the temporary office of my new job, so I haven't had any time to write today's update, which was supposed to be about how little my life has changed since I finally got a smartphone last January.

    Instead, here is a gfy of a cat wearing a tiny Santa hat.

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 2 comments

    Monday, December 02, 2019

    Advent of Code Day

    The annual Advent of Code competition started yesterday morning at midnight. After some dithering about whether to participate in real-time this year, I decided to do it for as long as I can maintain enough sleep to deal with a two-year-old during the day. The hard part isn't waking up in the middle of the night to solve a puzzle -- it's trying to get back to sleep afterwards when your brain is buzzing with speed-coding adrenaline.

    It has now been about two and a half years since I last coded for a living. I was worried that my skills would have become permanently crippled (not unlike my trumpet embouchure). Thankfully, the mechanics of coding seem to be ingrained now -- I was able to reflexively write working code even if the problem-solving aspect took a little longer. On our company's private leaderboard, I came in 2nd place on the 1st puzzle, just a minute after the 1st place time.

    You can follow my progress throughout the month on my Top 10 Solve Times page, which I update every day. Stay tuned!

    tagged as programming | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, December 02, 2020

    Advent of Code Day

    Advent of Code, the annual midnight coding competition has started! You can follow my daily progress on my company's Fastest Solve Times page. It's kind of nice that, ever since I moved my office down to the basement, I have a guest bed to crash in before and after. I no longer have to worry about waking up the light sleepers of the household.

    tagged as programming | permalink | 0 comments

     

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