This Day In History: 12/09
Sunday, December 09, 2001
I'm excited that the next book in Janny Wurts' Wars of Light and Shadow series is coming out just after New Year's in 2002. Although the series is rife with interminable descriptions, tortured prose, and uses fifteen words where three would suffice, it still ranks as my favourite fantasy series. However, most everyone else I've tried to impress the books upon has found them too slow to start and too long to finish. I didn't much like the first book when I originally read it back in high school, and it took a few persistent read-throughs before I really appreciated it. To give you an idea of the length of the series, the author has planned the story to be told in five major books from start to finish, and the first book was about seven hundred pages in paperback. The second book of the series actually had to be split into two parts (each about the size of the first book) because the binding would have fallen apart otherwise. Peril's Gate, which is the volume being released next month, is part three of four of Book Three. A new volume is released every year and a half or so, so it could be years before I get to finish the story. I just hope a tragic mishap doesn't occur, preventing the author from completing the books, because that would really piss me off.
Still no word on the results of the listening exam yet. I should probably finish off the works I didn't get to, just in case, although I can say for certain that all the ones I missed on the exam were ones I knew, but forgot.
"It jumps your musical cholesterol." - Dr. Bachelder on secondary dominants
Monday, December 09, 2002
Virginia Tech is going to be playing Air Force at the "Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl" in San Francisco. What the hell? When I've become independently wealthy from the ad revenues on this site, I'm going to host the URI! Bowl at some sufficiently apropos location, like BU or the University of Rhode Island.
There was a good steel drum concert last night. If you missed it, you undoubtably missed the last opportunity to instill hope in your drab, wretched life.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
For those jaded souls who aren't already shocked and awed about my recent listening choices, here's another. I've recently been listening to the music of the French pop star, Alizée. Despite its sometimes annoying tendency to double as dance music, europop is fun to listen to because it's patently harmless, upbeat, and easy on the ears.
Alizée arrived on the scene three years ago and easily has a better voice than any Britney Spears clone the US recording industry could produce. Plus, the lyrics of her songs have a poetic, almost campy, flavour to them which reminds me a lot of music from the 80s.
I've included a sample clip and lyrics from the song, À Contre Courant, in case you want to try something new. If you like what you hear, let me know and I can recommend some other good songs. If you hate it, post a memorable comment on today's news post and get a laugh out of it.
À Contre Courant (MP3, 888KB)
Rien que du bon temps
Tête à l'envers...
Pas trop longtemps.
Quand tu es sur terre
Mets-moi au courant
Que je devine...
On s'électrise :
De deux amants
L'école de l'électro-aimant.
Retrouver le sens
De la vie, je pense
Passe par l'ennui
Quand toi, tu es parti.
Retrouver les sens
Moments qui s'insolencent
Des défilés de doigts,
De mon envie de toi.
Quand le courant passe, aussi la menace
Du temps qui se barre, du temps qui nous sépare
Et le courant passe, j'ai en moi l'audace
Du champ magnétique, et ça c'est magnifique!
"Rutter is the Mozart of banality." - Finicky Police impersonator pulls over a trooper Worm hits Windows-based ATMs
Friday, December 09, 2005
the best update idea I ever done stoleWould you believe me if I told you that this was the 21st Fragments column I've written? That means that many of you have had nothing better to do than visit diligently for over five months now. Get jobs, slackers. In honor of its 21st edition, I will be taking the column out for drinks and a "(space)bar crawl" tonight. We will subject ourselves to multiple shots of alcohol like old prose and hopefully predicate our night with a few prepositions from sorority chicks.To put this duration in perspective, and to alleviate the recent decline in name dropping, here are some fun times to consider:
Oh shit, fragments within fragments! It's on now. Did I just blow your mind?Reporters on a slow news day think the younger Barbara Bush is engaged because she has some tin-foil-looking thing wrapped around her finger. I'd believe it even if the ring does look like a Cracker Jack prize -- Barbara Bush is hot. We ourselves would be married at this moment, following our torrid love affair in '99, but I didn't want to have Secret Service guys swarming my house at all hours of the day. A guy's got to have his privacy, you know.Denzel Washington recently donated a bunch of money to the hometown of Herman Boone, driver's ed teacher at T.C. Williams, home of Remember the Titans. It has actually been about two years since anyone has brought up that movie when I tell them where I went to high school.When I was a kid spending summers at my grandparents' house in Michigan, my sister and I got a weekly allowance which we could spend on clay statues at the local artisan's shoppe. We would buy them on Sunday and then paint them all week long. The little church I painted (yellow) is still an integral part of the Christmas decorations at my parents' house. Once, I spent my entire allowance on a massive haunted cemetary diorama that looked a lot like Castle Greyskull. I couldn't afford to have it kilned (an extra $5) but I wanted that sculpture so badly that I dismissed all the warnings that the clay was still fragile. As soon as we got home, it shattered and I cried for an hour. My grandparents took me back that same day to get another statue on them. I got a cat and painted it like our old cat, Cindy, who was grey with a white spot on her neck. This cat statue still sits in my basement.I only have one picture of that cat. I have two pictures of our guinea pigs, and one picture of our chameleons. There is no photographic evidence of the two years that I had fishes. To put these numbers in perspective, there are over 700 pictures of Booty and friends alone on this website.They have replaced the speed trap on the Fairfax County Parkway with a big flashing sign that says, "CHECK YOUR SPEED", "50 MEANS 50". This sign is really misleading. I may not have a math degree, but on the Parkway, 50 means 70 unless there are officers present with radar guns. Oh wait, I do have a math degree -- this means that I have expertly proven the sign wrong by contradiction. Maybe the second 50 is in Spanish and 50 is Spanish for 70. Let me put these numbers in perspective for you:Our company holiday party this year is titled, "Black-White-Silver Gala". First, I don't understand why people just can't call them parties anymore. Gala makes it sound like I have to buff up my diamond shoes before I go, and I hate doing that unless I can use my limousine for the entire night. Second, why does the title have to have three colours? Yes, I would like to go to a
- Brian Uri! has been alive for 314 months.
- It has been 113 months since I graduated from high school with Jack Wilmer.
- It has been 90 months since I roomed with Dan Shiplett who was dating a girl at Tech who I had gone to junior high school with who had also dated the guy I mentioned that wrote that I was a jerk in my seventh grade yearbook.
- I have known Anna for 75 months.
- It took Kelley Corbett 74 months to get the hell out of Blacksburg.
- I started working at FGM full-time 30 months ago. I've worked there a total of 39 months though.
- Mike Catania has (surprisingly) not lost interest in updating the Chompblog in 25 months.
- I've been reading Kim's blog for about 12 months but I have only known that I already knew her for 8 months.
- Kathy Biddick lived in my house for 3.5 months.
- Greg and Ian both discovered their name in an entry less than 1 month after I wrote about them, using Google.
partygala with the absence of colour, all colours, and a colour that's somewhere in the middle but more sparkly. Sounds like fun. [The previous thought would be funnier if read by Mitch Hedberg]. Third, why does it need a title? It's a party, not a work of literature, and it's not going to be confused with the "Maroon-Gold" party down the street. Fourth, feel free to be politically correct and not call it a Christmas party, but why does it have to be in January? When I become the CEO of a multinational company which profits from making zippers in second-world sweatshops (because the third-world ones don't have enough zipper teeth to go around), my party is going to be on December 25th and I'm going to call it "Pirates of the Caribbean: Red and Green Party, Ho ho ho mofo". The prefix is there because we saw from the 2004 Oscars that things with colons in the title generally get more awards than their counterparts (see also, Lord of the Rings).I'm going to work from home today because of the snow, which we didn't get much of. However, what we did get is like a trifle -- a layer of ice, an inch of snow, and then a layer of slush packed tightly together. This would probably not be very pleasant to drive through, especially getting out of my neighbourhood. And apparently, there is a ghost lamp which keeps appearing in all the pictures I take today.Once again, I have no major weekend plans although I might go into work one night, so contact me if you would like to get down and get funky, or watch a movie. Have a great weekend! Call your dog The pen is mightier than the sword One passenger rolled down his window, hollered obscenities at Linn and hurled a half-full can of soda before he realized Linn was a trooper.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
List Day: Top Five Pet Peeves of the Moment
Unit Prices on Lunch Meat
I always thought that the purpose of unit prices in supermarkets was to make comparative shopping a little easier. It's common knowledge that the ten gallon tub of low sodium chicken broth is more cost-effective than the two cup resealable travel-size chicken broth, but the unit price gives you immediate visual gratification that Home Ec was not a wasted semester. Why, then, do the deli meats always use different measurements? It seems like the rows of turkey and ham alternate between pounds and ounces, and I even saw a tub of sliced ham with a "by the slice" unit price once.
Really Fast Blinkers
A small subset of cars on the road seem to have turn signals that flash exorbitantly fast, as if to say, "OH BOY, I CAN'T WAIT TO MAKE THIS TURN!" I get uncomfortably antsy just sitting behind one of these cars -- it's nice to know that you're turning right, but please do not invite my epilepsy to the party.
Grab any popular magazine off the news stand and you'll find that almost every other page is an advertisement for something ridiculous you'd never buy. You'll probably be hard-pressed to find two consecutive pages that are completely ad-free. Every article will be split into eight or nine sections across hundreds of pages, like a Choose Your Own Adventure book with a single path leading inexorably into ad hell. See also, online articles that are only a page long, but spread themselves across six pages (with a word or two on each page) to increase ad revenue.
People in Costco are incapable of driving their carts with any sense of direction, which is hopefully not indicative of their life at large. Despite the fact that the aisles are wide enough for a three-lane bowling alley, every aisle will be perpetually clogged by slow movers who must have gotten lost on their Skyline Drive trip and are still on the lookout for fall foliage. Plus, the next time some soccer mom leaves her cart right in the middle of the aisle while she dawdles over to get a free sample for her twelve kids, I'm going to take it.
My dislike of cyclists on major thoroughfares is already well-documented, so I won't repeat it. For the sake of argument, let's suppose there IS a good reason for you to be biking at 12 mph on the Fairfax County Parkway in a car lane. When you arrive at a red light, you can't just decide to change your phylum to "pedestrian" and use the crosswalk against the light. Be a car or get on the sidewalk for good -- just because it's a "bi"cycle doesn't mean you can play for both teams.
What are your pet peeves today?
First 3D football game fumbles then recovers
Sheep poo causes mountain bike vomit carnage
Chinese man ruptures girlfriend's eardrum with passionate kiss
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Hawaii Honeymoon Part IV
Our time on Kauai was split into two discrete segments: for the first four days, we stayed at a fancy resort and worked strenuously to relax on and nearby the complex. For the last ten days, we rented a car and moved to a second-floor condo in Kapa'a overlooking the tidepools, allowing us to travel around the island and experience some of the more heady excitements and hikes.
While on the resort, we had an hour-long outdoor couples massage in an airy tent on the beach, and listened to local musicians sing really bad Hawaiian music for a hula dancer while sipping free Mai Tais. When I was obviously not getting over my strep throat anytime soon, we took a local taxi-van to the nearest clinic, which was housed in a humidly-coloured building that could have been taken out of any Dharma Initiative setting in LOST. The doctor took one look at my throat, prescribed a week's worth of painkillers and antibiotics, and then tried to ply me for government secrets.
On our last day, we tried out the pool, which was split by volcanic rocks into a wading pool, and lagoon, and the pool proper. There was also a twisty slide with fourteen safety rules but no lifeguard which we went down continuously until the fifty-year-old couples swimming nearby were convinced to try it out. Old guys on slides are funny.
Once we had secured a convertible for the latter half, we explored every part of the island except for the farthest west points, where the sand roads would have voided our rental contract. We passed the mountain that looked like King Kong's head daily, as well as the mountain shaped like a sleeping giant that looked more like a mountain.
An activity that was definitely worth our time and money was the Kauai Helicopter Tour (through Jack Harter). We flew over and through the nooks and crannies of the island like the cast of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in an English muffin, and did it all in a helicopter with no doors on it. The hour period is just enough time to see every part of the island while still lingering over some to take pictures of dolphins and Hawaiian ghosts.
We also took a day to go snorkeling at Anini Beach, where I saw a bunch of Nemos and Dory's as well as some Jabba-resembling sea cucumbers, but I am incapable of snorkeling without getting ocean water in my pipe at least once every ten minutes.
Towards the end of the trip, we visited a wildlife refuge at Kilauea Lighthouse on the North Shore filled with the nests of wedge-tailed shearwaters and their fuzzy spawn, just inches from the travel path. We also saw several endangered monk seals basking on the rocks -- monk seals have the luxury of getting the paparazzi ropes put up around them on any beach they decide to rest on (and it's illegal to harass them), but on the flip side, they have no one to hump.
When not harassing the monk seals or making fun of the "seen-better-days" hotel that was decorated like a giant albino Oreo cookie, we went hiking. Those hikes will be the final section of my Hawaii Honeymoon write-up, so stay tuned!
To be concluded someday...
Cave brothers inherit billions from lost grandmother
Groom Twitters from the altar
Up in arms over kangaroo chips
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Quick List Day: Things That Should Be Banned
Songs incorporating police sirens that you might listen to in your car
Video games with helpful and/or sassy fairies that follow you around and interrupt you
Print ads that try to look like an article
All of the bullet and list formatting code in MS Word
Mailmen who dump the new mail on your outgoing mail instead of collecting it
Inflatable holiday decorations
Below freezing temperatures with no snow
The Family Circus
Laptops with only an hour of battery power
Cafeteria-style restaurants with tip jars on every table
Sarah Palin's social networking access
Suspending Albert Haynesworth, because now the Sports section will be boring again
Top X lists on websites, spread over X separate pages
Bagging bucks from your recliner
Man changes name to Captain Awesome
Whipped cream truck crashes outside home
Friday, December 09, 2011
Monday, December 09, 2013
On Saturday evening, we took a rare trip into DC for a combination Halloween, Oktoberfest, Thanksgiving, Christmas party known as "Sausageween". We rode the Metro in, because parking was such a pain last time, and noted that some suburban graffiti artist had tagged all of the Metro signs with cryptic messages like "Reston-Wiehle" in silver paint.
As part of the party, we walked down to the Waterfront in Southwest to see a Christmas Lights boat parade. The high point was a T-Rex, animated in lights to appear as if he were skateboarding along the river. The low point was a monochromatic sailboat
with random strings of lights that resembled a corrupt graphics file from a Commodore 64 game.
On Sunday, we stayed in to avoid the wintry mix of this year's first winter event, "Edward Snowed In". We actually got a couple of good inches before everything iced over. In the evening, we ate a slow cooker corned beef and watched more of Person of Interest.
How was your snow?
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Memory Day: Reading Day
Sixteen years ago today, on December 9, 1999, it was Reading Day on the campus of Virginia Tech. This was the day just after the last day of classes, completely devoid of labs, homework, classes, or any other distractions, inserted into the calendar with the mistaken understanding that students would wisely devote it to studying for their upcoming exams. Of course this was a mistaken assumption, as most students just used the time to sleep off the effects the previous night's parties.
Although I had been at Philip's the previous night with Kelley, Shac, and Liz, I was not yet a drinker. As a result, I was up bright and early to lay claim to empty communal washing machines and work on the third movement to Jazz Suite for Brass Quintet. Midday, I headed to Squires Student Center to practice my trumpet, and then met Liz Benyo for lunch at Schultz Dining Hall, probably getting my standard fettucini alfredo and nachos with cheese.
In the evening, I went to dinner with a bunch of trumpeters and Dr. Bachelder, who was orchestrating a guest appearance / master class by trumpeter, Ryan Anthony, from Oberlin (Ryan would eventually go on to become a member of the Canadian Brass). Dr. Bachelder urged me to give him a copy of my recently finished trumpet work, Badinage. I did so, but I never got any feedback on it. For all I know, it was confiscated as being too avant-garde by airport security on Mr. Anthony's way back to Oberlin.
Friday, December 09, 2016
2016 Favourites: Top 10 Songs First Heard in 2016
2016 was a more musically lean year, so I'm just listing 10 songs I enjoyed this year in alphabetical order by band rather than ranking them against each other.
- Bliss n ESO - Reservoir Dogs (2013):
I got into Bliss n ESO from Hilltop Hoods and actually like them slightly better. This is a fun collaboration with several other Australian hip-hop artists.
- Charlatans UK - So Oh (2014):
I listened to a lot of the Charlatans UK a decade ago, and was happy to find their new album. THis is a relaxing, mellow song, great for winding down.
- Drapht - Jimmy Recard (2009):
This Australia hip-hop artist's voice is too annoying to listen to an entire album, but it's great in tiny doses.
- Elle King - Ex's and Oh's (2015):
This song is a country-tinged take on the type of "chicks with interesting voices" music I used to listen to in the 2000s.
- Hilltop Hoods - I Love It (2011):
You can't go wrong injecting Sia into any song. I also like that the song ends with a shopping list of cities that they love only to intentionally skip giving Zurich an endorsement.
- Hoosiers - The Wheels Fell Off the Bus (2015):
This album overall wasn't amazing, but I enjoyed this particular song.
- Jeff Tuohy - Bourbon Street (2013):
I like the fresh-feeling mix of jazz and rock in this song.
- Misterwives - Our Own House (2015):
This band does pure, distilled pop really well, and the singer's voice reminds me of Whitton.
- Spose - Greatest Shit Ever (2015):
Spose is very similar to Atmosphere, and I still can't put my finger on why I never got into Atmosphere but really enjoy Spose.
- twenty one pilots - The Judge (2015):
I know that this band is
pure mainstream radio fluff, but this song has a catchy hook and a simple, effective composition.
2006 | 2007 | 2008 |
2009 | 2010 | 2011 |
2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015
Monday, December 09, 2019
On Friday afternoon, we had the first of several consultations to talk about putting a screened porch in our backyard next spring. We then put up the outdoor Christmas lights with Maia, who greatly enjoyed the deer.
On Saturday, Rebecca taught a round of anatomy to prospective yoga teachers. Afterwards, I brought Maia to the studio for a trial run of Rebecca's first "Little Yogis" class. Maia was super excited for the first 10 minutes, but then spent the rest of the class sitting in the lobby with me rolling around on the floor. We followed up with dinner at Bungalow Lakehouse, where I had a very satisfying prime rib and baked potato.
On Sunday, we had another porch consultation and a dinner of shrimp alfredo with the Jacksons. Tobias is already 7 months old!
I also got up each night at midnight for Advent of Code!
Wednesday, December 09, 2020
List Day: Labelled Years
As an update to my last attempt, here are the years of my life with summary labels.
- 1979: The Year I Was Born
- 1980: The Year I Came to America
- 1981: The Year I Lived Next Door to the Fishers
- 1982: The Year I Was Naturalized
- 1983: The Year Rosa Started Babysitting Us
- 1984: The Year I Started Kindergarten
- 1985: The Year I Started First Grade
- 1986: The Year I Started Second Grade / Skipped a Grade
- 1987: The Year I Started Fourth Grade
- 1988: The Year I Started Fifth Grade / Was a Lunchtime Dungeon Master / Played the Cornet
- 1989: The Year I Started Sixth Grade / Joined the Boy Scouts
- 1990: The Year I Went to Nevada / Started Seventh Grade / Was the Only Trumpeter in Band
- 1991: The Year I Started Eighth Grade
- 1992: The Year I Got Glasses / Started Crew / Started Ninth Grade / Went to My First Dance
- 1993: The Year I Got Eagle Scout / Started Tenth Grade / Started Indoor Track
- 1994: The Year I Started Eleventh Grade / Got into Jazz
- 1995: The Year I Started Twelfth Grade / Programmed Games on my TI-85 / Was Drum Major
- 1996: The Year I Went to Tech and Moved in with Andy / Joined the Marching Band
- 1997: The Year I Had Many Online Friends / Moved in with Beavis
- 1998: The Year I Moved in with Nathan / Wrote Olio
- 1999: The Year I Moved in with Kelley / Got Contacts and a New Hair Style / Went to the Sugar Bowl
- 2000: The Year I Started Using Photoshop / Got an internship at FGM / Moved in with Rosie and Anna
- 2001: The Year I Had a 5th Year Recital / Graduated from Tech / Moved to Florida
- 2002: The Year I Was a Grad Student / Taught Music Classes
- 2003: The Year I Defend My Masters Thesis / Lived in Centreville / Started full-time at FGM
- 2004: The Year I Bought a House / Lived with Anna and sometimes Eric, Ben, or Kathy / Started playing World of Warcraft
- 2005: The Year We Built a Sidewalk around the House / Anna Got Married
- 2006: The Year I Went to the Bachelder Retirement Concert / Kathy Got Married
- 2007: The Year I Met Rebecca / Dressed Up as Dick-in-a-Box for Halloween
- 2008: The Year We Went to Europe the First Time / Got Engaged
- 2009: The Year We Got Married / Went to Hawaii
- 2010: The Year There Was a Massive Blizzard / We Went to the Puerto Rico, Spokane, Santa Cruz, and Emerald Isle / I Released DDMSence 1.0
- 2011: The Year We Renovated the Kitchen / Went to Arkansas and Charlotte / I Started Playing Skyrim
- 2012: The Year I Tried to Be a Semantic Ontologist / We Went to Quebec & Montreal / Rebecca Was in PT School
- 2013: The Year Rebecca Became a PTA / We Started Hiking at Harpers Ferry
- 2014: The Year We Went to the Greenbier / Vacationed in Seattle / Played D&D
- 2015: The Year We Built a Shed / Went Back to Europe / Housed Sydney
- 2016: The Year We Went to Colorado and Hiked a 14er / I Left Novetta
- 2017: The Year Maia Was Born / Kitty and Booty Died / I Returned to Novetta
- 2018: The Year We Went to LA for a Wedding / I Started Advent of Code
- 2019: The Year I Turned 40 with Poker / We Did A Lot of Puzzles
- 2020: The Year We Stayed Home for COVID
The value of labels is twofold:
- They provide a temporal anchor for organizing my memories, especially in the recent years where the skeleton of school grades is unavailable and everything blurs together.
- They act as episode titles when my life is picked up as a Netflix Original (1 year per 22 minute episode). Who would you like to portray you in my show?
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