This Day In History: 12/10
Today I have tons of studying for history to do, as well as a pedagogy final exam and a trumpet audition. I finished my history paper yesterday around 1 PM and uploaded it on the Writings page just for you. The things I do for my reading public...
In a few days, I'll be making the long drive back north, which I'm really not looking forward too. I've never been a fan of long drives, and this one will just be the first in a series of long drives throughout the break.
Q: "Do you know how far pregnant you are right now?"
A: "I will be three months November 8th."
Q: "Apparently then, the date of conception was August 8th?"
Q: "What were you and your husband doing at that time?"
- excerpt from a courtroom transcript
A burst of activity hit the SCI listserv this past week, resulting from this semiliterate troll:
In the spirit of ridiculous listservs, I thought I'd post highlights from the Dave McGarry flame war on the VT Music listserv in 2000. A former student, Dave faked a recital announcement and then used the listserv for an April Fools' joke that culminated in a shameless plug for his music. This is only a small sampling of the billions of posts that resulted.
Carly: hey, you are more full of it than any other human being i have ever known, but you make me laugh. have fun in "prison" and maybe i'll see you sometime next year.
Linda: Please stop sending around messages that have nothing to do with our lives as music majors. I'm sure you think it is very amusing, but everytime this happens, that's one more extra junk email that we have to deal with. The list serve was started as a service to help us find out about important events in the music department, not to use as a joke. Please take it more seriously.
Ryan W: I agree, it reminds me of the time I went to see a movie at a movie theater. You know in Europe they spell it Theatre, but that's a different subject. Well, I was sitting there watching the movie. It was ok, but the theater/theatre seats sucked. They were coated in some sort of vinyl material. That vinyl inhibits any sort of moisture evaporation. So what ends up happening is some sort of Hiney Oriented Greenhouse Effect. The moisture just hovers around that area creating condensation. To make ashort story long... it kind of sucks, just like having to read people's messages about how they don't like having an extra piece of "junk" e-mail when in effect, now I have 2 "junk" pieces of e-mail.
Tim: Hey...I totally agree with Linda and Ryan about the junk e-mail thing. Props to Ryan on the greenhouse effect exposé! BOO-YAH!! I felt so alone about my greenhouse effect problem until Ryan's touching e-mail. Thanks for your truly inspiring story!
Dave: For those who'll listen: Here is a startling testimonial of my own design. (MP3, 2.8MB). Write back if you like it... heh
Dave: Due to an overwhelming demand I've set up a mirror site so you all can download my Mexican mp3 file faster. Thanks- I love you guys.
Ryan H: THE PURPOSE OF THE MUSIC MAJOR LISTSERV IS FOR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS THAT PERTAIN TO MUSIC MAJORS. AS COLLEGE STUDENTS, I'M TRUSTING EVERYONE READING THIS ACTUALLY HAS ENOUGH INTELLIGENCE TO KNOW WHAT AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT IS. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE ABOUT IRRELEVANT TOPICS. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE POINTLESS INFORMATION THAT A MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE ON THE LISTSERV DO NOT CARE ABOUT. IF YOU HAVE THE URGE TO WASTE TIME, PLEASE WASTE YOUR OWN. NO ONE WANTS TO SORT THROUGH POINTLESS EMAILS. IMPROPER USE OF A LISTSERV IS A VIOLATION OF THE ACCEPTABLE USE POLICIES FOR VIRGINIA TECH INFORMATION SYSTEMS, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, ITS A WASTE OF YOUR FELLOW MUSIC MAJORS' TIME. THANK YOU
Sunday afternoon, several music major's schedules were drastically interrupted by a message sent to the music majors listserve. The Message Which reportedly contained ALL CAPITAL LETTERS befuddled many who read it, causing a massive disturbance in their daily practice schedules.
One anonymous Music Major stated: "my afternoon was completely shot, I struggled with the message for several hours before I realized that it contained all capital letters. That's just not something I'm used to."
Christopher Fraker, a student double majoring in math and music performance added: "I lost three hours of practice sitting in the calc lab trying to figure this thing out. I wanted to leave, but I was strangely drawn to the message. I was fixed on it." Fraker concluded that "[it] seems like this whole disaster could have been avoided if the sender had checked his 'caps-lock' key before he hit send. It's quite unfortunate."
At this time it is not known whether the message originated on Virginia Tech's Local LAN, where it would be subject to the acceptable use policy. Of the aftermath, student Jeremy Miller added: "we are left with a vague sense of defeat. It seems like this kind of thing could happen at any time. This kind of reckless abandon cannot be tolerated, these messages are very distracting at this time. Especially since one of our most loved peers is rotting away in a Mexican Prison located just out side of Warez, Mexico.
As a result of Today's email fiasco (which plagued many students of Virginia Tech's Department of Music), student Stephen Oberheu discovered a solution to his email woes.
"I found out that there's this way you can transfer all messages from a certain address or addresses, whereby THOSE MESSAGES are placed in a discreet mailbox. At first I was like, HEY SWEET, but then I was talking to a friend and he said that that's like been around forever. I'm glad I realized it before I sent any embarrasing messages rebuking other list recipients."
Since Mr. Oberheu's discovery, many other list recipients have discovered the "hidden" option in various email clients including EUDORA, Microsoft OUTLOOK, and nearly every other email package on the market.
"It seems like they try to keep this stuff hidden," says Chris "Doobie" Fraker. "it's like that DOOM level that they stuck in Microsoft Excel a few years ago."
Dave: I just want to thank all of you who contributed to our Discussion list today. You have made my first Sunday in prison positively delightul. On a personal note, I'm glad to see that many of you have gone and checked out my songs. Since my original posting several hours ago, there have been 104 ftp connections, many of which were successfully completed. My Little cable modem is going crazy. I say this to bring up the point that quite a few people didn't think my postings were garbage. I encourage you all to listen to the stuff and drop me a line if you get a chance. Think of it as a music review... I REALLY want to know what you think. I wrote all the music, played guitar, and sang, and several other VT music students performed in the recordings (Including: Maureen Fish, Chris Booher, Pete Harmatuk, Jeffrey Crouse, and Steve Oberheu... to name a few). I'll be adding more new songs soon- I have been lucky to gain access to The Warez Prison Recording studio. Well... it's time to go make small rocks out of big rocks.
Anonymous: I'm utterly ashamed that these evil bastards have warped the music major listserv to their own nefarious purposes. Gone are the days when the listserv was used for good and the dissemination of important information. Some people would dissent and say that there has never been an important message here, but I remember many wise witticisms of our noble Department Head and Staff from the Golden Years. Someone should really lay the SMAC down on them.
Dave: I agree. But that Dave McGarry Guy.. you have to admit he's a riot though...He's funny without swearing... well.. without swearing very much ...heh
Calvert: OH MY GOD!!! STOP USING LISTSERVE FOR THIS CRAP!!! it's totally annoying! send it to specific people you want to read it and who you know will WANT to read it. PLEASE???
Jackpot: Don't pop a vein. I like this stuff. It makes my day more amusing. Let's all just kiss and make up.
Dave: Be nice
Dave (reposting to the list an email sent directly to him, in its entirety): I couldn't finish this one.... it made me ill..alright... no more from me ...heh
i particularly enjoyed the anonymous e-mail that said somebody outta lay the SMAC down on this current list-serv upheaval. so, being the rejuvenator of a once active organization here at tech i decided to take the liberty of forwarding all the messages that have been sent this weekend to mr. husser. he deserves a good laugh and some of his precious time wasted too! speaking of wasting time, another duty i thought i should take upon myself is making sure that i waste as much of your time as you have wasted of mine this weekend. this e-mail is the first in the series (8 more to go!). for every e-mail you send to the list-serv i will send one back to you personally (i know you'll love that!) that is of equal importance to your life as your so-called 'prison stories' are to mine. and i may do a few humorous things here on campus that will make me feel good even though you'll never know about them. i may spread rumors like the one about you last year when everyone in your human sexuality class... [4 more pages of virulent insulting that was included in the listserv post] ...
it's sad to think that after leaving tech people can turn out like you have. i do believe that there is a 'nice' dave mcgarry under there somewhere. if you were as carefree about showing your nice side as you are about showing your immature/rude/stupid/annoying side i'm sure you'd lead a much more fulfilling life than you currently are leading. but, luckily, it's not my job to prove that to you b/c as already noted it would be pointless and what would i get out of it? obviously you have some 'issues' you need to take up w/ a professional. i'm angry at anyone who has hurt you to make you act like such an asshole....how can people like that live w/ themselves? so, like i said, for every message you send to the list-serv i will send you a personal reply...it's not a threat; it's a promise. and if you really are in prison (which is becoming more and more of a pleasant thought w/ each e-mail you send out) i hope you get beaten up by some big fat hispanic men who are pissed off that you are hogging the computers. enjoy the rest of your evening and i'm looking forward to wasting your time! hasta luego!
p.s. one almost positive aspect about this fiasco is that w/ each response people make to your e-mails, other music majors get to find out who the assholes in the department are! although, if they are as outgoing and friendly as i am (god, i love my sarcasm!), they uncovered these poor souls earlier in their academic careers!
Skippy: what a bitch......oops.....batch reply.....sorry, list
I, like many others are very concerned that the leadership of SMAC does not properly represent the majority of music majors. Once a strong advocator of SMAC (well not really), I am deeply concerned that our leader has deep rooted and strong aggressions to work out.
I know that our leader feels she is "the rejuvenator of a once active organization here at tech", I think her current e-mail has overshadowed her tireless efforts (I'm assuming she has done something to justify her garish remarks). Many innocent people have been hurt in this communication war and now it seems many music majors are afraid to approach our leader with ideas how to improve our department.
As a personal friend of Dave Mcgarry I thought her comments were inappropriate and cruel and as for her prejudice remarks about homosexuals, well we don't need any law suits taking more money away from the department. Many members of the music industry are homosexual and I feel if our leader feels strong enough to insult them and insinuate that the members of Delta Mu are gay (through comments like "do men","date men", and "d#@$ me") then she can not be neutral enough to properly represent our interests. Obviously there are many more comments in her e-mail that can be disected, but I feel this is enough food-for-thought.
Dave: To those who feel my Aprils fools joke this year was inapporpriate, I'm sorry for wasting your time. I did not intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I thought a little festive levity might be acceptable.
Shac: Thank-you so much for your apology. You are wise and true.
Jackpot: Actually...I find this all very amusing. Thanks guys.
Michelle: I also find this quite hilarious. thank you for making me laugh.
Dave: Man.. that letter from Jenny ____ scared me. That's why I sent it out to the list...I'm still shaken. She made personal threats to me.
Skippy: truly must apologize for wasting everyone else's time and energy to click on that one button instead of clicking on the other.....as for the content...well...lighten up...practice...do your homework...enjoy college...and quit sweating the little stuff! btw, how do i get removed from this thing anyway?!
(Dave): Very we are grieved to find that our David prisoner has been abusing privledges of the email in our computer science systems. You can be assured that he will be precise and reprimanded firmly. They have moved it to confinment solitary and will receive the rations of a quarter for the two next weeks. It please does not try any correspondence with the prisoner, because this will give rise to the additional punishment. adios, Carlos Marquez Early Watchman, Prison De Warez
mbraid: Dear email@example.com, we in no way intended our comments to sound as if we thought Dave McGarry was a jerk. Quite the contrary, we support Mr. McGarry's attempts to placate guerilla skirimishes in the department.. We were making a "fusishus" reference to the messages from ryan w. and tim (a big time jerk if I've ever met one) which are now not very funny at all, as all this other funny stuff has happened. We apologize to the members of DM for any misunderstanding. We also apologize to jenny ___ for whatever happened to her as a child. I guess we are finding out who the real assholes are, eh?
Although he may be responsible for starting the veritable avalanche of unnecessary electronic mail, it was the responses of other people that ultimately pushed it over the line. Remember, only you can prevent the phenomenon known as "spam". Writing a response to a listserv, whether censuring or annoyed, does nothing but increase the amount of bandwidth wasted. If mail such as the aforementioned "April Fools Warez" saga should reach your in box, the ONLY paths to take are immediate deletion or ultimate enjoyment.
I for one found the original April Fool's joke to be quite amusing and undeniably "McGarrish". Even so, the resulting backlash and humorless nattering was twice as enjoyable in its hypocrisy. For every person who's day was brightened by the Saga, there was another unamused soul sending messages to the listserv, complaining about people sending messages to the listserv.
The listserv was set up to be used by music majors. No other constraints were set upon it. As former students are allowed to traffic the listserv, Dave McGarry did nothing illegal by posting to it. If something is wrong with this, Dave should not be the person smac'ed around. Instead, the more useful approach would be to appeal to the Department Head and have the listserv abolished or moderated, or at the very least, have the damnable reply-to address reverted to the sender, and not the list at large.
Let's all take a moment to bask in the glory of Dave McGarry and the angry mob that's out for his blood (and apparently, his sexuality as well). For they have provided us with some fine entertainment this weekend. Really, don't you feel more popular for having 15 messages instead of the usual 2?
"Yeah, sense of humor."
Tank: Alright!! Enough is enough! Ive gotten 47 emails from you stinkin music majors and Im gettin kinda sick of them. Cut it out.
Ryan W: I agree with mbraid. Tim is a jerk. I feel this way even though he lives with me. He's always going around farting and not cleaning up his dishes. Even right now, I know he's over there in the next bedroom listening to me type this e-mail. Well listen up Tim, old boy, I THINK YOU ARE A JERK. YOU ARE A MORON. YOU SHOP AT WAL-MART AND DON'T EVEN SUPPORT THE TOWN!
Calvert: right on
Matt: Wow, people get so pissed over nothing.... Personally, I liked the pissed off rebuttals better, it reminds me that there are some things in life that have to be taken in perspective. I mean, their just emails -- you see they are addressed from someone you know will send you crap, just erase it, or laugh at the other people who are losing their heads over this. I mean, there really must be something else making people mad than a few missaddressed emails... something about mother, perhaps?
Anonymous: No one wants to hear this crap anymore!!! make your own listserv and go nerd off on your own time!!!!
Jackpot: I don't know..I still find this slightly amusing.
Ryan W: Well I am writing this to apologize to Tim for my uncouth remarks to him about being a jerk. He is not a jerk. Tim Galyen is a real stand-up guy. He is the quintessential gentleman and the pinnacle of manliness. He is a true pillar of our society. And his hands are ever so soft.....JUST KIDDING!
Pip: for the love of god.....take me off this listserve
Skippy: i'm sorry that some people think that i feel the need to be "crass and callow", however, at that moment i did however feel angry and reacted in an inappropriate manner. i make no bones about greatly disliking Jenny ___, publicly or privately, but i do realize that this departments' student forum is no place for my personal remarks. for that, i apologize.
BU: Hi everyone, If you're using Eudora as your e-mail client, there's an easy way to ignore all of these messages. [Cut instructions on Eudora Filters]This works lots better than adding to the messages already on the listserv.
Diego: I totally agree with whoever the f_ck wrote this. I am not, however, afraid to reply with my name attached. I think it was all good for all of 4-5 hours - but please SHUT THE F_CK UP!!!!!!! Dave and Skippy, you're cool dudes - and we talked already - but this is getting really f_cking annoying. I want to thank Brian for educating me on how to remove myself from this shitty ass annoying listserve. God knows I like most of you so please do not take this personally. Get a life and do something better with your damn time then f_cking us over with these emails. I know take my own advice - right? Well who the f_ck would have figured? I did for 48 hours, but I had to say something and speak on behalf of the majority. See ya! P.S. I hope I do not sound like Jenny cuz dude she really sucks!!!
Jackpot: I'm glad that the majority of us are replying for the majority of us.
Anonymous: SMAC is a music major organization? i don't remember voting for anything or anyone ever. it must be a dictatorial system. how can i expect them to represent my opinion if i never had a say in who ran it???
Anonymous: Mock not the SMAC, for the "Left Hand of Delta Omnicron" has an evil reach and prying eyes everywhere. We will hunt you down and do bad things to you.
Anonymous: Personally, i think this whole listserve thing should be abolished. But if that doesn't happen, and i see anymore of these damn flame wars , i swear i'm going to register the whole damn listserve with a porn site. I'm sure that would be a more productive and fun use of this stupid listserve anyway. If y'all aren't going to use this site for actual music related and serious messages, then you might as well just sign up with a normal newsgroup and leave the rest of us out of it. We didn't have any choice about being put on this listserve, so please be considerate of the people on it. Otherwise i will follow through on my threat. --The uNiBomBer. p.s. be glad i didn't decide to just send the entire works of Shakespeare to the listserve unanounced, one word at a time, from entirely different email addresses. That would just have been too much fun!
Jackpot: go for it
Andy: Peers, I've been doing my best not to contribute to this whole situation but I am not a big fan of being threatened by people who think that just because they are on the internet that they are untouchable. Peter ___, I'm referring to you and this anonymous email you tried to send threatening me and the rest of the music majors. As for acceptable use at the University, that only pertains to ListServs that are created for class use. They do not pertain to open forums like this one. Finally, please remember that you are not talking to a box, but in fact you are talking to your fellow music majors, so write wisely.
Peter: Andy and Peers, What makes you think I sent that threatening message? I've been filtering these to the trash since soon after Dave sent his first message. I only found out that you accused me of this when a friend told me about it and forwarded it to me. I'm glad to see I'm so respected by my peers. Thank you so much. As to your other points, per acceptible use of Information Systems, you may not remember a wonderful email sent back in November after the lottery for Sugar Bowl tickets created tons of misuse of such listserves as this one. The email was sent to all people in the entire VT mail system explaining that misuse applies to all University email accounts and to all Virginia Tech network accounts (and of course listed all things that counted as an offense of such). Since I have to make a response to defend my name, I might as well put in my two cents about this deal. Dave's April Fools joke was pretty funny, but out of place on this forum. People make mistakes, though, and we can forgive them. What bothers me is that people don't realize that such mistakes should simply be ignored, or if people think such a thing is funny, the appropriate reply would be to email only the person who sent the joke saying that it was funny, but that a different forum should have been used. As soon as I saw responses to his joke appearing on the listserve, I knew this "flame war" would happen (I've seen it happen far too many times, and it always starts out the same). Once people started encouraging it, I knew the whole listserve would go to pot for quite a while and started filtering my messages. My personal opinion is that this listserve should be replaced by a moderated one, since (as has been shown on several other occasions as well) the students in the music department obviously aren't mature enough to make appropriate use of this listserve by themselves. This is a shame, since it could have been (and at times was) a rather useful listserve. But I guess that's too much to expect from college students, isn't it? Well, before I decide to lapse into my own affronts or threats, I suppose I should end this email. Take care, and I hope things turn out for the better with this listserve (who knows, maybe people could start having discussions relating to different analyses of a given piece of music, or some other nice cerebral discussion that would be just as argumentative yet far more productive). As for me, I'm not listening to you all any more, so go ahead and say what you want.
BU: The message from Unibomber was from IP 188.8.131.52. This is assigned DNS name pschatz.campus.vt.edu. Just because Hotmail says it anonymous doesn't mean it can't be traced. If you didn't send it, I'd strongly suggest to find out who's been using your computer... or stop attempting to deny it.
At this point, the listserv was abruptly destroyed by the faculty.
Last night, I started work on Auricle, the first ear training solution designed to be user-friendly for musicians. Though most of yesterday's development time involved picking a clever name and a logo, I did start working on a KeyboardModel that will provide the guts for entering answers. Right now, you can click on a key and hear a note through your default MIDI setup. The keyboard is expandable and even properly truncates keys on the end of the keyboard (if, for example, your keyboard ended on Bb). I may put up some sample applets in the future, but there's really not enough to see yet.
I picked the title, Auricle, because it's a single word, has URI in it, sounds like Oracle (so it can be easily tossed around in teacher meetings), and it has to do with ears. I considered Aural Skills Solution, but that probably wouldn't have gone over well in a conservative music industry.
This is a long-term project that I'm really just doing for myself. If I ever complete it, I would make it freely available initially, to allow for feedback and to gain a user base, before looking into any possibilities of licensing it to music schools.Donation pot stealer run over by car
Regardless of whether you think it's fun or not, World of Warcraft is a great looking game, and the areas of the world are surprisingly unique-looking. It's just as fun to wander around new areas as it is to actually play the game.
My weekend plans: work.What corporate America can't build: A sentence
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.
This is a quote from an entry I wrote on December 1, 2006. That was over a year ago -- an era where some of us were single or unmarried, didn't own cacti, and others of us had not yet ejected babies like little watermelon seeds of DNA across the linoleum floor of life. I even solicited ideas from the masses and then dropped it off the radar.
It's been so long since that happened that you probably forgot all about it. Or worse, you thought I'd forgotten about it. But, you see, I have a mind like a steel trap, and never forget a thing. I was actually just letting the idea simmer in the creative juices of my brain. Here then, is the culmination of a 12 month wait, since blog ideas, like cod, only improve with age.
Pay attention to that number 12 as well. You're going to be seeing a lot of it this week. As you can see, I am also the master of foreshadow, which is like the master of eyeshadow but less "Priscilla Drag Queen" and more "Nostradamus".
Do your blog in the style of a choose your own adventure novel - Beavis
You have entered the door to the north. You are now by yourself, standing in a dark room. The pungent stench of mildew emanates from the wet dungeon walls. What do you do?
Chef Brian's Cooking Guide For the Helpless - Jaood
Easy Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
|10 half-dollar sized scallops|
10 slices of uncooked bacon
small bag of baby spinach leaves
Audience Participation Day: Mad Libs - Rob
I think it's safe to say that Mike (of Mike and Chompy) is the monopoly holder on Mad Libs style posts. Go to his site and make yourself a Christmas card .
More Name-That-Tune Contests! - Kathy
The first person to send an e-mail with both the name of the tune and the band will win a $5 gift certificate to Amazon.com. There are six 3-second clips in the MP3 in chronological order. The first and last clips are from the beginning and the end of the song.
Things Grown Children Can Do For Their Aging Parents That Will Make Them (i.e., the Parents) Happy - Mom
What If?: A Week Without Doobie - Doobie
The picture on the left is me at work with Doobie in my life. The picture on the right is following Doobie's mysterious disappearance in Warez, Mexico. I am slightly sad.
Top Ten Annoyances - Anna
On October 18, 2005, I had a List Day with five annoyances (bikers in the road, books with recaps, Homestar Runner, comedians who laugh at themselves, and DVD menu screens. On May 24, 2007, I added another five (lane floaters, speakerphone, the AIM sound, loud commercials, and Brangelina). Consider this wish fulfilled!
a smattering of major events from 2008January:
There are no spoilers in these reviews.
Written in the vein of Nightmare Before Christmas, this stop-motion movie is highly imaginative, and has even more unsettling imagery (and a more cohesive plot) than the previous movie. This is definitely not one for kids, unless you want them to have nightmares.
Final Grade: B+
Burn Notice - Season Two:
The second season of Burn Notice continues the template set up by the first, with a little more emphasis on the ongoing plot rather than the "case of the day". This was still an enjoyable watch, but lost some of the novelty of the first season. There was never any major urge to get through this season, but we'll definitely get the third season.
Final Grade: B
Torchlight is a $20 Diablo-clone made by the original developers behind Diablo, and it's definitely worth that price. Decent graphics, immersive backgound music and a minimum of annoyances make this a worthwhile buy. The main negatives include a loot system that makes it hard to click on specific items, a very dim minimap (fixable by a mod), and an enchanting system that sometimes destroys your items. Just like Diablo, this is an addictive, enjoyable game that eventually just stops being fun, at which point you move on to the next game.
Final Grade: B
independent, ignoble, and illegitimate
♠ Yesterday afternoon, I finally got around to putting up our Christmas lights -- just three months late according to the definitive calendar of Costco. Unfortunately, we're down to a single strand of my classic non-Christmas-coloured lighting, which barely wraps around the edge of the porch. The display is so anemic that it merely looks like my house is attending a very staid rave, rather than bombastically celebrating the coming of Santa and/or Jesus.
♠ I am no longer big on giving or receiving gifts at Christmastime, probably because we were overloaded on complete collections of He-Men and Legos as kids. However, if you feel slighted that you haven't received anything from me, I'll be glad to have Booty send you something -- she's been diligently making stocking stuffers in the litter box for months now.
♠ The go-to stocking stuffer of my youth was edible coinage: chocolate coins wrapped in golden paper. Stuffing stockings was difficult, in general, because the stockings were hung via static electricity on the bricks ofver the fireplace, and too much loot would knock them down. Luckily, the living room floor had no such weight restrictions.
♠ This seems like an appropriate location for a segue into a joke about your mother.
♠ Plans for the weekend include a surplus of bachelor time while Rebecca goes out of town with her lady friends. This probably means there'll be some DDMSence work tonight, some Dude Poker tomorrow night, and an overabundance of bacon for each meal throughout the weekend.
♠ Have a great weekend!Consumers go online to get better prices, but Web merchants have their own tricks
There are no major spoilers in these reviews.
In Bruges (R):
This black comedy is an "odd couples" bromance about two hitmen laying low in Bruges after a hit gone awry. Colin Farrell is great as the restless partner who thinks Bruges is a shithole while his older partner just wants to sightsee. Fun and quotable.
Final Grade: B
I enjoyed this romantic comedy but didn't think it was as hilarious as advertised. Still, it was a notch above most.
Final Grade: B
Demetri Martin Live *at the time:
This standup special really didn't do anything for me. It felt like a less funny Mitch Hedberg special eliciting occasional smirks and rare chuckles. The closing segment backed by guitar felt like a gimmick to maintain the audience's attention and wasn't much funnier than the rest. Free on Netflix.
Final Grade: C-
Jessica Jones, Season One:
Super hero movies are uniformly stupid so I was surprised that I ended up liking this show that takes place in the same universe as the Avengers movie. It does a good job of minimizing the juvenile super power action sequences in favor of character development. David Tennant carries the show as a villain with the power of suggestion, and the plot is given the freedom to evolve as it needs, without any contrived setbacks or "case of the week" doldrums. Free on Netflix.
Final Grade: A-
There are no major spoilers in these reviews.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider:
I should have known better than to get this game after getting bored with the second one but several reviews promised that the parts I hated had been improved and I was in need of a birthday game to purchase and waste time on. I only made it 7 hours in before quitting in regret. The only redeeming feature is that the graphics are beautiful. The game still beats you over the head with a pointless story and forces you to pay attention to cutscenes when you just want to raid some tombs. This philosophy is encapsulated in the fifteen minute opening sequence where you're forced to walk (run is disabled) through a crowded market admiring the work of the art team while the story happens around you.
The overall package is actually worse than the previous game because of new bugs and a weird floatiness to jumps that used to be tightly controlled -- if the actual tomb-raiding part can't be done right, there's no reason at all to play. Finally, the difficult levels are poorly implemented -- instead of making the game more and less difficult, they just make the game more and less tedious.
Final Grade: D
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: I first reviewed this game back in January and gave it a solid C- because of its flaws. Over the end of the summer and throughout the fall, I finally beat the game after about 80 hours of play (50 of which was probably waiting for loading screens). Instead of directly following the storyline, I chose instead to visit all 120 required-yet-optional Shrines first so I could max out my stats and not fall down cliffs due to lack of stamina all of the time. Extra stamina did help me enjoy traveling more but my final grade doesn't change -- it is still difficult to feel like you're making progress in any sitting. I would bump this game up to a solid B with the following changes: merge the 120 shrines into 30, each of which gives you a full heart or a stamina vessel, reduce loading screen time by 50% or more (or allow me to teleport out of a shrine to a destination of my choice), and reduce the size of the world by about 15% to make it feel less empty and more worthwhile to explore.
Final Grade: C-
I'm pretty ambivalent on the Switch after having played 5 or 6 games on it so far. I play mostly in docked TV mode with the Joycons in the awkward controller-like holder shown on the box. The double shoulder buttons are sized weirdly (it seems like the larger button should be on top, since my fingers naturally rest on the bottom button which is often some kind of "cancel" action). The ability to go portable is a nice gimmick, but the control schemes rarely carry over well between one and the other (especially games that require touchscreen or motion support). Games that look great on the TV can get too chaotic on the little screen as well.
My biggest concern is simply the lack of NEW first-party games. Browsing the Switch wall at Gamestop requires me to wade through endless shovelware, ports from other consoles, and reworked Wii U games. Give me some solid single-player games designed exclusively for the Switch -- I can play Stardew Valley on literally every single other device I own (including my toaster oven).
Final Grade: C+
This is Maia's first school picture, taken at Kids Under Construction preschool. Future realtor, perhaps?
Maia has been pretending to be a cat somewhat regularly these days. The cat ear headband actually made it through the entire morning without getting lost.
Here is Maia snuggling with her friend while rehearsing for the Christmas program.
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