This Day In History: 12/16

Sunday, December 16, 2001

The Blacksburg trip was an enjoyable diversion, characterized by games, hanging out, seeing old faces, and pretending not to see other old faces (sometimes you just weigh the cost of engaging in the same old small talk with people you were glad to leave behind and decide to hide behind the nearest philodendron until they move on. And yes, the philodendron was an over-exaggeration). I got to see Nikki, Anna, Philip, and Kelley a fair amount, and spent Saturday Christmas shopping with Paige in Blacksburg's massively gigantic mall. Saturday night was spent standing on one foot in an organ pit of the First Baptist Church, turning pages for the organist. There wasn't any room to stand on two feet in the organ pit, so I had to balance on one while holding the heat-curled score open. Luckily, they only did Part One and a few later excerpts.

I got back to northern Virginia around 9:30 this morning, but got sidetracked with breakfast at the Spellerberg's and didn't get home until around noontime. It's nice to be back on familiar turf, but tomorrow I'm off again, and this time I'll definitely have no computer access until Thursday. As I've probably stated several times before (and for the benefit of people who don't read the Archive), I'll be heading up to Westminster Choir College and New England Conservatory with my friend, Nikki, who's looking at grad schools.

I have new cat pictures, but can't put them up until I'm back in Tallahassee. I'm sure you're devastated.

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Monday, December 16, 2002


The production of Les Miserables at the National Theatre was extremely well done, and no one on the cast was particularly disagreeable. In particular, the Eponine was easily the best Eponine I've heard so far and the Javert was almost as good as Philip Quast. Valjean, Fantine, Marius, and Enjolras were excellent but not quite as good as my preconceived images of the characters. The only character that didn't really shine was Cosette, but in her defense it's hard to do anything with a character role that isn't much more than a prop.

The staging and set changes were interesting, from the revolving stage to the Transformer-esque barricade. Sometimes the ancillary action of extras would detract from the focus on the main characters, but usually things ran well. The orchestra played well, if the trumpet was a little lacking to my trumpeter's ears. Because I know the score by heart, it was weird too hear how minutia had changed to shorten the show -- 4/4 transitions reworked in 3/4, or agogic accents shifted to allow passages to be sung in briefer spans. The one issue I've always had with Les Mis is the relative sameness of the orchestration. The colours are used so frequently that it becomes impossible to find a fresh sonority, and by Act II, all the orchestration has just become a static wash of sound -- still sweet but a little too syrupy.

All in all it was a good show. You should watch it sooner than later, since it'll be closing in March.

Last night's episode of Alias was easily the best one of season, although they're getting tough to top.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I've posted the latest build of my Auricle, a keyboard that understands the concept of scales, for your viewing amusement. If you're willing to download 1.4 or greater of the Java plug-in (about 14 megabytes) or you already have it installed, you can see my work here .

You can also browse the documentation (no plugin required) here . If you're interested in the scales, like yesterday's Neapolitan Scale, see the documentation for the class,

If my posts about coding are more irritating to you than my posts about Alias, you can also watch two new cat movies:

Wrestling (3.7MB WMV)
Chasing a Laser (1.8MB WMV)

Only nine shopping days until Christmas.

Pretty women scramble men's ability to assess the future
Actress in a rap video "wanted to appear in pajamas and would only consent to holding hands" and watched it with her son
Another point for the mandatory screening of elderly drivers

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday Fragments

  • The last time I was in Costco, the cashier looked at my membership card and flagged down a manager. I thought they had discovered my secret identity as an agent of the Zambian Black Rose, but they just wanted to tell me that I was eligible for a Costco Executive Card, based on the amount of money I spend there. I don't know whether to be sad or proud that I spend more than the GNP of Burkina Faso on a household of one. I guess I just can't resist the bulk boxes of Velveeta Shells and Cheese.

  • When I was a kid, my dad always bought us a yearly copy of PC-World, almanac/mapping software, in hopes that we would learn something. One day I looked up the country with the lowest literacy rate and it was Burkina Faso. That's all I remember from about six iterations of PC-World.

  • It Wasn't Me by Shaggy makes me laugh: (686KB MP3). New on my playlist this week:
    • Will Young - Switch It On
    • Girls Aloud - No Good Advice
    • Barenaked Ladies - One Week
    • Norah Jones - Don't Know Why
    • Keane - Bedshaped
    • Depeche Mode - Precious
    • Cardigans - I Need Some Fine Wine
    • The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony
    • Sugababes - Push the Button
    • Radiohead - High and Dry
    • James Blunt - You're Beautiful
    I am the definition of eclectic.

  • The picture above is an illustration of a new constellation, the Amber Belt. It has nothing to do with the playlist, except that Kathy requested more pictures of cats.

  • I once wrote that I never remember to buy things unless I make a list first. An exemplary example of this the humble toilet brush. There has not been a toilet brush in the house since Anna moved out, so I've always had to clean the toilets with sponges. Toilet brush actually ended up on a shopping list around September, but the inept cashier at Target forgot to put it in my cart, and it wasn't worth the $4.50 to drive back and hassle it out. I finally got a new toilet brush last weekend, a mere six months later. I also got a new fleece a couple weeks ago.

  • There is a big white tag in my corduroy pants that says REMOVE BEFORE WEARING OR WASHING. I've been wearing and washing them for about three months now, with no side effects. It must be a government brainwashing experiment which I've foiled -- stand strong and don't remove your tags!

  • The crazy Turkmenistan president is at it again, demanding penguins to be included in his desert zoo . I think the penguins would be more comfortable in his ice palace than the 104 degree desert, unless he plans to hire people with portable fans to keep the birds cool at all times. When I become the eccentric king of Antarctica, I will be importing various marsupials from Down Under for my Arctic Zoo, and hiring people to follow them around with red heat lights. If you would like to be one of my Koala Lampers, please let me know.

  • I'm going to be wrapping all my Christmas presents tonight, and might start working on the months-long Java Developer Certification project this weekend should I feel sufficiently motivated. As always, I'm open for other social opportunities like movie-watching and bison-riding. Just give me a call and leave a message with my personal assistant, Hilda. Have a good weekend!

  • In an incredible case involving allegations of murder, an international manhunt and noodles, Ontario police finally believe they know what happened
    'Sex rage' couple facing $34,000 bill
    Your husband's a doll

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 15 comments

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Poker Day

    The 2008 Sterling Poker Tournament came to a close this weekend with the fame and glory of first place going to Kristy Wilmer, a dark horse winner who consistently came in second place in all two of the games she played (two is the minimum you must play in to have your score count). Kristy also played a single game in 2007 (where she came in 2nd place as well), so SAT pattern recognition would dictate that she'll be at 3 games in 2009. As a reward for winning this year, Kristy gets bragging rights over her husband, Jack, who tied with Chris (another "husband who lost to his wife") for 6th place.

    Here are the scores (not including players who only played in a single game this year):

    In second place, Ben turned poker into a lucrative side job and was one of only two people to turn a profit. Poker is SERIOUS BIDNESS when Ben plays. He is also the only husband whose poker skills did not atrophy after marriage: Third Place Larry started strong with a first place win on 2/23, got married on 3/4, and then tanked three months later. In fourth place, Mike C. (of Mike and Chompy) was sporadically decent, obviously confused by the switch between Florida and Virginia rules and weighed down by the grease from all the Chick-fila he brought to each game.

    Kathy came in fifth and attended as many games as possible for chocolate pie. Mike J. (Jaood) took 7th place and although he started strong, that Power-10 in the middle of the race obliterated him. However, he ended up about $50 richer than he started. Ninth place was Rebecca, whose poker dreams were hindered by a month long trip to Guatemala (the numbers on the cards are all way different in Spanish and she had to relearn it all back in the States). Finally, Anna got the highest possible place (10)! Apparently, playing poker with babies is like subtracting one face card from each hand.

    Missing this year from the games were Jason and Rosie, who were probably tired of losing all the time in 2007 and turned their attentions to the safer investment of making babies to raise for manual labour.

    As for me, I was consistently weak this year, not playing well with others, and showing no attempt to learn. I spent $130 (not including drinks, pies, eclairs, and freaking diamond rings) and only won $60 back -- as the old maxim goes, "There is no BU in winner, but there's definitely one in BUY-IN". I did manage to snag first place in the final game, but only because I was dealt a flush when Chris went all in.

    My next goal is to parlay this win into another success at the Work Poker Tournament this Thursday night. Since I came in dead last out of about 50 people last year, there's nowhere to go but up!

    No birthdays for Hitler
    Burglar held captive by ghost for 3 days
    When sleepwalkers go online

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 8 comments

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    2009 in Twelves

    Top 12 Posts from 2009
    1. BU plays the Caption Game
    2. BU recaps the LOST Season 4 finale
    3. BU hates Indiana Jones
    4. BU on HOV Cheaters
    5. Everyone learns HTML in the Comments section
    6. BU lists rejected wedding ideas
    7. BU on global warming
    8. BU wears shirts
    9. BU on girl gaming
    10. BU on Fairfax
    11. BU thinks your brain is not a city
    12. BU ruminates singly
    Top 12 Post Graphics from 2009

    January 6, 2009

    February 16, 2009

    February 27, 2009

    March 26, 2009

    April 21, 2009

    May 6, 2009

    May 15, 2009

    June 8, 2009

    July 16, 2009

    July 16, 2009

    August 24, 2009

    September 23, 2009

    Disagree with my picks? Sound off in the Comments section!

    Geeks drive girls out of Computer Science
    Police shoot US student's laptop in Israel
    Uninvited tourists attend breakfast with Obama

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    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    List Day: 2010 in Twelves

    Top 12 Posts from 2010
    1. BU has army men
    2. BU has some peeves
    3. BU goes to Puerto Rico
    4. BU creates a new top web search (after "practica musica cheats") by writing about Jack
    5. BU on the Gay Navy (The Gavy)
    6. BU no longer likes LOST
    7. BU on Merit Badges
    8. BU in training
    9. BU has a census
    10. BU on causation
    11. BU is unappealing
    12. BU on banning
    Top 12 Post Graphics from 2010

    January 22, 2010

    January 29, 2010

    February 5, 2010

    February 17, 2010

    February 17, 2010

    March 8, 2010

    April 27, 2010

    May 11, 2010

    June 2, 2010

    June 2, 2010

    June 2, 2010

    September 24, 2010

    Disagree with my picks? Sound off in the Comments section!

    Why surgeons dread redheads
    Thieves target Edmonton free store
    Italian hospital asks doctors not to snort cocaine at work

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    Friday, December 16, 2011

    List Day: 2011 in Twelves

    Top 12 Website Images from 2011

    January 3, 2011

    April 7, 2011

    June 28, 2011

    April 15, 2011

    July 5, 2011

    July 28, 2011

    August 1, 2011

    August 24, 2011

    August 25, 2011

    October 27, 2011

    November 1, 2011

    November 16, 2011

    Giant monsters living in the Artic Ocean
    Gifts that Maim or Poison Children
    Google Zeitgeist 2011

    tagged as lists | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    Weekend Wrap-up

    • Executed a routine trip to Costco, in search of chicken breasts and cheap bagels.

    • Played more of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, which is just as charming as his original ghost-hunting adventure on the GameCube.

    • Enjoyed the highly visible, yet non-accumulating snowfall.

    • Had some of Rebecca's PT circle over for carry-out Thai food from Pattaya Thai.

    • Released DDMSence 2.2.0, which was mostly done in April but depends on files that must be cleared for Public Release -- an action whose duration apparently increases exponentially during sequestration.

    • Rewatched the first Hunger Games movie as a refresher.

    • Watched the second Hunger Games movie at the Alamo Drafthouse, an appealing venue with okay burgers, a good beer selection, and comfortable seats.

    • Wandered the neighbourhood looking at Christmas lights.

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

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    Twelve 12 of 12s

    A montage of my amazingly interesting year.

    January: We only made it to Taste of Burma twice this year.

    February: Cat hugs.
    March: Rebecca gets addicted to Hearthstone.
    April: Birthday dinner with my mom.
    May: Taco Night would be more enjoyable if there were fewer ingredients to prepare.
    June: Arriving at my office.
    July: Sunkissed nap.
    August: Booty reheats some pizza.
    September: A uricorn cake.
    October: Steak night.
    November: This plant only gave us 1 edible red pepper all year long.
    December: Spot the differences from June.

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    Wednesday, December 16, 2015

    Name That Tune: Christmas Edition

    I'm on a whirlwind tour of Rhode Island today. While I'm away, try your hand at this Name That Tune contest from last weekend's Holiday Potluck. No prizes, because some of you have already heard the answers! The high score was 16 / 20.

    Click on the number to hear a clip, and hover your mouse over the right column to reveal the answer.

    1 Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney
    2 Nightmare Before Christmas (Oogie Boogie's Songs - Danny Elfman)
    3 Jingle All The Way
    4 All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
    5 Bad Santa
    6 Pretty Paper - Roy Orbison
    7 Home Alone
    8 A Christmas Story
    9 Last Christmas - Wham!
    10 Scrooged
    11 Christmas Vacation
    12 Ernest Saves Christmas
    13 Die Hard
    14 Good King Wenceslas - Mannheim Steamroller
    15 RENT (Christmas Bells - Jonathan Larson)
    16 Gremlins
    17 Elf
    18 Christmas at Ground Zero - Weird Al
    19 Love, Actually
    20 Charlie Brown Christmas

    tagged as contests | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, December 16, 2016

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Kathleen Madigan: Bothering Jesus:
    Though not as funny as her earlier comedy specials, this one has a warm, charming feeling to it that makes it a pleasant way to spend an hour. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B-

    The 100, Season Three:
    I really enjoyed how the ultimate threat in this season's storyline started out orthogonally to the main plot thread. This continues to be a show of shallow characters mixed with great ideas and uneven execution -- the world-building is its strength, even if the characters often make incredibly stupid decisions that pass for character development. I still find it weird that they employ beautiful CW-style actors and actresses only to film them covered in mud, blood, and darkened corners that mask the low scenery budget. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B+

    This is Netflix's first show from Brazil, which I watched with English subtitles (apparently the English overdub is awful). It starts out with a Hunger Games style of scenario, where only 3% of the people living in poverty make it to the mythical "Offshore", but it focuses more on the individual characters and the political intrigue behind the whole affair. This is a great, short (8 episode) sci-fi miniseries whose only downfall is that it requires intense reading if you don't know Portugeuse. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B+

    iZombie, Season Two:
    Through the beginning and middle of this season, I often felt like there was about 10% too much plot going on -- I just wanted to tune in for the snappy dialogue and had to remember characters from previous episodes and backstabs going in every direction. Luckily, the plot streamlines nicely towards the end, and even lets some supporting characters in on the main secrets of the show. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes in the third season. Free on Netflix.

    Final Grade: B+

    I would review some Amazon Prime shows but I haven't seen any good ones in months! Plus, have you ever tried searching for something to watch there?

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, December 16, 2019

    Twelve 12 of 12s

    a recap of 12 of 12 posts from 2019

    January: Rebecca and Maia return from their overnight Girl's Night at the Smith's, and find a gentle dusting in progress.
    February: Off to a local gym class with daycare.
    March: Already warm enough to hit Lake Anne.
    April: The traditional breakfast routine of oatmeal and book reading.
    May: Daddy-daughter play date.
    June: The evening before I got a 24-hour flu.
    July: Prototyping the Uri Tech Primer.
    August: Ice cream dance!
    September: Hiding from the heat in the mall bookstore.
    October: Introduction of the "funky sweater".
    November: Baths were a consistent hit.
    December: The longest day of the year.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020

    Twelve 12 of 12s

    a recap of 12 of 12 posts from 2020

    January: We're on a playground!
    February: We're in a restaurant!
    March: The last day at work before the world went sideways. Also, I am a natural social distancer.
    April: Happy Easter!
    May: This game is called "Lie on the Bed".
    June: We have to make our own fun.
    July: Overhauling the official Janny Wurts website.
    August: Quarantine leads to exotic dinners.
    September: Turning 41 in a mountain cabin. Maia is just excited for "Hey, That's My Fish!"
    October: Enjoying a week alone at home!
    November: Which will come first, a finished Puzzle Boat or an edible avocado?
    December: An unseasonably warm porch date.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, December 16, 2022

    Top Reviews of 2022

    Here are the experiences I gave the highest ratings to in 2022. I hope you discover something new!

    Television Shows

    • Only Murders in the Building, Season One and Two (A+, B+) (Hulu)
    • Reservation Dogs, Season One and Two (A, B+) (Hulu)
    • As We See It, Season One (A-) (Amazon Video)
    • Inside Number 9, Season One (A-) (Amazon Video)
    • The Outlaws, Season One and Two (B+, A-) (Amazon Video)
    • Money Heist, Season Five, Part Two (B+) (Netflix)
    • Silicon Valley, Season Six (B+) (Amazon Video)
    • Dave, Season One (B+) (Hulu)
    • Better Call Saul, Season Five (B+) (Netflix)

    Movies / Specials

    • Michael McIntyre: Showman (A) (Netflix)
    • Onward (B+) (Disney+)
    • Palm Springs (B+) (Hulu)
    • Emergency (B+) (Amazon Video)


    • Hands by Wallis Bird (B+)
    • Will of the People by Muse (B+)


    • Flourish: Signature Edition (A)


    • I haven't read enough new books this year.

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments


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