This Day In History: 12/18

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Bush states that a constitutional amendment may be required because gay unions "undermine the sanctity of marriage". This is based on a little-known section from an early handwritten draft of the Constitution that defines marriage:

    Section 10. Marriage is defined as the legal union of husband and wife for tax purposes. Marriage is the manifestation of the cooperative spirit found in our government, except that it involves two parties rather than three branches. Because marriage is so similar to government, it is of the utmost importance that nothing undermine its sanctity, including but not limited to: adultery, divorce, gay unions, structural dry rot in wedding chapels, teams from Chicago winning the World Series, and halitosis.

Perhaps if our founding fathers had had the foresight to leave that article in its entirety, we wouldn't need to worry about amendments today.

D.C. Deer hitches a ride on the Blue Line
Sheriff's Department will kick your ass
This is not a urinal

tagged as politics | permalink | 7 comments

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pictures of the Past

If you've ever strolled through my Photos page which painstakingly documents life events from the past ten years, you might be surprised to learn that there are plenty of pictures that are not in the archive -- pictures from an era of non-digital cameras, photographic plates, and Mesozoic dimetradons. It was always my intention to scan these photos so I'd have an electronic backup, but I never quite got around to it. Today, I present a very select smattering of NEVER BEFORE SEEN PHOTOS - ACT NOW for your viewing pleasure.

1990: Sixth-grade graduation in Mrs. Turner's class with Aaron Ulm, Josh Lamborn, and Sharif Ahmed
1990s: Our pet chameleons, post-cat, post-guinea-pig, pre-fish. I don't remember what we named them, but I do remember that they eventually got sick and died, to be eaten by the very crickets that were their prey.
1992: Camp Sinoquipe in Pennsylvania. Boy Scout Troop 131 went here for three or four years in a row, during which I never caught a single fish. I also learned that I hate swimming in lakes, to the point where I never passed a swimming test.
1995: Drum Major BU at the last football game of the season (we probably lost). Unless my eyes deceive me, that is Kim in the background with cummerbund akimbo.
1998: Twister Championship of the World at Rosie's apartment. Pictured: Shac's ass, and BU, in that order.
1999: Going to Madeleine's Prom with music-note suspenders.

"If in doubt - go with the belt and the suspenders." - Allen Bachelder on when to use suspension chords
2002: Living at the Spellerberg household in the summer between grad school semesters, putting my page turning technique to work. Pictured is Anna with Halle Berry hairstyle and Emily. There was a piece of Scotch tape stuck to the picture -- I do not have a horn.
2004: In Barboursville, VA for my sister's wedding
Keeping teleworkers happy
All the works of Mozart for FREE
Mum sues over ruined nude pics

tagged as media | permalink | 4 comments

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Museday Tuesday Wrap-up

Surefooted (2:02 MP3)

Introducing Surefooted, a two-minute work based on a Museday Tuesday snippet originally written on November 6, 2007.

The piece is loosely written for banjo, celeste, piano, fiddle, harmonica, horns, and percussion (because this most closely resembles the collection of instruments you might find thrown in the Grand Canyon, or other places the buffalo may or may not have roamed. "Loosely written" is a euphemism for "whored out the sounds of the instruments without considering the ranges, technical aspects, or whether such a player would want to waste their time playing my music", just as "euphonium" is a euphemism for "almost a trombone". It was written over the course of eight days, and I generally worked on it for 10 to 20 minutes a day.

The original thirty-second idea can be heard here . Enjoy!

Let your mom do the dirty work
Man survives 47-story plunge
Miss Belgium doesn't speak Dutch

tagged as museday | permalink | 3 comments

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Review Day: The Sequel

Why have I watched so many movies this month?

Tropic Thunder:
This satiric skewering of the movie industry is also funny enough to be enjoyed by an average joe who know's nothing about movies. It starts with faux advertisements and previews (which just might be the best part), like Scorcher VI, and Alpa Chino's Booty Sweat energy drink (audio not safe for work). Highlights include Robert Downey Jr. pretending to be a black guy and Tom Cruise dancing his way through the closing credits. Jack Black costars, but his performance registers very low on the "I'm Jack Black, Look At Me Act" scale of annoyingness.

Final Grade: A-

Dark Knight:
By the time I finally watched this movie, it had been three years since I watched Batman Begins. I didn't really remember any of that movie, but was able to jump onboard pretty quickly with its sequel. The acting is top-notch and the ending is gratifying while also setting up the final movie in the trilogy. However, I have no idea how a third movie can be made without Heath Ledger -- his interpretation of the Joker character is really a foundation of the movie, and working around it in the future seems pretty impossible. Musically, I was impressed with how many scenes had no music at all, letting the onscreen action direct the momentum.

Final Grade: A-

Australia:
This movie is a three-hour Baz Luhrmann special, which will either sound wonderful or terrifying, depending on your impressions of Moulin Rouge. It's far less weird and more coherent than the previous movie, but still ends up as a mashup of multiple genres -- it's Dances With Wolves meets Pearl Harbor meets City Slickers with bits and pieces of several other movies thrown in. All the music in the soundtrack is organically spun from two themes, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and that shepherdy hymn that shows up in everyones' weddings. This is intellectually appealing at first, but gets old around hour two. In fact, the entire movie might have been stronger had they cut about forty minutes from the running time. Rent it and watch in two parts.

Final Grade: B-

Letters to Santa: A Muppet Christmas:
This Christmas special aired last night on NBC, and was about what you'd expect from a Muppet special. The first fifteen minutes are a glorified commercial for the US Postal Service (starring Jesse Martin of RENT fame), and the actor chosen to portray Santa seemed to have some sort of strange pasty skin disease. It was at its best with the snarky one-liners and dragged the most during the three or four obligatory songs. Cute, and definitely not rated R, although Beaker makes a Christmas wish and ends up with a half-naked female model who talks just like him.

Final Grade: B-

Boy shoots parents to play Halo 3
Armed robbers steal egg beater
Introducing body spray from Burger King

tagged as reviews | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, December 18, 2009

Haiku Day

It is 2 A.M.
I am still in the office.
No Fragments today.

Did music kill British teen?
'Dad dancing' may be the result of evolution
Mom sniffs out son's stink bomb plot

tagged as random | permalink | 3 comments

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Museday Wrapup

The Museday initiative finally sputtered to a halt in May of this year. It definitely served its purpose, since I composed 99 Museday excerpts totaling about 56 minutes, which is longer than any pop CD released in the past five years. However, I eventually just got to the point where I wasn't mining much good material out of the concept anymore and decided to end early, rather than beat a dead horse for a whole year.

Here is a selection of ten of my favourite Museday compositions, some of which I still think about expanding into longer works someday. And, the intro to Indefatigable is my Instant Messenger alert sound, so I hear it daily when people at work ask me questions.

Someday, I will also release a CD of every Museday excerpt with a higher recording quality (these are 64KB Mono), featuring either William Shatner or Rebecca Uri reciting the title word and its definition before each one. Preorder today!

tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Memory Day: Christmas Twenty Five Years Ago

I was 9 years old at Christmas time in 1988, and apparently still liked Garfield.

Watch to the end of the video for a special technology bonus.

tagged as memories, media | permalink | 3 comments

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Theory of Everything (PG-13):
I'm not a fan of bio-pics because they're either an obligatory parade of truncated vignettes or they go on forever so as not to miss anything. This well-acted movie about the life of Stephen Hawking did not change my opinion. After a setup reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind, the movie starts bouncing through time like the island in LOST (but thankfully only in one direction), fading in on particularly notable events quickly before moving on to the next. This lessens the emotional connection to any given scene, and probably forced the directors to cherry pick the scenes that viewers would most likely expect to see. One of the big problems in my mind was that Stephen Hawking's area of expertise is hard to translate for laymen, and although we are constantly told that he's brilliant, we never see evidence as to why he's so important.

Final Grade: C-

Sons of Anarchy, Season 6:
One thing I appreciate about the storytelling in this show is that plot lines are allowed to naturally end when they're ready to end -- game-changers regularly occur in midseason episodes where other shows would just save it for the finale. One thing I dislike is that the show was extended from 40 to 60 minutes, leading to lots of boring, brooding reaction shots and way too many musical montages (this is a Shakespearean biker show, not Grey's Anatomy). One thing I hated was the very contrived way in which the season finale's climactic events were allowed to occur, based on a lack of communication between characters. One minus two is a negative number, so this season gets a C. The math is sound.

Final Grade: C

24: Live Another Day:
I'm not sure why they didn't call this Season Nine, but I'm glad they took my advice to have only 12 episodes*. This season contains all of the standard 24 tropes you've come to expect, without the dithering usually needed to pad out the run time. Even the female characters aren't as helpless as they're usually written to be.

Final Grade: B+

*"The show would be great if they called it 12 and then pared the plot down to just the major storyline." - BU, February 13, 2006

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, December 18, 2015

Week Wrap-up

Saturday, 12/12

Had a Holiday Potluck with 11 friends and 4 children. Held a Name That Tune contest which was harder than I intended it to be.

Sunday, 12/13

Took a teacher-training yoga session with teacher-in-training, Rebecca, and then had tacos in the fair-to-decent quality range at Bar Taco in Reston.

Monday, 12/14

Took Rebecca's car in for the state inspection and stopped by Home Depot for a 2nd yard doe (but they were out of the specific variety we needed). Shredded a bunch of receipts and invoices, and packed for my trip out of town.

Tuesday, 12/15

Was dropped off at Dulles for a flight to Rhode Island, and left over an hour late because of "radar problems" that required a new plane to be towed out onto the tarmac. Visited my sister's family in North Kingstown and went on some treasure hunts with the kids.

Wednesday, 12/16

Toured the surrounding towns near North Kingstown and had a crabcake burger from a cafe in Wickford. Ate custom-made raviolis from a shop in Warwick for dinner and folded some laundry.

Thursday, 12/17

Got home safely and on time and spent the rainy afternoon relaxing and recovering from the intense jet lag (-0000 in time zone changes).

Friday, 12/18

No plans except to clean the house, go grocery shopping, and try out Fallout 4.

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

Monday, December 18, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne:
Overall, this play wasn't as bad as everyone said it was. It works better on a plot level than an emotional level, as it requires a deep knowledge of the book series and uses the tricky device of time travel to carve out new plot additions that actually have meaning in the broader Potterverse. The plot features the children of the main characters from the books and revisits several important points in time from Book Four.

Final Grade: B-

What We Did Today by Just Jack:
Just Jack continues his streak of lo-fi tunes without as much rapping or heavy rhythmic content. This is a pleasant enough album but I do wish he would go back to the type of music he released on All Night Cinema (like 253) at some point.

Final Grade: B

Orphan Black, Season Five:
This is the final season of Orphan Black and though it functions passably as a wrap-up to the series, it's less effective as a standalone season. The plot takes a while to get moving and there are lots of transitional "running through the woods" scenes that just highlight how small the budget must have been. They also brought back many dropped plot points from Season Three (the weakest season) -- while it was nice to have a conclusion that tied it all together, I kind of wish they had left those threads permanently dropped as it seemed they would be in Season Four. However, it concludes well, with plenty of breathing room at the end to give every main character a nice ending. It also has the most effective use of the line "Chickens!" of any show, which is why we spent several days afterwards shouting "Chickens!" at Maia to make her laugh.

Final Grade: B

Narcos, Season Three:
This season was better than Season Two but it's still an uphill battle to watch without much in the way of plot twists or really interesting characters. Things always happen as you'd expect them to, and the paint-by-numbers approach turns into a slog by about halfway through.

Final Grade: C+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken in December 1981.

My sister, who would have been 5 years old, is being held up by my 6'7" dad to put the topper on the Christmas tree. Given that there's an identical picture of me putting up the same topper on the same day, it's unclear how much of this was our useful contribution and how much was mimicked for the sake of history.

This was a real Christmas tree -- we always bought real trees with the roots in a burlap bag growing up and then planted them in the backyard. They would put in minimal attempts to life for about a year before dying.

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, December 18, 2020

Top Reviews of 2020

Here are the experiences I gave the highest ratings to in 2020. Go discover something new!

Television Shows

  • John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch (A) (Netflix)
  • Money Heist, Part Three and Four (B+, A-) (Netflix)
  • Parks and Recreation, Quarantine Episode (A) (YouTube)
  • Dead to Me, Season Two (A) (Netflix)
  • Dark, Season Three (B+) (Netflix)
  • Middleditch and Schwartz, Season One (B+) (Netflix)
  • The Good Place, Season Three (A) (Netflix)

Movies

  • Parasite (B+)
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople (B+) (Netflix)
  • Knives Out (B+) (Amazon Video)
  • Hamilton (A) (Disney+)
  • Get Duked! (A) (Amazon Video)

Music

  • Easter is Cancelled by The Darkness (B+)
  • Costello Music by The Fratellis (B+)
  • Matinee by Jack Penate (B+)
  • Eyes Wide, Tongue-Tied by The Fratellis (A)
  • The Click by AJR (A)
  • Neotheater by AJR (B+)
  • In Your Own Sweet Time by The Fratellis (B+)
  • Who Killed the Zutons by The Zutons (B+)
  • Live at Brooklyn Steel by Mika (B+)
  • Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox (A)

Books

  • How to Destroy a Tech Startup in Three Easy Steps by Lawrence Krubner and Natalie Sidner (B+)
  • Draigon Weather by Paige L. Christie (B+)

Games

  • Elder Scrolls Online (B+) (PC)

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

 

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