This Day In History: 12/19

Friday, December 19, 2003

One of the games I've played this month is the GameCube version of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. It's got great graphics, fluid animations, and a surprisingly forgiving control system that makes it easy to pick up. It's almost as much fun to watch as it is to play. The only drawbacks to date: the voice samples sound like they were compressed to 1Hz mono and often can't be heard over the score, and combat sometimes gets tedious because it's easy but takes a while. The exploration / puzzle aspects of the game, however, do a good job of matching up to the older PoP games for the PC.

I'm 33% of the way through right now, according to the save-game, but I think I've hit a game-stopping bug that prevents a door from being opened. I can't check for sure since the PoP website was designed by monkeys and crashes after the gratuitous Flash intro. Since when did console games start having bugs?

White House Web Scrubbing
Shoplifter poses for the camera
P. Diddy in remake of Raisin in the Sun

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, December 19, 2005

List Day: Crap in My Drawers

Because organization is the key to a happy life (and Western Music), I have a four-drawer legal-sized file cabinet crammed full of files, programs, scores, and other useless trivia of the past. I have a file labelled "Misc. Stuff" that has the honor of storing everything that doesn't really go into any other file (or stuff that I throw into the cabinet when I'm too lazy to make a new label). Here's a partial list of the contraband you might find if you were to peruse this file:

  • The number I wore on my back in the 1993 Northern Virginia Regional Championship regatta with the Freshman B boat, a.k.a. the "our crew program is too big so we'll pretend there's such a thing as a 2nd freshman race so they don't feel bad about the fact that they suck too much to really be on the freshman boat" boat.
  • An unused ticket for the 2000 Sugar Bowl which I got as a benevolent gift some drunk band frat boy who had stolen a bunch of them from somewhere, and three tickets to the 2002 Gator Bowl, where I met up with my Tech friends while living in Florida and spent the entire trip huddled in misery with the flu. Apparently, Philip Barbie, who bought the tickets for the trip, bought a few too many.
  • A sheaf of car-game papers from a trip to Virginia Beach in 2001 where I drove and everyone played Hangman, the License Plate Game, or Name that Automobile Logo.
  • Mini-golf scores from Motor World and Mutiny Bay. I always came in 2nd except for the other two games where I came in last.
  • A personality profile from 7th grade when they tried to make us all pick our career paths before it was too late. Here are excerpts from the profile, with witty social commentary included in parentheses based on who I am now.

      You are what VIP calls an "Enthusiast". You get things started and get exitedly involved (false). You like learning about yourself and your world around you (true). People like being with you because you are warm (not this winter) and understanding, and always willing to help someone. You are a natural leader (you do not run on nuclear power).

      When planning for a career, you might want to think about jobs that let you use your creative skills, like the arts (BU the composer), communication (BU the blogger) or any of the human service areas (hell no). You might consider a career that lets you work with people rather than competing with people (hell no). You are outwardly centered which means you are keenly aware of what is going on around you and what is happening to others (true). You like being with people (true) and people like being with you (they're all greedy bastards who want in my will).

      You learn things holistically -- you learn the concept, then you learn the important details later (very true). Details and step-by-step instructions may make you uneasy or bored (completely opposite).

      When you make your important decisions, you automatically consider other people's feeling, views, and opinions, making sure your decision is based on what is best for everyone and everything. This is an important personality function because this helps make you kind (woo). Sometimes you make your decisions using only the facts at hand and without considering other peoples' views. This at times can be confusing to those with whom you work and play (what a stupid paragraph -- "You only like to eat apples, but sometimes you like to eat oranges. You are confusing to others because of this. Stop that.").

      You are flexible in your operational style -- when you start something and some other thing comes along, you do not get upset at having to change or start over. Openness is an excellent trait, because you are easy going and you base your activities on what is important at the time (still very true).

  • A bumper sticker for the FSU School of Music ("College of Music" my ass) that was taped to the inside of my window in Florida for two years, next to the bigger VT bumper sticker.
  • Mini-recorder tapes of five crew races from my senior year, NOVA's, Stotesbury, and Nationals.
  • My Titan Super Saver card, a weak band fundraiser which was essentially useless except for the 10% off of bowling. Bowling discounts were key in high school.
  • A smattering of movie ticket stubs, from Memento to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  • Two expired library cards for Alexandria and Fairfax.
  • All three of my high school ID cards, which show how tragically acne'd I was throughout high school. My senior ID has a sticker with my bus number on it. Apparently they thought we would forget how to get home.
  • Ticket stubs from the 2002 showing of Les Mis and the 2004 showing of Miss Saigon.
  • Five hotel key cards from various band and crew trips throughout high school and college.
  • A Virginia Tech Photocopying Services card required to make copies in the library. I think it still has a few cents on it.
  • A B.Dalton Book$avers card, expiration date 1/97. Anyone remember Brentano's and Egghead Software?

Only six days until Christmas... My presents are wrapped, how about yours?

Superman's package is too big
'Ghost' blows himself up
Man Finds Diamond Ring In Unlocked Car

tagged as lists | permalink | 9 comments

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cat Media Tuesday

Movies

Doing the Lake Dance
A Day in the Life of Amber

If you turn the sound all the way up on the dance, you'll hear that Lake is actually stepping in time to the music in the background.


This looks comfy, at least for the one on top.

My house may be haunted (photo courtesy of CC)

Booty practices her Smell The Fart acting (photo courtesy of CC)

Six years later, someone finally uses the Teepee!

Booty lurks in the depths, waiting for the perfect moment to STRIKE.

For Sale: Collected Works of Great Literature and One (1) Cat

Lost in the Wilderness, Booty fashions a makeshift shelter out of the materials at hand.

At the mercy of things that roll under file cabinets.

More pictures can be seen here.

Not a valid salad dressing ingredient
Drive-by Nativitising in Florida
Hotel puts 57 pound burger on the menu

tagged as cats, media | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Media Day


Booty doesn't like to be looked down upon by mere mice.

For the two weeks when the leaves were falling, I didn't have to buy a single cat toy.

Anna is scary.

Ella gets a Christmas present.

The worst job in the world must be dressing up as candy and taking pictures with people laughing at you.

Group shot, after some National Ice Skating.

The first snow of December.

Someone must have farted.

See more Cat Pictures
See more Baby Pictures
See more December Pictures
See even more December Pictures

Movies

Booty and Amber like leaves
Ella opens a present

The case for positive role models
Brady Bunch star threatens separation over lesbian photos
Santa shot down over Rio

tagged as media | permalink | 4 comments

Friday, December 19, 2008

Final Fragments

ending 2008 with a bang, like this: 2008!

♠ While looking for those Tropic Thunder clips for yesterday's post, I realized again how dangerous browsing YouTube can be for productivity. Last year was crowned by "Harry Potter and the Mysterious Ticking Sound", and I'd say that the two most memorable videos this year are the French Orangina commercial with the weird sexy animals, and the Ernie and Bert gangsta-rap (audio not safe for work).

♠ I don't think I could ever make it as a gangsta-rapper although I'll try anything once. I have been hard at work on my Museday expansion, which will come out next Tuesday for anyone that likes their disco records to have a Latin flair.

♠ I already like this year's tune more than last year's, and even though it's less than two minutes long right now, it's far better than anything Britney Spears has released recently -- her new single has her repeating the word, "womanizer", over and over across roughly three and a half notes from the chromatic scale (The half comes from the note that would have been out of tune without Auto-Tune effects).

♠ When not working on my Museday this week, I was doing a side project restoring all the apostrophes into the 3182 comments posted here before July 2008. They had been stripped out when I migrated everything from PHP to Java, and I was originally just going to leave it that way and hope that no one would ever notice. However, I couldn't stop looking at the apostropheless comments without realizing how it made all of my readers look like morons, so I finally went through them all one by one and put them back in. Now you can easily tell when something belongs to Doobie and when someone is discussing the possibility of multiple Doobies. Im so nice. Youre welcome.

♠ There are three other big web projects in my queue -- first I have to pick out the twenty-four Reuters pictures to be used in my (fourth) annual Pictures of the Year featurette. After that, I'd like to implement a community calendar, where people can submit birthdays, anniversaries, and events that might appeal to my readers (like free trumpet concerts and free daycare services). Instead of relying on me to remember to check my birthday list, wouldn't it be nice if the URI! Zone were intelligent enough to check those dates itself and inform everyone?

♠ The third web project will be the Brian & Rebecca wedding site which initially depends on finalizing the venues and foods, which we're planning on doing soon after the holidays. We're expecting to have the wedding on October 3, 2009 (one day less than a year from the engagement), but there's no need to write that on your calendars. For one, the URI! Zone's new COMMUNITY CALENDAR will be able to remind you about that (and each visit will auotmatically wire five dollars from your debit account to our Gift Registry, with no initial setup required). In addition, none of you are invited anyhow, probably because of your unfortunate projectile vomiting incident from our last party.

♠ Speaking of projectile vomiting, I take custody of the two gay kitty brothers, Lake and TitanPunchy, for a week of fun starting tomorrow. Plans for the weekend also include the various aformentioned web projects, a little Snood, which I have become strangely re-addicted to, and baking cookies with the parents for Christmas.

♠ The URI! Zone will be on a three-day update vacation for the next two weeks -- updates will appear on Monday through Wednesday for the rest of the year. Have a great weekend!

$54 million pants suit unravels again
Man who snatched wig will have toupee
69 Rabbits discovered in one bedroom apartment

tagged as fragments | permalink | 4 comments

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend was one of the most social we've had in awhile. Now that Rebecca has finished her semester and aced her exams (which consisted of completely taking apart people who volunteered to be in a study and putting them back together again), we actually left the house on more than one occasion. The weekend opened with Gingerbread Night at Emily and Evil Brian's house. The representative image on the right shows how well-constructed our house was -- in no way did it completely collapse except for one wall when we started putting the shingles on.

On Saturday, we watched The Hangover, Part II, which I felt was better than most sequels, but no better than the original. Ed Helms making up songs in everything he does is getting as old as Jason Segel doing the same thing. Our evening became unexpectedly free when a holiday party in the sticks was cancelled, so we headed to the Reston Town Center for dinner and ice skating instead.

We started out at Jackson's, but after refusing to join the patient group of yuppies willing to wait forty minutes for a table, we ended up at Uno's for a five minute wait and some deep dish pizzas. The restaurant was cold because none of the patrons had learned the purpose of a vestibule in public school and kept a healthy breeze going as they entered, exited, or waited in the doorway for their party of 13 to be seated. By the end of the meal, we were too cold to ice skate. We briefly considered going to the movie theatre, but ultimately ended up back at home for a game of Khet 2.0, which is like chess but with laser beams that you shoot at your opponent's pieces between each turn.

On Sunday, we headed to Falls Church to visit with some of Rebecca's extended family that was in town. We caught the fourth Advent service at the Presby church (which ended on a surprisingly dissonant note with an organ piece by Olivier Messiaen) and then sat in holiday shopper traffic to get to Panera for lunch. We then segued into another holiday party with Anamaria and Henry in real Falls Church before going to Rebecca's parents' house in fake Falls Church for some German packages with bits of sausage in them.

How was your weekend?

Introducing the new super power of boob grabbing
"Whatever" deemed the most annoying word

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Memory Day: Christmas Twenty Years Ago

On Christmas in 1992, I was 13 years old. My stash consisted of the following goodies:

  • The boardgame, Hero Quest, and an expansion pack
  • The Super NES games, Battle Clash and Super Mario Kart
  • A Super NES Game Genie
  • The Game Boy game, Super Mario Land 2
  • The computer game, Gobliiins
  • A microscope, and many assorted microscope accessories
  • A pack of Bubble Yum grape gum
  • CDs by John Barry and Ray Stevens
  • A Foxtail, which we never actually played with
  • The books, How To Play With Your Food by Penn and Teller, and Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
  • Two books on programming in Visual Basic
  • The 1993 World Almanac

I still own all of these items except for the almanac and Visual Basic books!

After opening all of the presents, our yearly tradition involved a narrated inventory of the presents. When we were young, this was a detailed deep dive. As we got older it became, "Look, here are some books and games and stuff, now let me play."

tagged as memories, media | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

To Do List (R):
This comedy about a graduating high school senior who makes a sex to do list has an overwhelming number of familiar actors onboard, but it never quite gets out of second gear. Aubrey Plaza is too typecast with her Parks and Rec character to be someone else, and the movie starts to drag around halfway through. There are a lot of fun moments built around 1990s nostalgia, but not enough to keep the movie afloat.

Final Grade: C-

Life in a Beautiful Light by Amy MacDonald:
Amy MacDonald's third album feels like a cookie cut-out of her second album. Neither was as great as her original album, This is The Life -- too much use of quavering voice and echoes to be enjoyable.

Final Grade: C-

Super Mario 3D Land:
This was the first game to come out for the 3DS in 2011, and it still plays well after two years. I was worried that it would be closer in spirit to Super Mario 64, but it actually plays like a polished hybrid of New Super Mario Brothers and Super Mario Galaxy. The camera accentuates the 3D depth, but generally provides a fixed view of a level, rather than being freely movable. This makes the game feel more like a classic Mario game that just happens to be 3D.

The first eight worlds are pretty easy, but beating them unlocks 8 special worlds that are based on the original maps but with enough unique twists to make them feel like new levels (there's nothing as annoying as a mirror image of the original level billed as new content). As the challenge increases, levels get more frustrating (especially levels that involve outrunning Shadow Mario), but the challenge is always doable and great in small doses.

Final Grade: B+

Person of Interest, Season One:
I picked up this series as a throwaway show I could watch on my own, that Rebecca would be unlikely to enjoy since it's kind of sci-fi'y and has a lot of technology and testosterone. However, she got hooked on it immediately, and we've enjoyed it together ever since. The show (starring Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson from LOST) tells the tale of a billionaire software developer and a Special Ops soldier who save people based on the intel of an omnipotent surveillance machine (particularly topical in these days of NSA news stories).

The first season feels a little static, sometimes playing out like a straight cop procedural, but it's well acted and fun to watch (with plenty of choreographed fights and blow-ups). The show really switches from sitcom to serial in the second season, building organically from all of the threads introduced earlier on. Many fun guest appearances abound, including Amy Acker, actors from other J.J. Abrams shows, and the dad from Veronica Mars. Highly recommended -- I don't know why more people are not aware of the show!

Final Grade: A

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Timeline

A smattering of events from 2014

January:
  • We had 15 of Rebecca's family from her mother's side over for a holiday dinner.
  • I released v0.1.0 of Auricle which quizzed you on music notation, and then I never worked on it again.
  • It rained, snowed, or iced over almost every other day, destroying the fan motor on my heat pump.
February:
  • It snowed a million times and the Winter Olympics had too many speed skating events.
  • We partied with the Miricks for the first time in forever, at a 222 Reunion gathering (on 2/15 because 2/22 was booked).
  • Rebecca got her first iPhone.
  • I got food poisoning and mostly died.
March:
  • We ate bacon for Marv's birthday at a giant McMansion in Arlington.
  • We tried Bonchon for the first time and Rebecca ate all of the super spicy wings without hesitation.
  • We went to Delmarva's Taphouse for one of the last visits before they were closed for tax evasion.
April:
  • We went to the Greenbrier Resort and were confused by modern slot machines.
  • I made my own badminton net.
  • I finished my first Coursera class, which was somewhere between "bad" and "not good".
May:
  • We planted some more tomatoes, which quickly overshadowed a useless pepper plant.
  • Rebecca went to Columbus for a weekend while I played ultimate frisbee.
  • We had our first of two barbeques for the year.
June:
  • We went to Taste of Reston with child-free Kathy.
  • Rebecca had a birthday dinner with Asian Fusion Pork.
  • Rebecca went to yoga camp in Massachusetts, and then we met to go camping in Pennsylvania.
July:
  • We finally saw Anna's parents again in Colonial Beach.
  • We took out a second mortgage to eat tapas at Mokomandy with Marc.
  • I tried out Wildstar, which didn't last.
August:
  • We had a barbeque with the Newdorfs and Ahlbins.
  • We saw Jim Gaffigan at Wolf Trap.
  • Rebecca got a new laptop to replace the one made out of stone.
September:
  • We went to Beach Week in Kill Devil Hills with the Jacksons and many others.
  • I arranged Tenting Tonight for brass quintet.
  • Rebecca went to Ocean City with the girls, and I taught the Ahlbins how to play Gloom.
October:
  • I lost my FitBit in Harper's Ferry, on the occasion of our fifth anniversary.
  • We played a weird German boardgame at the Smiths.
  • We took a whirlwind tour of Seattle and its environs.
November:
  • Mike of (Mike and Ghost Chompy) came out to visit us from the West.
  • We learned how to play Dungeons and Dragons.
  • We had one fake Thanksgiving and two real ones.
  • I started playing the trumpet again for about 15 minutes a day (so more than most undergraduate music ed majors).

How was 2014 for you?

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Monday, December 19, 2016

List Day: 10 Highest Grades of 2016

Have you missed out on any great TV shows, games, or albums this year? Here's a recap of the highest grades I bestowed in 2016.

  1. Person of Interest, S5 (A+)
    The final season of Person of Interest made the whole journey worthwhile, in spite of some clunky, phoned-in episodes in the fourth season.

  2. Lovesick, S2 (A)
    A British How I Met Your Mother if that show actually had some heart.

  3. Fargo, S2 (A)
    This entire series is a masterpiece.

  4. Overwatch (A)
    I've essentially played this game nonstop for 10 months now.

  5. Humans, S1 (A)
    Everyone seems to be doing shows about robots now, but this one has some real character to it.

  6. Black Mirror: White Christmas (A)
    The Christmas Episode between Season Two and Three is a tightly choreographed dance of three intertwined, horrifying technology stories.

  7. Orphan Black, S4 (A-)
    The only show where the lead actress plays dozens of different characters and feels like a different person each time.

  8. Justified, S6 (A-)
    The final season ended just right, and left me pleasantly looking forward to the day I rewatch the whole series.

  9. Kin by KT Tunstall (B+)
    This album is full of hooks that get stuck in Rebecca's head.

  10. Everything You've Come to Expect by Last Shadow Puppets (B+)
    It's been years since their original album, but it was definitely worth the wait!
  11. tagged as lists, reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Memory Day: Snapshots

This was the family Christmas picture 27 years ago in 1991.

I was in 8th grade and had not yet started wearing glasses. The outfit I'm wearing is pretty standard, from the British Knights to giant digital watch, although I sometimes swapped in a gaudy sweatshirt with Perth animals from our family friends in Australia.

We generally took the Christmas picture on or around Christmas. My Dad would then write the family Christmas letter and send to everyone on Christmas afternoon, long after the rest of the world had sent out their cards and letters. Meanwhile, my sister and I would be playing with our new gear, and eating neck meat and pie crust from the dinner that Mom was preparing.

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

 

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