11/2003

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Welcome to the URI! Zone, "an eclectic amalgamation of camp and creativity". The URI! Zone is actually exactly the same as the Eighth Edition of the URI! Domain with a few noticeable improvements: the ability to comment on News posts, a Forum (WOW!), and a web address that's much easier to remember.

Take a look around and see what you think. Questions and comments can be directed to the Comments button in the lower right corner of this news post, or to the Forum. This page looks much better if you turn "Underline Links" off in your browser, but to each his own.

In the coming weeks, I'll be scraping the HTML barnacles off the four hundred odd pages contained in this site for a clean and standards-based layout (I've already finished a few sections). I am also open to suggestions for new features since I can now use PHP and mySQL on this site.

tagged as website | permalink | 2 comments

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Halloween in Centreville was a low-key affair. Judging from the number of rugrats that tear around the apartment complex all day long, we figured that we'd get quite a few visitors, but fewer than fifteen had come by the end of the night. As a result, we were left with tons of candy that I'll probably give away at work on Monday.

I dressed up as a gangster for last week's Halloween party (and also went to work like one as well). I think I scared a few office workers from another floor who saw the butt of a Tommy gun poking out of my backpack on my way out. Booty and Kitty dressed up too, but not on their own volition.

You can see new pictures from Halloween on the Photos page under "URI! Pictures", and I've added some new cat pictures as well (obviously under "Cat Pictures").

Women disarm man with a ham sandwich
"The weapon seen on the X-ray machine turned out to be a plastic .38-caliber revolver, intended to help one of the women portray Alias television character Sydney Bristow at a Halloween party." Sydney would have been able to sneak the gun in.

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, November 03, 2003

I watched two movies this weekend, The Life of David Gale, and Runaway Jury. The first was good but predictable. Kate Winslet gets on my nerves for some intangible reason, but wasn't bad in this movie. Runaway Jury was great, and even better than the Grisham book it was based on. John Cusack is another actor who gets on my nerves but he was good in his role. Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman were excellent, this being the first movie they've ever been in together.

The Hokies obliterated #2 Miami on Saturday night, 31 - 7. With only two undefeated conference teams left, it's a toss-up as to who the BCS computers will pick for the Sugar Bowl if someone else loses.

I've updated both the Archive and Links sections of the site with the latest and greatest in formatting and clean code. If you find any errors there, please let me know.

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I've gotten in the habit of writing updates the night before they're posted, which is what's kept me daily for so long now. The only problem withthis approach is that topical news is either really early or a day late.

My latest contribution to the world of arranged music: The Theme from Mash for brass quintet and voice, great for your next Mash-themed holiday party. Listen to it on the Music page under Miscellaneous. I'm working on a way to link straight to pages in the Zone from here, but until then, you'll have to take the extra step and click on the Music link above.

The Olio section has been cleaned.

Girls pummel man who exposed himself
Magical flying boulders
Yahoo writes good headlines
When not to sing "I Shot the Sheriff"
Cats demonstrate geometric replication

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Wednesday, November 05, 2003

C.W. 'Levi' Levy (I)
Age: 71
Residence: None given.
Education: None given.
Occupation: Politician, cat lover and dreamer.
Extra-curricular activities: None.
Why should voters elect you?
"Voting for Levi Levy will guarantee a happy ending to health problems that have not been addressed by currently elected officials."
What do you think is the most urgent problem facing your jurisdiction?
"Raising enough money to cover health insurance premiums for 10,000 to 20,000 eastern Fairfax County residents not currently covered in the event of a typhus epidemic caused by an eruption of wharf rats housed in the sewers."
Web site: www.writeword.us/levy.html
Email address: None given.

Politics would be more interesting if everyone were a single-issue candidate like this one. No word on whether the government would be more or less efficient though. The sad part is that this candidate got almost 2,000 votes (1%) .

Video games are addicting
Where to go when you need an alibi

tagged as random, politics | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, November 06, 2003

The general consensus on the latest Matrix movie seems to be that of horrible disappointment. Online reviews tend to rate it even lower than the second movie of the trilogy (if that's even possible) and agree that there should only have been a single movie.

Without having seen the third movie, I'm of the opinion that the first movie was mildly interesting with good special effects, but far too pretentious for its own good. The second was incoherent filler that should never have been picked up off the cutting room floor. Any movie where Keanu Reeves plays a futuristic Jesus figure has to be treated with some level of skepticism.

In the picture above, you can see a variation on one of his acting techniques, "stoic in the rain", which is companion to "stoic", "incredulous", "straining at the stool", and "attempting to form a complete sentence". Watch the movie and see how many of his excellent techniques he employs.

I have to admit that he was good in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, most likely because it didn't require any acting on his part. He could just be himself.

    "Yeah, I mean bad reviews suck, man," Reeves says. "It's terrible. It's a drag."

    In conversation, Reeves is highly articulate, though he peppers his speech with dude-like "yeah, mans" and the occasional "most certainly."
Cell phone driver dies by crashing into cell phone store

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, November 07, 2003

Kent Kennan, composer and pedagogue, passed away at 90 a couple days ago. He was best known for his books on Counterpoint and Orchestration, as well as the infamous Sonata for Trumpet and Piano that every undergraduate trumpet performer must perform at least once in their career.

The About, Photos, Art, and Words sections have been cleaned and revamped. I even updated the formatting on the oldest Starcraft battle reports, although I kept the latest Warcraft reports as they were, since they already match the site's blue ensemble.

Teacher taught swear words in religion class

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Saturday, November 08, 2003

Food preparation and clean up would be so much better if cheese weren't so sticky and grease weren't so greasy.

The Games section has been revamped.

Man admitted to womens' prison
Playing games at work may be good for you

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Sunday, November 09, 2003

I spent the weekend down in Colonial Beach. Now I'm back and preparing a whole chicken for boiling.

Stay in school and don't do drugs.

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Monday, November 10, 2003

Another high quality episode of Alias was on last night. Apart from the usual kudos for plot and acting, the orchestrated score is really coming into its own. It's rare that you find a television show with a fully-orchestrated and performed score, and even rarer when one effectively uses character motives in varying combinations for the actors on the screen.

Unfortunately, the world will probably still be in the dark on the quality of the show, since it was a forgotten slice of ham in the exploitative sandwich that was Saving Jessica Lynch on NBC and The Elizabeth Smart Story on CBS.

New ads postpone the inevitable doldrums of the Matrix

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003

There's a feature missing from Mozilla Firebird's Preferences console concerning the cache. If you want your browser to compare new pages for changes more often, do the following:

  • In the location bar, type in "about:config".
  • Scroll down to "browser.cache.check_doc_frequency"
  • Set it to one of the following:
    • 0 = Once per session
    • 1 = Every time I view the page
    • 2 = Never
    • 3 = When the page is out of date (default)

I have mine set to 1 with good results.

Happy Birthday Kelley!

Cow falls in swimming pool
Mother to give baby to gorillas
Wife kept husband in bathroom for 3 years
Catching a thief with your teeth

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Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Finding Nemo is a really funny movie, and ranks up there with the other Disney/Pixar animated features. If you are completely lacking a sense of humour, it's also notable for its insane cartilage and water effects, and its use of colour is justification for buying a DVD player. Watch it.

In other news, Disney is halting all its traditional cel-shading work in favour of 3D computer animation .

The Mouse that ate Public Domain
Naked Sushi

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Operation Iron Hammer is such a trite name. No doubt the US wanted a correlation to the previous Operation Iron Hammer, a German sabotage operation in World War II that was rendered ineffective before it even began when 18 aircraft were destroyed at a single airbase. I'm sure the military inspired their troops with this story last night before setting out.

Happy Birthday Rosie!

Activists angered by girl scout's beaver trap
Nude trucker barely escapes injury

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Friday, November 14, 2003

Sometime in the past couple days, the corroded lip of the garbage disposal pulled away from the sink drain, leaving a nice inch wide gap for water and assorted food scraps. Last night, it finally overflowed in the sink cupboard, oozing brown carrots onto the floor and solidifying two large boxes of dishwasher soap. Luckily the maintenance guy was here within fifteen minutes of the call and replaced the entire disposal in about ten minutes, free of charge.

Good thing everything in the apartment is so modular.

Where to go when people scare you but ugly computer graphics don't
Eaten missionary's family get apology
Man says he was sold pickup against will

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Saturday, November 15, 2003

I've revamped the Music section and added a page for a new arrangement of God Bless America for brass quintet. I think I'm in the mood to write a jazz chart now.

Gigolo school raided for overcharging its students
'Boob job' cash burnt
Radio station fined over dry ice stunt

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Sunday, November 16, 2003

There's some new cat pictures up on the Photos page. Beyond that, it's been a pretty slow weekend. I did some work today so I can take fewer hours off for Thanksgiving.

Tragic end for remote control donkeys
Taxi driver glued to wheel in stick-up

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Monday, November 17, 2003

The cold weather seems to have reversed the polarity of traffic, as all the slowest drivers are camping in the left lane on my way to work.

I just noticed that Eudora 6 has been released for a couple months now. I gave Thunderbird a quick run, but gave up on it after finding that all my legacy mailboxes did not translate well. I've got too many mail archives stored in Eudora to make the switch worthwhile.

Topics so difficult they require a seminar
How to get a wife
You know China is not friends with us. They're trying to get back at us. What's the best way? Teach kids when they're young to hate. It's scary.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Terminator 3 is a pretty good movie. It doesn't take itself too seriously and has less of a wow factor, but is action-packed and over quickly. It's one of those movies where you go in knowing exactly what to expect, so it's enjoyable within your expectations.

Hanging corpse admired as sculpture
Southern drawl defeats voice recognition programs

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Here is the inaugural fire in the apartment fireplace.

A new Costco has opened at the intersection of Route 28 and Route 50, just 6.4 miles away from the existing one. Now I have a convenient stop along my trip home from work where I can mingle with the midday yuppy housewives who clog up lines with two overflowing carts of useless bulk goods (like designer bottled water) and then abandon their carts in the middle of the parking lot for the servant class to corral.

"I really didn't know there was a chopstick in my eye," Ng said. "I am feeling better now."
Reuters steals newsworthy items from my page.

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Thursday, November 20, 2003

I picked up the new paperback edition of Prey by Michael Crichton yesterday, despite being in the middle of two other books at the moment. The book is on par with some of his earlier works, and I read it cover to cover in about six hours last night. The theme of technology abused by humans going out of control is back in full force and Crichton does a good job of balancing between the thriller aspects and the interesting sidebar stories about current events (although there's a little more academic info, since nanotechnology isn't as easy to "get" as cloned dinosaurs). Plus, it relates to computer science. Here's the overly melodramatic teaser:

    In the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles -- micro-robots -- has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive.

    It has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hour.

    Every attempt to destroy it has failed.

    And we are the prey.
The dangers of Costco
Asked about parents who let their children go to Neverland for sleep-overs, the sheriff responded, "My advice is don't do it."
Unguarded lyrics embarass Eminem

tagged as reviews | permalink | 4 comments

Friday, November 21, 2003

This is what I did tonight. There's also a few new URI! Pictures and Cat Pictures on the Photos page.

Get Neutered, It Didn't Hurt Clay Aiken
Teacher suspended after nauseating experiment
A man and a pay phone were rushed to a hospital...and other jokes.

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Saturday, November 22, 2003

Yesterday in the men's bathroom, there was some visitor talking on his cellphone in a stall.

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Sunday, November 23, 2003

I've added a minor feature that will allow you to get to any page in the Zone directly -- useful if you found an interesting article and want to link it. The method involves adding two strings to the end of the URL, one for the section of the Zone and one for the page's ID. The ID is either the name of the HTML file or the ID of the generated content (on the Games page for example, every Doom map has its own ID but not its own HTML file). You can find any file's ID by moving your mouse over it in the Menu and looking at your status bar. Here are some examples:

[This method no longer works. Links have been removed.]

I haven't yet figured out the best way to do this with the Photos, Music, Words, and Art page because they have sub menu pages, but those sections should be available by direct link sometime this week.

This means that I can now feature old pages when I have nothing new to report .

tagged as website | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, November 24, 2003

Severe Page Update from the National Weather Service

...SEVERE PAGE UPDATE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CENTREVILLE VA 157 PM EST MON NOV 24 2003

A STRONG LACK OF INGENUITY CAUSING VISITORS TO DROP VERY QUICKLY IS MOVING THROUGH THE SITE. A LACK OF ANYTHING USEFUL TO REPORT WILL CAUSE VISITORS TO DROP TO NEAR 0 OR BELOW BY THIS EVENING.

IN ADDITION... ALIAS WAS PRE-EMPTED LAST NIGHT FOR A WASHINGTON REDSKINS GAME WHICH WAS ALREADY SHOWING ON ESPN. THE NEW EPISODE OF ALIAS EVENTUALLY MOVED INTO THE AREA AROUND 220 AM EST.

TRAFFIC CONTINUES TO MOVE PAST THE APARTMENT, WITH SOME CARS GOING UP TO 50 MPH. USE CAUTION WHEN TRAVELING THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING....

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Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

We had a little pre-Thanksgiving get together last night with about eight friends from assorted venues. Anna had received two free turkeys from work, so we decided to roast both of them rather than let one go to waste. There's now a ton of leftovers in the fridge, probably enough to last for a couple weeks.

I'm going down to Barboursville tomorrow for Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's fiancé's parents' house, so there will probably not be an update until I get back on Friday.

Putting rattlesnakes in your mouth for fun and profit
Master/Slave banned in LA
Putting Karate to Good Use

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Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

Scout leader shows how not to light a fire
Gravity doesn't like the KKK
Bush destroys the royal garden
Crazy man on a bulldozer

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Friday, November 28, 2003

I just finished Refactoring by Martin Fowler. Although it has a hefty $50 price tag, it's chock full of useful, practical information, and I would rate it as a must-have like Joshua Bloch's Effective Java. It's also easier to read as a non-reference book than the standard Design Patterns by the Gang of Four. If you're a programmer by day, this is definitely a book that should be on your shelf.

Speaking of computer books, I read The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World by Chris Duncan a month ago, but never got all the way to the end. Though it had some good information on working in real-world business environments, the tone of the book was oppressively bleak and the author used the same tired joke every fourth page.

Next on my reading list is Practical Java by Peter Haggar which just arrived today along with a batch of Christmas presents.

Don't deep fry your turkey.

tagged as reviews | permalink | 3 comments

Saturday, November 29, 2003

I'm playing around with my early Christmas present, the Canon Powershot G5 digital camera. I haven't even looked at any features beyond point n' shoot but image quality is worlds above my old DC256. Booty looks fuzzier and more vibrant, as you can see. To look at the original proofs, follow these links:

DC-256 (884KB)
Powershot G5 (1.9MB)

I've also added the last of the DC256 pictures to the Cats page in the Photos section. This new camera can do short videos, so soon you'll be able to experience Booty-wrestling first hand!

Update: It's Booty! AVI 3.21 MB

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Sunday, November 30, 2003

I received my first spam on my urizone.net e-mail account today. It's interesting because I haven't used this account online at all, and the version on this web site is encoded to protect from web-crawlers. Spam has gotten to the point where I get about seventy spam e-mails every weekend. I have a header checker installed that lets me delete them directly from the server without downloading, but I haven't taken the next step, which is to install a Bayesian filter that learns what spam looks like and filters it automatically.

I'm having fun with this new digital camera, and I've made some more cat movies for kicks:

Booty Jumps, AVI 3.24 MB
Booty Purrs, AVI 1.33 MB
Kitty and the Lamp, AVI 6.63 MB

If I ever get around to actually making decent movies, I'll look into compressing these into a smaller format.

Hunter turkey

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