I had to leave work on Friday morning because Kitty crawled in the utility room and got stuck behind the water heater and dryer. She had just enough space to fall behind the appliances but not enough to get any jumping momentum. She was back there for about six hours before we finally got her out with some turkey as bait. We had to remove the middle panel in the washer/dryer combo and grab her as she jumped for the turkey, pulling her through the innards of the dryer and out to freedom.
I've finished the direct linking system for the remainder of the site. You can now link directly to pages in the Art, Photos, Music, and Words sections like this:
[This method no longer works. Links removed.]
The second season of Alias comes out on DVD today. You can get it for as low as $40 at Costco.
Because the kitty movies are so bandwidth intensive, I can't keep them up for more than a couple days at a time. However, here are some new ones for your viewing enjoyment:Matrix Booty (AVI 2MB)
I still haven't captured a wrestling video yet, but it can't be long now...Bonus burgers that expire soon
I've added a whole lot of pictures to the URI! Pictures and Cat Pictures section, including a sunset series with the new camera, pictures from a swing dance I went to a few weeks ago, and the evil buzzard of death which visited my corner office yesterday afternoon.
Here's the raw image of one of the posted pictures, Sunrise from my Desk . The level of detail is incredible with this camera.What Michael Jackson would look like if not crazy
I created a site map of every static page in the Zone which should help Google figure out exactly what's going on in here . I also added an entry for the old SCI at FSU site in the Archive. Now the only important thing left to do is create an online poll system for fun and entertainment. Have other suggestions for site features? Let me know using the comments box in the lower right corner of this news post.
There's supposed to be a wintry mix tonight. Is that like a mulatto polar bear?Toddler locks up mom to watch TV in peace
It snowed here last night, leaving about three inches of snow on the ground, and then switched over to sleet sometime after midnight, so everything is getting iced over. I took a quick trip around my parking lot before deciding to stay at home and work from here. The conditions aren't necessarily horrible, but it's enough to keep brakes on the edge and I don't want to put up with the Route 28'ers who go the same high speed in every weather condition.
One funny new kitty video today:Kitty Kombat (WMV 7MB)
Also, do a Google search for "miserable failure" and click the "I'm feeling lucky" button.Marcus was in trouble for using a word so bad that it couldn't be repeated over the phone. GAY
This is my latest composition. I call it Cat Looking at Snow. Do you like my composition?
We were right below the snow line, so only got about four inches total over the past two days. Leesburg got 9" and everywhere to the east of us got less than an inch.
I've done all of my Christmas shopping online except for a single purchase that will require actually going to a store. Now is a good time to be shopping online since every site has some sort of special free shipping deal. If you play your cards right, you can get goods for less than you would pay in the store, with no tax or shipping, and delivered to your abode within a week.Art's glass toilet
I've got five mezzanine tickets reserved for a January showing of Miss Saigon at the DuPont Theatre in Wilmington, DE. Had I been more up on things I would have noticed the Richmond show in October, but Delaware's not too far off. Though it's not the original Broadway production (which closed a while back), the North American Tour version has gotten pretty good accolades from the press. I'm taking some friends up to see it on January 31, as something of a late Christmas present.
Last night, I went to a party hosted by the head team honcho from work. It was held in one of those massive stone Fairfax homes with three wide-open stories, a loft, and in-house gas station. I probably won't be getting anything so extravagant -- I'm looking more for the comfortably-sized homes built twenty and thirty years ago.Don't put all your money into gold nuggets
I picked up a copy of the Alias soundtrack around Thanksgiving time, and it's easily on par with any decent movie score. The soundtrack contains only the original music composed by Michael Giacchino (who also wrote music for the Medal of Honor video game series) and none of the licensed popular tunes. I mentioned it previously on November 10 and you can hear samples of his Alias work here .
If anything on this site having to do with Alias makes you scoff, you should look into the John Rutter Requiem which I recently rediscovered . Rutter has written a large body of choral music that's especially prevalent in college choir circles, and this Requiem was his first uncommissioned work. I think it does a good job of being both serious and accessible.
For those jaded souls who aren't already shocked and awed about my recent listening choices, here's another. I've recently been listening to the music of the French pop star, Alizée. Despite its sometimes annoying tendency to double as dance music, europop is fun to listen to because it's patently harmless, upbeat, and easy on the ears.
Alizée arrived on the scene three years ago and easily has a better voice than any Britney Spears clone the US recording industry could produce. Plus, the lyrics of her songs have a poetic, almost campy, flavour to them which reminds me a lot of music from the 80s.
I've included a sample clip and lyrics from the song, À Contre Courant, in case you want to try something new. If you like what you hear, let me know and I can recommend some other good songs. If you hate it, post a memorable comment on today's news post and get a laugh out of it.
À Contre Courant (MP3, 888KB)
Rien que du bon temps
Tête à l'envers...
Pas trop longtemps.
Quand tu es sur terre
Mets-moi au courant
Que je devine...
On s'électrise :
De deux amants
L'école de l'électro-aimant.
Retrouver le sens
De la vie, je pense
Passe par l'ennui
Quand toi, tu es parti.
Retrouver les sens
Moments qui s'insolencent
Des défilés de doigts,
De mon envie de toi.
Quand le courant passe, aussi la menace
Du temps qui se barre, du temps qui nous sépare
Et le courant passe, j'ai en moi l'audace
Du champ magnétique, et ça c'est magnifique!
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
Catching up on my movie backlog, I've seen Daredevil, Old School, The Pianist, and the super-duper extended edition of The Two Towers. The first was stupid, the second was predictably okay, and the third was good but not a movie I'd want to see more than once. I'm not a LotR fan, so I can't watch the movies more than once a year without getting impatient. However, this extended edition of the second movie adds enough material to alter the entire viewing experience. Because the director was under contract to stay within three hours for commercial releases, this (nearly four hour) DVD edition is a better reflection of his original vision, and events are much better explained this time around.
It's still way too long for a movie, but at least it doesn't ooze pretensiousness like the Matrix trilogy.Powell appoints James Brown as foreign minister of funk
People sometimes ask how I choose the linked stories that I post here every day. There's really no science to it -- I just make frequent visits to my three news bookmarks, www.cnn.com, www.poe-news.com, and www.slashdot.org, and bookmark anything interesting going on that day. The following day, I go through the news assortment and pare it down. I cut out the stories of gratuitous sex and violence, the stories that are just disturbing, and most of the stories about government and Presidential stupidities (because there's just so many of them).
Even then, it's amazing what people will post as news. Yesterday in the Metro section of the Washington Post, there was an article about a man found dead in his apartment inside a duffel bag. Police were reported to be treating the death as "suspicious" and "investigating it as a homicide". Another article I read this morning included a brief section on Bush's Iraq contract policy:
I'm not sure when Bush became such an expert on taxpayer needs or when he asked us about this issue, but I bet that given a choice, most taxpayers would rather have their $50 back than feel so strongly about which of Cheney's multinational corporations gets the money .
If my fifty dollars is going towards creating and funding a permanent economic black hole in the Middle East, it only makes sense to get as many greedy countries into the deal as possible. Then maybe they'll only take $47.95 of my money, and I can get two hash browns on the side.New prime number: People are going to make posters of it to hang up on the wall!
I've added two new sets of pictures to the Photos page: a new batch of cat photos and some sunrise pictures taken at work.
This is an additional sentence added to make today's update seem a little longer and more useful than one would otherwise expect.X-Box stops bullets
My Florida Bank of America account is finally cloesd with balance check in hand, after having requested the closure in August of this year. It only took four months of unreturned phone calls, useless e-mails, disappearing snail mail, and unintelligent customer service reps before I found a single person who realized what was going on and turned the check around in less than three days.
I would definitely recommend them for your next banking experience.
I also hear that Saddam has been tagged a terrorist now. I'm sure Bin Laden is thrilled that his spotlight has been stolen away. The Ayatollah better watch out -- with Iraq out of the picture, someone might mispronounce Iran back into the Axis of Evil.
This is the side of a board game box I bought for a friend as a Christmas gift. Score another brilliance point for the advertising industry.
Work continued this weekend on Auricle. I was able to incorporate much of my earlier work from the PRIMA project which was designed to recognize patterns in music but was never completed. With a few minor rewrites, I was able to extract the enharmonic functionality, and I now have a playable onscreen keyboard which can be assigned any ordering of pitches (where the order adds up to a single octave, like major and minor scales, modes, and Neapolitan and pentatonic scales). Playing a note on the keyboard will also spit it the proper enharmonic spelling based on that pitch ordering.
My plan for the afternoon is a trip to Costco to pick up wrapping paper and two new pairs of glasses. In Virginia, there's a law that prevents optometry prescriptions from being used after one year (even if your eyes have no changes), so I ordered two stylish new pairs a scant four days before expiry.Rumsfield calls Saddam a coward for not fighting overwhelming forces with his pistol and Yellow Cab
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, bu.auricle.music.enharmonics.PitchOrder.
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)
Only nine shopping days until Christmas.Pretty women scramble men's ability to assess the future
I finished watching the fourth season of The Sopranos last night. Though the season as a whole wasn't as brilliant as the first two seasons, it had some of the best episodes to date, and really deserved the 13 Emmy nominations it got this year. The volume was turned down on gratuitous violence, but the plots and subplots felt much more cohesive than the third season.
While I liked parts of the third season, I felt overall that the story arc was too meandering, and too many subplots (like the Russian interior decorator) were abandoned without resolution. If you're a Sopranos fan at all, you won't go wrong by watching this season, especially the great finale.
Joe Pantoliano deserves his supporting Emmy too -- he makes me want to watch Memento again.Australia accidently kills its oldest tree
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:
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
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
For players of Warcraft III with dust-gathering CDs, patch 1.13 was finally released this past week, almost five full months after the last. It introduces a small number of balance changes that seem like an afterthought and an even larger number of bugs, most of which should really have been caught during testing. For example, the patch contains the last two acts of the unfinished Orc Campaign, but starting Act II results in a bugged attack speed and your heroes attack about once per minute. There are plenty of positive improvements to the map editor and the new orc missions aren't quite as boring as Act I, but overall, it really wasn't worth the wait.
Tomorrow, the plan is to stay home and avoid the shopping masses while furthering my Auricle work with the concepts of rhythm and tempo.
Mike's Journal is shut down for the holidays , but this year I will continue updating on a regular basis. I may taketwo days off for Christmas, but otherwise you can always count on your daily dose of inanity.Schoolies cruise sinks into chaos
Booty spends hours at a time staring at the wall near the window. When cars drive through the parking lot at night, their headlights roll across the wall, so now she equates the sound of a car with the lights on the wall. With unlimited patience, she will wait for the next victim and pounce the wall.
I've added some new pictures to the URI! and Cat sections of the Photos page and also put up some new movies:Pogo Booty (3.4MB WMV)
Google finally traversed the Site Map I put up a couple weeks ago, and yesterday was the first day the entire site was searchable. Here are the keywords that people wanted yesterday:
chord notation delta seventh, conducting tips for drum major, worst first lines, alexander arutunian, barbie trumpet, brian uri, lady of lake hoax england, short midi files, storm warnings poem, tooth growing on foot
We're at Ernie this week. Better watch your back.
I went to see the hemorrhoids-inducing Return of the King on Saturday, and generally it was a great movie. It lives up to the reputation of the first two movies, although you should be warned that it makes no attempt at all to catch viewers up on the storyline. As I've said before, I'm not a fan of the books, but the movies are able to stand on their own as solid material. Because the special effects were so uniformly excellent, there were at least two rough, unfinished scenes that were laughably noticeable (for example, watch the scene where a party of horsemen flee with the Black Gate behind them that just screams "green screen").
My only complaint is that they overused the cinematic fade-out at the end, making it feel like there were a billion tiny endings that just dragged the movie out. However, when the three movies are taken as a single unit, that extra non-climax time is probably essential to the momentum.
Here's a followup article on Bush's support of the gay marriage ban (see my December 18 news post for the original). It does a decent job of balancing various viewpoints, including the "Constution is not a moral document" idea and the difference between a marriage and a civil union. It also shows off how ignorant Joe Public can be when speaking with religious blinders on.
Yesterday's search terms:
1v1 lost temple protoss vs terran strategy, bass note ledger lines, programmatic music, are there earthworms in hot dogs, chant and jubilo, da vinci homosexual, divine miracles, double parking in georgia illegal, jazz chord notation, mp3 trumpet arban, oak island money pit nova scotia located
I work Monday through Wednesday this week and then I'm off until next Monday.Saddam was captured by Kurds, not US
This is a picture of me on the Governor, from a physical fitness poster in the late 80s. I could have sworn that it was already on this site, but I guess I overlooked it.
Yesterday's search terms:
lesbian sado-masochism safety manual, dotted note, law stare mayor paris, Which of the 13 original colonies were religiously influenced?, roscoe white marksmanship, elizabeth Bishop one art analysis, William Faulkner's A Light in August, eighteenth century Pomfret plantations, taiwan pepsi generation, deluge leonardo da vinci, Chester Alan Arthur god, adrienne rich storm warnings, analysis of storm warnings adrienne rich, analysis storm warnings adrienne, storm warning adirenne rich, Analysis on Storm Warnings by Adrienne Rich, metaphorical meaning storm warnings adrienne rich
It looks like some high school English teacher has assigned students to analyze the poem, Storm Warnings by Adrienne Rich, and they're plagiarizing with the best of them. As a site owner in the new millenium, I suppose I have some ethical impetus to removing my old work. Of course, it's more fun to see voracious kids accept my crappy essays as gospel and not tell them which ones got less than stellar grades when they were fresh.When you burn down a boathouse, make sure the President's boat isn't in it
Live trees without balls are banned in Fairfax County so we decorated the Halloween tree with lights instead.
I'll be in Alexandria and away from computers for a few days, so there will be no new updates until December 27. Have a Christmas with jolly holly.
Yesterday's search terms:
mike's apartment, chester arthur oval office, jazz chord abbreviations, for jane meyers, mendelssohn violin concerto in e minor op.64 analysis
Welcome back. I'm now equipped with a crock pot and sundry cookbooks for 2004, as well as a pair of warm driving gloves to replace the homeless gloves I've worn since the late 1980's. I've also added a few new cat pictures on the Photos page, taken during my stay at my parents' house.
Search terms on Christmas Eve:
Form and Analysis trumpet concerto, Key center tonic performance, Transposing Bb Tenor Saxophone, Thirteen colonies trade early eighteenth century, Jim Mulcahy and Manassas, persichetti parable mp3, Prokofiev Classical Symphony Second Movement, bit torrest
Search terms on Christmas:
Anorexia Nervosa in Bulgarian Bees, Doomcad, flood deluge leonardo da vinci, diagram of the tenor saxophone, hurricane leonardo da vinci, Jennie Geisner, shockwave's forum, ghost story genre, Orchestral trumpet transposition guide, First Gymnopedie, Tank Turret Bunker, odd title of the year award, cow wordplay, the father in my oedipus complex, resuing
Yesterday's search terms:
matt and rhianna, the theme of blindness in oedipus rex by sophocles, EDTA copper conservation uses, chromatic root movement, Mama Elena, the money pit in oak islands, lancelot symbolizes, famous tightwads, transpose chord trumpet, jazz articulations, town of clark colorado
Here are some new cat movies for your viewing pleasure:Booty is crazy (6.1MB WMV)
The Hokies lost the insight.com bowl against California 52-49. It was 49-49 with two seconds to go and California won by a field goal. It didn't help that Carter Warley missed every field goal he attempted, just like when I was at Tech.
Where's Jim Barry these days?
Yesterday's search terms:
Oedipus Complex, motivic procedures in Haydn, humans interact with the environment in New Brunswick by polluting, sir lancelot background, penguin's frozen yogurt place, my shorter leg, wade-davis bill, earth wind fire chords september, redenbacher popcorn, mp3 cornet prelude and capriccio, tootsie pop commercial turtle, bass clef pentatonic scale
I'm teaching myself how to play jazz piano in my spare time, using the book by Mark Levine. I know all the theory already -- it's just a matter of voicings, technique, and doing things on the fly. I gave up on the guitar because the fingerings exacerbated my already noticeable wrist problems.
No one sells jeans in my size anymore. It's rather disappointing.
Yesterday's search terms:
Ethan Haimo, leonardo da vinci homosexual, english timeline, liz benyo, drum major tryout tips
It's almost the end of another year. Things are quiet at work with the high rollers and low ballers on extended vacations through the 5th. I'm saving up my vacation time for house-moving as well as a possible Nags Head trip in the summertime, and rarely take more than four hours off for a single vacation day. I compensate by working a little extra the other days, but it really doesn't feel like you're working extra when you still get home by 3 or 4 in the afternoon.
Traffic is horrible this week though. You'd think that after Christmas, families would have less of an impulse to pile in the Caravan and head for Target.
Yesterday's search terms:
andrew jackson parrot funeral, the narrator in My Oedipus Complex, mercantilism in Netherland, transpose concert, titillomaniac, using relative minor, urizone, toll collection costs, triplets and sextuplets, Tips for becoming a Drum Major, nate shafroth, republican plan for southerners during civil war, time signature 3/4 4/4 6/8 2/4 5/4, how to make a harmonic minor scale, WBS weary traveler, charles rosen classical style 1971, DIVORCE SHOOTING TIN CANS OFF HEAD, story my oedipus
It looks like the high school essays assigned over break were on My Oedipus Complex. Lots of people arrive by way of the newbie theory guide I wrote for my trumpet students five years ago as well. Maybe I should rewrite it to be more useful.
I picked up the new paperback copy of John Grisham's King of Torts while stocking my monthly supply of work snacks at Costco yesterday. I'm not sure whether I liked it or not yet -- it wasn't his best but it wasn't his worst. The plot was a little meandering and the jacket blurb ended up being the setup for the storyline, rather than the storyline itself. Grisham still has a hard time giving any character believable motivations but he provides an entertaining few hours of reading.
Yesterday's search terms:
loneliness khachaturian melody, notation sharp one bar, absolute music composers, Ethan Haimo, worst first lines, Liz Benyo, sea turtles reading comprehension, murders of kids in norfolk nebraska, how to figure out time signatures, sharps and flats on a staff, arban carnival of venice mp3, sonata for trumpet and piano by kennan, looney laws georgia, torch pitch, idiomatic rhythms, looney laws
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