09/2004

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

OBX Travelogue - Part II: Saturday 8/21

I left Alexandria at 8 in the morning for the three hour trip to Schley, Virginia, a tiny burg outside of West Point and Williamsburg in Gloucester County. I started out by listening to at least two songs on every station of XM Radio, but that got old pretty quickly around channel 16. The 60s channel had an all-day Monkees marathon, so I settled into a groove of listening to that, the global pop station, the comedy station, and the punk/alternative/new wave/80s station.

I got to Schley around 10:30 with several hours to go before the 4 PM wedding of Philip and Kara. After scouting out the church, the reception site, and the McDonald's, I found myself bored in a backwater town, so I went and watched Collateral at the local theatre. The plot was very contrived, but the movie itself was good. Tom Cruise played a good bad guy.

The wedding was jam packed, mostly with people from the bride's side who I didn't know. I was actually standing in the entrance to the back of the church with many others so I didn't have a particularly good view of the proceedings. During the reception, I ate lots of cold shrimp and I caught up with Kelley and Kathy from Tech, who are up living in West Harlem now (going to NYU Law and the New School for music, respectively).

Around 6:30, as hurricane winds and thunderstorms approached, I left so I could get back onto familiar roads. A massive thunderstorm followed me from Schley all the way to the Outer Banks but the trip itself wasn't too bad. My XM Radio stayed on throughout (and only had problems when I was in a particularly tall forest in Gloucester). I got to use my Smart Tag on the other Virginia toll road below Chesapeake -- you pay $2 for the chance to drive on a two lane road that's about five miles long.

I got to the island around 10 that night and the rain finally went away. Unfortunately my driving directions involved using a water tower as a landmark, and those aren't very visible at night. I ended up driving all the way past the Lighthouse to the end of the road above Corolla, then had to drive back down 4 or 5 miles, turning into several subdivisions. I finally located the beach house around 10:30 to find that a majority of the people were already asleep (having left northern Virginia at 5 that morning).

To be continued...

From MSNBC's Unbiased Poll Department:

Bin Laden Subverts the Candy Toy industry
Because thieves can't do anything with beer besides sell it
He found the best the car could manage, going downhill with a following wind, was 104 mph.

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Thursday, September 02, 2004

OBX Travelogue - Part III: Sunday 8/22

Sunday was a beach day with nary a computer in sight. We got up early to do some grocery shopping, but the Corolla Food Lion was packed tighter than a Costco in the heart of yuppy Fairfax. The checkout lines stretched down every aisle and most of the shelves were empty. Seeing this, we turned around and went home, and I had Cup O' Noodles for breakfast.

The house we rented was a three-story, five-bedroom, three-bathroom house with twelve sleeping slots, and we had nine people there in the beginning of the week. It wasn't beach front, but there was a boardwalk connecting directly from the carport to the beach, so we didn't have to cross any roads. The distance was only about 130 yards.

The rest of Sunday was spent beaching, digging, walking, reading, and eating. I reread King of Torts by John Grisham, because sometimes you just don't want to read new books on vacation.

To be continued...

"When we tell them we're going to see OutKast, they know it's a band and not a bunch of misfits." - Proof that the RNC speechwriters should be fired, from Barbara and Jenna Bush's opening remarks

Mr Hall said the lard had been bought as a motivational tool after he had been unable to buy a bottle of champagne.

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Friday, September 03, 2004

OBX Travelogue - Part III: Monday & Tuesday 8/23 - 8/24

On Monday, we went out to Jockeys Ridge State Park in-between beach trips and wandered around the dunes. The pond at the base was a festering boil of mosquito larvae (completely with wading children and oblivious parents) and the dunes were about what you'd expect: big and sandy. We found a spot on the back side where you could dive down a dropoff and bury yourself in the sand near the treeline, no doubt accelerating eons of dune shifting in the process. From there we took a hike through the brush and ended up on Currituck Sound where you could wander a hundred yards into the water and still only be knee-deep.

We stopped at DQ which now sells burgers and fries until 6 (what's up with that?) and then passed the little house in Nag's Head where we stayed two years ago.

On Tuesday, I took a long walk down the beach and discovered that the beach two miles south was also sandy like ours. The water was a bit less choppy today so it was easier to get out past the breakers and catch some waves coming back in. We also dug a big hole and set up an umbrella in it. It was deep enough that you could just barely see the umbrella sticking out. Some like-minded folks thirty yards away did the same and then started slinging water balloons with their 3 man sling.

There were plenty of hole diggers on the beach. One family had a dad with a regular-sized shovel who kept on digging long after his kids had disappeared into the surf. He ended up with a six foot deep hole that was about twelve feet long and three feet wide.

To be continued...

This weekend, I've got an influx of people descending on the house tonight and tomorrow night. Florida-Kathy will also be up in the area for a couple of days.

Store accepts $200 bill
ET trying to kill us with radio lasers

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Monday, September 06, 2004

OBX Travelogue - Part IV: Wednesday & Thursday 8/25 - 8/26

By this point in the week, I had lost all sense of what day it was so my account may be a little blurred. On Wednesday, we decided to take a break from the beach and drove around the island instead. Three people left the night before and two more showed up. We took a trip down to Kitty Hawk where we browsed through a bunch of shops. Anna and Bethany got one of those Old Time Photos with the saloon and costumes. On the way back, we stopped off at a seafood place and loaded up on tuna steaks, lobsters, shrimp, and mussels (all of which were delicious). In the evening, we ate seafood and watched both parts of Kill Bill. After watching the second half, I really want my two hours back. The movie as a whole was four hours long. If it had been edited down to about 2.5 hours, it would have been a decent, fun movie, but taken as a whole it was way too long, poorly edited, self-indulgent, and stupid.

On Thursday we were back out on the beach. I tried to renovate our Big Hole™ but eventually relinquished hole control to a family of little kids who had more serious digging aspirations than I did. I'd gone through another two books by this time, including Michael Crichton's Prey, and Janny Wurts' Master of Whitestorm and started another book after hole duty.

Thursday evening, we went to play mini golf at Mutiny Bay and then had dinner at the Outer Banks Brewery where the food was really great.

To be concluded...

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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

OBX Travelogue - Part V: Friday and Saturday 8/27 - 8/28

On Friday, I left the Outer Banks around 6 in the morning and made the trip back home in dense fog. There were traffic cops everywhere but I made it back in only four hours. I spent the day at my parents' house, cleaning digging tools, leeching laundry privileges, and getting reacquainted with the cats. I returned to Sterling on Friday night and then spent all of Saturday settling in and paying bills. The worst part about paying bills the old-fashioned way is having to write the account number on the check. Is it really more efficient for a data entry specialist to read some chicken scratch numbers off the check when they could just look up the account based on the full name on the check? Of course half of my bills must still be paid the old-fashioned way including, ironically, Adelphia's online cable modem service.

I also got a Jury Duty questionnaire from Loudoun County. Maybe that means I'll be on some backwater case where a horse got stolen or something.

The End

Season Three of Alias comes out on DVD today. Apparently amazon.com users aren't multilingual. Though season three wasn't as good as the first two seasons, it was still better than most other shows on TV, and its individual parts added up to be greater than the whole. There were plenty of great guest appearances as well, including Vivica Fox, Quentin Tarantino, and David Carradine from Kill Bill, and Ricky Gervais from The Office. Word on the street is that the writer of Alias, J.J. Abrams, is now the director for Mission Impossible 3, mainly because he gave Tom Cruise the DVDs to two seasons of Alias and got him hooked.

'Alias' Creator Doing The 'Impossible' Thanks To Tom Cruise

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

For today's update, I've decided to post fragments of music which have caught my attention in the past month of listening to XM Radio. Most of these songs are available for purchase online, and you can also hear more samples from the groups on Amazon.com. The downloadable fragments here are greatly reduced in sound quality.

(MP3 406KB)
Snapshot by Kinky

(MP3 144KB)
The catchy, but ultimately useless Crickets Sing for Anamaria by former Spice Girl, Emma Bunton

(MP3 270KB)
Crawling Up a Hill by Katie Melua

(MP3 503KB)
The interesting, but a little annoying Changes by Butterfly Boucher featuring David Bowie

(MP3 289KB)
Winning Days by The Vines

As always, my tastes are growing ever more eclectic... Let me know what you think, or recommend your own music in the comments section.

Man squirts milk out of eye for record

tagged as music | permalink | 2 comments

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Ever notice that the new "hi" is now "hey"? "Hey" is an acceptable greeting both in casual and business arenas, and people passing in the halls are more likely to say it in lieu of "hello" or "hi". Of course this may be limited to northern Virginia and other places that don't say "howdy".

I only have a few days left of being less than a quarter-century old.

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Friday, September 10, 2004

Here's an effective use of tax dollars: . A psychiatric study shows that teens are sadder after their friends commit suicide. WOW. At the end of the article, it's revealed that most of the teens in the study were already sad, so the brilliant conclusion of the study may not be generally applicable.

Nothing really new to report today, so I'll leave you with two politically-themed articles:

30 nations pick Kerry
The Curse of Dick Cheney

And if you still haven't read it yet, here's the Cheney Daily archive:

Why context-sensitive ads aren't always great
Montana overrreact to incendiary letters
Women of McDonald's will no doubt be followed by Women of NASCAR and Women of the Masonic Lodge
Cure for syphillis? "Get plenty of rest."

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Saturday, September 11, 2004

If you are a public official who manages to work terrorism or 9/11 into speeches that really have nothing to do with either one today, you would be a good test candidate to see if the ban on assault weapons is effective.

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Monday, September 13, 2004

Meeting cancelled due to lack of intelligence?

On a whim last Saturday night, I reread book 5 of Harry Potter. I actually liked it a lot more the second time around than the first, although I still think it could have used an editor not afraid to cut. The Hokies also beat Western Michigan 63-0 (they're 124-0 in the past 3 games).

Yesterday I spent some time at work and also went over to my parents' house for dinner.

Robot eats bugs to stay alive
In a secret Paris cavern, the real underground cinema

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Say what you will about Oprah Winfrey and her show -- her gimmick yesterday to celebrate her 19th season was incredibly generous and large-hearted . More people with lots of money should do similar things.

It instructed him to pray and study the Torah, but Mr Rosen admitted that in a state of panic he attempted to kill the fish, injuring himself in the process and ending up in hospital.
Boy spends all his pocket money to kill grandma

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004


September 11 makes George Bush HUNGRY FOR TERRORISTS

tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I'm 25 now, which is close to being 24, except that I just saved a bundle on my car insurance. Apparently I'm no longer a reckless high-risk teenage male. I read an article a while back that said teenage girls were starting to be more high risk in their cars than teenage boys now. I believe it.

FEMA Director, Michael Brown, referred to Charley and Frances as a "one-two punch" against Florida. With Ivan making landfall, he's now referred to the trifecta as a "one-two-three punch". I hope there aren't many more hurricanes in the queue; otherwise he's going to run out of catchphrases.

Maryland senator votes on Opposite Day
Dropout repays Brown University for getting all its students drunk
Handball team flees in shame after realizing that no one plays handball

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Friday, September 17, 2004

I was first out in work poker today, then juked a bunch of tornadoes to get home in one piece.

Why it's best for society that girls never win
Businessman shows profound understanding of Mother Nature
A clever way to pay tuition

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Monday, September 20, 2004

Today will be another "What I'm Listening To" update. As before, most of these songs are available for purchase online, and you can also hear more samples from the groups on Amazon.com. The downloadable fragments here are greatly reduced in sound quality.

(MP3 295KB)
Bottle by Paul Weller, a song from this year which nicely captures that 70s funk/soul feel

(MP3 486KB)
Butterflies and Hurricanes by Muse, a song that actually has some musical acumen behind it

(MP3 268KB)
First of the Gang to Die by Morrissey

(MP3 255KB)
I Love You by Dogs Die in Hot Cars (I like the chorus)

(MP3 144KB)
The Show by Girls Aloud, the cookie cutter pop group created from Britain's American Idol, Pop Idol

Besides these singles, I'm also liking music by Dido, who's got the least annoying female voice in history, Maroon 5, and the Charlatans UK. The Charlatans do a good job of playing music at both ends of the harshness spectrum.

(MP3 281KB)
How High by Charlatans UK

(MP3 284KB)
Try Again Today by Charlatans UK

And just for fun, here's a song by 50 Pence: (MP3 571KB).

Let me know what you think, or recommend your own music in the comments section.

Pens are Kryptonite's Kryptonite
W-B man: 'Witches are trying to kill me'

tagged as music | permalink | 1 comment

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Over the weekend, my dad and I moved 3600 pounds of concrete mix from Lowe's to my shed in preparation for laying some cement work around my house in the near future. That's almost thirty times my body weight.

I support McDonald's even though I have an eating disorder
It's okay for jurists to be high
Naked woman attacks ATM
No one was hurt and damage was minor. A customer sitting ten feet away wasn't even hit.
The benefits of being overweight: Home Security
Canada has the weirdest parks ever

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

J.J. Abrams' new show, Lost, premieres on ABC tonight. It's getting uniformly rave reviews and the previews look even dopier than the original Alias previews did, so it must be good. Give it a try if you're tired of fare like Trading Spouses and Survivor: Inner Harlem.

What's up with Macy Gray doing another remix of "Walk This Way"? It just sounds horrible.

Review of Lost
The Jon Stewart and Undecided Voter Connection

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Lost was actually pretty good. It's hard to write suspense and tension into a TV show and have it somewhat believably portrayed. The stew of characters thrown on the island together should make for some interesting character studies as the show goes on.

Cheerleaders suspected of assault
Speeding at 205 mph
Diebold spokesman David Bear said by phone that no one would risk manipulating votes in an election because it's against the law and carries a heavy penalty. OH NO.
Wife mistaken for a monkey

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Friday, September 24, 2004

Another weekend is here. I'm going in to work a little tomorrow, and then my dad and I will be laying some concrete on Sunday. This update is incredibly deep, which is why it's so short. If you don't understand its deep significance, maybe you need more time to reflect on your own spirituality.

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Monday, September 27, 2004

After a great week of late summer weather, we get the sloppiness of another hurricane coming up from the South this week.

Yesterday, my dad and I laid some concrete around the house for a variety of utility purposes. I'll take some pictures later on. I didn't see it, but my dad said the 4 year old next door actually walked through the cement at some point in the day, but luckily it was still soft enough to redo.

The party ended shortly after they ran out of beer, Gerson said. After the crackdown, the men took down the pole and put it in a closet.
In the Lair of a Man Who May Be Hunting Bush
Crowd cheers after Heinz Kerry rebuts heckler

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

We watched Jersey Girl last night -- the latest Kevin Smith movie with Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, and George Carlin. Surprisingly it's actually a pretty good down-to-earth movie and nothing like his previous fare. That means lots of people will hate it, but I thought it was worth a watch.

Track Martha Stewart like a UPS Package
Town overrun with old people on scooters

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Last night's movie was Mean Girls which turned out to be pretty funny and surprisingly intelligent for a SNL-spawned movie. It had a pretty good take on high school life and all the backstabbing that goes on around it.

Part Two of the pilot for Lost is on tonight. Don't miss the show that actually made ABC win in the ratings for the first time in eleventy years last week.

The URI! Zone as you see it is approaching its one year anniversary. There's easily been over 6500 visitors not including me in this past year. That means that in the eight years of this site's life, there's probably been more than 50,000 visits. What a waste of time.

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Thursday, September 30, 2004

About once every half a year when I make macaroni and cheese, I forget to take the cheese packet out of the box before I dump the pasta into the boiling water. Tonight was such a night.

I might tune in to the Presidential debates tonight, but I'm not sure how much of it I can stomach without changing the channel.

Happy Birthday Jennie!

Indians Pitcher Shot Wearing Cheerleader Outfit
Illegal immigrants think they aren't breaking the law.

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