01/2005

Monday, January 03, 2005

I thought I'd ring in the New Year with the backlog of Cat and BU pictures from last year. Though the site hasn't changed much in the past year, I'd like to make at least two improvements in 2005: adding some sort of search engine to make things easier to locate, and improving the Photos section to make it easier to look at pictures or visit random pictures.

I hope everyone had a fun-filled weekend of debauchery. We had a party here, but we planned it so late that it did not reach epic proportions. It was fun nonetheless.

Convict found in sofa
Knife-wielding intruders apologize for error
Sports Illustrated reports the news that matters

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

It's been over seven months since I could last pester people to watch Alias, so I'm sure everyone is happy to know that the fourth season starts tomorrow night with a two hour premiere at 9 PM on ABC. If you enjoy smart, well-written television at all, you should be soaking up both Alias and Lost (which airs immediately before it at 8). The shows have the same sensibilities, being produced by J.J. Abrams, the man who plans to make Mission Impossible 3 a character story, but are incredibly different in their execution.

Lost is halfway through its season already, but has the benefit of being ridiculously popular with all viewers. Maybe Alias will do better, now that it has a compatible lead-in, and not ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney. It's really not as complex a show as everyone makes out to be -- it's just a show that rewards habitual watching and having an emotional investment in the characters.

Stars Align for 'Alias' in New Wednesday Slot
Alias is back in fighting form
Commentary: Deciphering 'Alias'
Lost finds success
Lost: Summary of the First 11 Episodes

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I went to the doctor today to check on my ear & hearing, which has improved but isn't 100% yet. He couldn't find anything wrong with the eardrum itself and said that things looked impeccably clean, so he ordered me to dope up on decongestants for a couple days to see if clearing out the Eustachian tubes will have any effect.

That's not why they call it the wiener wagon.
A central Florida teenager survived a six-story fall after he failed on his try to leap [3 feet] from the top of one downtown parking garage to another Friday.
Gadsby

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

I think my hearing is back to normal, though I don't know how much of an effect the decongestants had on anything. Of course now I have no excuse to ignore boring people.

On the gaming side, I'm still playing World of Warcraft, having gotten the entire household hooked on it, and also working through Metroid Prime 2 which so far is a near-exact clone of the first game (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). For my thoughts on the original Prime, see the entry from February 22, 2003.

Sims 2 hacks spread like viruses

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Monday, January 10, 2005

The server was down on Friday night, so I couldn't update anything. Instead I took the time to do some housekeeping in the News section and tidy up the pictures and entries. I also went through some old news posts to kill broken links (most of them on CNN) but that got boring around October 2004.

On Saturday afternoon, I read Michael Crichton's State of Fear, his latest techno-thriller. It's his first book where you can really tell that he has an opinion on things, and contains a ton of interesting information on global warming and weather crises. The book tries hard not to preach, but occasionally it does. He does reasonably well merging the "hope Hollywood makes this into a movie" aspect with the more clinical science feel and the conflicts are creatively done, though I liked the previous book, Prey a little better.

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Anna asked me to use my site for Good by plugging the dress shop where she got a hefty discount on her wedding dress: White Swan Bridal Boutique in Vienna, VA . She was very satisfied with the way the store folk treated her and her endless entourage of sisters. Personally, I've had seventeen dresses and a top hat bought or altered there and I can assure you that it's good stuff.

My site recently reappeared on Google, so I can make an occasional post about the search terms people used that led to this page.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    instructions on how to do the duck noodle dance, jennie geisner, joe tornello music, lasalle bank will they take your change in jars, explain bad santa and the talking walnut, glenshadow's tavern, zealots dweb

Mini Me commits foul No. 1
Torture? Not if cheerleaders do it.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

If you want a good example of a mediocre song made worse by a horrible performance, find a recording of With Those Eyes by Elena. It's so horrible that I can't even listen to it all the way through -- I have to change the station. The vocalist sounds like Ashlee Simpson with chronic bronchitis brought about from smoking a pack an hour, and her caterwauling across the anemic chorus sounds like a hyena in pain.

Alias and Lost are on tonight. I wasn't totally impressed with the season premiere of Alias last week, but I just rewatched it and like it a lot more. It suffers from being a little too long with a little too much filler, but otherwise it actually sets up a fourth season pretty well.

Eliminating your blind spot
Other instructions given performers include a warning not to look directly at Bush while passing the presidential reviewing stand, not to look to either side and not to make any sudden movements.
In-depth analysis of Alias

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

A few months ago, I listened to First of the Gang to Die by Morrissey and thought it was catchy with a very unique lead voice, even though it was kind of a stupid song. Based on that, I picked up two Morrissey CDs out of a bargain bin, You are the Quarry and The Best of Morrissey. After listening to these, I can say that Morrissey is the king of pretentious, unmemorable music. He wastes his great voice on pointless anti-establishment songs with lyrics like these:

    America your head's too big, Because America, Your belly's too big
    And I love you, I just wish you'd stay where you is

    In America, The land of the free, they said, And of opportunity, In a just and a truthful way
    But where the president, Is never black, female or gay, And until that day
    You've got nothing to say to me, To help me believe

    In America, It brought you the hamburger, Well America you know where, You can shove your hamburger
    And don't you wonder, Why in Estonia they say, Hey you, Big fat pig
    You fat pig, You fat pig

    Steely Blue eyes with no love in them, Scan The World,
    And a humourless smile, With no warmth within, Greets the world
    And I, I have got nothing, To offer you
    No-no-no-no-no
    Just this heart deep and true, Which you say you don't need

    See with your eyes, Touch with your hands, please, Hear through your ears, Know in your soul, please
    For haven't you me with you now?
    And I love you, I love you, I love you, And I love you, I love you, I love you

    - America is Not the World

I've listened to the Best Of CD three times now and can't recall a single melody. The Quarry CD is more catchy but the lyrics really kill it. I guess the lyrics one listener might claim as thoughtfully deep can be heard by another listener as cringingly bad. It's a shame that such a great sound is wasted on these songs.

Morrissey has also caught the U2 bug, as evidenced in his liner notes:

    As a lyricist, singer, and performer, Morrissey has created a mythology unrivaled in popular music . . . increasingly, when one thinks about Morrissey's conversion from pop start into an entire cultural brand, it is tempting to make comparisons with Andy Warhol . . . One day there will most probably be a Faculty of Morrissey Studies in more than one distinguished seat of learning.

Here are some more sound clips so you can draw your own conclusions.

All the Lazy Dykes (391KB MP3)
How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel? (469KB MP3)
I Have Forgiven Jesus (453KB MP3)

Alias and Lost were both excellent last night. It's amazing how much new information Lost can keep providing viewers without actually giving a definitive answer on anything.

Morrissey on allmusic.com
Family disowns tsunami liar
Virginia rodeo gets unexpected song rendition

tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, January 14, 2005

Not much new to report today. I'm working tomorrow, and going to my parents' for dinner on Sunday. At some point I need to go shopping for some new shoes and some new clothes, but probably won't get time to do that this weekend.

Pair arrested after telling lawyer jokes
Carol singing burglar shoot self in the leg
Pentagon rejects the gA-Bomb

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Monday, January 17, 2005

Happy Martin Luther King Day. Let's all take a moment and reflect on the two years I spent living at the corner of Park Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Stripping lucrative for eighth graders
"The Three Amigos" was conceived and written in South Africa. The characters, props and layouts were designed and created in Canada, and the background and animation was done in India, Kharas said. More than 320 people volunteered to support the project.
He says he just hopes his parents don't find out about the speeding tickets.
One last, long campout for 'the Star Wars guy'

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

It's time for a round of Name That Tune! Be the first visitor to identify all of the following (reasonably obscure) tunes based on a five second clip. The winner will get his or her picture posted in a news post with a suitable obituary-style aggrandizement (must provide photo if I don't already have it). Group entries are welcome. Honorable mentions will go to anyone who can guess at least one of the clips. Deadline: Friday at midnight. In the case of a tie, winners must duke it out in a Roman arena of their choice. You can email me using the link at the very bottom of the page.

Name That Symphonic Work (Composer / Title, Movement not required)
Name That Rock Song (Title / Group)
Name That Jazz Chart (Title / Group)
Name that Theme Song (Show or Movie Name)

tagged as contests | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

We've got our first snowfall today -- about one and a half inches of very dry snow which fell all day today. No doubt the commute out of Washington today will be clogged to hell and back because of both the snow and the Inauguration preparations. I predict that road rage will cause the Terrorist Threat Color Wheel to switch to Orange.

Lost Episode 14 "Special" Tonight: Violence ensues and a mysterious island beast makes a re-appearance when Michael and Locke clash over Walt's upbringing. Meanwhile, Charlie is tempted to read the missing Claire's diary, and Sayid enlists Shannon to help decipher the French woman's map.

Alias Episode 4 "Ice" Tonight: Sydney goes undercover as an earthy social worker and Vaughn as a lascivious, semi-tipsy priest to track down a deadly new bio-weapon. Meanwhile, Sydney is frightened when Vaughn's inner-demons regarding deceased wife Lauren come to the surface, and Nadia turns to a reluctant Jack to learn truths about her mother, Irina.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    nudist colonies in arkansas, how do you make a dudup, how many cookies in a package of chips ahoy, meaning of pootwaddle, majestic piece written for trumpets, layout of an apartment, korea nudist, ?c???s?[?_???x

Bill Gates strikes a pose
Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Day
She had all her teeth.
Look what I can do!

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Thursday, January 20, 2005

People have said that my Name that Tune challenge is way too hard, so here are some hints for all the folks who haven't already named them all.

  1. It's a concerto.
  2. The singer's name is David, and he has a hyphenated last name.
  3. A signature song of a group who had several songs with the word Artistry in their titles. This song can be heard on Amazon, on a "Best Of _____" CD for this group.
  4. This was a cartoon in the 80s.
CPIP networking
Why strollers, crutches, and small children shouldn't go on escalators

tagged as contests | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, January 21, 2005

Congratulations to the group effort of Mike & Kathy who managed to get all four songs from Tuesday's Name That Tune contest (their entry came in AFTER yesterday's hints though. They get to write a guest entry which I'll post sometime next week. Here are the songs for the next Name That Tune contest (or Find That Tune, if that's how you like to play). Because the first one was so hard, I've doubled the length of the clips and I'm providing a little more context to them (Deadline is next Thursday at midnight).

Name That Symphonic/Choral Work (Composer / Title)
Name That 70s Funk Chart (Title / Group)
Name That 80s Pop Song Written for a Movie (Title / Group)
Name that 90s Movie Theme (Movie Name)

Oh, and the answers to the previous contest: 1) Gershwin's Concerto in F, Movement III, 2) Blood, Sweat, & Tears' Something's Coming On, 3) Stan Kenton's Eager Beaver, and Theme from Ducktales.

Woman arrested for deleting savegame
Snowbies

tagged as contests | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, January 24, 2005

We ended up with 5 inches of snow over the weekend. Since my street is several streets away from a main road we didn't really get any plowing, so I spent the weekend in doors doing minor house repairs, shoveling, and game playing. Today I worked from six to four and then came home for a little bit of housework.

Prodigy, 12, Compared To Mozart

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Absolutely nothing newsworthy has occurred since my update yesterday. I hope you're all working prodigiously on your Name That Tune entries.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Make sure to watch Alias tonight, since next week's show will be preempted by the State of the Union address.

Alias Episode 5 "Welcome to Liberty Village" Tonight: Sydney and Vaughn pose as a married couple in suburbia in order to find a weapon that could set society back to the Dark Ages. They quickly discover that "marriage" is a real strain on their relationship, and the picturesque neighborhood they've infiltrated is not nearly as innocuous as it seems - nor is it in America.

Clay-eating man
FBI probes Boy Scouts
I am the Jew here, I am the boss.

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

I'm still playing a lot of World of Warcraft, though I've gone off on a recent tangent from straight playing to auctioning. By playing mind games with supply and demand, I've carved out a few monopolies for myself in the online auction house and my character's net worth has gone from 8 gold up to about 65 gold. With a reasonable time investment and math skills, it's quite easy to make tons of in-game cash -- just as in real life, most people don't understand or care that buying 5 of something for 1 gold is NOT as good a bargain as buying 20 of something at 3 gold. I also put up with people who try to greatly undercut my prices, not realizing that I'm just buying their goods and reselling them for higher prices.

It's like eBay without any lasting penalties for royally screwing up.

tagged as games | permalink | 10 comments

Friday, January 28, 2005

Sadly, no one submitted any entries to this week's Name That Tune contest. The answers were:

  1. Trista, Hector Berlioz
  2. Faces, Earth, Wind and Fire
  3. Underground, David Bowie for Labyrinth
  4. NASA Attacks from Conspiracy Theory

Also, for your listening displeasure, I found an online recording of the song I mentioned in my January 12, 2005 update: With Those Eyes by Elena (streaming WMV). Try not to throw up on my site.

No sleep for 20 years

tagged as contests | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, January 31, 2005

January comes to a close following a high-stakes poker game on Friday night (I came in fourth) and unexpected snow on Saturday (2 inches). Nothing of interest happened yesterday, being one of those weekend days that only gets half a slot on a wall calendar. Anna and I put in some papers for two kittens, and we should be hearing back sometime this week.

Monkeys Pay to See Female Monkey Bottoms
Cops: Robber Asked Victim For A Date
Cheney's Fashion Sense

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