07/2005

Friday, July 01, 2005

Sydney and Kitty moved to Manassas last night and they're doing fine by all accounts. Booty and Amber are now the sole owners of this house, although they graciously let me stay. As a tribute to fat and fur, here's a collage of cat pictures I painted myself, celebrating five years of Kitty and four months of Sydney (234KB JPG).

In addition, here are some classic Kitty and Sydney moments:

    Kitty Stalking Booty (7MB WMV)
    Kitty on the Stairs (3MB WMV)
    Kitty Sings (2MB WMV)
    Sydney, as the Caped Avenger (696KB WMV)
    Sydney, learning how to open food containers (476KB WMV)

You may scoff at the last one, but by now she knows how to open food containers, trash cans, closets containing food containers, cabinets containing food containers, and cabinets with child locks.

So Anna, Ben, Sydney, and Kitty are all permanently evicted, and Kathy, the basement-squatter, is gone on a cross-country road trip for two weeks. My sister and her husband came here yesterday to fly out of Dulles to Chicago, so my driveway is jam packed with stationary mobiles. Now it's time to think about redoing some of the upstairs rooms (carpet, paint, et cetera) and to start my LTS work in earnest. I'd also like to start composing and practicing trumpet again, since there's no one to bother with repetitious repetition, but I probably won't have the free time to devote to that for a few more months. In the short term, I'm off to Colonial Beach and I'll be back early Sunday morning.

Obligatory beginning of the month note: If you don't visit every day and you missed yesterday's update, it can be found by clicking on June 2005 in the menu to the left.

Survival of the posted hamster
Woman in crash already dead
Fight crime by speeding

permalink | 2 comments

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th of July!

I've posted a few pictures from my time in Colonial Beach on the BU-Photos page. The trip there and back were fairly uneventful with two exceptions: On the way down, I saw a dead man in a truck in the Braddock Road Exit access road. His headlights were on, but he was parked on the shoulder with his door either fully open or torn off. He was sitting upright, his chin resting on his neck and his left hand hanging down out of the truck cab, clutching something red. If he wasn't dead, he was probably resting off one hell of a night, since it was at about 6 AM on Saturday.

On the way home, I saw my first blatant toll-road violator. He had no Smart-Tag in his car and he brazenly plowed through the lane. A blue neon sign lit up saying, "TOLL NOT PAID" and the license plate camera started flashing a couple times per second. His license plate was JGB-7366. I wrote it down because I was right behind him and may end up getting a ticket in the mail. Feel free to cross reference his V.I.N. and deliver pizzas to his house.

Flesh-eating aliens were chasing me when I caused fatal car crash
Mehaffey wore short shorts, was picked up by a male student, was handcuffed by a male student pretending to be a police officer and tore the T-shirt off a male student
Professor talks out of his ass. Thinks Neanderthals would have rapped.

permalink | 1 comment

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A ton of today's blogs have a page called "100 Things About Me" where the writer describes subtle and not so subtle peculiarities of their life or personality. In an effort to maintain my bandwagoneer membership (which expires soon), I've created a page of my own which you can find in the About section . Regular visitors to this site probably know a lot about what I've done in life, but not so much about who I am. I plowed through about 160 "things" before I ran out of steam, but I'll probably add more as I think of them. I also put a Comments link on that page, so you can dissect the cadaver of my soul at length with other visitors.

Happy Birthday Ada Hettinga!

Calling in sick to become a professional wrestler
During preliminary interviews with the teacher, she advised us it was the work of students and gave us a list of six or seven, which I thought was kind of suspicious
Probe crashes, but wait, this time it was intentional!

tagged as website | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Facets of Space: Insight Into Today's Headlines

Space Invaders

Being fat is now a matter of National Security. Military officials worry because too many recruits are now too fat to join the services (although they note that "'Large and in charge' makes soldiers look more formidable to the enemy" . Farther down in the article is a chart of weight-loss methods, with 21% of soldiers trying laxatives (apparently forgetting that they're grown adults and not high school rowers in the Lightweight 8 at Stotesbury).

My feeling on the matter is that they should let them all in. Since I don't plan on joining voluntarily, someone's got to be out there fighting for vague, indeterminate causes. Is it really a big deal if the helicopter has to gas up more frequently or uniforms are a little snug? Evidently the military does not read my website, or they would have seen this previously posted news story touting the BENEFITS of having chunk on the front .

Take a Ride on the Spacehype

Apparently the comet-probe collision is a bigger deal than I presumed . CNN calmly proclaims,

    When space history books are rewritten, NASA's success at blasting a crater in a comet is sure to be included as more than just a footnote.
I didn't realize that anyone was planning to rewrite any history books, but perhaps there was an executive directive to touch up the moon-landing photographs everyone suspected to be fake. In any event, when world history books are rewritten, the URI! Zone's success at forming common bonds between people of every nationality and its role in world peace are sure to be included as more than just a footnote1.

Why is it such a big deal? Well, look at what was accomplished:

  • NASA spent $330 million to crash into a projectile travelling 23,000 mph. The Pentagon has spent billions of dollars on the Star Wars programs, SDI and NMD, over twenty years and still can't accurately and consistently hit anything but weather balloons.
  • We now have pictures, such as the one to the right, which provide us with much to speculate about, as to the origin of comets (In other news, Professor Steven Mithen of Reading University has postulated that comets would have liked rap music, but would have preferred going to rock concerts).
  • We have learned that Professor Richard Berendzen has always wanted to "get up close and personal with an ancestor like this" . When asked for comments, Professor Pete Schultz added, "We touched a comet and we touched it hard".
  • We have learned that five tons of dynamite will make something six times brighter. This is a very good cost/efficiency ratio.
  • We have learned that we were mistaken to think comets were pickle-shaped. In fact, they are shaped "like a muffin or a loaf of bread". Move over, Copernicus.
  • We have learned that Deep Impact, one of the stupidest movies ever made, could have happened!

Based on overwhelming evidence, I have changed my mind. This was "really a key point in our whole lives".

Note: Here is how to make your own commemorative comet photo, free of charge!

  1. Type in 'rock' at Google Images. Pick a rock that looks suitably like a comet. If you aren't sure what a comet looks like, remember to think "loaf of bread" and not "pickle".
  2. Convert the image to greyscale and remove the background.
  3. In Adobe Photoshop 7.0, go to Filter -> Render > Lens Flare. The default settings will suffice, though you may want to increase the brightness to simulate using more than five tons of dynamite.
  4. Voila! Add stars as necessary to give it a spacey-feel. A constellation of Kevin Spacey will also suffice.


1: The rewriting depends upon my hostile takeover of Houghton-Mifflin, which is currently on schedule. This is just a footnote.

tagged as newsday, mock mock | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Since everybody loves a good list, here is my list of ten well-built songs (I hesitate to call it a Top Ten list, since there are inevitably other songs that I've forgotten). A well-built song need not be the greatest song in the world, have the deepest message, or even be one of your favourites -- it's just a song that's solid from start to finish. It isn't too long or short, it doesn't get old, it's well-crafted, and it says what it needs to say, maximizing the potential of whatever style it's in. Here are my picks, in roughly chronological order (with Amazon samples):

  1. Monkees - Pleasant Valley Sunday
  2. Beach Boys - God Only Knows
  3. Huey Lewis - Power of Love
  4. Bon Jovi - Livin' on a Prayer
  5. Guns and Roses - Sweet Child of Mine
  6. Eminem - Till I Collapse
  7. Maroon 5 - She Will Be Loved
  8. No Doubt - It's My Life
  9. Black Eyed Peas - Let's Get Retarded
  10. Muse - Hysteria

As you can see, the genres in my list are all over the map. In essence, these are songs that I would leave unchanged if I were ever rewriting music books. Do you have any songs you'd define as "well-built"TM? Disagree? Please share!

Happy Birthday, Doobie!

We treated him as if he were hazardous material
Keeping a wedding from going to waste
Microsoft Antispyware no longer flags adware of a company it may purchase

tagged as lists, music | permalink | 5 comments

Friday, July 08, 2005

Warning: Today's news update links to stories about animals with bad endings. This does not refer to pooping elephants. If you don't like sad animal stories, do not click on the links.

This is not the way you should be putting injured deer out of their misery, even if you are one of Arlington's finest . Unless the deer is possessed by the spirit of Rasputin (in which case you should call a Scientologist for an audit), your best bet is to call up Animal Control.

I'm sure by now everyone's heard the sad story of the dog and the firecracker on Independence Day . I think the most ridiculous aspect of the story is how it happened:

    Kolinoski said the family had been celebrating in their yard [...] when his wife's uncle drove by and threw the explosive about 5:30 p.m.

    "He wasn't even invited," the dog's owner said.

Who does that? "Heads up kids, your Uncle Billy's here!"

Sometimes animals get their revenge though. Here's a story paraphrased from America's Dumbest Criminals by Butler, Ray, and Gregory:

    Kerry and David's idea of a good time was to get drunk and drive some thirty miles outside their southwestern city and wreak havoc on whatever innocent desert creatures happened across their path; mainly coyotes. From their new 4x4 Blazer, they would run them down or shoot them, sometimes setting traps for the unsuspecting creatures, ensuring themselves sufficient victims for a day of demented sport. One day, the pair removed a coyote from their trap and taped two sticks of dynamite to its body. Then they lit the fuses and turned the coyote loose.

    Scared, confused, and panicked, the coyote ran for about ten feet, then turned and ran straight back at them. Kerry and David ran. The coyote followed. It would rush one way, zig and zag, then chase after the other guy. Finally, the coyote ran for the nearest cover, which was a five by eleven foot shaded area -- right under the new Blazer. The terrible two were now the ones scared, confused, and panicked. They couldn't chase him off. They couldn't drag him out. They couldn't even get near him. In fact, they had to run even faster now...

    Kaboom! The two were thirty miles from home, and stranded in the middle of the desert. When they were finally rescued, they were charged with animal cruelty and other violations against nature. And once the truth was out, the insurance company refused to cover the Blazer.


Happiness is rediscovering an unopened box of chocolate eclairs in the freezer. Have a good weekend!

tagged as newsday | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, July 11, 2005

Improvements

  • This weekend my dad and I moved twenty-five 80-lb bags of concrete mix for the next round of sidewalk improvements next to my house. I also tore the old carpet out of guest room #2 (it's time to pick new paint and carpet colors), rearranged the living room a bit, and started improving the appearance of the basement romper room. I ordered some tasteful posters online and moved the dining room table downstairs for barbeques and poker games, and I need to buy a dartboard for people who don't like to shoot pool. Replacing the dining table upstairs is less important, because I eat everything off a coffee table and it's only used by cats to look out the window. I'm improving the rooms I'm not in as much, so when I get distracted for months at a time, I don't have to worry about living within my work in progress. The rest of the weekend was filled with some nice gaming, some nice progress on my "How to Read Music" presentation, and a nice lunch at Boston Market (dark meat chicken with macaroni & cheese and mashed potatos with gravy, of course).

  • I've been diligently exercising for an hour a day for over a week now. My parents loaned me the fifth season of The Sopranos last week so I breezed through that while biking. It was decent enough but really more of the same. With such short seasons and a high price tag, it's definitely overhyped now. The previous seasons were great at creating interest in morally reprehensible characters, but it felt like too much of this season was spent making every little grimace or reaction shot deeply symbolic with layer upon layer of subtext. There was also way too much blatant product placement (though I did like the fact that a mob boss rewarded one of his men with the Whirlpool Duet washer/dryer set, since I have a pair in my basement and didn't rub anyone out for it). Overall, good TV if you can rent it, but don't go out and buy HBO just for the show -- the first couple seasons are still the best.

  • At work, Jack upgraded to a single-person office befitting his new managerial status, so I slyly relocated to the side of our old office near the window. The old slot will probably be filled in by whoever the next hire turns out to be (since we're always hiring someone). I still like the fact that everyone at FGM gets an office instead of a cubicle.

  • My 100? Things About Me page was a hit, judging from the spike in visitors I saw. I'll try to improve it with another 61 things to it at some point so there's an even 222. Incidentally, Anna mentioned that she ended up with exactly 222 pictures from her honeymoon.

  • I considered improving my news scripts to include a post title next to the date in the header of each news post. I abandoned this quickly because it would force me to think up a witty title every day.
  • As an added bonus this week, I'll be reposting funny videos from my news archive, one per day through Friday. Because movies are so large, they'll only be up for a couple days each. This should give you plenty of motivation to visit daily (and people who visit every day might also have the chance to be entered into a lottery where the winner has a chance to win a free toaster).

    First up is this infomercial for a genuine stainless steel katana: (5MB MPG)

    Estonians take wife-carrying title. Wife not required -- any female with a bag on her head is allowed
    Girl takes the sport of Xtreme Sleepwalking to new heights
    For instance, if someone is from Idaho, I could say, 'You're back in Boise for apple-picking time.'

    tagged as lists | permalink | 0 comments

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    In my fourth year of college ('99 - '00), my favourite Friday nights were the ones where I had nothing to do. I remember jogging home through the nasty cold near midnight, having just spent a few hours sucking it up at the trumpet in the practice rooms. My roommate, Kelley, was gone every weekend perpetuating his Demolay cult through his position as Statemaster Councilor, so things would be pretty quiet. I would cook up a double helping of Ramen noodles in the hot pot for a midnight snack and then settle in at my desk with some music and a book, or maybe converse with my network of clowns online, but mostly I would peoplewatch.

    I lived in a dorm shaped like an "H" for the first four years of my college career, and in the fourth year, my room was in the armpit of the H (or crotch, depending on what you'd consider the proper architectural terminology). Because of this, I had a Rear Window view on seven stories of teeming humanity in the opposite leg of the dorm. I could sit there for hours, just watching people come and go, get ready for parties, sleep, have fights, watch TV, or turn out the lights for some amorous amity. I wasn't really interested in the voyeuristic aspect of it -- what amazed me (and still does) is that every single person in that personal theatrical production had their own lives and their own stories. Each person had a timeline of twenty odd years just like I did, and friends and family who also had individual stories, ad naseum. Most of those people I never met, but they're still out there, adding to their stories while completely oblivious to my own.


    Today's funny video from my archives is this heartwarming clip about the dog who finds out that his poodle girlfriend is a slut (4MB MPG)

    Children ate candy and watched as crime scene technicians tried to process the man's remains, still lodged in the mouth of the chipper.
    Sheep in Turkey like Lemmings. "There's nothing we can do. They're all wasted."
    News Flash: Eating 15 bags of crisps might be bad for your health

    permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Visitors seem to crawl out of the woodwork whenever I talk about music, so today's post will consist of random whimsies about the music in my mind and on my playlist.

    • A faux 70s pad sound can turn a mediocre song into a catchy one, like Black and White Town (325KB MP3) by the Doves. You can forgive a lot in a song when it sounds a little retro .

    • I'm a sucker for that Chase credit card commercial featuring Five for Fighting's 100 Years . It's so shamelessly over-the-top sentimental that it works. This doesn't mean I'll get a new credit card though.

    • I think Love Machine (580KB MP3) by Girls Aloud is a perfect example of harmless cheesy pop. It has cute lyrics too . Nikka Costa's Til I Get To You has some very clever lyrics . I like clever lyrics.

    • I can't decide which song has the more infectiously catchy beat, Jump (503KB MP3) by Mike Monday featuring Stella Attar, or Que Onde Guero (504KB MP3) by Beck. What do you think?

    • I can't decide which song is more infectiously obnoxious, Get Right by J-Lo, or -- actually Get Right wins hands down. A near miss would be One Thing by Finger 11.

    • Kylie Minogue has some horrible music but I like it anyways.

    • I don't see why everyone likes Franz Ferdinand so much. He has some pretty decent songs but the man is incapable of carrying a tune . On the other hand, Shaznay Lewis has a very unique and pleasing voice (496KB MP3).

    Today's funny video from my archives is a funny commercial. Be warned that there's swearing in the audio, so don't watch it at work unless you're a VIP in a single office (8MB MOV)

    Happy Birthday, Uncle John!

    Study shows, men like naked chicks on the beach
    How to pretty up your country's beaches
    Thief eats tot's cookie

    tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    I read a story in the Washington Post a couple days ago that mentioned Herndon's continued efforts to regulate or do away with the sites where day laborers meet for jobs . Herndon and the proposed sites are literally right down the street from me. While I can see where the opponents are coming from, I think I see a few flaws in their logic:

      "At the 7-Eleven, it's an eyesore [...] Not too many people go to that 7-Eleven anymore . . . and now they want to put that in a residential part of town."

      Several people said in public comments that they worried that the day workers would lower property values and would bring gang violence and diseases.

    First, does anyone actually go to 7-Eleven anymore? The last time I was inside a 7-Eleven was on a family trip, pestering my dad for The Dark Crystal collectible cards and those rub-on kits where you could rub stickers of He-Man and Orko onto cardboard backdrops. The paucity of visitors probably has more to do with the footlong hot dog which has been travelling on the treadmill grill for over fifteen years like a hamster with a broken spirit. (Incidentally, every store uses the same hot dog -- they FedEx it around so they can be in the Guiness Book under "well-travelled dogs").

    It's true that property values will probably go down near any official day laborer site, and it's minimally possible that the day laborers will form into a gang (aptly named MS-6d2) and steal hammers from Home Depot at gunpoint (actually Lowes, since the hammers at Home Depot would be out of stock). But, diseases? Come on.

    I asked Jeeves about day laborer diseases, but all he could tell me was that they should wear gloves at the construction site, or else Aspergillus will put blood in their sputum. Google agreed with this prognosis, but added that illegal immigrants have higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases. The solution, then, for those worried Herndon residents? Don't have sex outside of 7-Eleven or any other designated day laborer site! Using protection while having sex in a port-a-John will also help to keep your sputum bloodfree.

    I also think it's cute that visiting www.washintonpost.com automatically redirects you to the site with the correct spelling.


    The next Harry Potter book comes out on Saturday. I'll probably pick it up in hardcover since I just finished rereading Traitor's Knot. The stories are always decently written, though hopefully Rowling's gotten a new editor to trim out the endless pages of "Harry's angry. GRR! Harry likes girls and is confused. This makes Harry angry. GRR!" that plagued the last book.

    Today's funny video from my archives is a montage of cute cat moments from America's Funniest Home Videos (2MB WMV)

    Revealing too much in your blog
    6 of 6 People found my review useful
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince leaks, Rowling to rename it Harry Potter and the Empty Prince LOL!

    tagged as newsday, mock mock, favourites | permalink | 5 comments

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    It was funny enough when Blizzard's World of Warcraft gave you the option of owning pets, including Maine Coon cats, and players discovered that talking about their pets in Chat Channels filtered "Coon" as profanity.

    On Tuesday, they quietly changed the name of the cat without announcing it, regardless of the fact that Maine Coon is a real type of cat, and the state cat of Maine. (Maine Coons are giant cats once thought to have been mated with raccoons. Kitty is a Maine Coon). People quickly noticed that their pets had changed and complained. The official Blizzard response included:

      This non-combat pet name was changed as there were a number of concerns expressed by players that had never heard of this particular breed of cat. To them it seemed offensive, which was never our intent upon introducing this pet. I'm sorry if you're the owner of such a pet and your desire to love it has lessened since patch version 1.6. We weren't that dedicated to the name to attempt to educate people on its meaning. It's a non-combat pet. Had the name Thrall [Leader of the Horde] created an upset, we would've handled the issue entirely different, or perhaps we would've just changed his name to Green Tabby. I'm sorry that some of you aren't happy with our decision to change the name of the pet formally known as Maine Coon .

    The juicy irony of this story is that in an effort to make the kitty less racist, they renamed it Black Tabby.


    My site was down for a few hours yesterday morning. Submitting a ticket to tech support led to the discovery that my web host (which, to date, has always seemed like a one man company) has outsourced Tech Support to India.

    The Emmy nominations are out, with Lost getting 12, Arrested Development getting 4, and Alias getting 4. I find it amusing that Jennifer Garner really deserved a nomination for her acting in the first three seasons, and she gets one for the season where she phoned in half the episodes and wasn't in the other half (no doubt busy making babies, a.k.a. "suffering back injuries on the set of Elektra", with Ben Affleck).

    The final movie of Old Funny Movie Week is this Nutrigrain commercial, titled "I feel great!". If you don't have a Quicktime movie player, this movie should give you the incentive to go download it (10MB MOV)

    You can sleep with minors, but armed robbery will get you kicked off the team
    Elmer's to drop Cow as mascot in favour of Frog
    City charges woman for 10 million gallons of water

    tagged as mock mock, games | permalink | 5 comments

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    There are no spoilers for Book 6 in today's review.

    The latest Harry Potter book is surprisingly better than I expected it to be. I found the first three books to be cute but formulaic (Suspiciously evil wizard turns out to be not so bad, but benign friendly wizard was up to no good!!). The fourth and fifth tried too hard to be of epic proportions and ended up as Spellbooks of Oral Diarrhea. Now, with the end in sight and all the pieces falling into place, the sixth book has a much tighter storyline and a pace that doesn't drag along so much.

    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the first book where the significance of the title isn't really revealed until the end, and it's more of a footnote than an explanation. It's shorter than the previous two books by about one hundred pages, but it's definitely larger than a stick of butter . Harry Potter starts taking responsibility for himself this time around, and spends less time whining and moping. Much less bookspace is given to the trials of being a teenager, a sideplot I always felt was the weakest part of the other books (yes, it's necessary, but I don't think it was ever particularly well-done). The Ron & Hermione tension which has been building for several books now is just annoying, and needs some kind of resolution. If our media can be trusted, kids nowadays are playing Witch Doctor as early as 10 or 12, so it wouldn't be unreasonable for the pair to be sampling each others' concoctions or exploring each others' broom closets at 17. Of course, the fact that the book is aimed at kids means that this will never be worked into the official timeline of the Potterverse.

    And yet, the kiddiness factor of this book is much smaller than any previous book. Murders, tortures, zombies, and blood rituals abound, and I bet at least one conservative values group will be outraged at the one page with the word "slut" on it. Rowling isn't afraid to create this dark atmosphere as a natural result of the story to date, and it works very well. This would be a good book to be turned into a movie by the Burton/Elfman/Depp team, except that they would probably overemphasize the "dark yet cute" style rather than just letting it be dark.

    Lots of events from previous books are tied together here, although some less successfully than others. Though it's no War of Light & Shadows, Rowling does a pretty decent job of making those connections more than just afterthoughts. The ending is well done, and throws some interesting surprises into the mix for the final book. This time around, I'm actually looking forward to the next one.

    Incidentally, I picked mine up for $15 at Costco on Saturday. They had a monstrous end-aisle display stacked higher than I am tall with books (It's pretty easy for something to be taller than I am, but at least I'm bigger than a stick of butter). Crowds were hoarding the books fifteen minutes before the store officially opened, with some soccer moms picking up four and five copies for their broods.


    I've added 10 new things to my About Me page , highlighted with red exclamation points. I don't think any of them are major spoilers. In other news, my presentation on How to Read Music is all done, so I'll be starting on Highlights of Western Music tonight.

    I'm tired of the registration requests at smh.com.au, so any of their news stories that I post can be viewed with the user/pass: cosmoran/spider. This is identical to the login for the New York Times which I have posted here in the past. Enjoy.

    A tall frosty glass of Homo Light
    "If it was Memorial Day, no one would have minded."

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Life hasn't been good to NASA since I last reported on their craterization of a comet (see my entry from July 6, 2005). Apparently their P.R. department has decided that instead of performing a successful mission and having a grand news conference upon completion, it's better to Harry-Pottercize the next shuttle mission into hype oblivion (In other news, NASA obtained a temporary injunction against Scaled Composites LLC , who wanted to fly up a day early and spoil the end of space for everyone patiently waiting on the Discovery).

      They are parents, as well as sons and daughters; triathletes, nature-lovers and rock 'n' rollers; pilots, scholars and engineers; seasoned space explorers and first-timers .

    It was heartwarming of CNN to make sure we knew that everyone on the shuttle is going to be a son or daughter, although I'm at a loss as to what else they could be. As usual, AskJeeves was not helpful -- he told me that if parents are planning on taking custody of one kid, it will usually be the son . This is probably good advice, since it's painfully obvious that girls have cooties and never amount to anything (not even the first woman conductor of a major symphony orchestra ). The obvious reasoning behind this byline is that the original copywriter was going to open with one of those obtuse brain teasers about your mother's father's uncle's son, but was fired and replaced by a less seasoned writer.

    So now that the cast of our farce has been introduced, we move to the setting, which in this case is a twenty-two year old shuttle named Discovery. Years of studies in the insurance industry have shown that twenty-two year olds crash more frequently than those who are slightly older (NASA's attempt to skew this by buying Discovery a "hands-free device" was aborted when they realized that the shuttle had neither hands, ears, or cell phones). The crash statistic's veracity was proven rather readily when Discovery's window cover "fell off of its own accord" and damaged some heatshield tiles while the craft was just sitting on the ground . NASA was quick to point out that this minor incident would not delay the launch, temporarily ignoring the fact that damaged heatshield tiles were a primary technical cause in the crash of the Columbia. A possessed window cover is just par for the course, and although I have never seen my driver's side window "open of its own accord" on my own Accord, I have seen it not open at all, usually when I've just pulled up to a Chick-Fil-a drive-through speaker. This forces me get out of the car, much like the astronauts who were sitting in the shuttle when it was finally grounded indefinitely:

      On Wednesday morning, it appeared foul weather might postpone the high-profile mission. Repairing a ground heater earlier in the morning had delayed filling the massive external fuel tank.

      On Tuesday, a cockpit window cover fell off and damaged two protective tiles near the orbiter's tail section.

      But it was the fuel sensor that stopped the launch, a little more than three hours before the scheduled 3:51 p.m. ET launch .

    So in essence, self-detaching covers and damaged tiles which could cause the destruction of the space shuttle are considered minor problems while knowing how much gas you have left is a critical catastrophe. I think that if I were an astronaut in charge, I wouldn't really care about monitoring my fuel levels, because I would expect them to FILL UP THE TANK. If you somehow run out of fuel in space, you may be able to fashion an energy convertor that runs on the international space station's malfunctioning toilet and Chinese pig sperm . Your MacGuyver options diminish dramatically though, when you need to retile the wing of your craft in zero gravity.

    Note: In case NASA has now reported me to the Counterterrorism Unit of the FBI, or Professor Richard Berendzen plans to "get up close and personal with me" like his ancestor, I have created this commemorative picture of me being struck by NASA with a force equivalent to five tons of dynamite. Note how I am six times brighter. Enjoy!


    Sub-Note: I refactored the Comments section code last night and a few directory names have changed. If you are having trouble getting the Comments popup to appear, please clear your cache and reload the page.

    Amber shows that a cat-powered space shuttle might be viable (218KB WMV)

    tagged as newsday, mock mock | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    The new Dave Matthews CD, Stand Up is a forgettable disappointment. I was a big fan of his original CDs, and I thought that Everyday was pretty successful at being a mainstream crossover, but this newest offering isn't good for anything but "background music for chilling" (Add ocean sounds and you could probably turn it into a fine New Age offering).

    The mission statement of the CD seems to be:

      Create a forgettable vamp that repeats every four bars and sing about something arhythmically while your band plays a fifth-grade arrangement as backup. Occasionally throw in a random mix of nonmelodic sounds on a separate track that has nothing to do with anything and call it an "Intro" track. Do not, under any circumstances, call this CD Busted Stuff because that name was already assigned to a CD with the exact same music on it.

    There are no hit tracks, and none of the songs are even particularly memorable. "American Baby" is catchy at first, until you realize that there's eighteen refrains for every one verse. All of this could be forgiven if Dave Matthews had his signature voice, but unfortunately he now sounds like an old smoker and his tone has no vitality at all. Sometimes it even sounds like he's struggling to match pitch.

    Compounding the hate is the fact that this CD is one of those special enhanced CDs that limits your ability to play it on a computer. Skip it.

    The URI! Zone. I buy things so you don't have to.


    I stayed home today to pour concrete for the sidewalk which will eventually go around my house. I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

    Part I: Strong Odors Expose N.Va. House's Secret
    Part II: Cat lady had a backup house
    Part III: Cat lady ended up with 222 dead cats

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Here's a picture of the progress on my walkaround sidewalk. The first slab was laid last October, and the remaining three sections (another fifty bags worth of concrete) will be completed over the next couple weeks, weather permitting.

    People who know me know that I don't like making long-term goals. I don't know where I'll be one year from today, what I'll be doing, or who else will be there, and I don't have much interest in guessing. Long term plans never come to fruition as you'd expect them to, meaning you're either met with a pleasant surprise or you find yourself settling for less than you wanted. Having said that, a few short-term goals never hurt anyone. Now that 2005 has peaked its hump, here are my resolutions and ambitions for the remainder of this year:

    • July / August
      1. Finish the sidewalk.
      2. Give a three-part Lunchtime Seminar at work on music.
      3. Start playing trumpet regularly again.
      4. Visit the dentist.
      5. Resurrect Poker Night.
    • September
      1. Start composing again.
      2. Improvements for the Tenth (!) Year of the URI! Zone, namely adding more exclamation points everywhere (!).
      3. Remodel the second guest room.
      4. Shake Booty (or just remember to feed her).
    • October
      1. Go hiking at least twice.
      2. Remodel the storage room.
      3. Pass the next level of the Java Certification Exam.
      4. Carve a pumpkin.
    • November
      1. Pick up jazz piano again (the skill, not the instrument).
      2. Take over being in charge of Java Training at work
      3. Host lots of Thanksgiving dinners with lots of people and lots of food.
      4. Learn how to lay laminate flooring in my foyer and kitchen.
      5. See a doctor about my crappy carpal hands.
    • December
      1. Sort through ten years worth of e-mail.
      2. Go to at least one non-crappy musical.
      3. Remember to decorate for the holidays.
      4. Join a musical group -- maybe a jazz band or a bad choir.
      5. Burn bridges with all friends and invest the money I'd spend on their gift on something dangerous yet intriguingly fun for myself. You all are the worst friends in the history of friends.
    • In General
      1. Keep Poker Night alive.
      2. Exercise, compose and practice regularly.
      3. Cook real food more often.
      4. Make more of an effort to keep in touch with the old people and the new people.

    Whenever I make lists like this, it always puts me in a very restless mood, where I have the urge to do something highly creative or productive. This occurred last night (yes, I cheated and wrote today's update a day early) and I almost got to work immediately on revamping the URI! Zone. Luckily I held back, since I know that the mood will wear off within 24 hours and I'll be left with yet another incomplete effort. Plus, there are other things I should be working on at the moment. I did not do any of these things in the interim though, so my evening was 100% successful at being a failure.

    The weekend is fast approaching. I'm doing Poker Night on Saturday night (I got 2nd place last week) as well as some more concrete work during the day. Tonight I'm going to see the remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory which should be a fun time. I'll post my thoughts either Friday or Monday.

    All these big updates almost make me want to start posting things on the weekend again. Almost. Then I look through my archives, see how much my weekend updates sucked, remember that I never got more than 10 visitors per day, and abandon all enthusiasm.

    Booty freaks out because she has a tail (180KB WMV)

    She was intrigued that someone could make big money beating men.
    Nancy Larios told Jones her husband had fallen while carrying a vinyl office chair, a pair of scissors and the garbage down the stone-covered stairs
    Bang bang, I shot you down

    permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, July 22, 2005

    Friday Fragments

  • I liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory better than the original movie, and I'll post a full review on Monday. When calculating the tip for post-movie munchies, I did my usual 15% plus whatever it takes to round to the nearest dollar and came out with $2.22. Someday soon I should make a page listing all the crazy places that number has appeared.

  • This month is rapidly becoming the month with the wordiest updates ever, aided by the fact that I finally bought a tiny notepad to write things down in the car, and the half hour I set aside each night for writing. Runner-ups include February 2004 (Oscar picks), February 2002 (the week-long essay on the evolution of video game music), and April 2002 (reviews of Steve Reich's music and the week-long essay on authors I read as a kid).

  • I always knew the French were a little wacky but now they've outdone themselves. The posters on the right are actual images from their new "Prevent AIDS" campaign. I have applied a Gaussian blur to the salient man ass, since that's not necessarily the first thing you want to see in the morning. Kids, make sure you don't have le sex with a spider, because that's how l'AIDS circles le globe. The previous sentence is the result of four years of high school French.

  • I kicked off my list of ambitions by getting a new dentist, so take that, the two of you who voted for "0-9: Slacker ass slacker". I have a cleaning on Monday the 25th. I always thought dentists were supposed to have a year-long backlog.

  • Everywhere I went this week, there were news stories about parents putting their kids in the trunk of the car and seeing absolutely nothing wrong with it. One lady put her kid in the back and the dog up front, because the dog whined and destroyed the fabric when they tried to put it in the trunk.

  • In general, I prefer strawberry-flavoured breakfast bars, but the Quaker Fruit & Oatmeal "Very Berry Muffin" bar makes a strong case for itself. The filling is incredibly rich and aromatic, sure to wake you up in the morning. I don't know if it tastes any better than the rest (it might actually have a more annoying aftertaste), but it's good way to mix up the routine.

  • I received a note from Dave McKee at Virginia Tech saying that my arrangement of Brick House which has been played at football games for five years will be on the next Marching Virginians CD in the Fall. I get no cut of the profits but now I have something to put under "Discography" when I get an allmusic.com berth (I have not yet forgotten about the heavy metal CD, Bacterial Chest Infection I promised to produce several months ago).

  • I also received an e-mail from the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria asking me to fill out a survey about a band scholarship I got ten years ago. Since they used a college address I no longer publish (llamaboy @ vt.edu) I'm not quite sure how they found me. I guess the stalking gets hardcore when money is involved. The surname of the lady sending the e-mail, Yowell, is also the last name of a guy I went to music camp with in the summer of my eighth grade year. He dropped trumpet soon after, and I think he turned into a druggie, although I could be confusing his life story with the numerous other G.W. students who dropped <productive hobby A> and picked up <abusive substance B>. Small world, regardless, though.

  • Here's another sign that the world is small and getting smaller. On slow days, I'll visit random blogs from the northern Virginia area . Some of them I bookmark and some of them I never visit again. I'd been reading one blog for a couple months when I happened to e-mail the author. The name on the return e-mail led me to discover that we went to the same high school two years apart. As if that weren't enough, we were both in band, pit orchestra, did crew, went to Tech, and she dated one of my roommates at Tech. I thought it was creepy at first, then kind of cool in its own Magnolia way. She probably just thought I was a stalker!

  • My roommates in college were characters. I had six total over my five years. Maybe one day I'll tell some stories about them, like the one that brought a girl home when he thought I was sleeping, the one that drank the bottle of Everclear and marched the half time show with vomit on his pants, or the one we called Beavis because, well, he looked exactly like Beavis.

  • I like eclectic updates. Maybe I'll do this every Friday. Have a good weekend.

  • World Net Daily enters the running for the "Worst Excuse for Journalism in the History of Journalism" award
    Teapot cult attacked
    Bomb bomb bomb

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 6 comments

    Monday, July 25, 2005

    Today is the day of my oft-anticipated Charlie and the Chocolate Factory review, although I'm sure that most of you are just happy that the review will push Friday's Arachnid Sex ads below the fold.

    There are generally three majority opinions concerning the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:

    • The movie has been elevated to a state of deified perfection because you saw it every week as a kid. Any new version is automatically blasphemy of the highest order. (I had a friend at Tech whose away message was always "Oompa loompa dippity doo, I've got another puzzle for you").
    • The movie was good enough, but no better than any other kids movie made in the 1970s. I agree with this opinion.
    • Your parents, in a misguided attempt to prevent future acid trips, banned the movie from your television, so you never saw it (but you are still mentally scarred from watching mannequins come to life on Today's Special or freaky marionette birds speak in psychedelic sonar on Pinwheel ).

    A fourth opinion by John Roberts Jr. was recently uncovered, stating that "while I disagree with the status of the movie as a cult classic, it is not my place to overturn a decision which has been thirty years in the making". The URI! Zone has no use for such non-inflammatory opinions, so it will be ignored.

    I admit that I've only seen the original movie once, in 2001, and the people who I was watching it with fast forwarded through one of the slow songs that they didn't like. I read the books over and over though, as I am wont to do.

    Charlie opened with a standard cache of previews for romantic comedies and kids movies. There's a new claymation movie in the works from Tim Burton, Corpse Bride which looks like it'll be worthwhile, sharing the same style as Nightmare Before Christmas. There's also a feature-length Wallace & Gromit coming out (the claymation precursor to Chicken Run). Finally, don't miss THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED on September 30 (capital letters added to emphasize GREATNESS). It's a movie about golf, and obviously produced by Disney -- only with the magic of the Magic Kingdom could you ever hope to turn any form of non-mini-golf into the GREATEST GAME on Earth. It's a GREAT movie with GREAT skills, and it's gonna do GREAT.

    As the real movie began, it was apparent that this was a Tim Burton reinterpretation of the story, and not just a revamp of the old movie. The setting and the cast were perfect, and the little touches were pure Burton. He generally stuck to the story as we know it, but deepened the back story through flashbacks (something that worked more often than it failed in this case). The one disappointment I had was the Elfman score -- the trembling strings and wordless choir arrangements were nothing we haven't heard before, and could have easily been cut wholesale from any earlier Elfman score. It definitely fit the movie, but it seems like he's turning into the John Williams of Burton movies. Ironically, this cookie-cutter score first reared its head as the camera panned over a chocolate-bar stamping machine which was creating hundreds of identical candies. Elfman probably laughed about this all the way to the bank.

    The last time Johnny Depp fell this far into his character, it was his cross of Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pew in Pirates of the Caribbean: Yet Another Movie with a Colon in the Title. This time around, he seems to be channeling Michael Jackson, with liberal doses of the stereotypical mad scientist. The result is a little endearing, but mostly creepy -- definitely not someone you'd ask to watch your kids for you. Much of the edge in the movie relies wholly on his excellent performance. However, for me the star of the show was Deep Roy, who played the part of every single Oompa Loompa (Deep Roy was also the guy in the top hat with the snail in The Neverending Story, and some random musical muppet in Return of the Jedi). Even if you hate the rest of the movie, the dance/music numbers starring Roy are worth watching -- both for the technical achievement and the camp factor. Instead of singing the same song four times, Deep Roy dances through four decades of pop music styles, doing the appropriate dance moves for each era.

    Finally, Charlie closed with a trip to Chili's where we ordered some nachos. Apparently Chili's picks their nachos fresh off the plant and flies them in from Mexico, as we didn't get them for another forty-five minutes. The server apologized profusely and offered a free dessert in recompense. In fact, the cheesecake was so free ("as free as the wind blows", even) that it took them another half hour to catch it and deliver it to our table. By this point it was after 10:30 and time to go home. This is just a cautionary tale -- your ordering times after watching the movie may vary.

    Overall, I would recommend seeing this movie, regardless of your feelings on the original. It's strong enough to stand on its own as an entirely separate entity, and there's plenty of bones thrown to old viewers.


    My web host has been having some serious issues recently, slowing down connections and making my site time out quite frequently. They plan on upgrading their servers over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, please try back later if the site seems to be unresponsive. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    UPDATE: Peeping tom in the outhouse was just looking for a lost ring, and happened to be wearing waders.
    Mr. Floatie is the mascot for People Opposed to Outfall Pollution, or POOP.
    A very strange, but possibly symbolic advertisement for the next season of Lost (12MB MPEG)

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 3 comments

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    My trip to the dentist yesterday was uneventful and exactly like every other trip in my dental repertoire (although they did locate the Mickey Mouse pendant I lost in my nose at age 15). The visit began with dirty looks and voodoo curses when I explained how long it had been since my last confession cleaning, and the orderly donned her thickest "we're going to find a dead muskrat behind his left molar" latex gloves.

    After a quick round of X-Rays, she returned to the room with the dire news that my upper wisdom teeth were coming in sideways and threatening to crush my upper front teeth like an origami bird in a trash compactor. My quick thinking at the forefront, I pointed out that the X-Rays were upside down since my upper wisdom teeth were actually already grown, and hanging off the ends like blue bells in Scotland (see X-Ray above). She quickly realized that the other orderly had inverted the slides, and ran out of the room, returning soon after with dire warnings that my lower wisdom teeth were coming in sideways and threatening to crush my lower front teeth like a sumo wrestler in a hen house.

    Normally this would alarm me, but I've lived with my teeth for a pretty long time now, and we have a reasonably honest relationship with each other. Icebergs have moved faster than my teeth in the past ten years. My former dentist, Dr. Lasky, thought it best to leave the wisdom teeth in until they started causing problems, since taking them out might drastically shift my trumpet embouchure for no health gain. I mentioned this yesterday and their diagnosis shifted to point out that there were cavities back there. Then I pressed a little further, to find that actually it was just that cavities were likely to appear there without proper care.

    Based on this information, I have created a playbook describing what the evil sideways wisdom teeth plan to do to bring about destruction in my mouth:

    The next step in the dental procedure was a pamphlet, titled "Everyone Needs Fluoride!", which I was supposed to read immediately. The pamphlet, no relation to the classic book, "Everybody Poops!", was five pages of "the dangers of not getting enough fluoride", followed by an advertisement for the pharmaceutical company that made the pamphlet. Not surprisingly, this was followed by an offer for an extra dose of fluoride ($30, not covered by insurance) which I declined. The cleaning was quick and painless although someone really needs to invent two things: dental tools that don't sound like power tools, and tastier cleaning solution. I left with a fridge magnet, a toothbrush, a referral to an oral surgeon for wisdom teeth removal, compliments about my unnaturally straight teeth, and an admonishment to come back in six months instead of six years.

    What do you, the dear reader, think? Should I get my wisdom teeth extracted this year? In order to get a second opinion from a licensed professional, I consulted with my local oral surgeon at the McDonald's on Sterling Boulevard. He prescribed a 10 piece Chicken McNugget meal, and I have to say that it was quite tasty. That's my kind of oral surgery.

    Buzzi she said she'd been given no explanation. "I think I'm going to pass out," she said.
    Ashburn man's clone movie cloned
    Cheap beer gets cheaper

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 6 comments

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    The Internet is a scary place -- I must be a magnet for Twilight-Zone connections and illicit coincidences, because they're piling up like fish heads on a poor man's smack. In Monday's update, I posted about an old friend in college whose away message was a line from the original Oompa Loompa song. Within eight hours of posting that she had rediscovered my page and sent me an email, after having vanished without a trace for over two years. She's now living in Houston with her husband, possibly moving to Spain in the Fall. It was good to be able to fill in some blanks, and we were able to reconcile past dramas, melo- and otherwise. Tragically for the nosy, past dramas do not get aired in news updates here, as this is a faux-blog rather than a real blog (a topic I plan to write about later in the week, and most likely tomorrow, since I like my syndicated "Friday Fragments" column).

    She also sent me an email full of exclamation points for the next URI! Zone, so there will be more exclamation points than you could possibly imagine for all you punctuation lovers, come August 1 (the effective date when the URI! Zone begins its tenth year of existence). This should excite! many people to no end, including Florida-Mike! There won't be any major differences to the site, although you will be able to link directly to news posts or arbitrary pages and photos. Google will be able to add my news updates to their search engine, and Molly the Mouseover Llama will return as the site mascot.

    The first extended thunderstorm of the summer barreled over my house yesterday morning, scattering the feline nativity scene on my bedspread like duckpins. Of course, both cats came out of hiding around 5 AM for the daily ritual of Wake & Eat (I wake, they eat). This usual involves Booty sharpening her claws on the underside of my boxspring, while Amber knocks things off my dresser, one artifact at a time, then pats me on the elbow continuously while meowing. Sometimes, when it's still too early, I'll fake them out by moving towards the kitchen, then juke backwards and shut the bedroom door with them outside. It's like a quarterback sneak, except there's no quarterback and the sneak is more of a feint, so I guess it's more like a feint.

    Booty demonstrates the Feint (85KB WMV)
    Hungry Hungry Kitties (679KB WMV)
    Booty shows a feather who's boss (324KB WMV)
    Death from Above (810 KB WMV)

    Booty has picked up the habit of eating newspaper, so if I don't feed her quickly enough, she'll demolish things like the cartoons on my fridge. Sometimes I think it would be nice to own the automatic pet feeder that Dr. Emmett Brown invented in Back to the Future. It would not require 1.21 Jigawatts of electricity, because, seriously, no one has that much energy in the morning, not even a machine.

    If the weather cooperates, I'll be staying home tomorrow to fulfill the manifest destiny of my sidewalk, which will gain another forty bags of concrete or so. My evening should be an action-packed, fun-filled roller coaster as well.

    Why cats don't like sugar
    Stuck Cat Ungrateful for Assistance
    Eminem not retiring after all

    tagged as website | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, July 28, 2005

    There are five major types of online writing that you might come across in your netly sojourns:

    1) The Documentary
    An itemized account of everything that happened in someone's day. Generally drops lots of names, irrelevant details about where they went and what they bought. Occasionally describes an honestly interesting event, but the general mundaneness of it all makes it more interesting for the people you already know rather than strangers.

      Example:
      Today was a pretty good day. I got out of work early and then went down to the Felafel Hut with Timmy and Tommy but they were out of corn so we had to drive out to Walmart to pick up our own tortilla mixings. Traffic sucked. After our midafternoon felafels, we went to Best Buy where they had plasma TVs on sale [link] but none of us could afford one so we all went home and had dinner with Tammy and Tummy. Survivor: Bronx was on at 8. Mahatma really needs to get voted off. I hear NBC originally wanted someone to mug the contestants and snuff their life instead of their flame, but that it was too risky for primetime TV.

    2) The Emotional Barometer
    An in-the-moment capture of how someone is truly feeling, the good, the bad, and the ugly, with no punches pulled. Might be depressing or might be uplifting, but is always very honest. Too much of this kind of writing by young adults may lead to teen-poetry, the sixth type of online writing which has been banned in most developing countries.

      Example:
      Okay seriously, what the f*ck is up with these retards driving at 25 mph in the left lane! They think it's their moral responsibility to make everyone go the speed limit, even when five million cars are clogging the road behind them, horns blaring. If they would remove their heads from places that they are anatomically incapable of putting them and, I don't know, GET IN THE RIGHT LANE, my commute home would be so much faster. I guess it's too much to ask when half the people on the road have an illegal license and don't speak any English and spent the last half of their life driving donkeys down dirt roads in Brazil the next time someone is holding up traffic I swear I'm gonna ram them from behind and push them off the road
      [Note run-on sentence]. *sigh* Maybe I'm just overstressed out from work and the fact that my girlfriend left me for a waiter at Denny's. No one serves three extra helpings of bacon without ulterior motives. F*ck life. Wait, I love my dog though. Goodnight.

    3) The Lazy Linker
    Generally a well-meaning writer who has lost interest in saying anything worthwhile and just posts links with one or two sentences of description. Much like visiting CNN.com except you only get one story a day.

      Example:
      LOL NASA [link]

      Hey Bush fell off a segway LOL [link]

      I'm 80% Kermit and 20% Fozzie. What muppet composition are you? [link]

    4) The Daily Column
    A thought-out, edited, and published glimpse at someone's insight on the news of the day, often with humour and embellishment for interest's sake. More interesting than a Documentary, but runs the risk off being very sterile and impersonal when compared to a Barometer.

      Example:
      It has often been said that cheese is found in many strange places. This was reinforced by the events that happened in Petropavlovsk yesterday [link]. The article mentioned that: "
      We never expected cheese to be found at the bottom of a mineshaft. Who woulda thunk that? I guess the Americans have finally gotten to us after all." To me this seems like a classic case of too much cheese and not enough cheese byproducts. Booty agreed with me and also mentioned that...

    5) The Teenage Halfass
    An initial attempt at creating a webpage which is subsequently forgotten but never removed.

      Example:
      July 3, 1998
      Hay guyz! Welcome to my cOoL sItE! There's not much here right now but plz check back all the time. I will be adding pictures and talking about whuts goin on in my lyfe rite now! TTYL *gigglez* shout out to my boiz too

    Generally, a blog will contain a healthy mix of Documentary and Barometer, with sporadic spurts of Lazy-Linker on those days when there's just nothing to say. Deteriorating blogs increase the percentage of Documentary and Lazy-Linker, eventually becoming totally Links, and then totally Halfass. This is the reason why I don't think my news updates are a true blog. My daily updates started out as pure Documentary when I moved to Florida, with the random Lazy-Linker tossed in, and is now mostly a Daily Column. I now think much more about what I plan on writing, and then refine it so it's hopefully worth reading. I have never written a Barometer update, and what you read here is definitely not as spontaneous as a real blog, but for me, this is fine.

    I do like me a good blog though -- I envy the people who have the wherewithal to go balls out with their heart on their sleeves in front of friends, strangers, and stalkers. I don't think I could write a worthwhile blog myself, being way too private of a person to write about "the good stuff". I'm getting a little better, as you can see by my Things About Me page (10 new things today!), but overall you'll have to content yourself with piecing the BU puzzle together based on the surface reflections I post every day.

    What do you think?

    Falling debris is okay when it hits a bird instead of the shuttle
    U.S. military has no sense of humour
    Given the size of the snake, if it would have bitten him instead of Alicia, he probably would not have survived.

    tagged as lists | permalink | 7 comments

    Friday, July 29, 2005

    Friday Fragments

  • Operation Sidewalk has finished Phase III. We will be moving on to Phase IV: The Final Phase this weekend. My lot will be several tons heavier upon completion, and the subsequent sinking will make it so I don't have to stand on tiptoes to open the front door anymore. That was a short joke, get it? I'm short.

  • Fantastic Four was a fun, cheesy superhero movie. Not a movie you'd want to see multiple times, but entertaining in an over-the-top way. I think the villain found the Green Goblin's evil mask at a yard sale and reused it.

  • They're making a Transporter 2, another absurdly action-packed vehicle starring Jason Stratham, who also played fun badasses in Transporter, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch. This one looks like it'll be fun to watch, although the original (while good) wasn't exactly calling out for a sequel.

  • Post-movie snacks were found at Bennigan's, a restaurant that I didn't even know existed anymore. The last time I was at a Bennigan's, Lionel Kiddie City was turning that frown upside down, and if you paid full price, you didn't buy it at Crown Books. Unlike Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, watching Fantastic Four did not have a deleterious effect on order times. On the way home, I saw a man standing in the street staring at the ground, and three major accidents, one involving a smoking car. The car was actually on fire -- I was not on the Orient Express.

  • I also learned that in my nine-year absence, Springfield Mall has apparently become "the seedy mall". I always thought this distinction was given to Fair Oaks Mall, but I guess Fair Oaks is now the crappy mall, instead of the seedy, crappy mall. Other types of malls in our area include the local mall with nothing worth buying (Landmark), the mall where you lose ten pounds from walking before you get to a store (Potomac Mills), the mall where you go when your diamond shoes are too tight (Tysons), and the mall where your income must exceed the gross national product of Lithuania (Pentagon City).

  • Oompa Loompa Girl has decided to get up close and personal with the past two years of my daily updates that she missed, and has chosen these phrases as some of the highlights:
    • inebriated Muppet performance syndrome
    • I just enjoy foolishly sprinting everywhere in hopes of stealing the ball with my magnetic fingers.
    • Who knows, the fact that they're great at decomposing may help me improve at composing.
    • Booyah.
    • I could have tested the presumption that all Asians instinctively know kung fu.
    • Perhaps the Greek word for legato is Epsilipsilopsiloop.
    • I suppose uri.nl is a bad idea for a domain name.
    • The moon in Herndon on the way to work is much bigger than it ever was in Centreville. I think it has something to do with property taxes.
    • I took a long walk down the beach and discovered that the beach two miles south was also sandy like ours.
    It is implied that the past two years of my life were not all that exciting. Actually discovering which updates these phrases came from is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • They are rewriting the Hardy Boys series for modern kids. Instead of Frank saying, "Come on, I found a swell clue!", Joe will say things like "Cleaning up crime? I'm into it. Cleaning up parrot poop? Not so much". I am not kidding about this . I wish I were. Coming soon from the same publisher, The Lion, The Witch, and the Clothes Closet.

  • Here's a story about women who were disappointed they did not win free boobies . Women should stick with the boobies they already have -- most normal guys who don't live in a strip club will agree that natural boobies are always better than fake boobies. Boobies boobies boobies. Here are some more boobies in the news (Phyliss wants to go to the discotheque ). What do you think about boobies?

  • I am in the portion of the population that does not put noses on their smilies. I think a face like :D is just as effective as :-D. I have been known to give my smilies extra eyes. ::)

  • Three times in the past week, I have mistyped "bridge" instead of "bride". I don't think I have a subconscious fear of brides (yes, I mistyped it just then as well, so maybe I do), although I do think it would be cool, if impractical, to have a mail-order bridge (some assembly required, river not included).

  • I tried a package of Tyson's precooked bacon this week. It requires 20 seconds in the microwave to prepare. No splashing grease, no messy ovens, and minimal clean-up are the perks. And since bacon is the GREATEST PIG MEAT EVER MADE (Disney movie coming soon, starring the pig from Babe), what could be better than instant bacon?

  • The bacon was surprisingly tasty and crispy. The downside was that you only get 9 pieces for the price of a full normal bag of bacon. This means you are paying an additional 70 cents per ounce just for the convenience factor. It is left as an exercise for the reader to decide whether I weighed the bacon on my bathroom scale and calculated this figure, or whether I just read it off the price tag at Shoppers Food Warehouse. HINT: A hungry Booty would mar the scientific accuracy of any scale reading.

  • The URI! Zone may be temporarily inaccessible this weekend as I upload all the new bits, but I'm going to charge cowboy into the Tenth Year of Inanity on Monday, August 1. That is not a Chinese year -- every year is the Year of Inanity around here. Can you believe this site has been around since 1996? My goal of world Uri!nation is not yet complete though. Please invite all your friends to start reading my site so we don't turn into a bunch of bluebloods.

  • You should also post comments regularly, as we have a full complement of posters with interesting things to say now, including, but not limited to, the token Asian, the token black guy, the token liberal, the token conservative, the token guy who likes cheese, the token dog lover, and a majority of cat lovers. We also have between 2 and 5 attractive women posting at any given time. OMG GIRLS USE THE INTERNET!!!

  • These ADD-inducing space-cadet posts are very fun to write. I admit though, that I blatantly stole the style from this blog . Originality is for the weak. I also plan on stealing the "News Highlights" idea from the ChompBlog next week. In exchange for my theft, I will plug their blogs. You should read them religiously, or just sort-of-daily if you are not the pious type.

  • I now have a craving for bacon. Guess what's going into my shopping basket tomorrow morning.

  • Lusty squirrels cause tree damage
    Chelsea Clinton is worth more cows than goats
    Paris Hilton's engagement ring too heavy

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 12 comments

     

    You are currently viewing a monthly archive, so the posts are in chronological order with the oldest at the top. On the front page, the newest post is at the top. The entire URI! Zone is © 1996 - 2016 by Brian Uri!. Please see the About page for further information.

    Jump to Top
    Jump to the Front Page


    July 2005
    SMTWHFS
    12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31
    BIRTHDAYS
    BLOGLOG
    06/15
    06/12
    05/03
    02/03

    OLD POSTS
    Old News Years J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    J F M A M J
    J A S O N D
    visitors since November 2003