I received a grand total of zero (0) Trick-or-Treaters last night which qualifies as a new record. I attribute this sharp decline to one of two hypotheses: 1) I rigged my front porch with a weight-sensitive trapdoor (it calls you fat before it opens) and captured all the little tykes to make some steak and kid knee pie or 2) I was hiding in the back room of house with all the blinds closed and the porch light off. It is left as an exercise for the reader to determine which hypothesis is more legitimate (see also, Intelligent Design in schools).
During the witching hour, I was transcribing the Westfield fight song and making fun of the arrangement, which essentially consisted of music written for flute, clarinet, and alto saxophone, and then cut n' pasted into the trumpet, trumpet 2, and horn parts. I'm supposed to re-arrange the piece so it sounds the same, but so a seventh grade band can play it and still sound as good. I would have finished, but my old battered copy of Finale 2002 kept crashing, so I broke down and ordered the upgrade to Finale 2006.
Finale is one of those ridiculously overpriced pieces of software that releases a new version every year, even though there's not enough new functionality to make it worth the money. Yet because of the prices, it is more cost-effective to upgrade at regular intervals to get the discounted price than to wait many years and finally buy a new version at the maximum price. Maybe I'll get a free drinking glass like I did the last time I upgraded four years ago. To date, I have never actually had a beverage out of my Finale glass but once I put it on Boo!ty's head to see what she would do (it fell off and she ran away like a little girl). Incidentally, Boo!ty didn't get a chance to scare anyone last night, but she did pile drive Amber into a trash can (Amber does not have a built-in Halloween name but her Indian name can be Dances with Boo!ty). She's getting smarter -- last night she saw a door ajar so she ran into it and it opened.
Speaking of dancing, there's a new Dance Dance Revolution game out for the GameCube. You haven't seen the definition of funny until you've seen Mario do the Running Man.Hundreds apply for job pushing the button
In an effort to muddle up the more salient issues by introducing several new ones, President Bush has requested $7.1 billion in emergency funding to combat the possible bird flu pandemic which has been rumoured to be lurking in the shadows for several years now. After ten minutes of giving shout-outs to his dogs (but no nominations this time around), Bush gave a doomsday speech at the NIH which sounded vaguely familiar . Some conspiracy theorists note that the speech is identical to the one kicking off his war on terrorism, replacing the words "terrorism", "Iraq", and "insurgency" with "pandemic influenza", "China", and "outbreak". I'm always amused when Bush tries to talk in technical jargon, but luckily there were no nucular mistakes this time around. In fact, he was so well-prepared that he squeezed the phrase "pandemic influenza" into his speech three times. And since every crisis needs a buzzword, he used the word "pandemic" a whopping seventy-one times in the course of his diatribe.
Since most clueless uneducated constituents think a pandemic is a syringe used in physicals on the baby Panda Cub, Butterstick (English for Tai Shan), I'm sure the speech will have its effect and put people into I'm-scared mode (which, coincidentally, is a mutually exclusive mode from "paying-attention-to-scandals mode") for the coming months. Bush will get his money (but not at the expense of his "Let's Visit Mars" program or his "We're Winning in Iranq" program) and the media will spend weeks showing how birds die from the flu, since this is much more compelling imagery than a closed Senate hearing on government missteps.
I'm all for protecting myself from sickness, but this latest scare tactic is just as useless as the whole terrorism campaign. The reason? Scared or aware citizens are no better prepared for the danger than unaware citizens. You can warn everyone in the country about the bird flu, but all you're doing is seeding unease -- it's not like they can all report to the doctor the next day and get completely immunized. If Bush really wanted to fix the problem, he would work with drug companies behind the scenes to prepare ample supplies of vaccines rather than deliver end-of-the-world monologues to the powerless people.
With a new common foe for us to unite against, it is only fitting that we create a new Pandemic Influenza Terror Chart, so we can raise and lower the Threat Levels appropriately as elections and hurricanes threaten to distract us from the real dangers of the flu. As a public service, I have outlined the five levels below. Please presume, for the safety of you and your family, that we will never be lower than code Medium.
I have also created these posters which you should print and distribute in your place of work. Feel free to reuse them on your own site -- it's the only way we can get the word out about the pandemic.
To all CS Majors on CSLAB,
On Friday the 7th, I mailed out a malicious email to CS Majors. Not only was the message malicious, it was also fraudulent. I repeat the message in question was not sent out by Markus Groener, but by me. For producing and sending out the message I can only ask for forgiveness from Mr. Groener. It was wrong for me to produce and send out the message. In the process of doing so, I not only violated the Honor Code for fraud; but I also violated the CNS and CS appropriate use policy.
Another issue I would like to address is mostly for new students and freshman. As most of us are new to this college environment we find that we sometimes have no real avenues to display our content or discontent on certain things. This is how I felt, when I did the mass mailing. At the time I produced the mass mail, I was under the impression that Mr. Groener was grading unfairly. Now I understand that not all sections had the grading policy set forth for the class enforced as strictly as Mr. Groener had. In fact this was probably the cause of most of frustration, because I believed that the CS Dept had a double standard of grading. After have a discussion with Mr. Groener and Professor Edwards, I now realize there are many things I could have done differently. The very first thing I could have done was to talk to the instructor. Sometimes instructors seem unapproachable but if you try to approach them, they usually will respond positively. Another thing, since Mr. Groener is a GTA, I could have contacted his supervisor with my grievances. Another avenue was to contact Dr. Verna Schuetz. I am told she is always available to talk to about a certain instructor. Dr. Schuetz is also is charge of all TA job assignments, so she oversees them for their entire TA career in the CS Dept. Of course one of the slowest avenue is the end of semester evaluation. At the time of my mass mail, I did not know that those evaluation comments are shown to the instructor. I believed that only the multiple choice comments were shown. This is not the case, in fact ever thing is shown to the instructor. The only problem with this avenue is that the instructor will not see these evaluations until the middle of the next semester. So therefore there is a very slow turn back time on the evaluation. So in defense of what I have done, I really have none. At the time it was the only way I saw that I could release my frustration on Mr. Groener's grading policy. Now that I am going through this ordeal I find that what I did was very stupid and immature. Besides that fact there are many other ways of doing things, that are legitimate. I would like to take this opportunity to ask for Mr. Groener's forgiveness and also the forgiveness of you all. The email was not only harmful to Mr. Groener but also to all users of the CSLab. Also this gives me the opportunity to warn all of you out there that might be using the mass mail list. DON'T DO IT, IT ISN'T WORTH IT. Mass mailing is not the answer for anything. That is unless you have permission. Mass mailings not only fills up unnecessary disk space, but also take a lot of processor time.
Hoping for your forgiveness,
Today was List Day if you couldn't tell. If you missed the crazy Christian lady on Trading Spouses last night, you can watch the original clip here: (1 MB WMV). I'm glad I didn't grow up in that household, because I would have turned out even crazier than I already am.Who exactly did they "show"?
Yesterday's search terms:
men notice nipples, dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro problem
Because it's Friday and no one wants to read a novel
"I wish my name was Brian because maybe sometimes people would misspell my name and call me Brain. That's like a free compliment and you don't even gotta be smart to notice it." - Mitch Hedberg
I didn't get home from D.C. until around midnight on Saturday, and when I went out to get the paper the next morning, I discovered a bag full of fast-food garbage sitting on my curb, as if someone had parked there, eaten their Burger King crap, and then dropped the bag out the window before driving away.
Later that day, I happened to be practicing my trumpet in the living room when I peered out the window to see an SUV parked in front of my house. The people inside just happened to be eating fries. Now, I'm no private investigator (at least, not licensed) but I'm pretty quick at the whole "cause and effect" thing, so I sat down by the window and put the suspicious car under fast-food surveillance. Roughly fifteen minutes later (how long does it take to eat a burger anyhow?) a guy got out of the back seat, looked up and down the empty street and blatantly dropped his trash on my lawn.
Faster than you could spit at a frat boy, I was down the stairs and out the door with my best "oh no u dinant" attitude, minus the finger snapping. The guy didn't seem to speak any English, and the girl he was with who was still in the car tried to convince me that he had just dropped his trash on the ground while he got out, and was going to throw it away at home. Not buying this for an instant, I watched like a hawk until he had picked up his trash, said goodbye to his ride, and wandered down the court to wherever he lived (he swaggered of course).
In my haste to confront them, however, I smashed two of my left toes on the front door and had to bandage one of them up while I hobbled around so I wouldn't bleed on the cats. If there's burger boxes on my lawn tomorrow, I'll just snap a picture of their car and phone it in as having been involved in a bank robbery somewhere in West Virginia.
Later on, I was looking at my silverware when I realized that my forks had permanent black spots on them from years of dishwashing. I decided it was high time to open the complete Oneida silverware set I'd bought four years ago but never got around to using. Of course, every utensil was individually wrapped, and I managed to slice open my left index finger on a butter knife about halfway through the unwrapping process. As a public service, I would like to warn you that Oneida butter knives are steak knife hybrids, serrated and quite sharp, and trying to remove the plastic wrapping as if it were a restaurant straw is the definition of a bad idea.Proof positive that the Japanese are even more messed up than we thought
I removed the bandage from my finger last night to find that the gaping wound was healing nicely, although my finger smelled like death after three consecutive days of being covered.
Speaking of things that smell like death, I voted after work yesterday. I'm sad that Levi Levy did not run for anything this year. I, too, am concerned about the possibilities of typhus spread by wharf rats, and I was not a resident of Virginia the last time he ran for office in 2003.
I find it amusing that the sample ballots those clowns distribute outside of the voting centers not only show you how to vote for candidates along the party lines, but also how to vote on referendums too. I apparently went in the Democratic door, and took one because it's easier than ignoring the volunteer. The Democrats wanted me to vote for all three Democratic candidates (not surprising) and also to vote YES for all eight or nine school construction referendums (also not surprising).
Ultimately, I voted for the Democratic representatives and NO to all the requests for construction money, except for the school in my neighbourhood. I figure that kids are quite far off in my future, so a lack of new schools won't bother me for quite some time (I voted for the local school so I can sponsor classes on where your garbage does not belong, like the mouth of a lion or BU's front lawn). Plus, if the decision ever comes back to harm my child's education, I'll just demean his intelligence, enroll him in vocational school and convince him to become a plumber (this will also save on college expenses). My erratic voting record is most likely the reason neither major party would want me as their spokesperson, though I had a 100% track record at voting for the losing candidate in all major elections until last night. I guess Kilgore blew his remaining funds on the Presidential endorsement and didn't have enough money to buy the ballots off all those dead folks. All the schools won quite handily though. It's cute that the Rolling Ridge Elementary School had a higher margin of victory than the Republican candidate for governor.
This dovetails nicely into the announcement of my intention to run for Virginia governor in 2009 at the ripe old age of 30. I will outlaw SUVs and widen all roads that lead to wherever I want to go, and you can bet your ass that I'll be running on a platform so people can see me over top of the podium when I give speeches. Taxes will remain the same, but I will generate extra revenue by claiming all the possessions of people in jail, much like they did in feudal times. I've hired a major advertising firm to create a highly innovative campaign poster, which you are welcome to print out and post on your fridge.
New Lost on tonight!eBay bully will call you a schmuck boy
If you are a regular reader of the URI! Zone, and you have never had any unfortunate run-ins with crazy stalkers who chopped the legs off your stuffed animals, which ultimately led to a paranoid fear of displaying your zip code to the public eye, take a moment and add yourself to my Frappr map of URI! Zone patrons. Frappr is a cute little hack for the Google Maps interface which allows geographically challenged members of a group to figure out where they live based on their zip code (or city, for the United-Statesally challenged).
I am one of those web site owners that is addicted to web statistics. I peek at my counter every couple hours at home (and roughly every eight and a half minutes from work) and run the reports for all the funny Google searches every morning when I wake up. As you can see from the table on your right (left in Great Britain) which lists all the visits since I bought the domain name in October 2003, my site caters to a mostly North American crowd, although I have a decent minority of Aussies, Brits, and Germans. For this reason, I occasionally throw in some non-North-American content, like this joke:
Little touches like this cement my worldwide appeal, as proven by site regular, Rachel, from the penal colony country. What worries me though, are the final two countries in the list: Unknown and The Rest. Since the report generator chose to separate the two, I'm presuming that Unknown is a real, standalone country inhabited by three-headed wheat people who get their Internet via fiber-optics.
My ADD is not limited to counter pages -- as mentioned on my 222 Things page , I cycle through my bookmarks repeatedly even when I know that CNN has posted no new news, or Chompy has not updated his blog since last Thursday. I am usually the first to see breaking news, whether it's the time George Bush choked on a pretzel and passed out, thus increasing the damage to his brain or when other bloggers dramatically reformat the look of their blogs for your viewing pleasure.
I check my e-mail when I first wake up in the morning, and I check it as soon as I get home from work (even though I checked it right before I left, seven minutes earlier). This does not help me respond to e-mail any faster though -- I either respond immediately or nine months later. If I have not responded to an e-mail after a week, it will generally fall into a "they didn't follow up so it must not have been urgent" folder before being forgotten for good. I am also notorious for being the one to end a back-and-forth e-mail convo, simply by not replying. This must be done with style -- when you decide that you're going to stop, you can't just stop writing back, because then people will think you choked on a pretzel and will call 911. You really need to use the Force of Friction approach, where you progressively slow down your responses as if you're running out of letters to type and must conserve them. Eventually, only the most persistent corresponders will be left behind (right behind in Great Britain).How to tip a cow
"I wanna hang a map of the world at my house. Then I wanna stick pins in the locations that I've traveled to. But first I have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won't fall down." - Mitch Hedberg
Yesterday's search terms:
nude schoolies, in square miles how big is the country of monaco, andrew simmons trumpet, centaurs and college mascots
Because there is nowhere else suitable for stories about bull semen
This is the turkey I made for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. While cramming its posterior cavity full of stuffing so it could be roasted, I noticed something that I probably always noticed but never really thought about -- when they package the bird for public consumption, they ram its legs up its own ass so the bird has no wiggly parts when it's shrink-wrapped.
It's not enough of a humiliation to be raised and killed for the sake of some unappreciative family's tasty treats. They also tell the birds, "After your dead we're going to kick your ass with your own drumsticks" and then turn the bird into some macabre avian Cirque du Soleil performer. I'm surprised that they don't poke the wings down the neck cavity, but I guess it would look too much like someone spelling the M in YMCA.
Here are two more things that I've learned while hosting, shopping for, and preparing holiday dinners this month:
Today's update is short because time is short and I am shorter. I will make it up during the rest of the week -- I promise! I already have a theme picked out for Tuesday through Thursday.What else would you find in Smoke Tree village?
1) I remember very little from Kindergarten. I had Mrs. Lovo and Mrs. Wheatley in the morning session at William Ramsey Elementary School, which was just a couple blocks from where my all-day babysitter lived. I thought the school was cool because it had an attached nature center with a beehive in it, and you could watch the bees fly in and out.
2) As you can see from the above transcript, I was always destined for great things. From the age of 4, I could recognize my own name, recognize a thermometer as an instrument of temperature, march rhthymically, and show appropriate emotional responses. I don't remember if there were actually tests for this stuff, or if it was just day-to-day observation. I'm presuming for the last one, they hit me to see if I cried, and then dropped me in a pit full of snakes to see if I got scared. My one hiccup was during the first quarter, when I allegedly could not recognize a nickel. This is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things because no one uses nickels anyhow. Besides, this shortcoming is nullified by my "Mature" rating in the final category, "Copes with change".
3) My best friend was named Yunus Buluut who moved back to Turkey at the end of the year. The teachers said that we always took over the kindergarten sandbox, but I don't remember this. I had another friend named Gina who was a fellow Korean adoptee. Once, she wrote me a letter in which she said "I love you" so I wrote one back and my whole family made fun of me so I threw a tantrum and tore up the letter. I threw a lot of tantrums back then. Sometimes they would lock me in my own room until I calmed down.
4) I had first grade with Mrs. McClung at James K. Polk school where I went for all of 1-6. It was two blocks from my house, but occasionally the mother of my sister's friend would drive us there (they lived one block away). We always thought the other first grade teacher, Mrs. Kundahl, was cool because she had a house in the woods across the street from school. Mrs. McClung had a card board with all the numbers from 1 to 100 that kids always knocked over, and I would have to hang all the numbers back on it in order, because I could count to 100.
5) I spent most of first grade sitting in Mrs. Uhler's second grade class, where I met most of the Polk crowd I would become friends with years down the road, like Michael Buns and Jennie Geisner. I was scared the first day because she gave a test and I didn't know how to subtract double-digit numbers. I used to play Gertrude's Secret on the classroom Commodore 64 every chance I could. I had no idea how to play the game correctly, so I just wandered all over the mazes. It was a game, and games in school were such a novelty. Then, I would go home at the end of the day and play the text-based game, Zork I, the first computer game I ever played.
6) My best friend was Jason McCabe who lived in Brookville. We took baths together when he spent the night, although I think we may have been too old for this. Everyone thought Jesse King was cool because he passed out class Valentines that were Origami swans.
Second / Third Grade
7) I was in Ms. Tutt's second grade class for one month. The only thing I remember doing there was creating an ugly paper maché bowl in celebration of Columbus Day. This bowl is still in my basement, filled with useless knick-knacks.
8) They jumped me into Mrs. Hutt's third grade class about a month into the year, because I had already done all the second grade stuff. Mrs. Hutt got mad at me because I didn't know how to read millimeters off a ruler and she thought she was expecting to get some kind of Little Man Tate. She always spelled my name wrong too.
9) Our Language Arts book was called Mystery Sneakers and had footprints on the cover. I took it home one day and read it all. I also read every book by Beverly Cleary, from the Ramona Quimby series to the Mouse and the Motorcycle. I didn't realize she wrote these books in the fifties and sixties until I was well into high school.
10) I had Mrs. Sharkey in fourth grade, although I also went to Mrs. Marmarino for Language Arts, Mr. Hazzard for social studies, and Mr. Cmiel for Family Life. Nowadays, I find it surprising that we were allowed to learn about Fallopian tubes in fourth grade.
11) My best friend was James Houck. His mom and step-dad were very much the archetypical yuppies, though I remember that they always had Coors Light in their fridge. I also had my first crush on a girl who I didn't really know, but who I would become friends with a couple years later (and have more crushes on throughout Junior High).
12) Social studies was always around 11 o' clock, and our lunch period wasn't until 1, so they always let us have snacks during class. I always had those gross fake Oreos that were vanilla wafers instead of chocolate wafers. They came in a variety pack, and my snacks alternated between those, toffee sticks, and Grandma So-and-So's Fudge Brownies. To this day, I recall Social Studies class whenever I smell those Vanilla car air fresheners, because they smell exactly like those gross cookies.
To Be Continued Tomorrow, because Kathy would kill me if I wrote anymore...Sparrow shot for messing up the world record
13) I had Mr. Ferris in fifth grade, and once had to write a 250-word punishment for talking when I wasn't supposed to. That was the only one I ever got, even though he handed them out like candy. I had Language Arts and Science with Mrs. Nicholson. In science class, we had footprint-shaped plastic terrariums where we grew seeds and farmed aphids. My terrarium always ended up moldy and dead. Mrs. Nicholson's class was a split class of fith graders and sixth graders from the Talented and Gifted program, which meant she pretty much ignored one half of the class while teaching the other. I developed a crush on a pretty sixth grader who liked playing computer games. How hot is that?
14) I started playing the cornet/trumpet in fifth grade and continued to do after-school gymnastics in the gymnasium / auditorium that constantly smelled like feet. That's what you get when you have a hundred kids exercising barefoot in a carpeted room. I could barely do 1 pull-up, but I was in the one-hundredth percentile on the sit-and-reach. Sit-and-reach was my bitch. That was the result of all the gymnastics with rugrats like Shawna Johnson and Jennie Dennis.
15) One weekend, I was invited to Eli Whitney's birthday party about six blocks away. My dad didn't want to drive the car for that small of a distance, so he gave me a ride on his bike with me squished in the kiddie seat I'd outgrown a couple years beforehand. Kids laughed at me when I rolled up. Actually the kid's name was Eli Soto, but having a friend named Eli Whitney would have been much cooler. This is so far in the past that I can change details as necessary for a better narrative flow.
16) Sixth grade was the highest grade in primary school so I was at the top of the food chain in Mrs. Turner's class. I was a patrol guard, and the principal, Dr. Garrett personally put me in charge of the Kindergarten wing doors. This meant I arrived at homeroom five minutes late and left class five minutes early every day. I got to know all the youngsters and their parents. There was one kid named Eric Wales whose artwork always looked like some sixth grade ringer had dropped his papers in the Kindergarten pile . When people say "My first grader could have painted that" I always think of him. One of my most eye-opening memories was when I visited the middle school after I graduated from high school and saw all the snot-nosed youngsters as middle-schoolers. I looked at my 6th grade yearbook to do research for this entry, and saw a surprising number of future T.C. Williams juvenile delinquents who went to my elementary school. Among the names T.C. readers might recognize: Liz Fuller, Jennie Dennis, Andrea Frazao, Nonsom Ofulue, Marija Ugrinich, Emily Beatty, Greg (who asked me to remove his name), and David Lipnick. The funnest part of this research was placing those innocent third grade faces with the misanthropes some of them became in high school.
17) I went to Patrol Camp in the summertime which was pretty stupid. One kid in our cabin pooped in the communal showers and our cabin-resident took him out on to the docks to talk to him in private. We all thought he was going to get thrown into the bay. Our cabin also did this talent show where we lip-synched some song with the lyrics "Heyo, rasta rasta, Heyo, reggae reggae". I was the fake bass player.
18) My best friend in sixth grade was Daniel Bethancourt, who moved out West the following year because his dad was a pastor. He had a birthday slumber party once where he got an air rifle, and we spent the whole night shooting holes through potted plant leaves inside the house. During recess, all the boys would pick and throw wilted dandelion buds at all the girls (organized mainly by me). We called this the War of the Weeds, and it lasted about four weeks. I also had a lucky rock that I used to play hopskotch with until one fateful throw when it shattered.
19) I moved to Hammond Junior High after sixth grade and was again at school with my sister, who was two years ahead of me. I was the only trumpet player in a band of about 32, and everyone was constantly in awe of how good I was and how small and cute I was. This turned me into an annoying, insufferably arrogant prick for the remainder of junior high. I couldn't hit G until halfway through the year, which was unfortunate since the solo in Somewhere Out There from An American Tail featured this note prominently.
20) Once in Mrs. Landrum's social studies class, she asked for volunteers to get the projector. Since I was a teacher's pet I volunteered and everyone laughed, so I went and got it anyhow. It probably weighed more than me and didn't come on a cart. I would also bring granola bars to math class for everyone to eat.
21) Remember that girl I had a crush on in fifth grade? This was the year I
stalked followed her around endlessly, embarassing her and myself for the ages. I still wince every time I think of the stupid love-struck things I did. I also thought my sister's friend, Jon Kula, was the coolest guy ever because he was a 6-foot tall ninth grader that drew really cool pictures and played sax, so I latched onto him nonstop as well. If you look up the definition of "ankle-biter", my seventh-grade alter-ego is probably prominently displayed.
22) Eighth grade was not a very memorable year. I was suddenly able to do millions of pull-ups in the Physical Fitness Test, and also entered the awkward acne years, a year later than everyone else in my class. I walked to school every morning with Aaron Ulm, taking the shortcut past the burnt-out derelict house full of Playboys in the woods (I never personally went in, but other kids tried and were always shoo'ed off by our friend's mom who lived next door and must have spent the entire day spying on the house).
23) I started Crew in eighth grade because I was tired of everyone telling me I'd be a good coxswain. I coxed the senior 4, a boat full of misfits that never won anything. It was the coxswain's job to bring a gas tank to the coach's launch back then, and a full gas tank generally weighed about forty pounds (whereas I weighed about 80) causing plenty of spillage. I remember once during warm-ups in the boat bay when I discreetly and politely asked Coach Baroody if I could go upstairs and wash up, because "the gasoline was burning my legs". I didn't really like Crew yet. Especially all the running.
24) They had staggered lunch periods in eighth grade, and I didn't have a period with any of my friends. Rather than sit in the cafeteria and have to share a table with a bunch of random people who didn't speak English, I finagled my way into the band room and ate there every day (since I was the band director's golden child). I read more books in eighth grade than any other year to date.
To Be Continued Tomorrow...Scientists have devised a computer program that listens to a song, then predicts how humans will react to it.
25) I was in ninth grade one year before it seceded to form its own union (making schools become K-5, 6-8, 9, 10-12) so being a freshman meant being at the top of the school, not the bottom. Somehow I was in the popular crowd and actually had my own cadre of kids that would follow my lead. We would often make fun of kids, especially the fat girl in band, for no other reason than the fact that we were kids, and kids are inherently cruel. One day after making fun of her, her friend asked me, "Why do you have to be so mean?" It was then that I had a Lifetime/Oh! epiphany that I was a mean little prick, and I wouldn't want to be friends with me. From then on, I've always been acutely aware of the people around me and the words coming out of my mouth. I like to think that I've become a pretty nice guy since then. Once, I fed a stray cat.
26) I spent a lot of time in the library. It was there that I first discovered Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game which is a must-read if you've never read it. There was also a book in the library by my favourite author that had been out of print for ten years, and had only been checked out a handful of times. It has been sitting on my shelf for thirteen years now and I've probably read it at least once a year since then. Had it stayed in captivity, it would probably still be sitting on the shelf, waiting for no one to check it out.
27) Doing Crew put me in contact with a lot of kids that went to the other junior high, G.W., and that's how I met my friends Jack Wilmer and Ben Seggerson. I ended up liking a G.W. girl and resolved to invite her to our Freshman Prom (a massive step for our introverted hero). While I was getting up the courage to ask, some clowns from my school decided that I would never get a date on my own and set me up with another G.W. girl (girl B). They told her that I wanted go with her, so she blindsided me one day by asking me if she could come with, expecting the yes to be a formality. At a loss, I said no and raised the ire of all the G.W. people who suddenly knew me, not by name, but as the guy that supposedly invited girl B and then dumped her. Despite this, I weathered the storm and asked girl A, who surprisingly said yes. In Act II, of course, the powers that be decided to host both school's proms on the same night, and girl A understandably wanted to go to her own. I wanted to give up and stay home since the prom was mere days away, but the pleading of my friends and the fact that my parents had already bought me a suit convinced me to keep searching for a date, in an increasingly embarassing round of sitcom-like situations (I even asked girl B, who said no, but we became friends after that so it didn't all turn out badly). Ultimately, I asked a pretty eighth grader in my French class who said she'd get back to me. When she called the next day, she declined, because it turns out that her freshman sister liked me. And that's who I ended up going with. I don't think either one of us had very much fun, but I did dance.
27.5) This story is the reason why I have an aversion to drama and never meddle or play matchmaker in other peoples' business. It never ends well, although I bet I could make a fortune selling a pilot episode to the WB. The actor playing me would have to be white though -- male Asians just don't sell. I love hearing about other peoples' drama, but I try not two add my two cents (20.7 won) unless asked.
28) Tenth grade at T.C. was a reasonably enjoyable year. The only shocking part was discovering that the upper echelon of popularity at Hammond Junior High could never get higher than third tier at T.C., where G.W. and Hammond students were forced by law to share the same high school environment. Suddenly there was a brand new clique of rich yuppy kids who had BMWs on their 16th birthdays and shopped in bulk at the Gap. I used my Asian skills of stealth to infiltrate these ranks via Crew, which was a rich man's sport, so I could hang out with all of them in a friendly manner without having to be rich and cool. I definitely was NOT cool.
29)I was still fooling myself into thinking that a colour-blind guy could make a living as an artist, so I was still enrolled in Art class. Kim says that her freshman art class was the central repository for delinquents and ADHD kids needing an outlet, and that pretty much held true at T.C. too. The only worthwhile thing I made in that class was this sculpture of a bear at a spring. Following my lawsuit with ABC concerning the origin of the "strange polar bear on an island" idea they're using in their hit show, I will use my litigation money to open an art gallery with all the abortions I called Art . Actually, the bear was only white because the other options were brown and pink. Apparently kiln-paint is limited.
30) I did indoor track in the winter because people said I was fast and I thought it would be fun to sprint. It is not fun to sprint. It isn't even fun to try working out in the winter, when any sane human being should be hibernating at home with a good book or computer game. I diligently went to every practice and track meet though, and they diligently put me in every race that didn't matter. I liked the 55m dash, because it was over in ten seconds. I hated 500m, because it was 2.5 laps around the track. I loved the 300m because it was the perfect length, but they never put me in that because I was too slow. It did put me in shape for all those spring Crew runs though. 7 miles to the airport and back is a long way.
31) I hated Eleventh Grade with a passion. If my hatred were a fruit, it would be a passion fruit. My sister had just gone to college so I was suddenly the only child which made home life uncomfortable. All my old friends from Hammond were drifting off to do their own things and all my recent friends from tenth grade were in other classes. Plus, I had zero classes with the girl I was majorly in love with (as was every other straight guy in the school) and my poor attempts at spending more time with her didn't work out so well.
32) I did join Jazz Band this year which completely turned around my musical ear. Up to then, I never listened to music on my own (except my copy of Soundtrack from Dances with Wolves which was scratched to pieces) and I was only ever exposed to the choral music played by my dad at dinner (this was just before he started playing tuba again, at which time all the choral dinner music was replaced with low brass dinner music, if that is, indeed, a genre). After joining Jazz Band, I listened to big band jazz 24 hours a day. Every year, I would write to the publisher, Kendor Music, pretending to be a jazz band director and asking for their latest music. They would send me full minature scores of all their newest music with a tape of a studio band playing it all. This is how I learned jazz harmony and voice leading. I listened to those tapes and CDs of the Tonight Show Band religiously.
33) It was in this grade that I realized there was a seedy underbelly to our class, consisting of kids who looked and acted like any other during the day, but did all kinds of drugs, cigarettes and booze after hours. Surprisingly (or not), none of those people were from Hammond. To this day, I haven't done and drugs or cigarettes, and I didn't even drink until 1999 or so, but I know plenty of close friends who were probably not expecting to ever work for the government when they did things back then.
34) I loved every minute of senior year, and I've concluded that the reason for this is that I had no serious boyhood crushes going on. Life is a lot more laid back when there's no relationship drama or pining going on. I did have crushes on two freshman at various points (SCANDAL!) but they were short-lived. If I were given one year of school to do over again as is, it would either be senior year or my fourth year of college. I looked at my senior yearbook and noted, with some sadness, that the number of signings talking about my mad calculator skills outnumber the ones mentioning musical things by about 3 to 1. When I go, I hope my tombstone reads "Musician, Playboy, and Statesman" rather than "Computer Scientist".
35) I was the sole drum major in my senior year, which means that I was incredibly cool in the band hierarchy (ignoring, for a moment, that even the most popular band guy barely beats Future Business Leader of America president in the Rock, Paper, Scissor battle of high school popularity). Kim was a tenth grade flute player under my benevolent dictatorship, but I honestly cannot recall ever speaking to her directly (maybe it was against the caste system to do so). I do remember conducting one of my compositions at Hammond Middle School and getting so exuberant in the finale that I knocked over the first flautist's stand. Dr. Jacobsen of VT told me once to stop calling flute players flautists because it makes them seem uptight, but I think it's a fun word to use. I learned it from reading Who's Bugs Potter? by Gordon Korman. I still have never read Bugs Potter Live at Nickaninny which is tragic. If I ever see it in a library, someone will have to stage a diversion while I permanently borrow it.
36) I finally enjoyed Crew in my senior year, probably because I felt more confident being the coxswain for a bunch of guys in my same grade level rather than a grade higher. I maintained my two year streak of NOT getting thrown in the Potomac River by being sneaky at the end of the year. I remember being an eighth grader and taking a bath as soon as I got home if the Potomac River even splashed on me in the boat -- all the horror stories about it being toxic like the exploding silo scene in Robocop were probably overrated.
This concludes my overly verbose memories of primary education. If you enjoyed reading these, let me know, and maybe I'll do a college edition some day. Have any fun or embarassing memories of your own? Share them in the comments section!"If they want to fight, get a ring."
Like a rainbow of joy in your mouth, except you can't eat it and it's not particularly colourful
Yesterday's search terms:
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Xylophone is spelled with an X. It's like X didn't have enough to do so they had to promise it more. "Okay, you won't start a lot of words, but you will have a co-starring role in Tic-Tac-Toe. And you will be equated with hugs and kisses. And you will make writing Christmas easier. And you will mark the spot. And you will incidentally start Xylophone. Are you happy now, you f_cking X?" - Mitch Hedberg
Based on the results of your quiz, you are a:
You save anything and everything that might have sentimental value eighty years from now, from plague-infected stuffed animals to wedding seating cards. Your computer is a veritable treasure trove of useless artifacts like this mockup of the state-of-the-art Lotus Notes intranet page you designed for Pepco at $5.50 an hour, or an MP3 of Blue Ribbon Brass cussing out Kelley Corbett when he slept through yet another recital hearing. You have 180 MB of Cat Movies alone, because you figure that fifty years from now you'll want to remember the time you put a sticky dot on Booty (3MB WMV).
Despite your hostile takeover of the Library of Congress, your collections are still incomplete and poorly organized. You devote entire weekends to sorting, pruning, and resorting your collections of intellectual junk, but then refuse to file any new bits after the sorting is done, because it's too much work to shift around the old stuff to make room for the new stuff. As the months pass, the unsorted portions outnumber the sorted portions and engulf them like a chubby Texan with a cheeseburger. Eventually, it's easier to leave everything unsorted, which means you can never find anything, which means you never look at your collections anymore.
Your pacqueroital tendencies are helped and hindered by the loss of data that always accompanies a reinstall of Windows XP, like the one you did on Saturday to rectify a Warcraft issue. You are too lazy to back up your work more than once every six months, and you are gullible enough to believe that the Windows installer can format a single OS partition while leaving all your data partitions untouched, even though you know it only has a 25% success rate. However, when you lose all the work you've done since July, you don't really care, because at the end of the day, you understand that none of it really matters anyhow. You are more concerned with the fact that it takes about a day and a half to reload all the programs you use.
So now you reload your archive of junk that you will never need, like the Diablo 2 save-game file for your frost-sorceress from 1998, or the birthday card you sent to Paige in 2003 using the Spaghettios font. You look at all the gaps in dates from previous hard drive crashes and wonder why you keep all that garbage around when it's not even complete anymore. You resolve that if you're going to save stuff, you're going to save it the right way. Starting next year.
P.S. You also like long walks on the beach and Ms. Right is just around the corner. Optimism is no longer just a fortune cookie.Bush thwarted by locked door
Yesterday's search terms:
pee lovers.com, paige poythress, i want to go to the discotheque, ever eaten a penguin
My marathon month of hosted dinners came to an end this weekend, after hosting 24 hungry hungry hippos over three Sundays, with two hams and a turkey. I hosted a work dinner, a "friends and family" dinner, and a high school dinner, with a few lucky souls like Jack and Kim who got to come to multiple dinners, since I was unable to pigeonhole them into any one society. This increased their cheddar cheese soup quota, although I don't think it came out as well on Sunday as it did the previous two weekends -- the cheese disintegrated a little bit too far. I was going to do a "people from VT" dinner next weekend, but I'm tired of cooking and couldn't get enough people who didn't already have plans. I do think the month was a success though, and plan on starting a tradition every November. Traditions are fun. Maybe next year I'll have a bigger dining room table and can just host two enormous dinners instead of three smaller ones. Speaking of enormous hippos, did you know that you can buy a Hungry Hungry Hippo that's big enough to ride on? I rate this an excellent use of plastics.
Now it's time for the real Thanksgiving. I am now a pro at the assembly-line approach to cooking, which involves prepping all the pots ahead of time and then whipping everything together into a five course meal in under an hour like a whirling dervish. Thankfully (get it?), the real Thanksgiving will not require an iota of cooking on my part so it should be quite relaxing. I'll also be working on Thanksgiving Day, but might actually take Friday off.
The forecast does call for snow showers on Thanksgiving, which will give it an appropriately holiday-y feeling, despite the constant rain that we've seen all week, and despite the fact that I have not yet put up my Christmas lights, simply because I can't find them. I think I threw them in the giant garbage bag of "Anna's Holiday Stuff" when she moved out, because it was easier to do that than actually sort through anything. The folks two doors down have picked up my slack though, since their holiday lights cover 90% of the house and will probably throw off a few airplanes flying into Dulles from Dayton. If I miss any updates next week, it's because a 747 has crashed into my court and my house is a smoking crater of plastic Santas and UL-approved outdoor wiring.
By the way, there are only going to be three real updates this week, so you will be treated to a rare occurence of Wednesday Fragments tomorrow. This can be directly attributed to the fact that I am a lazy son of a bitch, and will not be in the mood to type anything on Friday. I will probably post a smarmy holiday picture of good cheer on Thursday and make it count as an update. Why? Because the $100 a year I pay for this site gives me certain immutable privileges. It's good to be the king.Assault with a deadly cactus
what the heck
Man uses turkey on flaming car
Ho ho ho (get it?) and welcome to the Holiday Edition of the URI! Zone. Here is my weekend wrap-up in nine thousand words or less (most likely less):
Left work at noon to sign for a "signature required" UPS delivery expecting it to arrive around 3 PM, only to discover that the assclown now runs my neighbourhood at noon. Missed the delivery by 14 minutes. Also noted that said assclown decided to take Friday off, so the 2nd Delivery would not be until the following Monday. Cleaned out the office and threw away two bags full of useless papers and manuals. Watched LOST which is starting to return to the first season's levels of goodness. Decided that Ana-Lucia is actually a good character but Michelle Rodriguez is just trying way too hard to make her hardcore. Thought that Rodriguez would be much more palatable if she'd just get that goofy look off her face. Good episode overall, now that there's forward motion in the timeline. Still think that Mr. Echo is the most interesting character on the show right now -- want more Locke-Echo interaction. Looked out the window and saw snow and peed in my pants. Took a picture. Of the snow.
Went to work in a quiet office with only Justin Spradlin on the fifth floor. Slipped into the abandoned HR offices and adjusted my salary by a few decimal places. Went home and gave the cats extra helpings of their turkey dinner, A.K.A. the usual crappy food. For Thanksgiving, crashed a family dinner with a family that was not my own, and had prime rib and salmon. Then went to see Yours, Mine & Ours, a patently inoffensive family movie that was pretty funny. Had a great time overall. Drove back from Alexandria in the rapidly frigidizing weather, passing an accident on the Toll Road where a minivan apparently stopped in the middle lane and caused a chain reaction. Went back to work for a couple hours to do some time-sensitive work and appear hardworking, then went the rest of the way home around 9:30.
Got up at 5:30 AM to go on a Thanksgiving Hike at Old Rag Mountain with the Spellerbergs. Hiked all the way to the phone, cancelled, and went back to bed after discovering that the temperature was below freezing. Woke up at 7 AM and played Warcraft for a few hours. Cleaned and reorganized more of the house, and then drove over to Anna's house. Made cookies and brought wine so they would have some vittles when they got back from the hike. Rescued Sydney from the closet where she was trapped all day because she's a retard and goes into closets and hides. Went to Ruby Tuesday for dinner and had Mild Buffalo Chicken Fingers with non-spiced fries and mushrooms (this is obviously a new and varied meal for me), then came back to Anna's and watched Kung Fu Hustle. Decided it was cute for people who like kung fu movies. Decided that I am not one of those people. Drove home and slept.
Woke up at 7 AM for errands. Went to Best Buy and got a third XM hub, so I can now listen to XM holiday songs in my office, in the basement, in my car, and in the living room. Visitors beware. Went to Petsmart and got a new cat toy which the cats don't really care about, and some vittles. Went to Target and got wrapping paper for all the gifts you guys are getting and some Christmas lights. Went to Costco for some groceries and also picked up The Broker by John Grisham. Came home and put up lights. Happy to have the only house on the block with blue lights. It is special (get it?). Had some hooligans over in the evening for the Virginia Tech - North Carolina game which Tech handily won 30-3 despite having the most boring first quarter in the history of first quarters. Went to bed and finished The Broker which was a pretty average Grisham book -- a page-turner involving some lawyers that's worth reading when there's nothing better.
Slept in until 9 (!), read the paper over a breakfast of leftover ham from one of my holiday dinners, and then raked the back forty. Did not have a forty during this activity. Watched some Alias, and then rearranged my office, because the holidays always infect me with the rearranging bug. Wrote this update and had a Totino's pizza for lunch. The End.
I've been told by some people that I'm impossible to shop for, not because I have no interests, but because I buy everything I want for myself (although one person recently said that shopping for me was "easy peesy" so the sample size may be skewed). If there's something that would make a good gift, chances are that I preordered it eight months ago and got it on the release day. So I can be more of a "team player", here's a short list of stuff that I plan on buying after Christmas. If you were stuck on gift ideas, feel free to use anything on the list. If you weren't planning on getting a gift, don't make this compel you to do so -- I have way too much junk anyhow. Also, my parents are banned from using this list and people in Florida cannot get me a gift since they already got me a cool birthday present .
What do you want for Christmas?Girl with peanut allergy killed by kiss
It has come to my attention that my list of Christmas gifts was not manly enough. Well, you see, I already bought all the manly presents for myself (including a backhoe), so those on the list are merely to balance out my imposing testosterony presence. That is all.
I wasn't kidding on Monday when I said that I listen to the XM Holiday stations all the time. Thanksgiving was a happy day since the stations turned on for the first time. XM has not one, but five different stations piping holiday music for the next month, one for pops, one for traditional music, one for classical music, one for country music, and one for weird and/or novelty tunes (like It's Christmas at Ground Zero). I could listen to this repetitive garbage all day long and not get tired of it (perhaps with the exception of the Country Christmas station). One alarming trend I've noticed on the pops channel though is the introduction of modern rock stars doing Christmas tunes instead of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra and the gang.
Don't get me wrong -- Harry Connick Jr. can belt out some catchy Christmas tunes, but the world does not need Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston, Barenaked Ladies, and Bruce Springsteen warbling through poor arrangements. I realize that they're probably inching towards bankruptcy and their holiday album is all that's supporting their cocaine habits, but I could sing a better Jingle Bells than they can. People who like Christmas tunes have simple tastes -- all you need are the standards, any music written before 1960, set in cute arrangements of winds and synthesizers, possibly with a boys' choir or some augmented sixth chords thrown in for fun. Generally when Bruce Springsteen comes on, I chastise him (because he can hear me via the satellite), and then change to one of my normal stations. I can't stand that guy's voice. Now all we need is the lead singer of Nickelback forcibly vomiting his consonants through an eggnog-induced haze of Deck of the Halls and we'll definitely be in the Christmas spirit. Seriously, they should mute his videos and dub someone better over top of him. Or he and Springsteen could do a duet and cancel each other out like standing waves of unfortunate taste.
There's a new episode of LOST on tonight. The title is What Kate Did, so I'm presuming that they'll finally reveal What Kate Did, or alternately just string us along with yet another worthless flashback (see also, Charlie is a Copier Salesman, or Jack is Sort of Married, Part II of III). Knowing ABC, they will swap it out at the last minute with the broadcast premiere of What Dreams May Come, starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr. as a father and son who cannot act but think they're dramatic.
They should just tell us what Kate did then kill her off at the end of the episode, because let's face it -- Kate is hot but her acting is not. Next week another plane full of beautiful people can crash and the cycle of utopian life will continue.Bruce Lee can't fight the Balkans
Yesterday's search terms:
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