06/2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up

Friday night marked our first salvo into the weekly phenomenon that is Jazz in the Garden. Crowds streamed in various scales of fancy clothing depending on which lobbyist they worked for, and though they only had red sangria this year, it was just as tasty as last year. The jazz group was The Young Lions (who may have used that name instead of The Cubs so people wouldn't automatically think they sucked) and the genre was "jazz rock", which implied that the music had a recognizable beat and every female would think the bass player was hot because he looked like Lenny Kravitz.

At one point, they asked an audience member to come up and play three notes on the keyboard for an improvisational number, but the timid girl picked C, G, and high C, so the resulting tune sounded like any tune in the Chick Corea playbook.

Despite the impending doom of thunderstorms, my dad and I laid concrete underneath my heat pump on Saturday. This job only took 1120 pounds of concrete bags, so we were actually able to drive around turns on the way home without slowing down to 1 mile per hour. With creative use of tarps, we were able to finish the job and keep it dry. This job also has the side effect of reducing the mowable area of my property by about 2 square feet. After concrete, I took a shower, had some wings, and played Warcraft all night long.

On Sunday, we went out to Front Royal for the First Birthday of Rebecca's cousin's daughter. It was ladybug-themed, from the cupcakes to the cakes to the decorations, and one guest brought a giant rideable plush ladybug that was amorously investigated by the dogs. After realizing that we had been in Front Royal twice in two weekends, we resolved that next weekend we would stay home and save the environment.

What did you do this weekend?

The art of Adolf Hitler (with a little help from the Chapman brothers)
UFO blamed for mystery explosion
Last night for alcohol on the Tube sparks mayhem

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 2 comments

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Flyblown: (adj.) Tainted or contaminated

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

The word, "contaminated", feels blatantly dangerous and intimidating, like nuclear waste or a brown swimming pool. However, "tainted" feels less apparent and more insidious, like getting food poisoning on a cruise ship from tainted meat. I tried to cover both words in today's Museday selection, which is for piano, vibraphone, trumpets, trombone, bass, steel drums, and percussion.

Beware the thong bandits
Fullerton teacher framed with shotguns and pills
Frost house vandals learn about poetic justice

tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Poetry Day

a line analysis of classic poetry

Waiting for Christmas by BU (age 5)

Icicles hang at Christmas.

The author is metaphorically referring to the silver tinsel which adorns the tree. Real icicles are not cost-effective for indoor tree decoration, given their tendency to melt.

They are Lovely to.

Some scholars argue that this line is incomplete, and believe that the missing words are either "eat" or "poop on". Detractors of the theory suggest that the author was a horrible speller. Proponents of incompleteness notes that every misspelling the author has ever made has been intentional, for satirical purposes.

Ornaments hang on the tree.
And I want Voltron 3.

Yet again, the young author impresses us. His facile use of the rhyming couplet is augmented by his reference to current events, since Voltron 3 was the must-have toy of the 1985 Christmas season.

We are Eating turkey.

This is obviously a sly reference to Turkey's 1983 transition to democracy (the US way) following the 1980 coup d'?tat.

The Christmas tree is up.
Things are Hung on it.

Like the all good poets, the author has a preoccupation with death and dying, evidenced by his overuse of "hang" and "hung". Scholars note that the author jumps from H to I here -- the absence of the letter R represents death, as in "a dearth of life".

Infint is Jesus.

At first glance, this is a reference to the baby Jesus. However, a study of the author's later works reveals a deeper message -- "Infint" is actually a misspelled form of "infinity", making this a less-trite way to say that "God is everywhere".

Santa is here.

Obviously, this is an intentional misspelling of "Satan", and provides counterpoint to the previous line. The theme of this poem is the titanic struggle between Good and Evil.

The Tree is beautiful to.
Mistletoes are up.

It is telling to note that had the author been unable to spell "too", he probably would not have been able to figure out "mistletoes".

Angels are out.

By this point in the author's life, angels were so 1984.

Stars are up to.

There are two competing interpretations of the incomplete final line -- "Stars are up to something" suggests a massive astrological conspiracy, while the more mundane "Stars are uptown" simply suggests that the author is not high society and lives in the suburbs.

Railway turns to feline stationmaster
Optimus Prime is offensive
Living the good life in prison

tagged as memories, mock mock | permalink | 2 comments

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Review Day: Mario Kart Wii

In my lifetime, I have played at least seven million games, some of them great and some of them horrible. Despite this, the number of games with enough appeal and lasting power to still be played over a year later can be counted on one hand, even if I were involved in a tragic industrial wood chipper incident: World of Warcraft, DOOM, Starcraft, and Super Mario Kart for the SNES. (Diablo II would be the runner-up finger that ended up in the mulch).

I played Super Mario Kart for years as a kid, and it was one of the only games I was actually good at for quite some time, but was greatly disappointed with the version for the N64. Because of this background, Mario Kart Wii had a massive sense of nostalgia to live up to.

The game comes with a plastic shell that wraps around your Wiimote and turns it into a very responsive steering wheel. It's very intuitive for new users, but may lead to hilariously bad crashes for people with an old control scheme embedded in their reflexes. Up to four players can play locally (though any more than 2 will require a huge TV screen to see anything), and 2 local players can play online with 10 others.

The Lows:

  • Having to play the game to unlock pretty much all of the features is the second worst videogame paradigm ever invented, after unskippable cutscenes.
  • Unescapable items in Grand Prix mode replace much of the strategy with luck, and there are too many items in play at any given time (not so bad with a few friends).
  • There are only 16 original maps -- the other 16 are remakes of classic maps from other versions.
  • The Highs:

  • Multiplayer is painless and fast, and much more fun than you'd expect it to be. This is where the game shines. "Just one more race" becomes addicting.
  • The original maps are easy on the eyes, fun to play, and varied.
  • The game is very easy to control, even for a novice.
  • Final Grade:
    B+, best with friends

    Rehab is for quitters
    Key to all optical illusions discovered
    Georgia seeks to change its border

    tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 3 comments

    Friday, June 06, 2008

    Friday Fragments

    two parts vermouth to one part yogurt

    ♠ This week marked a break in a four-year tradition: Fridays are no longer Popeyes For Lunch days! The Cheers-esque franchise near my home where my order is always prepared as I walk up to the counter has the same meal discounted on Tuesdays. By going then, I pay $3.18 instead of $4.68 (a 32% savings!) which nets me about $70 a year. Some other cost-cutting measures I plan on employing include getting my car to run on tap water ($1440 a year) and feeding my cats carpet shavings instead of dry food ($100 a year).

    ♠ Speaking of cat feedings, Booty was a right bastard this morning, starting her breakfast routine at 3:30 AM instead of 5 AM and carrying on every twenty minutes. She tried to push a decorative mug off a shelf, knocked some CDs on the floor, and ate off the cover of Consumer Reports magazine (since she obviously disagreed with their reviews of pet insurance). I responded by putting her in a velcro suit and throwing her against my velcro wall where she hung plaintively until I was ready to wake up.

    ♠ The velcro suit booth was always a popular attraction at any number of city/school fairs in Alexandria. When the uptight safety monitors weren't looking, we'd always try to run two or three people up at the same time because as everyone learns in high school, "Safety First" is for pansies.

    ♠ While cleaning out my house, I discovered a Safety Checklist that I distributed door-to-door in my neighbourhood to fulfill the requirements of the Safety merit badge. The checklist was about as useful as a Boy Scout pamphlet could be, with tips like "don't leave your baby in the bathtub" and "don't drop a bathtub on your baby". Luckily, the merit badge only required me to pass the checklist around -- I didn't actually have to follow up on the neighbours to make sure they weren't engaging in risky home repairs or swinger parties.

    ♠ I've been doing my Spring cleaning this week, rearranging furniture and discarding things that really don't need to be saved. Among the growing list of items: a 2003 map of DC, the literary review magazine from 7th grade (I was unpublished and undiscovered), a pair of size 36 shorts never worn, four pairs of socks with holes in them, three PCI modem cards, four sticks of RAM, four really slow OEM graphics cards, two dish towels, a stack of delivery menus, a bulletin board, a stack of "cold wash only" sweaters that shrank in the dryer, and Booty.

    ♠ This weekend marks round two of Jazz in the Garden, followed by an insane heat wave (97-100 degrees) that will keep me inside cleaning the basement and playing poker. I may mow the lawn on Sunday before it gets too hot -- alternately I'll set the air conditioner to a frigid 79 degrees and watch ALIAS all day long.

    ♠ Yesterday was also Rob Kelley's birthday. I haven't really kept track of people's brithdays this year because Facebook takes the fun out of birthday-stalking. However, Rob doesn't list his on Facebook anyhow, so I'm off the hook for missing it by one day. Happy Birthday!

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Orlando news stations believe almost anything
    Polar bear explorer met by hostile natives
    Fake bus stop keeps Alzheimer's patients from wandering off

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, June 09, 2008

    Vocabulary Day

    learning words the first grader way


    Look at Jeff's new cowboy boots.
    More importantly, look at Jeff's inappropriately wide stance.


    The jet plane landed on the runway.
    Three dimensional spatial awareness comes in third grade.


    We had hotdogs for lunch.
    The lesson of the week was compound words, but I'm pretty sure that "hot dog" has a space in it.


    Tom will carry a flashlight on Halloween.
    Tom is also thrilled with pronouns.


    Your niece is a girl.
    Thank you, Captain Obvious. I bloody well hope that my niece is a girl.


    The meeting was for a brief time.
    Illustrating the life lesson that even the shortest of meetings are best when completely unattended.


    The chief drove the fire truck.
    Apparently the chief is a member of the KISS Army and the fire truck doubles as a mobile observatory.


    The thief took the jewels.
    When the addition of full human figures might be too difficult, pretend they are outside of the scene and employ "action lines".

    See other vocabulary pictures in this entry .

    It's not a tumor -- it's a towel
    36MMM brests scoop the world record
    Is the main character missing? Maybe not.

    tagged as memories, media | permalink | 0 comments

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Jerkwater: (adj.) Remote, small, and insignificant; Contemptibly trivial

    My Composition (0:32 MP3)

    For this one, I envisioned something that was inherently harmless but scorned solely on principle -- something that's pleasant enough but ultimately ignored. I used a woodwind ensemble to symbolize things that people don't take seriously, and then kept the orchestration fairly light throughout.

    Eiffel Tower takes a bride
    Teaching theft to curb theft
    Night in Antarctica is the place to be

    tagged as museday | permalink | 3 comments

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Review Day: HAARP

    H.A.A.R.P. is the latest release from Muse -- a CD/DVD set from a live concert at Wembly Stadium in the UK. I'm usually not a fan of live CDs and I was disappointed with their previous live album, Hullbaloo Soundtrack, which was full of audience noise, rougher less crowd-pleasing B-sides, and an imbalanced mix of vocals under the guitars. This time, however, I was pleasantly surprised.

    The CD offers 70 minutes of hits from all four of their major albums (favouring the most recent ones), and the DVD is a well-edited hour-and-a-half extract of the concert in 5.1 surround sound (including everything that's on the CD plus 6 more songs). The whole package can be found for $14 retail or as little as $9 on Amazon Marketplace.

    Muse walks the fine line between hard rock and heavy metal, although they've moved towards electronica with their recent work. The trio obviously has a decent musical background, shown off in their improvisational segments, playing tunes in different keys, and their harmonies (probably the only rock band I've ever heard to regularly use a minor-major 7th chord).

    The live performance highlights just how well their arrangements and performances hold up and how little they rely on studio clean-up. Songs like Hysteria (YouTube) are just as driving and tightly-wound in a live performance, and the band members are obviously having a blast performing (the bass player just looks happy to be there). Performance camp is pretty low, as the group has thankfully moved on from their constant headbanging stage. It's also neat to see how famous the group is in the UK, with the entire stadium packed with fans.

    Every song is performed as if it's the most important song you'll ever hear in your lifetime -- the band marches in to the strains of Prokofiev's "Dance of the Knights" from Romeo and Juliet, followed by the motive from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" before diving right into "Knights of Cydonia" (YouTube). After several recent hits, the seminal "Butterflies and Hurricanes" makes an appearance (YouTube). In particular, watch the segment from 2:50 to 4:40, where Matthew Bellamy trades in his guitar to do the Romantic-era piano flourish.

    The quiet, more intimate pieces get more air time on the DVD than the CD, although both media include "Unintended" from their first album (0:56 MP3).

    Final Grade: A+, jam-packed with high-quality treats

    Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

    Gas hoarding causes apartment fire
    Physicists solve the mystery of levitation
    Sudoku-player jurors hamper trial

    tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:22 AM: "Oh hai. Breakfast time."

    5:43 AM: Freshly shaven and out of the shower.

    5:55 AM: It's much more pleasant to go to work when the sun is already up.

    6:12 AM: The rising sun out my window.

    8:02 AM: Working hard.

    11:55 AM: On the way home, passing a storm-damaged tree in Herndon.

    12:22 PM: I was going to recreate the ham sandwich eating picture from my first 12 of 12 ever, but got too excited and ate it first.

    12:45 PM: Telecommuting from my lovely home office.

    2:00 PM: Playing my trumpet, wondering if the will to practice will fade out in two weeks like it does every other year.

    4:32 PM: Looking for something to cook for dinner. We finally ditched the cookbook under the "too much effort" category and went with burgers.

    5:54 PM: Making Worcestershire burgers with cilantro, although the lack of fresh cilantro in the store made us use a tubed variety that comes out looking like cat poop.

    6:58 PM: Wine and grilling on the back porch.

    See more 12 of 12ers at Chad's site !

    Postal service sending underage chicks across state lines
    Judge in obscenity trial keeps a racy website
    Marijuana potency will give you a 30-year high

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 5 comments

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    Friday Fragments

    the unluckiest column of the month

    ♠ Congratulations to Paige and Matt who have a new daughter as of May 29! Because all new babies need to start out life with an online gaming handle to get ahead, Paige has given her the nickname, Senorita Clementina. You can find pictues of the newbie on Paige's site (click on the link in the left sidebar).

    ♠ It's too bad that Clementina wasn't a boy, because then Paige could contribute pictures to Guys Eating Stuff (also in the left sidebar).

    ♠ Now that there are officially more babies than adults in the readership of the URI! Zone, I've decided that the next major feature to add will be a Fantasy Baby Draft, where you select your favourite reader-offspring and follow it through a season of American Gladiator style baby-wrestling. Statistics such as diet, how often their diapers are changed, and hand-eye coordination can be tailored and tinkered with.

    ♠ I've never really understood the appeal of fantasy drafts or fantasy Final Four matchups, mainly because my interest in sports ends at the point where the team I'm rooting for stops playing. Cheer on the Hokies in a game? Sure! Cheer on Kansas because if they beat Ohio then the Hokies might move up one spot? Retarded.

    ♠ Speaking of sports, here's an article about throwing like a girl that I found while pruning all the old news links from my News Archives: . The ending is the best.

    ♠ I don't have any major plans this weekend, though tonight is Video Game Night which will probably involve lots of alcohol and driving (in Mario Kart) or brawling (in Super Smash Brothers). I'll also start studying for the next Java certification out of the only study guide I could find under $40, filled with annoying jokes and cartoons (because engineers supposedly learn much more from engineers who think they're comedians). I hear that Gabe and Laura are also getting married on Saturday. Congratulations! To celebrate, I'll probably go to my parents' house while they're down in Blacksburg and steal all their beer.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Bumblebee costumes make you pregnant
    German paper slammed for Uncle Barack's Cabin
    Unicorns do exist

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, June 16, 2008

    List Day: Five Satisfying Moments

  • Figuring out the reasons for a intermittent software bug after hours of debugging are going nowhere, and discovering that it will be very easy to fix.

  • Driving down Sanger Avenue, seeing some clown try to drive in reverse out of a parking lot onto a busy road and hearing Rebecca shout, "YOU'RE DOIN' IT WRONG!"

  • Rewatching the second season of Alias for the payoff of the storyline where Sloane is haunted by the ghost of his wife and ends up in the Phillipines.

  • Lying down on the couch and having Booty decide that she'll join you for a friendly chest-sit.

  • While playing Warsong Gulch, grabbing the enemy flag seconds before a cap, killing the enemy flag carrier, returning my team's flag, and then running out of the enemy base using a Swiftness Potion and making /train sounds.
  • What satisfies you?

    Introducing Spew the Toad
    Students told friends dead in police hoax
    Piggy gets some boots

    tagged as lists | permalink | 2 comments

    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    Newsday Tuesday

    When a wimpy bird turns into a stud

    Rebecca Safran has fooled Mother Nature. The evolutionary biologist from the University of Colorado figured out a way to give male barn swallows a makeover that makes less popular males much more desirable to females.

    Ms. Safran has already sold the results of her research to ABC, who will market it in the Fall 2008 television line-up starring Ty Pennington. The FOX Network is rumoured to be developing their own show in tandem, Who Wants To Get Humped By This Bird?, which they say was independently inspired and produced.

    About eight years ago, Safran expected to find that the length of a male barn swallow's tail feathers determined his level of success attracting mates and breeding. Instead, she noticed something she didn't expect: Female barn swallows tended to choose mates with the darkest breast feathers. Those males "bred a lot earlier, attracted the best mates and sired the greatest number of offspring," which Safran says is "the currency of evolution."

    The results of this study are underwhelming, since everyone already knows that chicken breasts would be much more appealing with dark meat. This is why the thigh-leg basket often outsells the breast-wing basket at Popeyes. Researchers also discounted the notion that large numbers of children are the currency of evolution, since many families in American history had an upwards of twelve children, only to lose them all in tragic accidents involving a misplaced smallpox antigen, or covered wagons and alcohol.

    Safran and her team tried 30 colors. Nothing worked until, she says, "we came across the Prisma nontoxic permanent ink art marker." The cost: $5.99. The light walnut shade seemed to match the darkest of the male barn swallow population. Applying a thin coat of the marker changed everything. Females flocked to the males with the darkened breast makeovers just as they did to the males with naturally dark breast feathers.

    This experiment made me curious to see if the same principles would also apply to human beings. I attempted a self-test using an Expo Dry-Erase Marker (cost $1.09), choosing the colour green because I had no yellow markers. After accentuating my boobies with the marker, I went to the local mall and paraded up and down near a jewelry store. My personal experiment never reached fruition before I was arrested by mall security, but I remain convinced that Charles-Atlas-sized rewards await the company that successfully markets this to nerds, especially when learning about the side effects:

    "Simply by changing a male's appearance, his physiology also changed," Safran said. "Males who were made darker lost weight. And their testosterone levels increased at a time in the season when testosterone is usually in decline." The weight loss may have to do with all that extra time they're spending with female birds.

    After the study, the makeover birds were rechristened as an homage to disgraced Governor Eliot Spitzer, who spent a little too much time with the females himself. The "Spitzer Swallows" are now celebrities in their own right and continue to get the lady birds. In the meantime, Ms. Safran (who was greatly impressed with my own experiment) theorized that painting the breasts of a politician might make him more electable. She has resolved to study bushtits next .

    The only unanswered question from this study is why it took eight years to reach a conclusion. Thirty colours over eight years works out to roughly one colour every three months. When asked about the padded schedule, the team replied, "It took us a while to realize that permanent markers are not conducive to repeatable experiments. Next time, we'll use tempera paints."

    Black guy booth enlivens farmers' market
    Romeo guinea pig causes baby boom
    Experts unveil the solution to student recitals

    tagged as newsday, mock mock | permalink | 3 comments

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Audience Participation Day: Annual Caption Contest

  • Invent a funny, insightful, or witty caption for either one of these images (your choice). Submit your caption by Tuesday the 24th at 6 PM EST.
  • Make sure you note which image your caption goes with, and who is speaking if your caption involves dialogue.
  • Examples can be seen in last year's contest involving Sumo wrestlers and babies .
  • Entries will be voted on by Zone readers and the winner will receive a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. I have the final say in ties, cheating, and suspected sabotage.
  • Introducing high-heels for babies
    Man kidnaps ex to do the ironing
    Shapeshifting car made from cloth

    tagged as contests | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Capsule Review Day

    Bucket List: Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are simultaneously diagnosed with terminal cancer and decide to have one last trip to do everything they never did. Does a good job of mixing the sentimentality with steady doses of humour and only drags a little bit. The actor who plays Jack from Will and Grace puts in a surprisingly good performance as Jack Nicholson's assistant, and proves that there's occasionally life after television.
    Final Grade: B+

    Aspects of Love: A remastered edition of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that flopped. With the exception of one extended scene, there's nothing new in the recording, although it probably does sound a little better than the 1989 version. Catchy music, weak story, and Michael Ball sounds a little wavy. Only a worthwhile purchase because Paige has my original CDs.
    Final Grade: B-

    Ray Stevens Boxed Set: This low-budget release is a three-CD set of Ray Stevens' hits (both comedy and serious). Because of licensing issues, the classics are re-recorded (apparently it's cheaper to perform it again than buy an old recording) and are not as high quality as they once were. The package is weak except for the price: $14 for the entire set -- cheap enough for the nostalgia kick.
    Final Grade: B+

    Design Patterns in Ruby: A hybrid book on Design Patterns and on the Ruby programming language, written by a coworker of mine. It's high on interesting content and low on padding, making it an easy and educational read for all four hundred million Zone readers who program in the Ruby language. You can read my entire Amazon.com review here .
    Final Grade: A

    Cook accused of getting tail in his pants
    Man gets extended leave for White Castle
    The most original computer game ever

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Friday Fragments

    that doesn't take wooden nickels

    ♠ Work has been pretty busy this week, which might be why this week's entries are shorter than usual. Have you submitted your captions for Wednesday's Caption Contest yet? I rely on my readers to self-entertain in situations like this because I'm far too busy doing secret work and playing Mario Kart.

    ♠ I unlocked Birdo in Mario Kart a couple days ago. Ms. BJ is a medium-weight driver that speaks purely in farty sounds, and is a perfect choice if you would rather play Mario Fart. She farts around turns, makes farting noises when she passes people, and farts despondently when you drive off a cliff. Definitely worth the price of unlocking.

    ♠ On the other hand, I have unlocked very little in Smash Brothers because the single-player mode is more boring than watching Gosford Park dubbed in Chinese. I can handle a simple task like "race 16 times", but when the task becomes "beat the fifteen minute long single-player mission with every character four times", I quickly lose interest in unlocking anything at all.

    ♠ Speaking of unlocking, up until my most recent bout of Spring Cleaning, I kept every key I'd ever owned on a keyring, from house keys when I was 5 to bike locks and padlocks throughout my childhood. I had more keys than a Fischer Price Toy Piano (10) but not as many as a baby grand.

    ♠ Speaking of babies and toys, baby toys are quite entertaining for adults, but not from the perspective you might think. Playing with baby toys as an adult is more about solving the puzzle of "What is the baby supposed to learn from this?" than enjoying the toy. All baby toys must be educational or at least fake it.

    ♠ This trend doesn't seem to continue into older childrens' toys. I don't think I learned a single thing from Castle Greyskull except that I would never be allowed to own the dungeon slime addon because "it was too messy".

    ♠ There was a time when I owned all the He-Man action figures. I used to bring the entire set to the day-sitter's house to play with, along with my complete set of Transformers. We never made them fight each other because that would be too genre-bursting for a neat kid such as myself.

    ♠ This weekend, I have Friday night dinner plans and then a hike up Mount Old Raggy Mountain on Saturday. Surprisingly, this is the first time I've ever gone there. The weekend is also filled with birthdays: Chris Smith on Saturday, then Rebecca and Brianne's on Sunday. Happy Birthday to all!

    Pig saboteurs shot
    Chimps calm each other with hugs and kisses
    How not to have an Olympic mascot nightmare

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 3 comments

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Old Rag Hiking Trip

    written in the style of second-grade BU

    On Satrday mornin we all went hiking. It was me, Rebecca, Emily, and another guy named brian who wasn't me. Marc was gonna come but he was hung over and when you hike when your hung over you throw up and it is not good so he did not come.

    We got in the car and I sat in the back. We drove very very very far. There is nowere to hike near our houses becus of urban sprall. We drove so far that we were in the fields by the mountins becuse we wanted to hike up a mountin. But valleys are good to.

    It costed us each $8 dollar to get in the park and one park ranger was sad becus she only had a sandwitch for lunch but the other park ranger had a chicken pot pie and he did not want to share it. After goin in the smelly portapotty we put on backpacks and started hikin.

    We saw lots of nature. We saw trees and birds and horse poop all over the road goin in but no one was ridin any horse. Soon we saw a little black bear walking in the woods and said hi. He didn't say hi back. We watched the bear then he left. Then we started to hike agin.

    As we got high up on the mountin, there were lots more hikers and not just us. We saw a boy scout troop that was to fat to go up the narrow part so there was a line for a long time til they got all the backpacks and the fat scout leaders through. Then we saw another bear on the path and all the scouts were afraid that it would attack them but I knew I could cast Hibernate Rank 1 on it and we could get away so I wasn't scared. Then we saw a dog who lived on the mountin all alone but he was sleeping. then we walked over some rocks and saw some more rocks. There were rocks all over.

    Finally we got to the top of the mountin (the summit) and sat down for lunch. I had a turky sandwitch with mayo and some water. We ate and my feet hurt. the view was pretty to.

    Before we left, I did a handstand becus it is cool. Then we left. We went a diffrent way home becus there were to many hikers comin up the good way. The way home was smoother and had not as many rocks, so it was like the coldplay trail insted of the metalica trail. After we hiked some it turned into a road that was very wide but had horse poop on it. It was smelly to.

    It took us two hourse to reach the bottom and we saw a deer on the way that wasn't scared at all. it wsa starring at me and only a few feet away. we got back to the car aroun 3:00 o-clock and drove home getting some cheep gas on the way. Then we showered and went to red robin with becca to celebrat Rebecca's birthday. then we came home and played mario kart with Mike but we lost and watched a movie til we fel alseep.

    THE END

    P.S. please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in the bak yard.

    Deputies reprimanded after alligator bite
    Woman gets injury from defective thong
    Pregnancy boom at Gloucester High

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 7 comments

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Boggy: (adj.) Wet and spongy

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)

    I started this piece with the quirky delayed music box sample and built around it, with an emphasis on sounds that have a sluggish attack. I then gave it a motor to distinguish it from an earlier Museday, Damp. Damp is more of a stationary word, while you wouldn't know a bog was boggy unless you tried to travel through it.

    Robber has the store in the palm of his hand
    Enema of the people
    Lost tribe really wasn't lost at all

    tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Caption Contest

    Vote for (only one) favourite entry using the Poll in the left sidebar! Voting closes on Monday the 30th!

    Anti-stink machine to mask sewage smell
    Man selling his life on ebay
    Man jailed for adopting bear

    tagged as contests | permalink | 1 comment

    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    Wasted Time Day

    World of Warcraft has a dirty little command, /played, that shows you how long you've been playing your character. Not a harmless measure like "You've been playing since 2004", but a down-to-the-minute tally of every single moment you've spent online. This command was obviously put into the game to embarass gamers by quantifying the amount of time they were NOT in the lab finding a cure for cancer or reading to underprivileged children in Ghana.

    "It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age he had been dead for two years." - Tom Lehrer

    My main character has a /played time of 61 days, but when you add up all my other characters, the total comes to 119 days and 20 hours (or 2876 hours of my life). This doesn't even include the characters deleted after realizing for the tenth time that Paladins are too boring to level over 30, or Aukshunner, the level 1 alt who spent the first half of 2005 sitting in the auction house making millions as if that were a game within a game.

    Had I spent all this time in useful and scholarly pursuits, I might have discovered the cure for both cancer AND radio stations that play Nickelback. However, this doesn't make me want to quit the game, and I don't consider it time wasted.

    Alright, the time I turned my Druid into a seal and tried to circumnavigate the entire continent may have been wasted time. And the thirty deleted warriors who required less strategy to play than a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos were probably not cost-effective. And all the time spent Fishing, only to reach a skill level of 141/300. But OTHERWISE, I wouldn't classify Warcraft as a waste of time.

    At the end of the day, the enjoyment and friendships gleaned from playing Warcraft are far more rewarding than sitting on the couch watching reruns of "George Lopez is a Comedian Not An Actor" or going to a loud bar and hanging around people who like to use "at the end of the day" in casual conversation.

    And if we're completely honest with ourselves, 99% of us would never have used that time for anything useful anyhow.

    Children concerned about parents' web habits
    Writing Tuesday on his blog . . . in almost all caps, West said he was offended that anyone would think he doesn't care about his fans
    Welcome to the George Bush Sewage Plant

    tagged as games | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, June 27, 2008

    Friday Fragments

    contains more sodium than generic brand soy sauce

    ♠ Yesterday on the way to work, I saw a flashing highway sign that said "DRIVE HAMMERED, GET NAILED" and was sponsored by the Fairfax County police department. This unfortunate slang might actually increase the number of drunk drivers on the road. No doubt, they were channeling Katie Melua's Sailboat song where she sings, "If you were a piece of wood I'd nail you (to the floor)".

    ♠ There haven't been a lot of horrible songs on XM recently, although Groove Armada's "I See You Baby, Shakin' Dat Ass" made a surprise reappearance last week. Other than that, the worst song I've heard is CSS's "Music is My Hot, Hot Sex" . I'm guessing this song was written by either a meth-addicted chipmanzee or the lead singer of Tatu.

    ♠ Speaking of chimps, we're going to the Zoo on Saturday so various one-year-olds can experience the joys of wandering through the wafting aromas of elephant dung. We're also going to see who would win in a fight -- Ella or a lemur.

    ♠ Ella is obviously in training to bcome a pissant middle schooler with a straw hanging out of her mouth. She has also learned that when a camera comes out, you should pause and pose until the flash goes off.

    ♠ My dentist's office could learn a thing or two about flashes, since it took them two tries with the panoramic X-Ray machine to get prints that weren't too dark to see. This is also after the three weeks of bureaucratic shuffling it took to set up the referral in the first place. As of yesterday, I now have a map of my teeth and a referral to get my wisdom teeth removed -- something I'll probably do in mid-July.

    ♠ Something YOU should do before mid-July is to vote for your favourite caption from this week's Caption Contest. One vote per person please -- all duplicate votes get reset using my high-tech wizardry! I can see you cheaters.

    ♠ Wizardry 8 was such a boring game. I bought it during my first year in Tallahassee and lost interest roughly one week later. Sadly, the part of the game I enjoyed most was discovering that the music was just a bunch of MP3 files which I could swap out with my own. However, even the novelty of starting every quest with Sir Robin's theme was not enough to make it a fun game.

    ♠ Speaking of games, I recently purchased a laptop to use up some Dell coupons. I got the Dell M1530 based on its reviews, as well as a graphics card that can run most of the games I would play while travelling (World of Warcraft, Snood, and Cosmopolitan Makeover: Barbie's Dream Salon). I figured it was about time that I jumped on the laptop bandwagon, and was also tired of writing up meeting minutes at work then typing them in later. Plus, now I can trash talk Mike on IM during games of Mario Kart. The laptop should get here sometime next week.

    ♠ Have a great weekend everyone!

    Bad guys get the most girls
    School closed due to ninjas
    James Fagan will rip children apart

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 2 comments

    Monday, June 30, 2008

    End of the Month Media Day


    "Nope, I'm not up to anything in particular."

    "Dude... you're high."

    Video Game Night is a success

    Rebecca is tricked into making her own birthday cake at a surprise party

    This was the tiny elephant.

    Caught in a tiger trap.

    Ella's favourite part of the zoo was the puddles.

    Saturday Trip to the Zoo

    See more photos of cats
    See more photos of Ella
    See more photos from Jazz in the Garden
    See more photos from Old Rag
    See more photos from Rebecca's Surprise Party
    See more photos from the Zoo Trip

    Court refuses to let man change his name to an obscenity
    Littering can be harmful
    Penis disrupts graduation

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

     

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