Posts from 08/2008

Monday, August 04, 2008

New Edition Day

Welcome to the Thirteenth Edition of the URI! Zone. Were my site a drooly twelve-year-old human, it'd be buying lunch boxes and crappy plastic pencil sharpeners that you have to revolve around the pencil yourself, and heading for the sixth grade, However, since the ratio of Web years to people years is on a scale of fruit flies to dogs, I should probably start looking for a place of web-assisted living soon (maybe urizone.old?)

Regular readers will know that I recently switched hosts from Futurepoint to Kattare, which has enabled me to cast off the constraining raincoat of PHP and fully expose my finely-sculpted Java parts to unsuspecting passersby. Among the new features that I've custom-coded over the past couple weeks, you'll find:

News Search: On the sidebar to the right, you can now do a case-insensitive search for exact matches. It doesn't have the power of Google behind it (so +llama -boobies AND ugly babies probably won't return any results), but if you want to find all the posts that mention Chompy, for example, it'll work superbly.

Improved Comments: Kelley has been bitching about this for years because he's a trumpet player, and thus, makes many mistakes. Now you can edit any comments that were originally posted from your computer (matched by IP address). Simply click the "edit" link on the far right of your comment and make those typos vanish! I'm still not requiring any sort of login to post -- hopefully the tradeoff between convenience and spamming will be worth it.

More pictures of Doobie looking sweet:
This is pretty self-explanatory.

Tagged Posts: I can now categorize posts. All posts written since January 2006 have been tagged, and I'll be doing the previous five years as time permits. At the bottom of every post, you can see which tags have been assigned, and click on tag names to see other posts in the same category. Eventually, I'd like to allow you all to tag posts as "Anna's Favourites" or something. And yes, I do realize that I've essentially caught up to where Blogger was in 1956 just before the launch of Sputnik. This is justified by the fact that homegrown makes it all better -- like an illegal marijuana operation or a small baby.

An Atom Feed:
Rob Kelley first requested an RSS feed back in January of 2005. At the time, every one of my updates was handcoded in JavaScript (because being obtusely perverse in your coding methods is a necessity for any real software engineer) so his request was only met with apology from me and mocking from Mike. Now that the news updates are database-driven, I have a simple Java process generating an Atom feed every time I post something inane. If you would like to take advantage of this, click on the orange Feed icon next to the Mail icon at the top of the page. If you don't know what good a web feed is, read about it here .

Consolidated Content:
Every (remaining) section of the site has been examined through the critical lens of "who the hell would really read that anyhow?" and lots of useless clutter has been removed. The main focal point of the site has been the daily news updates for three years now -- it's time to accentuate this like a magnifying glass on an ant.

Admin Console:
To capably handle this incredible ejaculation of new content, I've created an online administrative console that keeps my finger on the pulse of the URI! Zone. From here, I can do such fun things as keep track of new polls, fix typos that Rob catches, and punish my friends' blogs by pushing them to the bottom of the list when they fail to update regularly. (Trendy blogs will continue to appear in alphabetical order).

If there are any other features you'd like to see on the URI! Zone, or you discover any bugs that I intentionally put there to see how observant you are, please let me know! In the meantime, happy 12th birthday to the website originally known as the URI! Domain -- may the next twelve be even better!

NASA offers $5000 a month to lie in bed
Effort to grab gerbil wreaks havoc
World's oldest joke traces back to 1900 BC

tagged as website | permalink | 13 comments
day in history

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Cloud Day

In my ongoing attempts to appear more worldly than I actually am, I read an article in the Business section of the Post this weekend about a website called Wordle , which generates a Word Cloud for the most recent posts on your site. A Word Cloud is a visual depiction of the most commonly mentioned topics in your posts, organized by size and colour like a freakish colour-blind test. For example, here is the Word Cloud for the previous four posts on the URI! Zone:

This is a pretty nifty little invention, although I was sad to see that "boobies" did not play a more prominent role in the proceedings (prominent boobies are an often overlooked aspect of human survival and enjoyment, not unlike an Antarctic shelf of ice or a giant rack of spare ribs).

Because everyone loves a bandwagon, I imagine that it won't be long before there are other cloud generation techniques for analyzing websites. Here are four that might apply to this website based on the frequency that I mention things.

TV Show Cloud

Tagging all the archives made me realize how often I once said some variation on "Alias is a little weak right now but it's still the best show on TV."

Game Cloud

I don't really play too many games any more, and more often than not I've played the Blizzard trifecta -- Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. Halo blows.

Food Cloud

I think I mentioned carrots at least once (now twice) to compare them to tasteless orange boogers.

Baby Cloud

Ella gets too much press. She must have worked very hard at that.

Pigs a hit at nursing home
For easy access to drugs, just put your beaver on display
Driver takes a larger dump than expected

tagged as website | permalink | 11 comments
day in history

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pet Day: Speedy and Pokey

It was in the Spring of either fifth or sixth grade when the next animals entered the URI! household menagerie. This time, instead of a peeing kitty, it was a pair of fluffy guinea pigs.

Although we didn't realize it at the time, guinea pigs are easily some of the most worthless pets in the history of pets. Now, many pets don't have much to offer to the human race -- snakes spend the entire day sitting stock still on a stick, stoically staring. However, guinea pigs are equally worthless and annoying to boot.

Guinea pigs are larger than a mouse but smaller than a rat, poop and pee eighteen thousand times a day, refuse to be picked up or petted, and make an air raid BWEEEEP sound whenever they're hungry. They eat constantly and grow to the size of a mutant potato -- as they expand, their proclivities for pooping and peeing increase in a linear fashion.

My sister's piggy was named Speedy, a sleek white, tan, and brown beast that looked like the failed design for an African flag. My own, Pokey, was whorled in cowlicks and looked slightly like a partially gnawed albino apple. We kept them in a homemade cage of PVC pipe, wire screen and metal trays covered in newspapers.

From the day we got them, they ran from us at every opportunity -- all the silly Guinea Pig books from the local Crown Books suggested that continued petting and holding would tame them, but all it did was result in further poop and pee in the unfortunate petter's lap. Continued attempts to lap-train them failed, and eventually we reached a point of mutual coexistence -- we would feed them fifteen times a day and clean their cages every time they smelled like a urinal trough, and they would not go BWEEP BWEEP BWEEP.

Eventually, they grew to a size where their cage was always a soggy pastiche of piggy pellets and sprayed urine, requiring a daily cleaning to keep the smell down. Cleaning was an arduous affair, requiring us to chase them into one half of the two-trayed cage while we swapped out the newspaper in the other half.

Of course, kids in fifth and seventh grade are not going to keep up with a daily task like this -- we could barely remember to practice our instruments for thirty minutes a day without constant nagging. So eventually, my valiant dad became the constant gardener of these unpleasant beasts.

It all came to an end one day when we returned home from school to find the space where the cage once was vacuumed and empty. When asked where they had gone, my dad simply said that he'd gotten tired of the BWEEEEPing and found them a new home.

No one was particularly brokenhearted.

Farmer sends message to neighbours with car fence
Payroll computers too old for a pay cut
No kids or jobs for stay-at-home wives

tagged as memories | permalink | 7 comments
day in history

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Return of the Poll Day

Traditionally, Wednesday nights at 8 PM have been Mario Kart nights, where multiple drivers get online to test the destructibility of various walls by driving into them continuously until Florida-Mike wins the race and the game ends because the computer doesn't want to wait for everyone else to finish.

This week however, I've chosen to sacrifice most of my evenings by improving the website for my dedicated readers. In lieu of Mario Kart, I spent four hours creating a Java poll system which even prevents multiple votes from the same computer. This also means that Florida-Mike will no longer have a guaranteed fourth place in caption contests simply because he voted a lot.

There are also over 1240 tags in the database, going back to the very first post on August 1, 2001. If you'd like to see some of my all-time favourites, you can follow the "favourites" tag.

Studies have shown that people are willing to pay dearly for new content once they get used to a steady diet of it, and I've just finished patenting a subscription model that will let me charge you one bottle of beer per post. I call it PintPal (not to be confused with PayPal). The working name was BeerBuddy, but I worried that it would get confused with the gutter whore known as Bonzai Buddy.

My forecasted budget for 2009 depends on this beer surplus -- why read something for free when you could send me a pint and THEN read it? Indeed.

The Shire is now in foreclosure
Firm claims first cloned pet dogs
The girl in the window
In a Fight to the Death, who would you root for to survive?

Carrot Top (1 vote, 8.3%)

Paris Hilton (1 vote, 8.3%)

Jack Thompson (2 votes, 16.7%)

Kathy Griffin (5 votes, 41.7%)

Adam Carolla (3 votes, 25.0%)

tagged as website | permalink | 9 comments
day in history

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday Fragments

official fragments column of the 2008 Summer Olympics

♠ Being the 8th of August, today is a mildly awesome day, because 8/8/08 is like having four 222s, and everyone knows that quads beat a three of a kind.

♠ In last week's impromptu midweek poker game, quads never showed up for me (except when I stood up in a muscular fashion). The game was won handily by Dissertation-Kathy, with Florida-Mike and Theory-Chris as runner-ups. The fact that we played with the oddball Florida rules is suspect, since all three winners had played with them before.

♠ The first rule had us deal all the chips out of the box. There were so many on the table that we might as well have been playing with horribly inflated Sri Lankan rupees. Blinds also went up at set time intervals, which eliminated any opportunities for dicking around. In Virginia rules, 55% of strategy involves dicking around.

♠ After writing the previous fragment, I got curious about the etymology of the phrase "dicking around". It wasn't in the Dic(k)tionary, so Google sent me to the entry for Dick in the Wiktionary (which may have also been a slang phrase from a 90s rap song). Apparently "dick" is also used in relation to Cumbrian sheep counting -- how apropos.

♠ The above site gets points for asking the reader to go see "WikiSaurus:penis" (which probably involves renting Jurassic Park on DVD), and almost got points for having audio samples of people pronouncing the word, but they're all in OGG format. I presume this means that a caveman named Ogg is narrating, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a crisp pronunciation guide -- everyone knows that cavemen "suck dick" at dic(k)tion. Incidentally, I haven't used this many parenthetical Ks since the last time I wrote about my retirement plan.

♠ I actually know what the OGG format is, but I'm one of those fossils that still keeps all his music in 128kb MP3 format and, as such, don't have an OGG Player. There are people that will argue that 256kb offers much better sound quality, but I don't really mind the difference. Plus I find it inconceivable that Gwen Stefani is allotted over 8 megabytes to spell the word BANANA. And in some cases (notably student recitals), degrading the quality of the MP3 actually covers up the worst of the performance blemishes. Other recitals are so horrible that you couldn't cover them up with a lifesize map of the world.

♠ There are no big plans for the coming weekend -- a little bit of certification studying and some lawn mowing are likely. I might also go biking on Sunday if the spirit moves me. The Olympics are starting today so maybe I'll also take some time to watch the figure skating beach volleyball.

♠ I'm not exactly sure what distinguishes Olympic beach volleyball from regular volleyball other than the uniforms. I would like to see other forms added to the Olympics, such as swamp volleyball, liquid hot magma volleyball, and valley volleyball.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Lusty badger sparks police hunt
Greyhound scraps ads after bus beheading
PETA dares the Beef Queen to wrestle the Lettuce Lady

tagged as fragments | permalink | 10 comments
day in history

Monday, August 11, 2008

List Day: Five People You See On Bike Trips

  • The next Lance Armstrong: He owns all the latest in biking gear, and looks like the missing link in the evolution of the Wheelers from Return to Oz. His constant quest is to fetalize himself to the point where his ass is actually higher in the air than his head (some actually bike with their heads between their knees). Has a bike bell because "shouting 'on your left' is tiresome when you PASS EVERYONE LIKE I DO and wastes precious oxygen".

  • 5'2" runner with disproportionate upper body: He's trying to compensate for being short by bulking up, but his morning cocktail of steroids and Flintstones multivitamins has given him shoulders like Jersey barriers and legs like balloon animals. In an attempt to even out his physique, he runs as hard as he can down the bike trail, pumping and grunting like a Neanderthal gas station attendant in Jersey. He's only running so fast because he'd lose his balance and tumble if he slowed down -- it's hard to balance all that beef.

  • Weekend Warrior: Nowhere near the next Lance Armstrong, but might be the next James Lance Bass. Can't quite afford the latest and greatest gear, and doesn't go very fast, but makes sure to leave the top two inches of his racing suit unzipped so a mushroom cloud of out-of-control chest hair can say hello.

  • Moving Target: A variant on the Weekend Warrior who's been left with the kid by his shopping wife. He tosses the kid in a rickety trailer of death hooked to his back wheel (because the best scenery on a bike trip involves looking at daddy's ass for an hour) and then drives across intersections outside the crosswalks and dares cars to hit him.

  • Slow and Steady: Two well-meaning but out-of-shape women who were probably running about three miles ago, but have since given up and started gossiping. They walk hip to hip across their lane (so one is always slightly in the way of oncoming traffic) and travel slightly faster than a filibuster. May make disapproving sounds similar to frightened chickens when you try to pass them on the left.
  • Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

    Repair shop hacks users' webcams
    Screensaver reveals new test for synaesthesia
    Cloner Dogged by Sex Scandal
    Who would win in a bike race?

    The Roadrunner (3 votes, 42.9%)

    Lance Armstrong (1 vote, 14.3%)

    Cartman on a Tricycle (1 vote, 14.3%)

    Mayor Fenty on Uppers (2 votes, 28.6%)

    tagged as lists | permalink | 6 comments
    day in history

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:28 AM: Cats get more anxious for breakfast when there are guest cats in the house -- you'd think they could just eat each other.

    6:04 AM: I always show favouritism to the other mirror when I do 12 of 12 -- this probably reflects badly upon me.

    6:20 AM: There will be no more sunrise pictures, since I've now moved to an office on the west side of the building.

    6:21 AM: Now it's time to unpack and set up the new office.

    7:28 AM: The office is now set up to be an identical twin to the old office, but with a much nicer view.

    8:24 AM: This corporate slogan now adorns the lunch room, reminding all employees to be at their best when they pig out.

    11:50 AM: The Tuesday Special (two pieces of chicken, a biscuit, and a side order for $3.18 -- a savings of over 30%)

    12:32 PM: Guest cat, Titan, watches flying beetles outside the window while I telecommute.

    3:34 PM: Working on a Wiki and watching an old episode of Alias.

    4:10 PM: Dinnertime for Kitties.

    6:11 PM: Sorting through old photo albums for tomorrow's Memory Day post.

    8:17 PM: Dinner out at Omia's Italian Restaurant. This was our first exploration, but we'd go back!

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

    Megatron stopped at the border
    Snoop Dogg makes his Bollywood debut
    MP3s to get you high

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 7 comments
    day in history

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Memory Day: Sweaty Lightweights

    Back in my high school Crew days, I was the coxswain for the Lightweight boat. As in most weight-restricted sports, the Lightweight bracket started out as a way for Lilliputians to compete against each other, but ended up as a just another abusable system where coaches tried to stack the fat without exceeding the upper limit.

    On the men's Lightweight boat, there were two weight restrictions: no single rower could be over 145 pounds, and the entire boat's average had to be less than 140. In our case, we regularly had two rowers near the 145-mark, with our bell curve average softened by Ian Schmidt's 132 pound frame. Coxswains are not allowed to be included in the average, because fat coxswains don't steer any differently from skinny ones (although my 108 pound self would have been a boon). Female lightweights had it even worse, with a maximum limit of 120 pounds (as if teenage girls aren't already obsessing enough about their weight).

    Besides the usual effective tactics of employing various eating disorders for profit, there were a few other common ways to get your weight down for the pre-race weigh-in, where hundreds of emaciated Lightweights gathered around a cattle scale to hear the Decree of the Fat. A quick hit of laxatives generally did the trick, although this could backfire during the race itself. Another option was sweat runs, where people would put on as many layers of clothing as possible (sometimes including a layer of garbage bags) and then run a couple miles around the weigh station. On the girls' side, every third or fourth rower in line to be weighed could be seen spitting in a cup, as if the weight of the saliva would have anything more than a placebo effect.

    Despite our boat's collective blubber, there was only one race when we failed to make weigh-in -- at the Stotesbury regatta in 1996, the rowers some how managed to have 9 pounds to shed (probably attributable to the fact that we ate at McDonald's and Bob's Big Boy for the two previous meals). A two mile sweat run up the Rocky stairs in Philadelphia cured our weigh-woes, and the judges allowed us to compete with an average of 140.05. However, we may as well have sat on the shore for the comedy of errors that followed, as outlined in one of my historic journal entries:

    "Our goal was to hang on to St. Joe's who had come in second timewise to LaSalle and were 8 seconds ahead of us in heats. We were actually doing quite well in the beginning. We edged out TJ and started to move up into 3rd. Then Ben caught a crab with his oar for about 10 seconds, dropping us back down to 6th. Then I called a spurt but Travis didn't hear. He went for a full stroke and hit Charlie in the back. Charlie was then off of his seat for the last 600 yards or so. Even so, we came in 5th and beat Yorktown."

    There's no real moral to this story other than to note that Yorktown lost to a boat with two incapacitated rowers. They must have had one too many laxatives.

    Blue screen of death makes Olympic appearance
    Giant dog turd wreaks havoc
    Put the pretty one out front

    tagged as memories | permalink | 5 comments
    day in history

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    New Feature Day: Bloglog

    The most recent addition to the URI! Zone is an automatically shuffling Bloglog which organizes blogs (both Friendly and Trendy) according to the date of their most recent update. Like the layer of fresh water over a hypoxic part of the Gulf, these eager beaver bloggers will find their links up at the top of the list, stealing all the visitors and oxygen from the blogs listed below them.

    Three or four times a day (or more if I manually push my giant red button), my BlogChecker loads the Atom or RSS feed of every listed blog, looking for new content. It doesn't delineate between a masterful treatise and the results of a "Which Muppet are you?" poll, because as most readers at work know: it doesn't matter WHAT is posted, as long as it's not the same post they saw last week at the top of the page.

    In fact, people who haven't updated their blogs in the past 7 days will suffer the ignoble ignominy of having their link coloured in a darker shade of Asian (see the three examples in the screenshot on the left).

    Coding this was much easier than expected because of the magic of XML, although I had to write a special case for Florida-Mike, who thinks that "Atom Feeds" is the name of the latest biblical zombie movie from Quentin Tarantino. Sadly, the BlogChecker cannot see Mark's blog, because his host, Blogsome, denies my requests with a "403 Forbidden" error (obviously trying to snag a role in the above movie as God in the Garden of Eden). I'll have to keep updating his position by hand, although I'm guessing the start of a new teaching semester will keep him in the Slackers category anyhow. Teaching music theory is hard work, even with tonic.

    Share some of your favourite but undiscovered blogs in the Comments section! I might check one out, get addicted myself, and add it to my Bloglog.

    Happy Birthday to my sister, who is somewhere between 30 and 40 but closer to 30!

    Shigeru Miyamoto banned from talking about his hobbies
    Buy evidence of adultery on eBay
    Beijing provides 100,000 condoms for athletes

    tagged as website | permalink | 4 comments
    day in history

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    Baby Booty Day

    Because of general busy-ness at work, I did not have time to write a Friday Fragments column this week. Instead, today's update will be a small mini-game, where readers must correctly guess which pictures show a baby, and which pictures show my cat, Booty. (Answers are on the back of the Mini Page).

    Don't miss the live action version either (2MB WMV).

    Porn inspector arrested in Colorado
    Man lives in luggage locker
    Sweet Home Britain

    tagged as media | permalink | 2 comments
    day in history

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    Coldplay Day

    On Friday, XM Radio finally ended its ridiculous musical experiment, "Thirty Days of Coldplay", during which Channel Crazy-European-Techno-Music was replaced by Channel Soft-Rock-Coldplay-All-Hours-Of-The-Day. Doing the math, there are 720 hours of airtime to be filled with Coldplay's entire discography which (according to amounts to about 60 songs.

    At four minutes per song (five in the ones that employ the typical soft-rock vamp which almost puts them in the trance genre), there's guaranteed to be a bit of dead air. Some gaps are filled with inane commentary, such as the drummer's insistence that one song was too hard rock to be appreciated by the audience before performing a song that would almost be at home on the piano of John Tesh. Other gaps are filled with live versions of songs which generally involve the audience singing Fix You as an atonal Schoenberg aria.

    Although Coldplay has been trying to build a better U2 since 2000, I didn't hear of them until April 2003, when I embarked upon my grand experiment to listen to more popular music. Before that time, my musical portfolio consisted of a wide variety of classical and jazz with a hint of Dave Matthews and a dash of Eminem. I was actually a big fan of Coldplay back when I first heard them -- the sound was fresh and their videos were artsy in a half-retarded way. Two CDs later though, their music was relegated to the "background" file and their wearisome oversaturation of the airwaves was like enduring election season all year 'round.

    Thirty days is a long time in any event, and it seems to me that NO band is worth having a radio station devoted to them for that entire time. What bands could you listen to for an entire month at a time?

    The agent did say that the buyer agreed to pay the full list price of $1, and planned to pay cash.
    'Jenkem': Stay Alert or Call It a Hoax?
    Peter Pan arrested in labor dispute
    How long can you listen to Coldplay without changing the station?

    30 days (0 votes, 0.0%)

    30 hours (0 votes, 0.0%)

    30 minutes (2 votes, 22.2%)

    30 seconds (7 votes, 77.8%)

    tagged as music | permalink | 4 comments
    day in history

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Museday Tuesday

    Uncomplicated: (adj.) Not complex or involved; simple

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)

    My initial thoughts for this word were vacation-y and beach-y, since any noun can become an adjective by appending a partial vowel on the end of it. When I sat down at the keyboard, it felt like I had a lot of Latin rhythms in my queue, waiting to be jotted down -- probably a byproduct of watching the third season of Prison Break (set in Panama) and rewatching the first season of Dexter (set in Miami).

    Ugly girls welcome in beer goggle capital
    Woman beats up fiance at prenup party
    Confused turtles march into restaurant

    tagged as museday | permalink | 4 comments
    day in history

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    Game Day

    There seems to be a recent makeover frenzy surrounding classic board games deemed too slow-paced or spiffy for modern audiences. The latest casualty of this is everyone's favourite game, Clue. From the cosmetic side, the staid British guests are replaced with a movie star and a football player among others, while the lead pipe has been dropped for the equally logical "set of dumbbells" (which is apparently easier to find in a spa or a home theatre).

    Because kids today have the attention spans of fruit flies with cancer, Clue is now shorter, with the guests having special superhero powers to help solve the murder faster. Other cards have the possibility of eliminating players as suspects completely.

    This isn't the first childhood memory obliterated by the board game industry. Life introduced mid-life crises, shattering my deeply-ingrained understanding that the only way to succeed in the world was to be a doctor (being a teacher would leave you broke on the side of the road with four pink pegs in the station wagon). Monopoly eliminated cash, training youngsters that all purchases should be made with a credit card on a minimum balance.

    At this rate, it won't be long before every game has been updated for the 21st century. Here are a few others we'll probably get before long:

  • Risk: The next world war will be decided solely with nuclear weapons, so each confrontation is fought with seven attack dice versus a single two-sided defense die (also known as a coin). Whenever the US gains new troops, they must immediately be deployed to the Middle East for six turns.

  • Sorry: Pieces now travel on a counter-clockwise path -- as soon as they leave the Start zone, they travel up the Finish path.

  • Battleship: Every ship in the box is now a double-wide, increasing the chances of a successful hit. If no player has won in fifteen minutes, players swap game boards.

  • Trivial Pursuit: The Geography, Arts, and Science categories will be replaced by Types of Sheep, Prime Numbers, and Foods that Begin with the Letter Q, respectively. Instead of requiring 6 pie pieces to win, players compete for two pieces of a hot dog: the dog and the bun.

  • Labyrinth: All the holes in the maze have been removed except for the last one. For better reading comprehension, the game will be rechristened as Tilty Mazey.

  • Chess: All pawns are replaced with queens. Instead of the classic black versus white confrontation, all pieces will be the same mulatto colouring, with sides determined based on ability.

  • Connect Four: Rechristened as Connect Two.

  • Jack Mustard In the Spa With the Ax
    Computer humans take the next step
    New porn channel lets Canadians strut their stuff

    tagged as mock mock, games | permalink | 3 comments
    day in history

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    Review Day: Prison Break Season 3

    There are no spoilers from this season in this review, although older seasons are described.

    The first thing non-viewers generally ask when they hear that Prison Break has a third season is how these characters could possibly still be stuck in prison. Season One told the tale of an engineer, Michael Scofield, who intentionally gets arrested so he can break his innocent brother on death row out of jail. Season Two was the cross-country chase of the fugitives, and Season Three finds Scofield and some of his compatriots back in a Panamanian prison where the prisoners are so violent that the guards just maintain the perimeter, letting lawlessness reign inside.

    The plot is ridiculous, and the settings are implausible. Why would lawless prisoners be allowed daily visitors? Why would the big conspiracy people behind Scofield's rearrest not have a much easier solution for the problem they face? Many people can't get past the insane setup, and it's easy to poke holes in the plot if you stop and think. However, story is NOT the reason you would want to watch this show. This is pure escapist (pun intended, because when are puns NOT intended on this site) suspenseful fare -- the story is just there to put all the pieces in place so the character dynamics and intricate escape plans can come to the front.

    The third season is not as good as the first, but much better than the second, which lost some momentum trying to track multiple individual storylines across the country. The characters are the most fun to watch when they're all playing off each other, and having them stuck in a prison again brings that element back. Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell, the racist Southern pedophile who's probably the first primetime character to use the word "detritus" in his dialog, is still the most riveting and enjoyable anti-hero to watch, although he doesn't get as much screen time as in the past.

    Like all shows last season, this one was hit by the writer's strike, so there's only thirteen episodes to watch. However, the final episode is tied up nicely and works as a finale, further supporting my theory that you only need about twelve shows to make a compelling season of TV that doesn't drag out with tattoo stories. The only place where the season staggers a bit is with the handling of a pivotal actress who decided not to return this season. Voiceovers, shots from behind, and a clumsy kidnapping storyline cover this up in a painfully obvious manner, much the same way the Sopranos ended the Livia Soprano storyline with old clips of previously recited dialog after the actress' death.

    Overall, this is a season worth watching if you like entertaining, suspenseful shows that don't need a lot of internal logic or deep thought to enjoy. When given the choice between a season of Prison Break and a season of 24, I'd probably enjoy the former more.

    Download condom ring tones
    Cat with four ears a target for catnappers
    Newlyweds tasered after wedding

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments
    day in history

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Friday Foraging

    I front-loaded this two-week pay period with additional hours working last weekend, which allowed me to take today off without using up any leave. Front-loading is a highly recommended practice since it results in free vacation days, and since rear-loading just sounds dirty.

    I'll be spending today watching the second season of Dexter and working on a top secret website project codenamed BUVite. Rather than toss out a Fragments column today, I decided that I would post a list of some recent search-engine queries that brought people here, and then satisfy their needs as best as I could.

  • Jonathan Ke fish lips

  • Jim Henson's Chun King Ad: Actually it was Stan Freberg who theorized that ancient Chinese people eat hot dogs every day. You can listen to this here (500KB MP3).

  • warez mexico: This might be the most common search term in my history -- apparently pirated software is big south of the border. However, in the URI! Zone, this term refers to the listserv flame war that started when Dave McGarry was forced into hard labour by the Mexican police.

  • blog kathy biddick: You can find Kathy's blog in the sidebar. She hasn't updated in years though.

  • plant terrariums, mikado: I suppose that if Gilbert and Sullivan wrote about terrariums in their opera, the song might have come out like this:
      Behold the Lord High Plant Terrarium
      It's made for leaves not water like aquariums
      You plant the seeds and they shall germinate
      And keep the aphids, please do not exterminate!

  • Describe Mendelssohn, Concerto for Violin in E minor 1st Movement: Bendy.

  • Hot Alyssa Milano Pics:

  • simple intersting short news about tatu: They're still bad.

  • shawna johnson gymnastics pics: For the record, I did gymnastics in elementary school with Shawna, not Shawn.

  • mike monday stella attar jump: You can download it here (3MB MP3)

  • swallowing pencils and pooping diamonds: WHAT

  • Whatever happened to Dr. Callender?: He's still at FSU.

  • stuffonmybaby:

  • step-by-step instructions on how to pee in a cup for women:
    1. Depants.
    2. Hover over cup.
    3. Pee.
  • Ignore that logo under the tape
    Woman bash serial bottom pincher
    San Marcos Officer Gets Death Threats For 'It's Just a Dog' Comment

    tagged as website, searches | permalink | 8 comments
    day in history

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    Bad Joke Day

    While organizing my document archive (and wondering if I'm the only person in the universe to have a document archive), I came across a collection of original jokes that Rebecca and I invented last year. It was obviously intended to be the germ for a childrens' joke book that would make us rich and famous and able to retire at 29, but hasn't seen any new jokes added in at least nine months.

    Highlight the space below each question to see the horrible inanity that follows.

    Q: Why did the space alien eat the comet instead of the astronaut?

    Q: What do Chinese worms eat for dinner?

    Q: What kind of sound do baby frogs make?

    Q: Why was the man deported from Helsinki?

    Q: What do you call a monk that fell in the pool?

    Q: What do you call a hippie that works in a plant nursery?

    Q: What does the fish sandwich say after the election?

    Q: Where do hippos get advanced degrees?

    Share your own bad jokes in the comments section!

    Boy in hospital after backfire from his backfire
    Plop-plop the unruly emu is tasered
    Cop: Sex with prostitute wasn't fun
    Which fruit is the funniest?

    Apples (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Oranges (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Bananas (5 votes, 35.7%)

    Lemons (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Huckleberries (9 votes, 64.3%)

    tagged as random | permalink | 13 comments
    day in history

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Museday Tuesday

    Lachrymose: (adj.) Suggestive of or tending to cause tears; mournful.

    My Composition (0:33 MP3)

    Other than being a possible substitute for pure sugar, "lachrymose" doesn't immediately present a strong mental picture. The definition seems to infer a maudlin quality over a bawly one. All in all, it seems like a word that might appear in a tenth grade English essay after using the online thesaurus one too many times.

    This snippet is written for flugelhorn, alto flutes, and rhythm section.

    Over 200,000 pounds of Hot Pockets recalled
    Officer's Internet Safety Talk Criticized After Sexual Comments
    Web vote to find the world's most beautiful nuns

    tagged as museday | permalink | 5 comments
    day in history

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Audience Participation Day

    I've posted in the past about how bad the Family Circus has become over the course of forty-eight years worth of cartoons. It's not its fault, necessarily -- if I ever make it to fifty years of daily updates on my website, I'm sure I'll be just as bad as Family Circus, relying on repetitive jokes about how cool the Internet is or how Daddy might be a pedophile.

    In fifty years, I'll be seventy-eight with hands crippled by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the remnants of my mental acuity puddled in my sinuses, having melted away from the daily grind of finding new ways to print HELLO WORLD on my screen. Like Bil Keane, my posts will be dictated to my son, Thor, who will do the inking and the typing himself. Roughly half the posts will be doddering ramblings about how I like bacon, while the other half will be YouTube videos of various readers dancing to the Boobies song.

    In the spirit of declining relevance, the goal of today's post will be to improve two Family Circus cartoons taken from the 1968 book, I Need a Hug (which is currently sitting on my shelf in the basement). There are no prizes involved -- just post your new caption for either circle in the Comments section!

    Britain's largest export is inebriated hooligans
    Democrats sabotage FOX News
    Castro defends athlete who kicked judge in the face

    tagged as mock mock, you speak | permalink | 11 comments
    day in history

    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    Food Day

    Restaurants I've Patronized in the Past Week

    • Los Tios: A Mexican restaurant in Del Ray. Had the best seafood burrito I've ever tasted (even in Spain), for only eleven dollars.
    • Applebee's: A trio of mini bacon burgers with a side of crispy fries.
    • Popeyes: The Tuesday Special.
    • Golden King: Chinese delivery of chicken and broccoli, shrimp lo mein, and wonton soup.
    • Longhorn Steakhouse: Sauteed mushrooms, a baked potato with bacon bits and sour cream, and a 12 ounce block of cow with a little too much seasoning on it.

    Regular Meals Eaten in College

    • A carry-out box of scrambled eggs and all-you-can-eat bacon for breakfast from Schultz Express.
    • A chicken patty sandwich with fries from Dietrick Express.
    • Fettucini alfredo and nachos with cheese from Schultz.
    • Philly cheesesteak with fries from Owens. I never quite understood how you could make a cheeseteak with chicken. Peppers sucked too -- mushrooms and onions for life.
    • Chicken sandwich with waffle fries from Chick-fila in Hokie Grill. I seem to have eaten a lot of fries in my youth. And bacon.

    Favourite Meals Made at Home

    • Velveeta Shells & Cheese
    • Totino's Classic Pepperoni Pizza for You
    • Progresso New England Clam Chowder
    • Tyson's Honey Barbeque Wings

    Worst Places to Eat

    • The Olive Garden: How can this overpriced restaurant have a four page menu and nothing to eat?
    • Lord Moon of the Mall Pub in London: Bland food and expensive pints, especially the Coors Light.
    • Buffalo Wing Factory in Sterling: We ordered carryout wings here once and got dried, desiccated husks of muscle and skin that would be more at home in an embalming workshop.
    Bartering sex for stuff
    Everybody fakes it in the Olympics
    Cat survives being walled in for 7 weeks

    tagged as lists | permalink | 4 comments
    day in history

    Friday, August 29, 2008

    Friday Fragments

    one part Friday, two parts rain, mix with fragments and serve

    ♠ The bottle caps in my Magic Hat beer sampler from Costco have slogans written inside them. The slogans run the gamut from weird ("Upon the Fruits of Our Yeast, You now Feast"), to racy. I'm guessing you're supposed to be drinking Magic Hat at a fr(h)at party and then giving the bottle caps to cute girls like heart-shaped candies. Wouldn't you want to go home with someone who could do magic and promised to give you his "wand"?

    ♠ Speaking of racy drinking, parents are up in arms over a ridiculously campy Orangina ad featuring anthropomorphized animals doing sexy dancing while splashing Orangina all over themselves. This is the perfect way to start your Friday.

    ♠ Watching videos on YouTube can be dangerously addicting, because the "Related Videos" that appear at the end generally have nothing to do with the original. From the above Orangina ad, I followed a link to a movie of Nicholas Cage punching a woman while wearing a bear suit, followed by clips from that movie, Wicker Man, a horror film remake which looks unintentionally amusing. This is the best kind of amusing.

    ♠ Also amusing is the Bluetooth-wearing CIA agent in the SUV who was stopped at the intersection by my office the other day, waiting for the light to turn green so he could enter the CIA complex. They probably teach a good number of skills at The Farm, but apparently they don't teach you about pressure-plate-triggered traffic signals. This fellow was one of those annoying drivers who waits for a left turn almost in the middle of the street, not realizing that he had gone at least five feet beyond the pressure plate. As a result, he was still waiting there two signals later, looking frustrated and gesturing at the light.

    ♠ I did my part by passive-aggressively driving around him on a Family Circus path that showed he was obviously too far into the road. This is the recommended approach for all rude-lefters -- if you get hit, it's their fault and you can sue for whiplash.

    ♠ This being a holiday weekend, it is jam-packed with plans (the jam protects my plans from getting damaged in transit and is also tasty). Tonight, we plan to go to Jazz in the Garden, although the inclement weather may force us to another venue boasting such features as a roof. Poker is planned for Saturday, where I'll teach everyone how I get so high in the rankings, and I'll teach my computer that my girlfriend's name is not a blatant misspelling. On Sunday I plan on finishing up BUVite and then searching for my chap stick -- I've lost three chap sticks this week alone, and I'm not sure how.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Sexual Orangina ad angers parents
    Help wanted: My kids are a pain
    Woman goes down the baggage chute at airport

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 4 comments
    day in history


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