Posts from 06/2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

Weekend Wrap-up

The weekend as a whole was characterized by sunny skies, interspersed with just enough cloudburst rain to prevent me from mowing the lawn.

I stayed in on Friday night, did some work around the house and also did some design work on the favours to be distributed at the wedding (commemorative NASCAR underwear). I also reread the book, Jurassic Park, which I noticed on my shelf and hadn't read in over a decade. It wasn't as good as remembered, mostly because of the annoying eight-year-old girl character, who made me want to toss the book across the room on more than one occasion.

On Saturday morning, I did two full hours of shopping, ordering brand new pairs of glasses that look exactly like my old pair, a new litter box to replace the five-year-old box that smelled like the inner flank of a horse, and the Jurassic Park adventure pack, containing all three movies for the price of one. I didn't even know that this was a trilogy, but apparently the third movie was tragically horrible.

After dinner with Rebecca at Cantina d'Italia in Herndon, we wandered down the street towards the Herndon Festival where we watched the gently unraveling coloured lights of the fireworks arc across the firmament over an ancient Sunoco station, and played Spot the White Person. I had it easy, since the white person was constantly by my side in a sea of Latinos. The festival was ridiculously crowded, and the deeper you got into the middle of the grounds, the less you could actually move.

On Sunday, I tried to mow the lawn again, but failed, and then went to a birthday party in Front Royal where I mingled with many of Rebecca's relatives. We came home around 7 and baked a homemade pizza with pepperoni, saut?ed mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon bits, and black olives for dinner, and then finished the second season of Alias.

How was your weekend?

Man convicted after bragging on Myspace
Man murders people with homemade electric chair
Illinois baby obtains gun permit

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

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Museday Tuesday

  1. The composition can be for any instrumentation. It can have an actual score or be a pure synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.
  2. It must not be longer than thirty seconds.
  3. It does not necessarily have to have a start, middle, and end -- it can just be a fragment of something grander.
  4. It should be composed in thirty minutes or less. If time runs out, I post whatever I managed to finish, be it good, indifferent, or makeup on a corpse.
  5. The title of the piece must be a word from a random word generator, although this word doesn't necessarily have to be incorporated in the piece.

Supernatant: (adj.) Floating on or above the surface

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

I seem to have an attraction towards paired flutes at the moment -- this is the second Museday in a row that has called out for that texture. I think this fragment could be expanded much more, but didn't think it should be any faster than it is, so the thirty-second limit was the main constraint here.

Fairfax sues Krispy Kreme over internal corrosion
Monkey Island to return to PCs
Swiss cleaning bug reaches new peaks

tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Memory Day: Junior Year Awards Ceremony

As if sitting through an elementary school assembly in a multipurpose gym/auditorium smelling of feet while kids were awarded for perfect attendance wasn't bad enough, the assemblies only got worse as the years went on. By the time I'd gotten to T.C. Williams High School, the awards program was fifteen pages long (16 with an addendum) and had awards for every class and every subject, as well as scholarships, Book Awards, and other ridiculous categories. Having a technical school on the premises didn't help matters, as there were awards for "Auto Mechanics I" and "Air Conditioning Repair" interspersed with the smarty awards.

By this point in my academic career, I was over awards, and rarely tried to get more than the occasional band or art award. For some reason, I still attended the ceremonies anyhow, sitting through interminable recitations of "please hold your applause until the end" before standing up once to get a certificate. I reached the pinnacle of phoning it in during the year when I was chastised by a teacher for coming in shorts and a T-shirt. "You may not think these awards are a big deal, but this is the high point of some of these students' lives!"

To pass the time during the assembly, I would always litter my program with cartoon sketches. Here are a few from the 1995 Program:

Chadians get fangs into 'vampire'
Store owner gives robber $40 and some bread
Plano teen dared to eat pig testicles

tagged as memories, media | permalink | 2 comments
day in history

Thursday, June 04, 2009

List Day: Four Children's Books You've Never Read

The heartwarming tale of a little puppy who dreams of someday becoming a member of the LAPD K9 Unit.

A cautionary tale of daddy's sexuality set against the backdrop of the Renaissance, when daddy is accosted by a charming dandy at the local tavern.

A clever retelling of the classic Ugly Duckling tale, in which the ugly duckling's siblings post cruel remarks on her Myspace page for their own amusement until she commits suicide.

A delightfully subversive right-wing tale of a little steam engine re-equipped with the latest in Green solar panels that fails to make it over the biggest hill in the land after the sun goes down and it starts to snow.

You can see the original post in this series here.

Great Tits in the city prefer other Great Tits from the city
Spurned man offers diamond ring in trezur hunt
Erotic dances lead to broken penises

tagged as lists, media | permalink | 0 comments
day in history

Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday Fragments

paving the way to the future with straw and hippo spoor

♠ As you can see from the visitor map on the right, the popularity of the URI! Zone is starting to resemble the early stages of an avian flu pandemic, although I've had trouble penetrating the South American markets. The African and Asian hits, as well as most of the Eastern European hits can be safely ignored since they usually just want to steal my musical research.

♠ I'm perfectly happy to be past the stage in my life where I have to read treatises of questionable merit and write papers about them. Nowadays, most of my writing is either for this website or for design specifications at work that show how alien autopsies can be made more efficient through the use of ample lengths of dental floss. I also use a good deal of my Written Word sauce on support emails to users who name their resources "PLOP" and want to change them, or click on an advertisement instead of the login button and then complain that our website is broken.

♠ Speaking of broken websites, my site was down for a few hours yesterday morning because of a power supply failure. Since the host is on the West Coast, it didn't get fixed immediately, but we were back up and running once the admins woke up. Kattare is much better than Futurepoint in that regard -- on my old host I would have spent several days waiting to get a reply back from Bob in India before sending him detailed instructions on how to fix the problem.

♠ The above fragment is not a racist rant -- the level one tech support guy was actually from India, and said his name was "Bob". I'm presuming that the purpose of such an all-American name was to comfort the Americans asking for support, but the ruse is shattered when you also say that you're on New Delhi time.

♠ It would be nice if there were a new deli around here. I am not elite enough to eat at a Panera, and Subway has been kind of bland for a while now. I think it's probably the result of renaming their Cold Cut Trio as a Cold Cut Combo. Any musician could tell you that it's never smart to add more people to your ensemble -- hilarity will not ensue.

♠ I'm not a Quiznos fan either, but not based on the quality of their foodstuffs. Any company that thinks babies that talk like adults are a clever marketing strategy don't deserve my business. The same goes for that stock-trading company that only seems to advertise during Super Bowls.

♠ I don't have any big plans for the weekend, although I'll probably start watching the fourth season of Prison Break or coding Weddingopoly as an online game on our wedding website. I'm also replaying Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time on the DS Lite. It's just as fun as the first time, and is easily one of my top video game picks.

♠ Happy Birthday, Rob! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Drivers get a glimpse of manatee orgy
First Zero-G wedding (for only 10Gs)
Brothel hopes male prostitutes increase business
Babies that talk like adults?

The ONLY way to sell something. (1 vote, 14.3%)

I chuckled. (3 votes, 42.9%)

Talking babies are the WORST. (3 votes, 42.9%)

tagged as fragments | permalink | 3 comments
day in history

Monday, June 08, 2009

Weird Search Day

or "how I stumbled upon the URI! Zone"

  • kim bauer useless

  • what temp does a fire blanket get up to on a frystation
    It starts innocently, with this entry level McDonald's employee throwing things on the deep fat fryer. Before you know it, he's starting wildfires in Australia.

  • "statement of work" for a camping trip
    Scope of Work: to live and sleep in the woods
    Location of Work: the woods
    Period of Performance: Friday night to Saturday morning
    Deliverables Schedule: S'mores must be ready NLT 10 PM.
    Applicable Standards: Campsite must be CMMI Level 3 compliant. Tent setup must adhere to written processes.

  • really bad "your cat's so fat" jokes
    Your cat's so fat, she has eleven lives.
    Your cat's so fat, she sinks in the litter box when she pees.
    Your cat's so fat, she rolled over a lab puppy and turned it into a pug.
    Your cat's so fat, she lands on her yards instead of her feet.
    Your cat's so fat, she says, "WEow".
    Your cat's so fat, Virginia Tech put a glass window in her belly.
    Your cat's so fat, she poops smaller cats.
    Your cat's so fat, she sank the Eukanuba.
    Your cat's so fat, she's in the bourgeoisie.
    Your cat's so fat, she falls on the wall.

  • watch "mrs doubtfire" online for free no money no hassle
    I would think that watching Mrs. Doubtfire at all would implicitly be a hassle, especially if they're really planning a sequel.

  • pepsi's effect on radish growth
    Growing radishes in Pepsi doesn't make them any larger, although it gives their flavor a little pop.

  • having sex on mcafee's knob
    Assuming, for a moment, that you are referring to the location in southwestern Virginia, and you're not having sex with someone named McAfee, I'd recommend bringing a blanket -- the peak is rather inhospitable for intercourse.

  • illustrated drawing of dennis the menace getting a bare bottom spanking

    Only very rarely is Dennis ever seen without his trademark overalls, so this is the best I could do.

  • fox news female anchors in leather
    While FOX News is, indeed, a rogues' gallery, I'm guessing that you probably won't find pictures of the anchors in this attire.

  • an albino Emu eating a hot dog covered in ants

    Your Internet scavenger hunt is complete, sir.

  • LOST soundtrack michael maggiano
    The soundtrack from LOST was written by Michael Giacchino -- he has nothing to do with serving oversized portions of delicious Italian food.

  • komodo uri

    The Komodo Uri is capable of running at an upwards of twenty miles per hour, which allows it to chase and down strips of bacon in the wild.

  • Student expelled for eyebrow shaver
    Woman places fake ads to boost salary
    Missing baby found in sandwich

    tagged as website, searches | permalink | 3 comments
    day in history

    Tuesday, June 09, 2009

    List Day: Ten More Rejected Wedding Ideas

    1) The bride and groom will run a series of Save the Date magnet schools, where intelligent children expecting to learn more about science end up handcrafting our centerpieces in sweat shop conditions. Initial trial sites will include Cora Kelly Elementary School and Thomas Jefferson High School.

    2) Flower girl, Ella, will proceed down the aisle to Umbrellavator, an original remix/mashup of Rhianna's Umbrella and Flo Rida's Elevator.

    3) To boost attendance, flash mob announcements will be posted on Craigslist the night before, using Sunset Hills Vineyard as a target.

    4) Each guest will pick up a loaf of sourdough bread at the door for the best man's toast. The toasting is not complete until your loaf is gone or you're under the table, honking.

    5) Belaying the standard walk down the aisle, the bride will be shot out of a cannon. A black dress may be in order, to hide the powder burns.

    6) The wedding attendants will get the bride and groom's names permanently tattooed on their shoulders, letter by letter. To facilitate this, Brian and Rebecca will change their names to Po and Ida.

    7) The groom's guests will be pit against the bride's guests (in all their formal wear) in several rounds of Tug-o-War over a giant vat of fermenting grapes. (The bride has more guests but the groom's guests are stronger).

    8) Marc Nagy will be the wedding crooner, singing selections from Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life".

    9) Invitations will be delivered in person, as a fifty minute oratorio featuring Ted's barbershop quartet from Scrubs.

    10) The honeymoon will include a bus tour of the top-producing chicken farms in southern Delaware.

    17th century witch bottle discovered
    Call it "The Big Willie"
    Jellyfish dominating the ocean

    tagged as lists | permalink | 5 comments
    day in history

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Memory Day: Disney World

    The last major family vacation we ever took was a week-long trip to Florida in August of 1994. Neither my sister or I were very excited about this trip -- she was only days away from leaving for her freshman year at UVa and would rather have been hanging out with her friends doing nothing, and I was going on the trip directly from a week-long stay at a Boy Scout Science and Energy camp without any time in the middle to simply be at home and recharge.

    The vacation didn't get off to a rousing start, despite the novelty of taking the auto-train. For the unenlightened, the auto-train isn't an electronic system to keep the train on or pretty close to the proper tracks -- it's a direct train from Lorton, Virginia to Florida that will also ship your car down so you don't have to rent one. Evidently this trip was popular enough to warrant daily runs.

    On the train overnight, I slept with my mouth slightly open, and when I woke up the next day, all of my teeth had shaken loose from the train vibrations and I could move them with my tongue. I was in pain for the first two days, and ate a squeeze packet of cream cheese for breakfast, because everything else required chewing.

    Once in Florida, we spent a day at each of the three big parks, Universal Studios, the Magic Kingdom, and Epcot Center. Universal easily had the best rides (and the longest lines), and going to the Magic Kingdom while you're in high school is about as fun as playing Sorry! with two people -- I think we hit Space Mountain twice and then spent the rest of the day looking cooly bored with our caps on backwards, surrounded by tots.

    More important to a hormonal teen was the eye candy index (ECI) of each park. Everyone in the Magic Kingdom was 4, which automatically disqualified it from the rankings. Universal Studios easily had the hottest girls, but Epcot Center was filled with all the European tourists with fun accents.

    On days when we weren't at the park, we hit a Gulf-side beach, got rained out while playing mini golf, toured a mall, and walked across the campus of the University of Central Florida, which looked just like every other college campus my sister had toured in the year before.

    Finally, the week was up and we returned home to a REAL vacation -- staying home alone with the parents at work, watching I Love Lucy reruns and eating entire pans of bacon for breakfast.

    Harvard wants their Wheaties back
    Prank caller triggers sprinkler system
    Man tries to smuggle pot on a surfboard

    tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment
    day in history

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    T-Shirt Day

    Remember when I wore a bunch of hats? This is kind of like that.

    This is the same shirt I wore at Disney World in yesterday's post. Evidently Boy Scouts have horrible design and colour picking skills. I guess that's what Girl Scouts are for! AMIRITE?

    All that artistic talent centralized in a single place for the summer and this is the best shirt they could come up with. In other news, it's hard to cut your own hair evenly in the back.

    After our high school team lost the Science Bowl, Dr. Patel dug these shirts out of a box from better years and told us we were all champs.

    I played in the pit for this show in my senior year. Evidently fiddlers play the cello, and Tevye is a Chia pet.

    What a horrible senior shirt this was. Can you tell that Marvin the Martian was the school mascot, for some ridiculous reason? I don't know why Marvin has applied a tourniquet to his right arm, but maybe he was into intravenous drugs.

    My dad bought this for me when Southpark first came out. This is the first time I've ever worn it. It's repulsive, but for some reason, it's still in my drawer.

    This was the Marching Virginians trumpets' T-shirt in 1998. I always thought that black was an unfortunate colour for a shirt you wore in the hot sun for hours at a time. I also have memories of Dan Shiplett rendering this image on his computer at 1 fog particle per hour, only to have it look like a cheap Hong Kong knock-off when it was reduced to 2 colors and dithered for the printing.

    I liked this shirt better, but I might be biased since I came up with the slogan.

    Back when Shac was a freshman, I had only known him for about two months when he came up to my dorm room and handed me this shirt. "I found this shirt in my drawer and thought of you," he said cryptically, before silently walking away.

    I got this shirt for doing a three part lecture for the Lunchtime Seminars at work, back when we were a smaller, light-hearted company. After hour-long sessions on how to read music, the history of Western music, and the history of jazz, I received a shirt and a lunch box.

    Happy Birthday, Brian Grady.

    The T-shirt prize from Anna's most recent Halloween party, which might not happen this year if Rebecca and I are off honeymooning for the month of October!

    Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

    Orphaned tweets
    Woman pays over a million dollars for a new mattress
    Eight game locales you're not supposed to see

    tagged as memories, media | permalink | 8 comments
    day in history

    Friday, June 12, 2009

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    6:06 AM: Cats don't understand that humans need space for their feet.

    6:18 AM: Clean and ready for work.

    6:44 AM: Sitting at a light that takes five minutes to change, I figured I might as well do some nature photography.

    6:46 AM: The rising sun over Reston, jewel of northern Virginia.

    7:01 AM: Last weekend, I moved into a new office at work. Although it's a cozy little single, the view leaves something to be desired.

    7:28 AM: My plant loves the ample lighting though.

    11:32 AM: With hours to burn, I took off work early and went to Costco to pick up my new glasses and buy groceries. Here is a sign by their loading dock, signifying driver fail.

    12:23 AM: Trying on my new glasses (left), which are majorly different from the previous pair (right). I have three sets, which should last me for at least three years.

    12:45 PM: Totino's Pizza with extra pepperoni for lunch.

    3:23 PM: Watching the last season of Prison Break with Amber.

    7:46 PM: Enjoying the late summer sunshine with a walk through the neighbourhood.

    8:17 PM: Time for sushi!

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

    Teen diagnoses her own disease in science class
    Man toupee for revealing bald truth
    Family Christmas photo turns up in Prague

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

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    Audience Participation Day: Vacations

    Having just come off a jam-packed weekend filled with thunderstorms, Rebecca's company picnic, a trip to the winery, and fondue at Jack's house, my inclination to write a post today is slightly lower than the preferred inclination of a handicap-accessible ramp.

    Instead, it's YOUR turn to tell me about your summer vacation plans. Where are you going? What are you doing? Are alcohol and clowns involved? And, if you are too poor to take a vacation, or work at a job with no leave left that you really should have quit months ago, where would you like to go if you could? The person with the most interesting vacation plans will win a free picture of their vacation site, or a link to the picture on Google Images.

    Like most of the clothes in my middle drawer, my vacation plans are twofold. Starting on June 28th and running through the Fourth of July, I'll be in the Outer Banks at a swank beach house, hopefully with a fun name like Salty Nuts. I recently learned that two out of three of my bosses will also be in OBX that week (up north in Corolla), so if anything explodes during the week, it'll be Jack's problem.

    Part two involves two full weeks on the island of Kau'aii immediately after the wedding, where we will ride sea turtles to neighbouring islands and fashion bikinis out of coconuts.

    Share your plans in the comments section!

    Swine Flu used to stall arrest
    Venezuela bans Coke Zero
    Tortoises given pink shells after dog attack
    What do you read on vacations?

    Bawdy romance novels. (0 votes, 0.0%)

    Books I've already read. (1 vote, 8.3%)

    New York Times bestsellers. (1 vote, 8.3%)

    Technical manuals. (2 votes, 16.7%)

    My bottle of beer. (8 votes, 66.7%)

    tagged as you speak | permalink | 7 comments
    day in history

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Museday Tuesday

    1. The composition can be for any instrumentation. It can have an actual score or be a pure synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.
    2. It must not be longer than thirty seconds.
    3. It does not necessarily have to have a start, middle, and end -- it can just be a fragment of something grander.
    4. It should be composed in thirty minutes or less. If time runs out, I post whatever I managed to finish, be it good, indifferent, or makeup on a corpse.
    5. The title of the piece must be a word from a random word generator, although this word doesn't necessarily have to be incorporated in the piece.

    Idyllic: (adj.) Charmingly simple or rustic

    My Composition (0:32 MP3)

    I wanted to try something more melodic since so many of my musedays end up over vamps. This one's written for strings, horns, and glockenpsiel, with the melodic line on a bowed glass patch. I hear shades of the soundtrack from Dances with Wolves when I listen to it, although that was not an intentional design.

    NC State student accused of creating a monster
    Residents fight burglars with flower power
    Sting planned on radioactive wasp nests

    tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment
    day in history

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    Memory Fragment Media Day

    a triple threat of memories, old photos and fragments

    ♣ This picture was taken around 1991 at our powerful 486 computer with 5 1/4" drive, 3 1/2" drive, and tape drive. It had 256-color VGA and an Ad Lib card, but only 24 of the colors ever worked. I am playing Ultima 6, based on the hint book open in front of me.

    ♣ A wild party at Rosie and Jen's house in February 1998, where we played Twister and Uno. I still have that shirt, but I haven't worn it since the last time I was incarcerated at Denim Penitentary.

    ♣ At Mountain Lake in May of 2000. Paige is deciding that the rock face I scaled was too high for her to follow me.

    ♣ In my Foxridge apartment in October of 2000. Anna had just ordered a made-for-TV waxing treatment called NAD'S! and was trying to convince a skeptical Rosie to try it with her. Kitty (pre-fat) is sleeping on the left, and the pillow cases that came with my denim shirt are on the bed.

    ♣ Same location in March 2001. We had a surprise birthday party for Jen Graves, who had moved in across the street in a very Kelleyesque fashion. The lettering kit for the cake provided a few too many letters.

    ♣ In Squires 243, following my April 29, 2001 recital. The music may have been abhorrent and unpatriotic, but the design theme was consistent, right down to the cake.

    ♣ In the Squires Recital Saloon for graduation, May 2001. Buying a cap and gown is for hippies.

    ♣ August 2001, right before I moved to Florida. The four of us went on a trip to Virginia Beach and stayed in a tent. The first night held the humidity of a fat person's stomach crevice, and the second night featured an unseasonable cold snap. On Sunday, Ben and I dropped Anna and Emily off at church and then took a driving tour past the alternating array of strip clubs and Baptist churches.

    Fox steals more than 100 shoes
    Man spends night locked in bar bathroom
    Well-dressed bank robber foiled by text

    tagged as fragments, memories, media | permalink | 5 comments
    day in history

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Review Day: Prison Break Season 4

    There are no major spoilers in this review.

    The second season of Prison Break ended in a way that needlessly prolonged the show, but also allowed it to get back to the basics that made the first season so intense. In my review of the third season, I mentioned that I was generally happy with where the show went and how it set things up for the fourth, and final, season.

    "Prison Break" is just the branding -- this time around, the characters spend more time breaking INTO things than out, but the end result is still implausibly exciting. Every episode is filled with convoluted double crosses and power plays, and more testosterone than Jack and Locke see in a year. This constant struggle for the main characters to succeed could easily be frustrating if handled wrong (see the last hour of Back to the Future II where Marty McFly continuously fails to get the sports almanac back), but it works here because the main character is written intelligently, and devises plans that actually work before the rug is pulled out from under him again. Sometimes the MacGuyver aspects of the show are the most enjoyable parts to watch.

    The casting is just strong enough to support the plot, and characters are generally written out of the story as they become irrelevant -- it sometimes felt like major characters in previous seasons were kept around even when they didn't have much to do. Several episodes also feature guest appearances by Shannon Lucio's chest.

    The main casting problem is Dominic Purcell, who plays Lincoln Burrows. Almost every line he recites comes out laughably bad like he's in a high school rewrite of a Steven Seagal flick, and this is exacerbated by the fact that he's given much more leadership than in previous seasons. The silent, stoic act was great in the beginning when he just had to brood in a jail cell, but he'll never get an Emmy for his work here. On the other hand, Shannon Lucio's chest might.

    The writers knew going in that this would be the final season, which allowed them to craft a strong story arc that ties up everything from the previous seasons. This season goes deeper into the conspiracy-laden "Company", and explores a bit more of Michael and Lincoln's family history. The finale seemed a little too eager to bring in familiar faces, but ended the show the way it should have ended, and even gives each of the major players a little epilogue.

    If you've watched Prison Break at all, this season is a strong closer. It's nice to see a show able to go out on its own terms without leaving everyone's fates hanging for eternity in cancellation, or requiring characters to fall through glass coffee tables to speed along the character development. After you're done watching, it won't even take up much shelf space, since the brilliant DVD engineers have finally figured out how to craft a sturdy 6-disc holder that only takes up the space of a single movie box.

    Final Season Grade: B
    Final Series Grade: B+

    Custer toys make for not-so-Happy Meals
    Light sensors cause religious row
    Man impersonated dead mother to collect benefits

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment
    day in history

    Friday, June 19, 2009

    Friday Fragments

    an automatic party foul of epic proportions

    ♠ This month, we've seen more rain than a Korean Music Festival although we're still patiently awaiting the arrival of Anna & Ben's second daughter, who I've decided to name Stella. In my capacity as village teacher, I'm not sure what sort of misinformation I will teach her, although preliminary reports suggest that I was successful in teaching Ella that 2 + 2 equals Cow. When I last asked her what 2 + 2 was a couple months ago, she moo'd.

    ♠ I'm predicting today that Anna & Ben will eventually have 6 girls: Ella, Stella, Bella, Kella, twins Mella and Yella (sponsored by the drink corporation), and a lone boy, aptly named Fella. They will then tour the country performing a live-action version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

    ♠ One of the questions in Rebecca's "How Well Do You Know Your Groom?" quiz books asked if I could name all seven dwarves. I missed Bashful and Sleepy -- obviously fake dwarves that should have been replaced with Booty and Humpy.

    ♠ Booty is growing more net-savvy with every passing day. On Monday night, she tried to log into Instant Messenger by walking across my keyboard, and nearly spelled her name backwards. I'll have to set up some online accounts on Facebook, Amazon, and Costco for her soon.

    ♠ Speaking of Costco, our office recently started buying the Costco brand of green tea instead of the disgusting Lipton variety that tastes of caramellized napkins. There might actually be real tea in this new brand. I'd recommend it for what it is, but the main reason I drink it is because it's the only 0 calorie drink in the soda fridge that isn't Diet or Canada Dry.

    ♠ I've never understood the draw of carbonated water. When I was a kid, my dad used to consume massive quantities of Seltzer Water. Every time I tried it, it just felt like I was trying to sterilize the inside of my mouth with a very mild detergent. On the scale of drinking, carbonated water ranks just above Cranberry Lambic.

    ♠ The other night I had a brilliant idea for a website where you could submit a drinking game for any movie, sport, or activity you can think of. Wouldn't your life be greatly improved if you realized early on that your movie rental was going to be horrible and could spice up the rest of the movie with drinks? Is there really any reason to watch Jurassic Park III unless you can sip whenever someone says "raptor"?

    ♠ Unfortunately, is already set up with an amateurish-looking site that doesn't even have any submissions yet. I'll let Mike (of Mike and Chompy) steal his domain when it expires in exchange for 2% of future revenues.

    ♠ I have nothing further to say today, so I'll leave you with a joke I invented this month:

      Q: Why do geckos make great spies?
      A: They know how to lose a tail.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Nintendo adds innovation to Super Mario Wii in the form of cheating
    Calgary gorillas aren't actually in a gang
    Cats outsmarted in psychologist's tests
    When will Anna pop out a baby?

    June 19 - 20 (2 votes, 33.3%)

    June 21 - 22 (3 votes, 50.0%)

    June 23 - 24 (1 vote, 16.7%)

    Sometime in August (0 votes, 0.0%)

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 7 comments
    day in history

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    Weekend Wrapup

    On Friday night, we went to the mecca of Green consumerism that is Reston Town Center and had tasty burgers at an outdoor table at American Tap Room. The restaurant was nearly empty inside, mainly because their air conditioning was set at Nipplify, and they also had their entire front facade opened up in order to cool down the outside street. We also walked around the Town Center a bit as a digestive aid and pondered the presence of M&S Grill right across the street from McCormick & Schmick's. Apparently M&S is the un-yuppy version of McCormick and Schmick's (because when you're poor, you can't afford to buy as many letters, especially vowels).

    I worked the entire day on Saturday, front-loading my billable hours like a high-tech washing machine so I can possibly start my vacation a day early at the end of this week. Around 7, Rebecca and I went to Shakir's to catch the tail end of an Indian food night, and then walked a mile in our own shoes to Jay's Saloon in Clarendon for beer and pool in un-Clarendon-like settings. Pool was fun, except that we kept getting our balls stuck in the table. That's the worst.

    On Sunday, we celebrated Rebecca's pre-birthday with made-from-Betty-Crocker-scratch brownies and gifts, and then a bike ride with her parents through the wilds of Falls Church to one of several Starbuck's on Little River Turnpike. We also had cake and looked at pictures from their California vacation, and then sat on the porch enjoying the 5% of the week when it wasn't raining.

    This morning, I got up to discover my windshield completely coated in bird droppings (it was like the anti-Rainex), although the rest of the car was completely clean. I then arrived at work around 6:50 and wrote this last paragraph, after being attacked by the eight thousand upcoming birthdays in the sidebar (and if I ever get a motorcycle, the sidecar will have a sidebar so the passenger can better enjoy the ride with mixed drinks). Happy Birthday to Rebecca and Brianne!

    Dutch muggers caught on Google Street View
    Iowa woman's photos sparks push for new cloud type
    Woman wakes up with 56 tattooed stars

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

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Newsday Tuesday

    Game Developers Gunning For Girl Power

    Known for making adrenaline-pumping action games for young men, video game companies now are getting in touch with their feminine side. Why? Because it's a lucrative and relatively untapped market.

    What game publishers still fail to realize is that a good game is always a good game -- making girl games with themes presumed to be girly will probably do more to insult than to attract.

    Video games for girls today fall into two main categories. There are "pet/nurturing games" like EA's "Littlest Pet Shop" [...] and there are "fashion/style type games" like Ubisoft's "Imagine" franchise. "These are two classic play patterns for girls of this age," [analyst Anita] Frazier said. "I'm hoping with greater experience with this market that the publishers are able to branch out and find other themes of games to appeal to girls."

    Focus group studies have unearthed two additional themes for which games are under development now -- "twilight games" where young girls can make out inappropriately with vampires, and "gossip/backstabbing games" where girls can come home from middle school and relive the entire day on their computers. The "math/science games" were nixed by upper management in favour of a seventh game where you can virtually comb the tail of a pony.

    Ubisoft is adding a third girls brand this fall with Style Lab. It's targeting 8- to 12-year-old girls, known as "tweens" because they are between childhood and adolescence. Style Lab games [...] will focus on makeovers and jewelry design.

    Unfortunately for Ubisoft, the World of Warcraft monopolized these areas long ago when it introduced the barber shop and jewelcrafting. When asked, Ubisoft dismissed the competition, noting that Style Lab was merely a cheap hook to draw tweens into a complete world of age-appropriate Lab games as they get older. Date Lab (rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB) and Meth Lab (rated T for Teen) will be released next, and by the time the girls become adults, they'll be able to play Infidelity Lab and Plastic Surgeon's Lab.

    Electronic Arts is pursuing tween girls with its "Charm Girls Club," set for release in October.

    Only in an article about marketing could you use the phrase, "pursuing tween girls", and not raise any suspicions.

    The publisher sees "Charm Girls Club" as a social game that girls can play when they get together at home. It's being developed for Nintendo's market-leading Wii console with its motion-sensing controllers. "It's designed to make the girls have an absolute ball at a sleepover party," Key said.

    In other news, Al Lowe (of Leisure Suit Larry fame) has stated his intention to create a video game for boys in which they can spy on Wiimote-toting girls having an absolute ball at sleepovers. Preorders in Japan are already at record highs.

    One reason that game publishers like girl games is because they're cheaper and quicker to develop than male-oriented action games. "It's a good margin business," Key said. "The games are not expensive to make. The money is actually spent on the marketing side."

    Other highly successful products characterized by exorbitant marketing budgets with very little spent on design or development include American Idol, The Matrix parts 2 and 3, and the Republican Party.

    By comparison, a title like Ubisoft's "Splinter Cell" or "Assassin's Creed" can take two or three years to create, with large teams of 100 or 200 software developers.

    The bigger-and-better approach has also given us such classics as Daikatana and Dukem Nukem Forever.

    NIH Funds $423,500 Study of Why Men Don't Like to Use Condoms
    Robotic ferret is newest tool against smugglers
    Gimme a beer, imbecile!

    tagged as newsday | permalink | 1 comment
    day in history

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Baby Day

    Update! Have a picture!

    Maryrose Faith Ahlbin, little sister of Ella was born yesterday at 2:13 PM. She was 8lbs 6oz and 21 inches long and the family is doing well!

    I had hoped to get some pictures by now, but there is a media blackout, probably because she, too, looks like Shirley Temple. Instead, here is a montage of Ella's first year in the world, to remind everyone of her cuteness, and so she doesn't get neglected while everyone is fawning over the littler one.

    You can also never forget Ella the Conductor:

    If new baby pictures arrive today from the babyrazzi, I'll be sure to post them!

    Teen tennis star won't stop grunting
    Phuket porker: mutant or miracle?
    Trapped nude with a dryer on his head

    tagged as media | permalink | 7 comments
    day in history

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Capsule Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews, although I do mention that Jurassic Park had dinosaurs.

    Combinations by Eisley:
    This is Eisley's sophomore effort, and there's definitely improvement here. The vocalist sisters still sing a little too much, in terms of voice to instrumental balance, but they now have more technique and vocal chops. A few of the tracks make them sound like less annoying versions of the Cranberries, and a few others try to be hardcore, but fail because of the light quality of their voices. You can listen to samples here -- the first three on the album are particularly catchy.

    Final Grade: B

    So Sudden by Hush Sound:
    I was immediately drawn to one of this band's later songs on Pandora, but I like to start from the beginning when I actually purchase albums. There is a ton of potential here, but it's not as good as their later stuff. The guy sometimes strays into bad frat rock territory, and the girl doesn't have any confidence when she sings, but there's plenty of room to grow -- I'll probably buy the next album as well. The most detracting part of this CD is actually the sound mixing / producing -- it's mostly flat and doesn't do anything to bring out the vocals, as if someone recorded it on a Minidisc player in a club. You never really know how much a good sound engineer can do until you hear an example of bad mixing.

    There are no samples for this one, but here's one I got off the CD:

    Hush Sound - Crawling Towards the Sun (363KB MP3)

    Final Grade: B-

    Jurassic Park I and II:
    These two movies have actually aged pretty well over the last decade -- even in hi-definition, you can't tell that the dinosaurs are made of Cheese Whiz and toilet paper. I really prefer the second movie over the first -- it's nonstop action and people getting eaten by dinosaurs. The first has a boring first hour followed by a great thirty minutes, as if anyone going into the movie theatre did NOT know that dinosaurs were somehow involved (SPOILERS!) I am scared to watch the third movie out of fear that it might sully the Jurassic branding.

    Final Grade: C+ / B+

    Sinkholes swallow up the unwary
    Man blares porn to scare off kids
    Crop circles made by stoned wallabies

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment
    day in history

    Friday, June 26, 2009

    End-of-the-Month Media Day

    See more Cat Pictures
    See more Ella Pictures
    See more Food Pictures
    See more May Festivities

    See more Maryrose Pictures

    This weekend, I'll be dropping off the cats at Grandma's house and heading to the Outer Banks and the "Shore Thing" beach house. Although I will have my laptop, the better to keep up the continuous flow of illegal armaments through Amazon Marketplace, I cannot guarantee that there will be any updates. The only exception might be a big picture of the beach to mock everyone stuck in an office.

    Enjoy your Independence Day Week! Updates will resume on Doobie's birthday.

    Monkey pees on Zambian president
    Reporters find Northrop Grumman data in Ghana
    Michael Jackson dies at 50

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment
    day in history

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Ha Ha

    Teen hits tree after turtle rescue
    Pot plants found with dead body in traffic stop
    Doctors baffled by girl who doesn't age

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments
    day in history

    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    I'm at the Beach Day

    Parents keep child's gender a secret
    Invention allows pregnant women to hold models of their unborn babies
    Bottoms up for winning artist

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 5 comments
    day in history


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