Posts from 08/2009

Monday, August 03, 2009

New Edition Day

The URI! Zone turns 13 this month, so it may grow hair in unexpected places and become interested in kissing other blogs. If nothing else, my site will always be older than Google, and in another year, it will have outlasted the entire lifespan of Geocities, the free web host of the 90s.

The new changes for the Fourteenth Edition are minimal because I've been busy with work, writing games, playing games, and planning weddings. Most salient are new avatars for anyone that posts regularly, additional calendar pictures, and an updated banner at the top which is more artsy and less utilitarian. (It can double as a low-budget Rorschach test in a jiffy). I would also like to note that it is a banner, and not a masthead, simply because I dislike the word "masthead", which sounds like someone who's a big fan of playing with himself, and probably wears an giant, unfortunately-shaped foam hat celebrating his pastime.

Speaking of banners, remember the program, "Print Shop", from the 1980s which let you create signs that stretched across a roll of dot matrix printer paper? You could choose from a selection of three beautiful fonts, and then stamp the banner with a horribly pixelated graphic of a puppy that more closely resembled an acid-corroded mushroom. I was a master of Print Shop, even going so far as to make a 4 x 10 tile banner for the Student Government campaign of Allen Lutz in seventh grade (he lost).

As this year progresses, I'm going to try to bring back regular Memory Days (like the preceding paragraph), even though it's so much easier to write a list of types of sheep and call it a day. In order of effort, from greatest to least, I'd say my updates are ordered: Newsdays, Memory Days, Musedays, Weird Search Days, List Days, Fragments, Reviews, Weekend Wrap-ups, and finally, pictures of sunrises or Kathy's cats in a taquito.

However, 2009 will also see further interruptions in the regular schedule of giggles and vittles, since I'll be gone for two weeks in October to visit the noblest of the scantron race bubbles: The Pacific Islanders. They were always lumped in with the Asians on standardized tests, because there weren't enough of them to have their own bubble -- at the time, the two added up to one minority (much like stacking a major and minor second), and now we get to go to Hawaii and visit them in person. What this means for you readers is that you'll have to find another site to pass the work day while I'm sleeping in my deluxe oceanfront room with a sea turtle.

There really isn't anything else flashy to advertise unless I defrock, so I'll close by saying, thank you for making the URI! Zone (with its 1,993 news updates and 4,892 reader comments over the past 9 years) the number one BU-based destination on the Internet!

Stunts banned in India schools
Michigan man jailed for Monopoly assault
Oops! Minn. Dems' news release has profane link

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day in history

Tuesday, August 04, 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.

Contumelious: (adj.) Characterized by contemptuous or humiliating words or treatment

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

I'm pretty sure that the Random Word Generator I use is tired of being my muse, and has resorted to making up words and then sticking them in This fragment is written for guitars, drums, and an amplified zither, and has three almost-schizophrenic sections, the last of which is apparently my audition attempt to write music for a new Disney Kids show.

Mexico shuts beach, alleging stolen sand
Seeking Delhi's phantom squirter
Fake ATM doesn't last long at hacker meet

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day in history

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Memory Day: Christmas

Every family has their Christmas traditions (even the Jewish ones who bemoan the fact that everything's closed on Christmas Day). The Uri! household traditions were fairly tame -- we did not construct ear wax candles in every window or go a'carolin' in four-part Hi-Lo's harmony, but we did go through the same motions every year for many, many years.

A Uri! Christmas began with a tree, much like the French phrase, tr?s bien, when pronounced by a redneck. In the early years, we'd always shuffle off to the live tree lot for a giant, misshapen natural tree with all the roots still on it. After the holidays, it would get a ceremonial berth in the backyard where it would survive for about ninety-seven days before gaining a Patrick Henry complex and promptly dying. Later on, we went for the economic route of a fake tree that folded up into a box and had the lights permanently attached.

Once the tree was up, my sister and I would place our collection of eight thousand ornaments on the tree. Seven thousand, forty-two ornaments were given to us by the elderly lady who lived next door to us and kept trying to invite us over for conversation when she was bored (because talking world politics with a seven-year-old was preferable to being alone), and the other nine hundred fifty-eight ornaments came from the very unfortunate day when Red Apple ornaments were on sale at Walmart -- it's true that "50% off" ornaments bought on the day after Christmas are a real bargain, but the sheer volume of Red Apple ornaments that were left behind by shoppers made our plastic pine tree look like a very confused orchard transvestite.

Once all the ornaments were on (except for the two additional boxes of Apples we hid under the couch), my mom would move them all around so they were more evenly spaced around the artistic palette that was the tree.

The final piece of the Christmas Tree package was the topper, alternately called the crow's nest or the masthead, usually by idiots. Fairly early on, we had a five-pointed star that blinked on and off like the motel sign for a Super 8 Motel in Davenport, Iowa. When my mom complained that it made our house look like the Bates Motel, it was upgraded for a really creepy battery-powered angel that moved its arms up and down like it was running a marathon through molasses.

Next came the atmospheric extras, in the form of hanging sleigh bells that pissed everyone off whenever the door was opened, a kiln-fired church that I painted yellow with red trim (because the best churches are run by Asians in Annandale), and an Advent calendar covered in Hershey's Kisses that you could stage rehearsal Christmases with by eating the chocolate and tying a new one on before anyone noticed.

When Christmas Eve finally rolled around, we'd set out a plate full of sampler cookies from the metric ton of Christmas Cookies made in the days leading up to the holiday. I never got into the whole cookie-making scene, because we'd churn out scads of peanut-butter, oatmeal, and sugar cookies, but we'd never make a single one of the only true cookie: chocolate chip. Apparently chocolate chips don't figure strongly into any Christmas mythology, other than the time Rudolph really had to "go" after an Indian dinner at Dasher's house.

Christmas Day started as early as possible and involved far too many presents for any one child to experience. While it was definitely fun to get so many presents, I'm sure we could have donated a couple to other families and still felt perfectly happy. I remember meeting Anna for the first time in college, hearing about the time she got a lima bean for Christmas, and wondering if maybe we were spoiled. In one year, I think I got the complete complement of He-Man action figures. In another, I got one of every ____ Quest computer game by Sierra On-Line, and spent the rest of the day rotating through King's Quest V, Space Quest IV, Police Quest III, and the Adventures of Willy Beamish, in hopes of giving equal time to every game.

Once the presents were opened, the family portions of Christmas were mostly over. Each family member would retreat to enjoy their gifts in peace, and my mom would start cooking an Austin-Texasly obese turkey (I didn't even realize they sold turkeys under eighteen pounds until post-college). We'd eat the neck meat and then have Christmas dinner as a family, sometimes with the grandparents and the uncle, and occasionally inviting random single people over who had nowhere else to go.

And in the days after Christmas, I would enforce my personal tradition of not eating leftovers for at least two days after the original meal. Leftover turkey blows.

City aids homeless with one-way ticket home
Alumni with 2.7 GPA sues college for not finding a job
Raising children in 2009 will bankrupt you

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day in history

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Weeds (Season Four):
In the fourth season of Weeds, Nancy Botwin moves her family south to the Mexican border because of the events that occurred in the previous season finale. This was probably intended to get some fresh settings into the story, but some of the main characters that don't really fit into the new setting end up there anyhow and the writers go to convoluted lengths just to keep around familiar faces. The stories are amusing with more of the focus on character antics over family drama, although there seems to be a lot more unnecessary sex and nakedness for the pure sake of being an edgy Showtime show.

Final Grade: B+

Masters of Doom by David Kushner:
This book is the biography of John Carmack and John Romero, and, by extension, the history of id software and the DOOM games. It's written in a simple, engaging style with a fair bit of artistic license, and reads a little like David Sheff's Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World. You'll only get a kick out of it if you grew up at all with the DOOM phenomenon, but for those folks, it's definitely worth a read.

Final Grade: B

Like Vines by the Hush Sound:
Like Vines is the second CD by The Hush Sound, the band that I previously said was catchy, if bad at sound mixing. This CD is a bit more polished, and the songs are much stronger than their first outing -- other members of the group provide backup vocals, and there are more occasions for the male/female leads to sing together. The only downside is its length: 35 minutes. More and more CDs are being released with barely enough music to be worth it -- if you don't have enough music to release about an hour's worth, you shouldn't be releasing yet. Alternately, you need to repeat the chorus eight more times and call it a day (see also, Jem).

Final Grade: B-

Rhythms del Mundo: Cuba:
This is a campy benefit CD that takes popular rock and pop songs and mashes them up into Cuban salsa songs. Some are more successful than others, but it's longer than 35 minutes and is fun for background music. Samples can be heard here.

Final Grade: B

Marines ban social networking
Taxi service allows patrons to decide fares
Spain acquits sole black man in ID parade

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day in history

Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday Fragments

two pickles, no onions, and hold the quality

♠ One of my new projects that I hope to stick with is running a couple times a week with Rebecca. We head over to the forest in Claude Moore Park for a half hour, and we have yet to see LESS than 8 deer on any given run, sometimes as close as five yards away. Hopefully I don't abandon this running project, because I want to make sure my knee is in good shape before all the hiking we plan on doing in Hawaii. I certainly don't want to turn into Gimpy McPeggy again like I did on last year's trip to Europe.

♠ Because every good creative genius (or mad scientist inventor) should have a wellspring of abandoned projects, I am no longer learning the Google Web Toolkit or setting up a Linux home network (although I did set up DSynchronize to keep my MP3 collection sync'd up across four computers). In place of those, I've been writing IF and playing some old games, like DOOM, and Sam and Max.

♠ I've also dusted off a few abandoned CDs discovered during my CD-organizing spree and am currently listening through them to see if they are really as bad as I thought originally. Brian Wilson's Smile is still about as passable as a junior recital -- sure it's good enough at exactly what it is, but you're only going to go if you know the performer, and then you'll never want to listen to it again.

♠ It doesn't help that the built-in CD player in my car no longer works correctly. Ever since this past January when (like a Sign of the Gods) the battery of my car died in the parking lot of Popeyes, the electrical system has bled into the sound quality. Now, whenever I'm braking or accelerating, an amplified hissing arrives like a vengeful librarian in a movie theatre. It's not bad enough to warrant getting a new stereo installed, but I do tend to listen to my newer CDs while coasting.

♠ Speaking of new CDs, Muse is finally releasing a new album on the date of my thirtieth birthday. I really liked their last album in 2006, and the newest single, Uprising, from the upcoming album is pretty catchy, even if they have evolved from hard rock to "Queen meets cheesy alt rock".

♠ Speaking of cheese, the most recent box of Velveeta Shells and Cheese that I opened did not have the normal allotment of five bags of cheese and five bags of shells. Instead, there were four bags of shells, half a bag loose in the box, and SEVEN bags of cheese. I smell something funny going on at the cheese factory.

♠ Now that I have benefited from the cheese stimulus package (Cash for Cheddars), I'm going to have to do something with my fromage largesse -- possibly a new healthy vegetable recipe consisting of one floret of broccoli to one bag of cheese.

Q: What did the bank-robbing broccoli say to his getaway driver?
A: Floret!

♠ This afternoon, I'm heading out to Manassass for Maryrose Ahlbin's baptism and tomorrow I'm having the parents over for dinner. Beyond that, the weekend will probably involve some IF, some Dexter Season 2 (which Rebecca is now watching), and a haircut.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Woman getting married to fairground ride
Acid-spitting death worm hunt
Penis burner free until trial

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day in history

Monday, August 10, 2009

Baby Day

real life scenes from the most recent baptism and after party

Gun found on obese inmate after 5 searches
Man blames cat for kitty porn
Ten things we don't understand about humans

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day in history

Tuesday, August 11, 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.

Distrait: (adj.) inattentive because of distracting worries; absent-minded.

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This one is just written for a random assortment of electronic sounds, mixing a few organ patches with strings and percussion. I like it more now than I did when I was halfway through it.

Don't forget that tomorrow is 12 of 12!

Outing an online outlaw
Breast-feeding doll too real for comfort?
Woman duped by middle-aged man who acted like a child

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day in history

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

6:43 AM: Post-shower, pre-work.

6:51 AM: Thawing some steaks for this evening.

6:56 AM: Listening to "The Day I Died" by Just Jack on the way to work.

7:24 AM: My office plant prefers the new office even though the view is crap. It's blooming and making little plant babies for the first time in five years.

9:23 AM: Working hard.

1:07 PM: Taking the toll road home because ten minutes saved is worth more than fifty cents. I later used the ten minutes to pick up a six-pack of beer and some mushrooms.

2:17 PM: Titan, one of two babysat cats currently in my home, interrupts my telecommuting.

4:39 PM: Drugs for kitties.

5:29 PM: Steaks!

5:43 PM: Sam, eating steaks.

7:32 PM: Getting some more work done to get caught up.

9:04 PM: Rebecca comes home from work!

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

Woman says she was repeatedly bitten by otters
Nude drunk loses way in New Zealand hotel
Sea creatures cause stir on Gower

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day in history

Thursday, August 13, 2009

List Day: 20 Things I Have Never Done

  1. I have never driven a convertible or an SUV.
  2. I have never gambled in a casino.
  3. I have never eaten crawdads.
  4. I have never been in a fight.
  5. I have never gone hunting.
  6. I have never watched Schindler's List.
  7. I have never participated in any activities where I am wearing skis or falling through the air.
  8. I have never been to Australia.
  9. I have never owned anything Pokemon-themed.
  10. I have never sung karaoke.
  11. I have never gone clubbing.
  12. I have never taken a ride on the Green Line.
  13. I have never played the video game, Rock Band, or any of its sequels.
  14. I have never been in a car accident.
  15. I have never had a cavity or broken a bone.
  16. I have never run in an organized race, political or physical.
  17. I have never written a song with a part for English horn.
  18. I have never saved anyone's life (except the time I told people not to go see Hope Floats).
  19. I have never blacked out, even with alcohol in the equation.
  20. I have never bowled over 148.

Bonus Game: One of these is false. Which one?

Delinquent eagles on the loose in Ohio
Speeding player thought fans were after him
Busy bees prescribed energy drinks

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day in history

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Fragments

we put the fragments in Fridfragmentsay

♠ Today is my sister's 33rd birthday, and in an effort to be Green and reduce landfill JPEGs, I'm reusing the birthday picture from last year, in which she was apparently "on the lamb". Happy Birthday! This also means that there's only thirty-two days until I, myself, turn thirty.

♠ There aren't a lot of new milestones I'll have reached by the time I turn thirty, since I already own a house and eat regularly at Popeyes. I even Googled "age thirty milestones" and found this unintentionally amusing excerpt published by the Institute for Christian Economics. The main points I learned from this article were: "A retarded person is not expected to become intelligent through education or any other means." and "The worst offenders on earth in this regard are Japanese men."

♠ At the very least, my car insurance might go down a little bit more, but probably not after my new speeding ticket is processed. Apparently going 47 in a 35 on Sterling Boulevard is a ticketable offense. 84 in a 65, I can understand (not that I EVER did THAT on I-66 E outside of Manassas in 1998), but twelve miles per hour over the limit on a two-lane ribbon of construction trucks and minivans is well within the divine purpose of that road.

♠ I'll have to be extra careful when driving our rented convertible on our honeymoon, since I've heard that the Hawaiian police are very strict about going slowly -- not only do you get a ticket, but your character might be written out of the next season of LOST.

♠ Speaking of honeymoons, apparently there's a new thriller movie out called A Perfect Getaway (starring Nikki the Disposable from the third season of LOST), in which two newlyweds travel to Kauai for their honeymoon and then get stalked through the jungle by homicidal maniacs. I think we should screen that at our reception so it's fresh in our minds when we drop the cats off at Kathy's house and head for Kauai ourselves on October 5.

♠ Kathy and Chris pick their own cats up from our house on Monday -- the gay kitty brothers have had a quiet, normal stay. Titan runs around getting high, and Lake throws up in indiscrete locales (although the first time, he actually went into the litter box to do it -- he would do well at a frat party).

♠ Other plans for the weekend include a little sushi tonight, a little poker tomorrow, and some wedding crap on Sunday, interspersed with some house-cleaning, and buying large amounts of unnecessarily-valued-value-paks at Costco.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Man sorry for previous arrest gets arrested again
$9.99 TV was too good to be true
Adelaide cops baffled by cucumber thefts

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day in history

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weekend Wrap-up

On Saturday, I wrote our wedding bible, a detailed, step-by-step outline of everything that has to happen in the next 47 days (and also reveals the plot twist that will happen at the end of our second season -- Booty dies, and then comes back to life).

Saturday night involved six people, Mozzarella cheese balls, mini eclairs, and a game of poker. I met expectations by coming in fourth, and Rebecca Exceeded Expectations by coming in third. The game stopped and started a lot for cheese, babies, and poop, so Ben didn't get to take his $50 home until around midnight.

On Sunday, we took another trip out to the winery to talk wedding stuff, eat free fudge, and pick up a couple more bottles of wine (purely for research purposes). The picture on the right shows us standing on the second floor deck, and the ceremony itself will be taking place on the lawn below us with the vineyards and the pond in the background. The pond still isn't quite as full as it could be (since there hasn't been much rain in the past year) but it should still be deep enough for any amusing mishaps to occur.

In the evening, we did another run through Claude Moore Park (only 5 deer this time) and then grilled our last remaining steak for dinner. Tragically, it was not as good as the 12 of 12 steaks, having become a little too bloodless from extended refrigeration and not cooking as well. As such, we dubbed them "Ice Truck Killer steaks", in anticipation of the Third Season of Dexter, which comes out tomorrow on DVD.

University adds grade worse than F
Certificates awarded for catching the bus
Bride spends wedding night with a crate of vodka
What could be better than balls of cheese?

Nothing (1 vote, 11.1%)

Balls of bacon (2 votes, 22.2%)

Houses of cheese (3 votes, 33.3%)

Balls of bacon-wrapped cheese (3 votes, 33.3%)

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Newsday Tuesday

Squeaking by on $300,000

Birch Hill is a majestic property of tender grasses and low stone walls and a whimsical sculpture next to the swimming pool. To the untrained eye, the long economic downturn as viewed from here and beyond [...] has been hard to see or feel. [...] Laura Steins doesn't mind saying that she is barely squeaking by on $300,000 a year. She lives in a place where the boom years of Wall Street pushed the standard of living to astonishing heights. Where fifth-graders shop at a store called Lester's that sells $114 tween-size True Religion jeans. Where a cup of fresh spinach and carrot juice called the Iron Maiden costs $7.95.

Recession Tips from Heloise

  • Tip #1: Never pay money for a religion that your kids are just going to grow out of eventually.
  • Tip #2: If you are paying $8 to drink what is essentially the discarded cud of a cow, you make too much money.
  • As a vice president at MasterCard's corporate office in Purchase, N.Y., she earns a base pay of $150,000 plus a bonus. [...] She receives $75,000 a year in child support from her ex-husband. She figures she will pull an additional $50,000 from a personal investment account to "pick up the slack." The nanny and property taxes take $75,000 right off the top, but Steins considers both non-negotiable facts of her life and not discretionary. When she bought out her husband's share of the house after their 2006 divorce, she assumed the costs of keeping it afloat -- $8,000 to $10,000 a month. There's a pool man, a gardener and someone to plow the snow from the quarter-mile-long driveway.

  • Tip #3: "Non-negotiable" is actually quite negotiable if you discard your sense of entitlement.
  • Tip #4: If three acres of land are causing $35,000 worth of property taxes, you can subdivide the lot and rent to residential-friendly businesses like day cares and crack houses.
  • Tip #5: If you have a pool man, a gardener, and a snow plowman, you can fire two and pay the third a little more to do all the jobs.
  • Tip #6: If your driveway is a quarter-mile long, build another house next to yours and force the city to turn it into a public road. (This also eliminates your snow plowman).
  • Life in this $2.5 million house was built on the premise of two incomes, not the income of a divorced mother of three in a tanked economy. [...] As tight as money is, she has decided that living in a 4,000-square-foot house on three acres is the practical thing to do. "A), I couldn't sell the house right now," she says, citing the slow real estate market. "B), this is where my kids go to school. And C), it's where my job is."

  • Tip A: If you put your house on the market today for a reasonable price, it will eventually sell. If it's not for sale, it will never sell.
  • Tip B: Contrary to popular belief, kids are mobile creatures (except for the hugely obese ones in Austin).
  • Tip C: People that work in other places are called "commuters".
  • Week after week, Steins and others in a group called the Stephen Ministry wrestle with how to help members struggling through the crisis. [...] Steins's group is ready to lend support to church members, but the problem is there aren't many takers. One member articulates the challenge. "There's an image people are invested in that makes it hard for this to be talked about," says Bob Steed.

  • Tip #7: An investment in your image will never bear fruit, unless you are a super model or an apple tree.
  • On a weekend when the kids are with their dad in Manhattan, Steins packs her overnight bag, ditches her Volvo SUV for her Pontiac Solstice convertible and heads for a party in the Hamptons. [...] Steins violated her no-shopping rule by buying a new black sweater at Ann Taylor with a 20 percent off coupon. [...]

  • Tip #8: If you own more cars than you can drive simultaneously, you can sell one.
  • Tip #9: If you "party in the Hamptons", you are not middle-class (unless it's the one that can't quite afford to be plural on the sign).
  • Tip #10: When the cheapest sweater at Ann Taylor is $55, you cannot use a coupon and then pretend to be fiscally responsible.
  • The party turns out to be spectacular. Champagne and oysters and shrimp followed by a seated luncheon for 70. Steins joins a small group back at the birthday girl's house for a casual supper of lobster bisque. [...] On her way out of town, she window-shops and stops at a boutique to buy a birthday present for a friend. She admires [and purchases] a $30 set of bone bangles on the counter.

  • Tip #11: If you are in a setting where you can say "bisque" and not immediately end it with the syllables "-wick" or "-it", you are not squeaking by. "Biscotti" is mildly acceptable, but only if you bought them at Costco.
  • Tip #12: Bangles are never a cost-effective purchase, unless you are buying the music rights to the 80s band for $30 or less.
  • At night when it's quiet, way up the quarter-mile driveway, Steins knows how fortunate she is. She has a job. She will gut out the remains of the recession, even if it's her version of paycheck to paycheck. She will keep it all afloat. [...] "We might live in nice houses and drive nice cars, but we're just holding on," she says. Perfect looks perfect from a distance.

  • Tip #13: A front-page profile of a single mom earning $300,000 a year is more likely to draw ridicule and scorn than sympathy and donations.
  • Kid's sex-ed camp fails to excite
    Costco pulls 'Lil Monkey' doll
    Rat-eating plant discovered in the Philippines

    tagged as newsday | permalink | 5 comments
    day in history

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Memory Day: Old Snapshots

    This is my old friend, Daniel Bethancourt, at our Sixth Grade graduation in June 1990. Sixth grade graduations are necessary milestones in today's society, since half of the class abruptly drops out immediately after to become car mechanics and air conditioning repair boys. Daniel moved to the West Coast immediately after sixth grade, and I've only seen him once since then -- he is now Father Daniel at an Orthodox Christian parish in Lousiana.

    This is just after seventh grade with my friend, Ian, who I previously mentioned. We had just come back from biking through the mud, so our backs resembled a latrine mishap (for which he later got in trouble with his dad). I am wearing the stylish BOOK IT! shirt I got from rereading Henry Huggins over and over, as well as a pair of sturdy Boy Scout shorts.

    Jennie (Geisner) Gordon and Jenny (Young) Osorio both came to my End-of-the-Year party in June 1993. In the background, you can see the crude cardboard cutout intended for a tossing-game with water balloons. Of course, the rules of this game were promptly abandoned, because water balloons are more fun when they're hitting someone who isn't you.

    Freshman Prom in June 1993. From left to right, my date, Rachel Lee, who I lost track of after tenth grade, Jennie, Zulfan (who was the point man in the phrase "They're out back smoking crack with Zulfan" which described any person in high school English class who happened to be absent or tardy), and myself.

    A picture of the 3rd 8 (the 17th through 24th best rowers on the team) on the Occoquan in 1994 after a rare medal win. I believe we got 3rd, which is fitting, and we obviously only did that well because every minority on the Crew team was on this boat.

    This was taken at the End-of-the-Year Party after tenth grade (1994). Best man, Jack, is on the far left, followed by Ben Seggerson, Kwan Burke, Jennifer "Ada" Stuart (Holland) Hettinga (who vanished from my world after her wedding, probably because US computers ran out of name slots in their databases), and little me.
    Diamonds: a girl's best compensation for infidelity
    $15 for 74 screams
    Mindset List for the Class of 2013

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    day in history

    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    List Day: 10 Deep Thoughts

    I've kept a running list of deep thoughts on my Blog Ideas page since 2004, figuring that on a slow day they might make good fodder for discussion. However, I never seem to look up from the posts about boobies and chipmunk vomit for long enough to be seriously serious. For housekeeping purposes, I'm just posting the list as is, because it's easier than exploring any one of them in depth!

    1. To truly master a topic, you have to study one step beyond the level that it's taught. That is, Calculus I might give you working knowledge of an integral, but you won't really know integrals until you take them to the next level in Calculus II. If you are looking for engineers that are skilled in C.R.A.P., skip all the clowns who earned that certification and hire the ones that earned the one after it.

    2. If speeding tickets were really about public safety and not about revenue, the government would allow us to donate the fines to a charity of our choice.

    3. To truly grow as a person, you need to let your past shape your actions, without letting your past control you.

    4. Our government is broken because of money. You can't reach a position that matters without access to money, and anyone that tries to push money back down to a problem is thwarted by the eighty layers that leech a few bucks off the top until there's not enough left to fix anything.

    5. Foodstuffs that depend on each other (like hot dogs and buns, or chips and dip) will never run out at the same time.

    6. Racism is wrong and narrow-minded, but there's nothing wrong with prejudices evolved from your direct experiences. Denying a job to an Asian because he's Asian is bad. Denying him because you had three horrible employees who looked, smelled, or acted like him is just good business sense. The fact that #2 can be mistaken for #1 is the reason why people get uptight about it.

    7. When you become a defensive driver for your own safety, you become a hazard to every other driver around you.

    8. If environmental action is mandated from the top down, people and corporations will resist and ignore, and nothing will get done. If you act for the environment from the bottom-up, you'll never get enough done to impact the entire planet.

    9. All of the basic, simple, useful tools have been created. We're never going to see another colander.

    10. The reason Americans don't care about oil dependency is because they don't understand just how many resources people consume in a single day. As part of their education, people should be required to grow an acre of wheat, process it, drive it to a restaurant, and see for themselves just how quickly it depletes.
    Football coaches recruiting more trumpet players
    Average gamer is 35, fat, and bummed
    Putpockets give a little extra cash, and a reason for real pickpockets to reach in a pocket

    tagged as lists, deep thoughts | permalink | 7 comments
    day in history

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Friday Fragments

    the back-to-school edition, or if you're old, the keep-on-working edition

    ♠ Health officials in the US are warning that we're going to see a 2nd surge in swine flu cases during the fall flu season. In general though, the even-numbered periods of disease are only dangerous for minorities. As they say, "white people only get the clap on 1 and 3".

    ♠ The Clap was one of many ailments I didn't fully understand when I was a little kid. Back then, I thought that shingles sounded like a very painful pooping problem, and elephantiasis made your face look like an elephant.

    ♠ Elephants are also in the news in France, where a mayor is trying to ban them from being on the beach because the presents they leave behind are a little too big. I'm sure that elephant pies would be a great mortar for sand castles though -- they should host a sand castle competition to capitalize on dung. And if the elephant has to pee? Instant drip castle.

    ♠ Drip castles always seem like a lost cause to me. You have to build them too close to the surf so you have a ready supply of drip, but then the tide comes in and you immediately lose your supply of castle. I suppose the optimum sand castle would be reinforced with interior walls from a Lego Castles set.

    ♠ I just glanced at the Lego website to see what sort of sets they sell nowadays. The days of monosyllabic "town" and "space" sets are now overloaded with a smorgasbord of proper nouns and phrases. Power Miners looks like leftover propwork from the movie, Labyrinth. And do we really need a Spongebob Squarepants Lego kit?

    ♠ Plans for the weekend include a meeting with the caterer, a Happy Hour with Rebecca's job, and maybe even some relaxing time, which has been about as rare as my steaks recently. We also started the third season of Dexter on Tuesday, and have seven episodes left -- that'll probably be done and ready for borrowing by the end of the weekend.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Marines researching throbots
    Sheriff reprimands deputies over waitress photos
    Robbers today are pansies

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment
    day in history

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Weekend Wrap-up

    Following an afternoon meeting on Friday where I met with our caterer to make sure she knew that we were still getting married and wanted to eat wedding steak instead of wedding cake, I returned home for a couple more hours of Friday evening work. The phenomenon of things going wrong at work late on Friday seems to be increasing linearly over time. Had I been elected in 2006, my Three Day Work Week initiative would have nipped this problem in the butt (because problems don't have buds).

    I also picked up a copy of Orange Box, a collection of five top-rated games which actually came out two years ago. It's okay to be outdated though since this is the first PC game I've bought that's not a World of Warcraft expansion in several years. Despite a cover that looks like it was designed by the Virginia Tech poster department, the games I've played are pretty entertaining so far.

    On Saturday evening, we dodged Hurricane Bill for a CustomInk social at the uselessly-named Carpool in Arlington, which would be a better b(ar) if they dropped the "C" and made it pirate-themed. We had free wings which were spicier than my dance moves, and pulled pork that will probably make a full recovery.

    Sunday was densely-packed, yet lazy, not unlike a glacier. Besides bouts of wedding work, exercising, and finishing the third season of Dexter (which I enjoyed, although I was underwhelmed by the last episode), we also tried out a new chain, Mimi's Cafe, for a delicious dinner. I had a cup of chicken noodle soup that mixed the best of both brands: the tasty broth and fake chicken of Campbells with the noodles of Progresso. The soup was followed by a half-rack of ribs that effortlessly peeled straight off the bone, and a bowl of chocolate mousse dipped in strawberry sauce.

    Glowing bomber worms discovered
    Woman sues zoo over splashing dolphins
    News of the Weird: Donald Duck the philosopher and oral sex for potato chips

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

    Tuesday, August 25, 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.

    Bellicose: (adj.) Aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious.

    My Composition (0:27 MP3)

    This piece is written for brass quintet without the trombone and a choir of jazz scat singers. I was trying to go for something militaristic but also slightly comical, March of the Rat Terriers, perhaps?

    Legislators outlaw the wrong type of plastic
    The boy who heard too much
    Alabama families cause a riot

    tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments
    day in history

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Weird Search Day

    or "How I stumbled upon the URI! Zone"

  • how to make gangster hats out of construction paper

    Start with a ribbed paper plate (for your pleasure) and paint it completely black for the brim. Roll a piece of grey construction paper into a cylinder (or a Moebius strip if you are a savvy gangster that isn't quite what he seems). Secure with tape or gum.

  • pepco prostitution ring
    A prostitution ring at the highest levels of PEPCO management was able to remain a closely-guarded secret for quite a few years, until one unfortunate period of media attention when the "manholes" kept erupting prematurely.

  • how can i find swiss swatch in reston virginia or somewhere else
    If you wanted to find a Swatch somewhere else, why even mention Reston? That's like asking, "Where can I buy a pup tent that's blue or not blue?"

  • "marc nagy" near salt lake city

  • prostitute house in Sterling Virginia
    You can rent the room in my basement for $150 an hour, but you'll have to provide your own prostitute.

  • Duration of a URI in an older cat
    When someone from my family is swallowed whole by an elderly cat, they can usually withstand the gastrointestinal acids for several days. This is mainly because cats are very small, and can only consume a foot or a hand at a time -- by the time the URI is in danger of digestion, he or she will probably have shaken the cat off and thrown it against a barn. As a side postulate, only barn cats are fierce enough to take on a URI.

  • satellite pictures of chad kroeger's house

  • "underdog to wonderdog" annoying
    But at least it doesn't feature Ty Pennington trying to offload free Sears appliances on the pups.

  • reasons for swan ostracization
    Even though swans mate for life (in cygnus and in health), brief periods of isolation help to prevent the spread of swan flu.

  • free giant flytrap online games where you destroy cities

    Coincidentally, this is the plot of the next World of Warcraft expansion. Petey Piranha falls through a warp gate in Super Mario Galaxy and ends up in Stormwind Harbor, pissed off and ready to devour a city.

  • Man finds his wedding ring on the ocean floor
    London ATMs to use Cockney
    Moose ugly, but healthy

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

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Audience Participation Day: What are you doing?

    Brianne just moved back to Virginia. Kelley just joined Facebook. The world has been turning like a two-hundred pound hog on a spit, and everyone's doing their own thing.

    For today's post, share a little bit about who you are and what you do in the Comments section. Have you moved since the last time I talked to you? Do you have a new job? Have you popped out any more babies? Any vacations or major events approaching? Do you like how things are going? Be as deep or as flippant as you'd like, but catch me up on your life!

    Lurkers are welcome to chime in too! I've recently seen an uptick in regular readers from inside the Beltway, silent types who are obviously envious of the Sterling VIP lifestyle.

    Microsoft apologizes for turning black people into white people
    New York City's skinniest house has a fat price tag
    The hotel issued a statement Monday saying its managers will try to "remind guests of the transparency" of the windows.

    tagged as you speak | permalink | 13 comments
    day in history

    Friday, August 28, 2009

    End-of-the-Month Media Day

    There really aren't enough new pictures to warrant a media day this month, but I'm in the midst of a middle school band website project and didn't have the energy to concoct a Fragments column today. Besides, you can really only have one creative outlet at any given time, or all of them will suffer (see also, Alias season 3, when JJ went off to do Mission Impossible 3).

    See Maryrose Baptism photos
    See new Cat photos

    Girls are primed to fear spiders
    Dutch bid to thwart young sailor
    Police combat crime by lonely elderly

    tagged as media | permalink | 0 comments
    day in history

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Friday evening, I passed up the bass-thumping night life of the Reston Town Center to put the finishing touches on the Ormond Stone Middle School Band website, which is sure to revolutionize the way Centreville middle schoolers read about their band, and may also cure kidney stones. The old version is still up for comparison as well.

    Saturday involved a trip to Lowe's for a propane exchange, because running out of propane on a Steak Night would be calamitous, and then the installation of a new spoon rack. I also finally finished the first season of Breaking Bad (to be reviewed on Thursday), put in a few hours of work-work, and then attended a barbeque at my boss' house in the middle of a gigantic monsoon. I also learned a new barbeque trick: when it's storming, don't put the beer cooler outside.

    We got all sorts of errands accomplished on Sunday including the shrinking of my wedding band so I don't Jay-Chin it across the room during a staff meeting, and the purchasing of a wedding gift for another couple, whose single silver picture frame on Crate and Barrel costs more than our entire reception. We then made some aromatic Chicken Cordon Bleu for dinner, using the meat tenderizer that Katie Morton bought for us.

    After dinner, we watched the movie, Duplicity, a heisty movie which was a little slow to start, but was surprisingly easy to keep up with and ended well. Clive Owen is still mostly a tool though. Final Grade: B

    Prankster's pooch menu no joke for dog lovers
    Cop investigated for feeding gorillas Pop Tarts
    Fake Dutch moon rock found

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


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