12/2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Museday Voteday

I was only able to write fifteen musical fragments for Museday Tuesday this year, but this brings me up to 28 minutes combined over the past three years. During the month of December, I'll extend one of these works to a full-length piece about two minutes long. Vote for the one I should extend using the Poll in the right sidebar and I'll post the extended work on December 22. Any snippet with the double-thumbs-up icon next to it is eligible for your vote (these are the ones that seem to have potential for expansion, and are not necessarily the best of the bunch).

For added artistry, I have described each snippet with exactly seven words.

Portentous: Orddu, Orwen and Orgoch trade a cauldron.

Adulterous: Repeating the A section is for amateurs.

Reptant: Cool bassoonist plays quintuplets in the lounge.

Oleaginous: I'd like to buy a vowel, Pat.

Pellucid: Stay far away from the opium den.

Supernatant: The dragonfly floats on a lily pad.

Idyllic: Lieutenant John Dunbar befriends a white wolf.

Coquettish: It's a little cuter than Count Basie.

Contumelious: Bankrupt Trent Reznor stoops to theme songs.

Distrait: Automated robots on a futuristic assembly line.

Bellicose: You can't win the war without pants.

Bombastic: The Indians fought the Aztecs and lost.

Subaudible: Hearing a conspiracy through your sink drain.

Tenebrous: Nothing good ever comes from spider webs.

Vigilante: We'll head them off at the pass.

You can also go back and listen to Musedays from 2007 and 2008.

Moms step in after infant's mom dies
Goncourt winner Littell wins Bad Sex Award
Wisconsin man arrives too late to rob bank
Which Museday fragment should be extended?

Adulterous (0 votes, 0.0%)

Supernatant (3 votes, 50.0%)


Coquettish (0 votes, 0.0%)

Contumelious (1 vote, 16.7%)


Bellicose (2 votes, 33.3%)


tagged as museday | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Weird Search Day

or "How I stumbled upon the URI! Zone"

  • catchy captions for heat capacity

  • what chapter does it talk about jem and the lightpole?
    This dialogue actually takes place in Chapter One of the ghost-written autobiography. In Chapter Two, technology advances sufficiently enough to allow the lightpole to diffuse the light, and by Chapter Three, the Holograms are complete.

  • news about basement plastic surgery in Lowell, Massachusetts
    Apparently Mike (of Mike and Chompy) has been running a side business in addition to his musical teachings and the cheating of online merchants. This is probably his proactive approach to the self-reported homeliness of the town's populace.

  • Marvin the Martian wedding flute

    Are you really walking down the aisle to the Looney Tunes theme? Hopefully your husband/bride bears little resemblance to Porky Pig.

  • can I have my spearguns with me in the airport?
    According to the TSA, spear guns can be checked in luggage, but not brought onboard. However, the frequency of white whale sightings in airports is relatively low anyhow (unless you're in Austin).

  • puppet script invasive exotic
    In Muppets of the Aztec Empire, Gonzo tracks his geneaology to a lost tribe of Muppets in Tenochtitlan, where he is abducted by aliens and comically probed.

  • november and i am still alone, lunch period in high school
    Eating lunch with other people is overrated anyhow. I spent most of my lunches eating at the back of the band room and reading voraciously, which gave me the encyclopedic knowledge of Gordon Korman books that undoubtedly got me into college, and also prevented me from having to share my brownies with my greedy, hungry friends. P.S. start an emo Myspace account while you're at it.

  • cougars in heat

  • Why does Brian feel awkward about handling the rifle and the butane lighter?
    I don't know. Perhaps they were in someone's butt.

  • gifted young red head girl sent to college early pot sex with mens basketball team
    This was actually a rejected script for the next Muppets movie, but could be the life story of any number of redheads from my college days.

  • songs about pt cruisers
    How about The Cat in the PT Cruiser?

  • Chompy the Crocodile

    When dressing Chompy like a crocodile, please remember to use a U-neck sweater (otherwise she will be an Alligator).

  • Drunken elk clears murder suspect
    Man mauled after bear picnic
    Why Craigslist is such a mess

    tagged as website, searches | permalink | 3 comments

    Thursday, December 03, 2009

    2009 Timeline

    a smattering of major events from 2009

    January:
    • We went to our first Bed and Breakfast, in Winchester.
    • We picked our wedding date.
    • My car battery died in the parking lot of Popeye's.
    • Rebecca moved in, just in time to inaugurate the black guy.
    February:
    • I lost two hours of my life watching the fourth Indiana Jones movie.
    • I lost four more hours of my life watching Blunderdog at Mike's apartment.
    • I had a Name That Tune contest with my sexy lips.
    • Rosie popped a baby out, but not on 2/22.
    March:
    • I opened with a 90-hour work week.
    • It snowed and Rebecca shoveled my driveway.
    • I bought new brown shoes that will last me a lifetime.
    • Kathy became Dr. Kathleen.
    • We remodelled the basement bathroom.
    April:
    • I didn't do much but work overtime.
    • Ella turned two.
    May:
    • Jack and Kristy got a puppy.
    • We went to a Bed and Breakfast in Solomon's Island.
    • I worked a lot of overtime and had the flu.
    • The fifth season of LOST ended and sucked.
    June:
    • I cancelled my World of Warcraft account again.
    • Anna popped another baby out (baby 2 of 12).
    • We went to the beach and sat in the jacuzzi until the water turned puce.
    July:
    • Mike (of Mike and Chompy) moved to Lowell.
    • Kathy popped a baby out.
    • We had an all-American cookout.
    • My dad finished improvements in our laundry room.
    August:
    • I started running for exercise.
    • I stopped running for exercise.
    • We did a lot of wedding planning.
    • I finally played The Orange Box.
    • I became the Stone Band webmaster.
    September:
    • I turned 30 and most likely did not die.
    • I went to the Borgata in Atlantic City and ate my weight in buffet food.
    • wedding wedding wedding
    October:
    • I took four weeks off of work.
    • We got married.
    • We fled to Kauai in search of sea turtles.
    • Sam and Kristen got engaged!
    November:
    • I made lots of Thanksgiving food.
    • I worked more overtime (for a grand total of 240 hours, or 6 weeks this year).
    • We rearranged the living room.

    What have you accomplished?

    Dog in a BP shirt greets customers
    Cost of school formals soaring as teenagers glam-up
    Man marries video game girlfriend

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

    Friday, December 04, 2009

    Friday Fragments

    more dangerous than a "raging hadron" collider

    ♠ At work, we've just wrapped up work on a short-fuse prototype named EADS, which is a better acronym than the original ADS for multiple reasons: a) URLs with /ads/ tend to get blocked by Ad Blockers, b) writing ENTERPRISE on anything makes it seem much grander (try it on body parts), c) when Scottish people talk about the site, it will sound like they're talking about AIDS, and d) there will be so much room for naming future functionality like POOPHEADS (Planning and Operations-Oriented Projected History).

    ♠ I've kept pretty busy for the past two weeks, so I'll probably take the afternoon off and nap on the couch with cats before diving into the weekend. See Figure A on the right for a dramatic reenactment of my plan.

    ♠ I didn't have an End-of-the-Month Media Day last month because uploading pictures takes far too long and I never got around to coding a Spring-based Photo Gallery for this site (at the time, I wrote the BUVite web application instead). I'll probably take the easy way out next month and dump all my new pictures since Halloween onto Picasa.

    ♠ I used to hate Picasa because you couldn't open up multiple pictures in new tabs by middle-clicking them. Since they added that enhancement, there's really nothing left to hate, other than the fact that "picasaweb" is an awkward word to type because of the left-handed traffic jam that occurs as the word nears completion. To be truly successful, sites should have evenly distributed titles like "urizone" or "swastikajuju".

    ♠ Incidentally, it would be hard to play a round of Boggle on a standard keyboard, and even moreso on a Dvorak keyboard. It is left as an exercise to the reader to come up with a five-letter English word on a Dvorak keyboard using standard Boggle rules.

    ♠ Have a great weekend!

    Cody the BP dog sent to the back room
    Laptop holders for your steering wheel are a great idea
    What do cats do home alone?

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 0 comments

    Monday, December 07, 2009

    Weekend Wrap-up

    My plans to avoid work on Friday afternoon were thwarted, but I managed to end the evening well with a mushroom burger at Whitlows on Wilson and the chance to navigate through the most poorly conceived underground parking garage in Arlington for free parking -- if you could fit the entire game of Chutes and Ladders onto the Free Parking space in Monopoly, and then rig Mousetrap! around it, you'd have some semblance of similarity.

    On Saturday, everyone on Facebook was mentioning that it was snowing, so I looked out the window and confirmed what I had learned (with less effort) on the Internet. Other than a quick sprint to Costco for essentials (kitty litter and hand soap refills), we stayed in all day through four inches of snow, making chocolate chip cookies, putting up the Christmas tree, and watching the movie, Coraline.

    Sunday was a quiet, productive day filled with a snow-walk to Safeway, thank-you notes (50 down, 16 to go), and some e-learning about new technologies. In the evening, we ate very small chickens with a rich butter glaze that was very close to four parts butter with one part margarine. Delicious!

    I also posted a few pictures from Fall 2009 for your viewing pleasure.

    Elf jailed over threatening Santa with dynamite
    Lego gun sighting leads to police takedown
    Mayor claims Obama blocked the Peanuts special

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

    Tuesday, December 08, 2009

    List Day: 2009 in Twelves

    Top 12 Songs First Heard in 2009

    It was actually more difficult than expected to come up with a list of just twelve songs this year, and it took several days to pare down the 3 or 4 runner-ups. I usually combine this list with the list of favourite website posts, but thought it'd be more interesting if I talked a little about my choices.

    1. Plenty of Paper - Eisley
      As a band, I still think that Eisley suffers from slightly weak singing voices and too much singing in their arrangements, but when you just listen to one song apart the others, these problems aren't as glaring. This is the first song of theirs I heard, and I still like it more than anything I heard later.

    2. The Fear - Lily Allen
      Lily Allen's second CD wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped, but this single grew on me after repeated listenings.

    3. The Day I Died - Just Jack
      This song still hasn't come out on an album, so I only hear it on the radio. I like the upbeat outlook of the lyrics wrapped around the foreshadowed death.

    4. Barrowland Ballroom - Amy MacDonald
      Besides the cute Irish accent, I just like the toe-tapping barn-burning stylings of this song.

    5. Seperate and Ever Deadly - The Last Shadow Puppets
      Despite the published typo in their title, I like this song for its use of "sequitors" and the way they practically spit out the word "crumbs" at the end of the chorus.

    6. Can't Behave - Courtney Jaye
      I first discovered Courtney Jaye back in April or so, and her album is probably the closest I can get to country music while still enjoying myself. Unfortunately, I also heard this song twice in the same hour while shopping at JC Penneys in September.

    7. Cookie Jar - Gym Class Heroes
      The cookies are a metaphor for women, and that makes this song awesome.

    8. I Belong To You - Muse
      This song doesn't rock quite as hard as others on Muse's new album, but it's quirky and catchy, and the insertion of an aria from Samson and Delilah actually works pretty well (the Chopin they appended to The United States of Eurasia just feels superfluous, as does most of that song, actually). Apparently, a remix of this song was in New Moon, but I don't hold that against it.

    9. Killer - The Hoosiers
      I think this entire album is pretty great (Goodbye Mr. A. was on last year's list), but this song manages to capture the garish, quirky quality of the entire album. Autotune makes an appearance here, but the effect is subtle and definitely not graffiti'd in by a T-Pain wannabe.

    10. Hello Bonjour - Michael Franti
      This is just a generally catchy song which I stumbled upon while trying to download a different Franti song for Rebecca.

    11. Sweet About Me - Gabriella Cilmi
      Much like the bosom of a leper, this song is infectiously bouncy, and I'm still floored by the youth of the singer contrasted against the maturity of her voice. She's been dubbed an Amy Winehouse without the drugs, and it seems to fit.

    12. You Picked Me - A Fine Frenzy
      This is easily my favourite song of the year, and probably ranks highly on the "short list of all-time favourites" that I've never actually taken the time to compile. I can listen to this ad nauseum and it always gives a lift to my day.

    Man uses remote to control his bionic bottom
    Cowlicks are actually destructive forces
    Scantily-clad David decked out as St. Nick

    tagged as lists | permalink | 2 comments

    Wednesday, December 09, 2009

    Hawaii Honeymoon Part IV

    Our time on Kauai was split into two discrete segments: for the first four days, we stayed at a fancy resort and worked strenuously to relax on and nearby the complex. For the last ten days, we rented a car and moved to a second-floor condo in Kapa'a overlooking the tidepools, allowing us to travel around the island and experience some of the more heady excitements and hikes.

    While on the resort, we had an hour-long outdoor couples massage in an airy tent on the beach, and listened to local musicians sing really bad Hawaiian music for a hula dancer while sipping free Mai Tais. When I was obviously not getting over my strep throat anytime soon, we took a local taxi-van to the nearest clinic, which was housed in a humidly-coloured building that could have been taken out of any Dharma Initiative setting in LOST. The doctor took one look at my throat, prescribed a week's worth of painkillers and antibiotics, and then tried to ply me for government secrets.

    On our last day, we tried out the pool, which was split by volcanic rocks into a wading pool, and lagoon, and the pool proper. There was also a twisty slide with fourteen safety rules but no lifeguard which we went down continuously until the fifty-year-old couples swimming nearby were convinced to try it out. Old guys on slides are funny.

    Once we had secured a convertible for the latter half, we explored every part of the island except for the farthest west points, where the sand roads would have voided our rental contract. We passed the mountain that looked like King Kong's head daily, as well as the mountain shaped like a sleeping giant that looked more like a mountain.

    An activity that was definitely worth our time and money was the Kauai Helicopter Tour (through Jack Harter). We flew over and through the nooks and crannies of the island like the cast of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in an English muffin, and did it all in a helicopter with no doors on it. The hour period is just enough time to see every part of the island while still lingering over some to take pictures of dolphins and Hawaiian ghosts.

    We also took a day to go snorkeling at Anini Beach, where I saw a bunch of Nemos and Dory's as well as some Jabba-resembling sea cucumbers, but I am incapable of snorkeling without getting ocean water in my pipe at least once every ten minutes.

    Towards the end of the trip, we visited a wildlife refuge at Kilauea Lighthouse on the North Shore filled with the nests of wedge-tailed shearwaters and their fuzzy spawn, just inches from the travel path. We also saw several endangered monk seals basking on the rocks -- monk seals have the luxury of getting the paparazzi ropes put up around them on any beach they decide to rest on (and it's illegal to harass them), but on the flip side, they have no one to hump.

    When not harassing the monk seals or making fun of the "seen-better-days" hotel that was decorated like a giant albino Oreo cookie, we went hiking. Those hikes will be the final section of my Hawaii Honeymoon write-up, so stay tuned!

    To be concluded someday...

    Cave brothers inherit billions from lost grandmother
    Groom Twitters from the altar
    Up in arms over kangaroo chips

    tagged as travel | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Review Day

    There are no spoilers in these reviews.

    Coraline:
    Written in the vein of Nightmare Before Christmas, this stop-motion movie is highly imaginative, and has even more unsettling imagery (and a more cohesive plot) than the previous movie. This is definitely not one for kids, unless you want them to have nightmares.

    Final Grade: B+

    Burn Notice - Season Two:
    The second season of Burn Notice continues the template set up by the first, with a little more emphasis on the ongoing plot rather than the "case of the day". This was still an enjoyable watch, but lost some of the novelty of the first season. There was never any major urge to get through this season, but we'll definitely get the third season.

    Final Grade: B

    Torchlight:
    Torchlight is a $20 Diablo-clone made by the original developers behind Diablo, and it's definitely worth that price. Decent graphics, immersive backgound music and a minimum of annoyances make this a worthwhile buy. The main negatives include a loot system that makes it hard to click on specific items, a very dim minimap (fixable by a mod), and an enchanting system that sometimes destroys your items. Just like Diablo, this is an addictive, enjoyable game that eventually just stops being fun, at which point you move on to the next game.

    Final Grade: B

    Australia facing certain, eventual doom
    'Poo power' cuts electric bill
    US Jazz Musician hits wrong note in Spain

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Friday Fragments

    Also an anagram for "Farmstead Frying"

    ♠ Yesterday, as I opened a new pack of mini Beefaroni tins for my 10:30 lunch, I noticed that the metal lids were now tattooed with bold, loud warnings. Apparently, beefaroni lids are sharp when you peel them back, and someone couldn't figure this out on their own.

    ♠ I've never accidentally slashed my wrists on a Beefaroni lid, but when I worked in the school nurse's office in elementary school, I once stuck my tongue to a metal ice-cube tray to see if it would stick. It did. When the nurse inspected my tongue, she asked if I had "eaten any sharp food this morning, like Doritos".

    ♠ It's been a while since I had Doritos, or any snack chips at all for that matter. In a futile experiment to eat healthier, I have not purchased chips or bacon (for standalone breakfasts) in over four months. I did have Velveeta Shells and Cheese three times this week though.

    ♠ My weight makes very little sense, since I lost two pounds immediately after Thanksgiving dinner, and then gained a pound after twenty minutes on the exercise bike. Perhaps it was a pound of knowledge, since I like to read while biking.

    ♠ The problem I have with reading is that I prefer to have books finished than be in the middle of one, so getting a new book pretty much delays anything else I'm doing until the book is done. When I wasn't working yesterday, I was starting and finishing a 400 page book from my Mom, Ender's Shadow (review on Thursday, as usual).

    ♠ The weekend should be light and lazy (as December weekends should be). With dinner plans tonight and tentative plans to see Anna and Ben tomorrow for a 12 of 12 featuring only Ella, I'll spend the daylight hours working on my Museday composition and beating the last world in the new Mario game. On Sunday, we're visiting one side of the dodecahedron that is Rebecca's family in Silver Spring, and might even stop by the FLAMING LOG OF DEATH near the White House on the way home.

    ♠ Today's post is short because it captures my essence. More importantly, I have the day off and have other things to get started on (like making Shells and Cheese for lunch). Have a great weekend!

    Lions and tigers and bears form a unique bond
    Abstaining boobies get "sexier"
    Secret agent busted in late-night car chase

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 3 comments

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 on 12/12


    7:51 AM: Amber tries to wake us up before the alarm goes off. (Booty is outside behind the closed door, having tried to wake us up over an hour earlier).

    8:46 AM: Shower time after a length snooze.

    9:07 AM: Bagels and cream cheese for breakfast.

    10:32 AM: Printing out some wedding pictures for friends.

    11:12 AM: Christmas Booty stays clean for Christmas.

    11:21 AM: Booty helps me beat a difficult level in New Super Mario Brothers Wii.

    12:11 PM: Sorting through this year's 12 of 12s for Tuesday's compilation post.

    1:32 PM: A "bachelor-style" lunch, consisting of waffle fries and, well, not much else.

    2:58 PM: Doing a little composing.

    7:57 PM: Down in Manassas at Anna & Ben's for a cheese-filled dinner.

    9:04 PM: Rosie wakes up to say hello.

    10:36 PM: Ending the night with a game of "UPS-opoly".

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

    Bizarre light show scares Norway
    Kitten apparently rides 120 miles in wheel well
    Flu patients turning into zombies

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 10 comments

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Twelve 12 of 12s

    The final post of the 12 of 12 series is a highlight reel with the best picture from each month to show how you've blossomed into a beautiful songbird over the course of the year.

    January: Velveeta Shells and Cheese for dinner.
    February: Mike tempts Booty with steaks.

    March: Velveeta Shells and Cheese for dinner.

    April: Unicorns on a plane.

    May: Sick on the couch with kitties.

    June: NOT Velveeta Shells and Cheese for dinner.

    July: Some dogs like eating grass.

    August: Some cats like eating "special" grass.

    September: Grocery shopping for a thirtieth birthday.

    October: Handstands on the Hawaiian beach.

    November: Leftovers are best served all mixed together.

    December: Don't lick that!
    Octopus snatches coconut and runs
    eBay holiday panhandling
    Tesco withdraws card about gingers

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    2009 in Twelves

    Top 12 Posts from 2009
    1. BU plays the Caption Game
    2. BU recaps the LOST Season 4 finale
    3. BU hates Indiana Jones
    4. BU on HOV Cheaters
    5. Everyone learns HTML in the Comments section
    6. BU lists rejected wedding ideas
    7. BU on global warming
    8. BU wears shirts
    9. BU on girl gaming
    10. BU on Fairfax
    11. BU thinks your brain is not a city
    12. BU ruminates singly
    Top 12 Post Graphics from 2009


    January 6, 2009


    February 16, 2009


    February 27, 2009


    March 26, 2009


    April 21, 2009


    May 6, 2009


    May 15, 2009


    June 8, 2009


    July 16, 2009


    July 16, 2009


    August 24, 2009


    September 23, 2009

    Disagree with my picks? Sound off in the Comments section!

    Geeks drive girls out of Computer Science
    Police shoot US student's laptop in Israel
    Uninvited tourists attend breakfast with Obama

    tagged as lists | permalink | 2 comments

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Review Day

    There are no spoilers in these reviews.

    New Super Mario Brothers Wii:
    Mario and Luigi and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a very safe Mario outing. It's really the DS game from a couple years ago translated for the big screen with a few minor embellishments, so if you liked that, or Super Mario World on the SNES, you'll like this one. The game IS difficult though -- a mix of challenging and frustrating, with very little learning curve. There will be occasions of good old-fashioned controller-throwing, but it never gets so frustrating that you give up altogether.

    The only MAJOR problem with the game is the introduction of motion controls: shaking the remote does a spin jump, and tilting it left and right operates special platforms and seesaws. Because you're going to be shaking your controller anyhow as a side effect of playing a challenging platformer, a good number of your deaths will result from the game thinking that you wanted to spin jump at the slightest shake. This is more frustrating than finding a syntax error in PHP, but luckily it's only really noticeable in a few later levels. Nintendo should realize for future games that motion controls are only useful if you're bowling.

    Final Grade: A-

    Coders at Work by Peter Seibel:
    I thought this book would be inspiring, or at least interesting, because reading tech books always gets me into a slightly techier frame of mind. And when skimming through in the bookstore, it looks promising. However, the final product is entirely too long and could easily have been trimmed in half. The author talks to notable and obscure programming personalities, asking the exact same questions to everyone and then dumps the complete interviews into this book. Had it been edited down to a few choice thoughts from each programmer and flowed naturally between topics, I would rave about it. Having to wade through endless paragraphs answering the same ten questions for fifty pages per programmer is way too much. I'm halfway through it, and don't really feel like finishing.

    Final Grade: D+

    Ender's Shadow:
    This book is interesting, because it tells the story already told in Ender's Game from the perspective of another character. This is tricky to do right because you can't reuse the same tensions and mysteries from the original story, and Ender's Shadow definitely works best at the points where the original scenes aren't just replaying. The story succeeds because Bean is a more interesting character than Ender, and the plot ends without the random narrative flailing of "how should I end this book?" that characterized the original.

    Final Grade: B+

    Teen runs up $22,000 data bill on cellphone
    Arrow to the buttocks reward for prowler
    Dead drunk policeman stripped of martyrdom

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Haiku Day

    It is 2 A.M.
    I am still in the office.
    No Fragments today.

    Did music kill British teen?
    'Dad dancing' may be the result of evolution
    Mom sniffs out son's stink bomb plot

    tagged as random | permalink | 3 comments

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Weekend Wrap-up


    We ultimately received 18 inches of snow, which resulted in 3 separate shovelings, 1 sore back, and a distinct lack of parking on our street. Our mailman throws a hissy fit when a trash can is blocking a mailbox -- his head might explode when he sees where our neighbours shovelled their snow.


    We had planned to have some sort of Holiday Open House on Sunday afternoon, but most of the invitees bailed, believing that living in Loudoun County equates directly with unplowed roads, toilet paper shortages, and marauding snow wights.


    Kathy and Chris, being more local than others, brought us giant boxes of cookies to go with our wings, cheese sticks, and shrimp. Mallory did not eat any shrimp.

    Imaginiff Mike Jackson belonged to a famous family. Which would it be?


    Controversial display shows Jesus hunting down Santa, Rudolph
    Drunk 4-Year-Old Steals Christmas Presents
    Branson offers Lotus F1 boss a stewardess challenge

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

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    Museday Tuesday Wrap-up

    Supernatant (1:57 MP3)

    This short piece is an extended version of the Museday fragment written on June 2, 2009.

    The piece is written for woodwinds, strings, and some rangly-jangly percussion effects. I wrote it over the course of a week, generally spending about two hours at a time on it. Even though I had to end it to fit in the two-minute bubble, I feel like there are plenty more ideas to expand upon in this fragment, and it seems a little reminiscent of my Master's Thesis.

    The original fragment can be heard here. Merry Christmas!

    Man pays 72 dollars for a taco
    Biblical bedroom billboard rouses ire
    The 87 lamest tech moments of the decade (because it would be too hard to come up with 90)
    How would you rate Supernatant?

    0 stars: Better music births in my armpit. (0 votes, 0.0%)

    1 star: Even a monkey will eventually play a major scale. (0 votes, 0.0%)

    2 stars: If there's nothing else on the radio... (0 votes, 0.0%)

    3 stars: A great song with great skills. (3 votes, 50.0%)


    4 stars: Pulitzer-worthy. (3 votes, 50.0%)


    tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Hawaii Honeymoon Part V

    For the final segment of Cool Places I Visited While You Spent the Month of October Working, I'll be talking about hikes. I'm always been a fan of hiking (of the "go up a mountain with a water bottle and then go home and eat dinner" variety, and not the "BOIL YOUR WATER AND CHECK FOR SCORPIONS IN YOUR UNDERPANTS variety, or even the "Dulles Toll Road Fare" variety), and Kauai is eminently hikable with surprisingly diverse scenery for an island only 18 miles across.

    Kuilau Ridge: After our 2008 trip to Europe, on which I was forced to hobble around London like a hunchback, we played it safe with our first hike. We traveled inland from our condo to the Kuilau Ridge Trail, a constantly elevating but easy three-mile hike into the jungle. Thankful for bug spray and munching on cheap sandwiches made from cheaper Safeway bread, we made it to the summit to find the view completely blocked by clouds. These clouds pursued us back down the mountain in the form of a monsoon, completely soaking us through our protective rain gear and vividly illustrating the reason behind every guidebook's admonition to "bring old shoes".

    Pihea Trail: Our second hike started with a fifty minute drive up the side of Waimea Canyon, until we were 4000 feet above sea level and accompanied by no one but chickens. The terrain of this hike was a series of mud and lava-rock scrambles like the picture on the right, and looked fake enough to resemble some Hawaiian's take on some sort of Adventure World theme park. After peaking at another foggy summit, the trail descended into the Alaka'i Swamp, a chilly, squishy locale despite the presence of wooden boardwalks over every OTHER mudhole. It started to rain towards the midpoint, so we ended up hiking just four miles before returning to the lower elevations and sunny beaches.

    Kalalau Trail: This trail is eleven miles long, and actually requires a permit since it involves camping, but we took the day-tripper approach of hiking four miles in and four miles back out (just in time to devour prime rib at the Hukilau Lounge that night). The weather was much warmer on this coast, but since the trail followed the serpentine coast, each plunge into the humid jungle was rewarded with a coastal lookout point complete with free sea breezes.

    The second half of the hike was characterized by giant bamboo stands, fallen guavas that exploded satisfyingly when you landed on them, and very poorly-marked trails over stream crossings. We bonded in solidarity with two other couples traveling in the same direction -- coincidentally, one couple, Mark and Natalie, were from my hometown of Alexandria and had gotten married the weekend after us. (In another "small world" happenstance, the pair we took our helicopter tour with had gone to UVa).

    Nounou Mountain Trail: By this point, we were hiking pros and tackled this short three-mile hike with ease. I tried hiking both in sandals and barefoot (which was much more comfortable and less prickly than I would have expected). At the top, after a few near-deaths on the narrow spine of the mountain summit, we got a panoramic view of the island and climbed into what must have been The Sleeping Giant's nostril.

    The thing I really liked about hiking in Kauai was the lack of hazards other than mosquitoes. You never had to worry about stumbling into a spider web or brushing past a stand of poison ivy, and this made it easy to plunge blindly into the jungle the way we did on our last hike to the Secret Lava Pools. The hike itself was brief, less than half a mile, but it crossed a small stream where the clouds of mosquitoes were so thick, they looked like gnat swarms. The pools themselves were worth this adventure, but the presence of several other hikers at the location made us realize that there was a path with a much lower wilderness quotient. It involved walking along a beach and hopping on a rock or two, then climbing a ladder bolted into the side of the cliff face.

    All in all, we probably hiked and walked over 24 miles of trails and beaches in Kauai, and on the final day, I tossed my sneakers into the trash. I hate mildew.

    The End

    The blizzard seen from space
    Bacon Cups
    Man dressed as animal killed during animal hunt

    tagged as travel | permalink | 3 comments

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, December 25, 2009

    Christmas Day

    permalink | 3 comments

    Monday, December 28, 2009

    2009 in Review, Part I of III

    based on Reuter's Pictures of the Year

    Old Pictures of the Year: 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008

    War-torn 'nursery' hopes to send monkeys to Mars
    Boy Hands Out Grandparent's Cash On Bus
    Search of car turns up gift-wrapped marijuana

    tagged as media | permalink | 4 comments

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009

    2009 in Review, Part II of III

    based on Reuter's Pictures of the Year

    Old Pictures of the Year: 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008

    Man impaled with knife orders coffee
    Escaped convict continues to update Facebook
    Donkeys escape from nativity scene

    tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, December 30, 2009

    2009 in Review, Part III of III

    based on Reuter's Pictures of the Year

    Old Pictures of the Year: 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008

    Accused shoplifters cause chaos at Walmart
    Funeral home offers free burial to drunk drivers
    Giant Swedish Christmas goat gets torched

    tagged as media | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, December 31, 2009

    End-of-the-Year Leftovers

    based on Reuter's Pictures of the Year

    Here are four provocative pictures that I just couldn't come up with captions for. See what you can come up with yourself while Rebecca and I go on a roadtrip for the next few days!

    Daily updates will resume on Tuesday, January 5. Happy New Year!

    Bad Moves thwart truck heist
    World's fastest train halted by smoker
    "Best Job" winner stung by dangerous jellyfish

    tagged as media | permalink | 4 comments

     

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