10/2010

Friday, October 01, 2010

First Anniversary Weekend


Happy Anniversary to my delightful wife! On Sunday the 3rd, we get to eat some more of Anna's mom's delicious cake.

tagged as fragments | permalink | 6 comments

Monday, October 04, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday evening, we braved the inbound traffic to have dinner with Jack & Kristy and their newbie, Johnny. We ate salmon and a pasta salad with ham, followed by two Guinness. We celebrated Rebecca's mom's birthday in Silver Spring on Saturday afternoon, and followed it up with a short hike on the Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls (ghetto-side). We then channeled our hiking hunger into burgers at Red Robin, followed by unfrozen wedding cake for anniversary purposes.

On Sunday, we headed to Taylorstown to celebrate Rebecca's aunt's birthday (the pair being twins) and continued to eat a neverending supply of cake. We then tried to play night frisbee, but the cold, rainy conditions (and the fact that orange glow sticks look the same as green glow sticks if you're colourblind) were not conducive to enjoyment, so we returned home after an hour for additional cake.

If you would like some cake, please stop by. The cake is not a lie.

Monkeys on duty at Commonwealth Games
7ft worms, hermaphrodite sailors and resurrection by tobacco revealed in archive
Lord Jesus Christ Claims Discrimination

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

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Museday Tuesday

As part of this feature, which I started in 2007, I compose a very brief work (under 30 seconds) inspired by a randomly generated title from an online word generator. The composition can be for any instrumentation, and could even be a purely synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.

I work on the excerpt continuously for an hour and then post whatever I've managed to complete, even if it's a poorly constructed slum of a song supported by a foundation of droning double stops and abused tubas.

Vermillion: (adj.) a bright red to reddish-orange colour

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This excerpt is written for piccolo, viola, sitar, electric bass, accordian, vibraphone, and assorted percussion. As such, it would probably never make it onto the program of any young composers' concert series. I think a bright reddish hue would have lots of major 7ths in it.

Reflective "death ray" torments Vegas sunbathers
Chippendales stumbles in trademark attempt
Boston firefighters get oxygen masks for pets

tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Stuff in My Drawers Day: ID Cards

My collection of ID-related wallet cards used to be much larger when it included every hotel room card from every hotel I'd ever been to.

For some reason, I no longer have my junior high school IDs, but I do have the bus note from kindergarten that would be pinned to my shirt on a daily basis.

Brazilian clown elected to congress
Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground
Anthem crooners told not to do it their way

tagged as media | permalink | 3 comments

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Version by Mark Ronson:
This CD contains covers of several popular songs by alternate bands, wrapped together with Mark Ronson's "horns and funk" style. Some of the covers are even catchier than the originals. This CD is a must-listen, if for no other reason than to hear a cover of Britney Spear's Toxic featuring American rapper, Ol' Dirty Bastard (lyrics Not Safe for Work).

Final Grade: A

Lost, Season Six:
I've been rewatching the sixth season on DVD while digging various mines in Minecraft, and find it to be a lot of wasted potential. After watching the obligatory really good Desmond episode midseason, it really seems like they're on the verge of some awesome explanation, but they fritter it away in the finale with an ending that simultaneously nullifies the importance of 50% of this season's storyline and also makes all of Desmond's doings irrelevant. On the plus side, there's a 10 minute "Epilogue" on the DVD featuring Ben Linus that's satisfying and reflects more of what I'd hoped for in the finale.

Final Grade: C- (stop after the fourth season)

Fuzzbox by The Section Quartet:
There seems to be a large subculture of string groups playing arrangements of rock music, although the vast majority seem fixated on reproducing the same one or two Led Zeppelin songs over and over. I first stumbled upon the Section Quartet after hearing their cover of Muse's Time is Running Out. This CD is an enjoyable change of pace and really drives home the idea that a musical composition that still stands up after removing the lyrics and all of the original instruments is rare and should be appreciated. I'm not familiar with all of the arrangements, but there's also some Radiohead and The Strokes on the disc.

Final Grade: B+

Catch a thief from your armchair and win cash
Cookery for dummies in Berlin one-stop shop
Astronaut Sues Dido For Using His Photo In Album Cover

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Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday Flyday


We're taking a weekend trip to visit Chompsalottapuss!

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

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


6:04 AM: Someone needs to clean this mirror.

6:08 AM: Not everyone has to go to work in the mornings.

6:23 AM: The lights in the company sign were finally repaired, after weeks of proclaiming "fgn' c".

8:22 AM: Working hard before a conference call.

1:05 PM: On the way home for lunch.

1:15 PM: Greeted at the front door by a hungry Booty.

1:43 PM: Lunch consists of a delicious leftover cheesesteak from Omia's. (Booty is having some butt).

2:00 PM: Doing a little more work from home.

2:25 PM: Rebecca returns, bearing treats from the grocery store.

5:00 PM: Laundry time.

6:14 PM: I'm not sure why I'm still addicted to Minecraft, but I am.

10:23 PM: The deliciousness of the shells and cheese for dinner made me forget about taking pictures, so all I can share is a shot of the aftermath.

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

101-year-old woman becomes US Citizen
The Most Isolated Man on the Planet
Insane Clown Posse: And God created controversy

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New England Travelogue

Our trip north began last Friday morning with a direct, painless flight from Dulles to Boston. The entire duration of the time we spent in airports and planes was less than a one-way road trip to Blacksburg. We rented a retardedly small Yaris and drove to Danvers to say hello to my uncle in his frame shop, and then had local subs in a marina nearby.

We reached Rockport in the midafternoon (easy to do since all of our destinations were within fifty miles of each other) and wandered around the scenic town faking out tourist shoppe owners who thought we might buy something. The marina was picturesque, and filled with boats whose names were variations on puns about vacation, fish, or both. The bed and breakfast we stayed at was nice and comfy, and the innkeeper was friendly, but it was more a glorified motel than a B&B, especially since we had raisin bran for breakfast there.

From Rockport, we drove to Nashua in time to rouse Mike (of Mike and Chompy) from his previous night's hangover. A medicinal diner visit for a late breakfast was followed by a trip to Belknap Mountain on Lake Winnipesaukee (which was also the setting for the Bill Murray movie, What About Bob?) where we drove Mike's yuppy car halfway up the mountain and then hiked up the neighbouring Piper Mountain instead along the "White Trail". This trail was aptly named, as most of New Hampshire is white, even outside of winter.

Mike's birthday dinner for turning 31 was filet mignon, as well as games of Taboo with Chris and Xan.

Mike: "This one's easy. This is what you are: boy ____"
BU: "Band."
Mike: "No, it's an animal from -- "
BU: "Spain."

On Sunday, we took a brief tour of downtown Lowell which was mostly seedy (like when you accidentally buy the wrong type of grapes) and his professorial office in the Music Building which was roughly the size of Booty. We then ate coal-fired pizza and played a game of Hoopla in which Mike had to act out "Gloria Steinem" before getting on the plane back to Virginia.

How was your weekend?

Here's the Pub, Church and Field for Public Sex
Man robs to avoid girl
Sea lion gets surgery for gunshot wounds on face

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 4 comments

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sick Day

Review Day cancelled for migraines.

I would prefer to be alerted to changes in the weather by a creaky knee, or maybe an Atom/RSS feed.

permalink | 1 comment

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Fragments

how is this month half over already?

♠ I've been walking all sorts of miles every day for my company's fitness drive, but there's no tangible proof (not unlike the moon landings) since I seem to have lost my pedometer in New Hampshire.

♠ The handstand picture on the right shows the first time it wriggled its way off my belt, after which I somehow managed to find it again on the way back down Piper Mountain. Between there and Dulles Airport, it went missing yet again, probably because exercise is for losers and this point needed to be driven home with a mystical sign.

♠ It's interesting how easily mystical signs can be confused for coincidence. For example, it has been exactly two years since I wrote a post about what I was doing exactly X years ago. This is a mystical sign that the URI! Zone is fashioned around a higher mathematical synergy than is apparent to the naked eye, because there are no coincidences in math.

♠ No coincidences besides the nine-times table, that is.

♠ When I was a kid I used to know all of the nine-times tricks (like the fact that the digits of any multiple of nine can be summed down to nine, or putting down your Xth finger in 9 times X would reveal the digits of the answer, as in 9x7=63). The latter trick is not recommended if you're doing math in the inner city as you might coincidentally mystically reveal your gang affiliations.

♠ If I were going to join a gang, I would want to join one full of people who are either double-jointed or have too many fingers from living near Chernobyl. There don't seem to be a lot of artistic possibilities for flashy gang signs when you only have ten normal fingers. Such a gang would probably be a good candidate for performing Liszt transcriptions as well.

♠ Plans for the weekend include shopping and poker, and possibly some DDMSence while Rebecca runs in the NOVA Community College 5K Race. I could also spend some time shopping for a Halloween costume, except that I've already got everything I need!

♠ Have a great weekend!

Why So Many People Can't Make Decisions
Glendale woman super glues eye shut
Happy coffins make funerals less grim

tagged as fragments | permalink | 4 comments

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

Overall, this weekend was a fairly quiet one -- no servers exploded at work, and no cats erupted at home. We spent Friday night shopping for Halloween-related paraphernalia, followed up with backyard steaks for dinner. On Saturday morning, the shopping bonanzas continued with updated atlases to replace our 2002 editions which, we noticed on our way to Emerald Isle, omitted most of the roads in North Carolina, or had them marked as "planned".

After spending the afternoon working on DDMSence and hanging out with Rebecca's cousins, we had a small game of poker which was won by Evil Mike, whose rustiness with poker was exemplified by his proclamation that he would win by going "all-on".

On Sunday morning, Rebecca and gang ran in the RUN FOR NOVA 5K while I slept for an additional three hours to the ripe old time of 8 AM. I'm pretty sure that this slightly prolonged my life and slightly shortened theirs. We spent the rest of the day puttering around the house, and after a dinner of chicken bacon alfredo pizza from Safeway, we played glow-in-the-dark frisbee in that far off town known as Vienna.

This coming week should be a pretty busy one, with a variety of work meetings and Arlington-travel in the first four days, followed by a trip to Blacksburg on Friday. This will be my first trip back since 2007, and with Kelley Corbett finally graduated on the ten-year-plan and in the military now, the number of familiar faces around the music department is rapidly dwindling.

CVS fined for problem in sales of meth ingredient
Sea lion attacks New Zealand rowboat
Hotel eyes record with $671,000 per night plan

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

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Museday Tuesday

As part of this feature, which I started in 2007, I compose a very brief work (under 30 seconds) inspired by a randomly generated title from an online word generator. The composition can be for any instrumentation, and could even be a purely synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.

I work on the excerpt continuously for an hour and then post whatever I've managed to complete, even if it's a poorly constructed slum of a song supported by a foundation of droning double stops and abused tubas.

Mendacious: (adj.) Dishonest; lying; untruthful

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This excerpt is a bass clarinet solo, backed up by guitar and percussion, since the bass clarinet is easily the shadiest of the woodwind instruments.

Killer Olympic Park goat examined for disease
NY county creating list of animal abusers
Jumping barracuda injures kayaker off Florida Keys

tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sleuth Day

Use your honed skills of stalking, searching, and perspicacity to answer four questions about me.

  1. Why is there a crescent-shaped space in my goatee where hairs will not grow?
  2. How did I first get involved in computer programming?
  3. How did a movement from Sibelius' fifth symphony end up in our wedding?
  4. Other than Muse, what is the only other mainstream rock concert I have attended?

Post your best Sherlockian ideas, serious and otherwise, in the comments section. Answers will be revealed on Friday.

In other news, October 20 ties with April 27 for most birthdays of people I know. Happy Birthday!

Woman stabbed classmate in anger management class
Catholics claim Homer Simpson for their own
Piglet seized to recover woman's debt

tagged as random | permalink | 2 comments

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

Defamation of Strickland Banks by Plan B:
I first heard She Said on XM, one of the last songs I wrote down before cancelling the service. This album is the work of a British rapper (British rappers are always funny) and tells a complete story through a mix of rap and soul. She Said is easily the best song on the album, but all of them are pleasant enough to listen to. The timbre of his falsetto gets a little old after a while, and none of the other songs really have a memorable hook, probably because telling a continuous tale is somewhat at odds with developing catchy choruses.

Final Grade: B

Glee, Season One:
Glee is a musical comedy that teeters the line between the absurd and the overdramatic. Each episode tells the tale of a high school glee club (who, of course, look like grad students) which allows them to break out into song and mashups three or four times in an hour. The first two-thirds of the season are easily the strongest, and it kind of peters out into a disjointed free-for-all by the end, but we thoroughly enjoyed watching this season. Jane Lynch's character is easily the strongest, funniest part of the show.

Final Grade: B+

Illusion of Safety by The Hoosiers:
The original Hoosiers CD is still one of my favourite albums, so I had high expectations for their follow-up. I'm not sure how, but the group manages to create a catchy 80s sound while becoming even more indy than ever. There's a good mix of quiet tunes and arena songs, such as Glorious. I forsee this becoming one of my go-to CDs over time, even though it doesn't beat the original yet.

Final Grade: A-

Inquiry after kangaroo released at hotel party
Peanut allergy transfers with transferred lung
Victoria Police serve intervention on Facebook

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Sleuth Day Answers

Here are the answers to my Sleuth Day challenge.

  1. Why is there a crescent-shaped space in my goatee where hairs will not grow?
    In seventh grade, I was running through the bleachers during gym class and somehow managed to fall on my chin. I was completely uninjured with the exception of a chin gash that bled profusely but didn't hurt at all. I know I've written about this here before, but I can't seem to find the entry. I really need to implement AND/OR searches for this website.

  2. How did I first get involved in computer programming?
    After playing Zork I in the first grade, I started writing my own computer games. However, since I knew nothing about programming, "writing a game" meant "typing a game transcript into an early version of WordPerfect". When I showed the sample output of the game to my parents, they set me up with BASIC and I started writing real games, some of which I still have the hintbooks I created on the dot-matrix printer for.

  3. How did a movement from Sibelius' fifth symphony end up in our wedding?
    I chose the third movement of this symphony for the "sitting around waiting for things to start" music because it is the most pleasant piece of music I know.

  4. Other than Muse, what is the only other mainstream rock concert I have attended?
    In 2003, I attended the Aerosmith / KISS concert, in my first and last trip to the Nissan Pavilion.

School opens lockers to advertising
Student becomes new police chief in Mexican town
Mich. couple's kids born on 8/8/8, 9/9/9, 10/10/10

tagged as random | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, October 25, 2010

Birth Day


Happy Birthday to Amber and Booty!

(You too, Anna)

Thank you for not vomiting in the house while we were gone this weekend.

(You too, Anna)

Woman who stripped outside bar wasn't pregnant
Virginia gun store D & R Arms: Fastest from counter to crime
Crocodile on plane kills 19 passengers

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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Busy Day

Updates this week may be less Catch Me If You Can and more Gosford Park this week, as we devote chunks of our evenings towards weekend Halloween festivities.

As a Lesson Learned from this weekend's trip to Blacksburg though, if you named your new dorm "New Residence Hall East" when you opened it in 1998 and it's still called "New Residence Hall East" today, then maybe you should think about lowering the bounty needed to get it named. I'll be glad to offer my own name so people can live in URI! HALL if the price is under a hundred bucks.

Woman became pregnant after watching 3D Porn
Guests banned from Tate Modern sunflower seed walk
Students win Ugly Dance World Cup

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Costume Day


Here's a swatch of pieces from my upcoming Halloween costume. Any guesses as to what I'll be?

Judge: N.C. tax collectors can't have Amazon customer data
Half of small companies expect staff theft
Congratulations, you may now kiss yourself

tagged as media | permalink | 2 comments

Thursday, October 28, 2010

List Day: Four Mindless Addictions (That I Will Play Anyways)


Minecraft: Dig mineshafts until your tools break, then use your mined ores to make new tools so the cycle can repeat. Replace an entire riverbed with glass cubes, then mine away the landscape around it and you have a Roman aqueduct. Exit the game four hours later and realize that you haven't accomplished anything in real life.

Meteos: Use the DS stylus to match colored squares on a Tetris-like board against various songs best described as "techno for aliens". Matches make your stacks shoot to the top of the screen, but you don't get credit until they leave the screen -- some worlds/levels have heavier gravity which requires bigger chemical reactions to launch. Play until you die, then start over. Unlock more alien techno songs and psychedelic sound effects.


Puzzle Quest: Take the casual game, Bejeweled, and play it against the computer. Then, throw in a bunch of nerdy role-playing game crap to make you forget that you're just playing Bejeweled. Realize how much time you've wasted when you find out there's a level cap at 50 but you're only halfway through the story.


Diablo 2: Repeatedly run through a single level of the game to kill a final boss, in hopes that there's a 0.05% chance that he'll drop a very rare item from a set of very rare items that are useless unless you own them all. Finally get 7/8ths of the set complete only to realize that you misallocated your skill points 27 levels ago and your character is useless. Start a new character.
Sweet bypass for student finger scanner
Museum offers night on a magic mushroom
UK lawmaker's wife accused of kitten theft

tagged as lists, games | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, October 29, 2010

End-of-the-Month Media Day


Fifty-nine new pictures have been added to the Life, 2010 album! You can always rely on quantity over quality in the URI! Zone.

Pope vs. Stephen Hawking, round 1
Vending machines sell miniature art in boxes
New monkey found in Myanmar near China dam project

tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

 

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