06/2011

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Random Chart Day

Millionaire miser's fortune finally split after 92 years
Dog Finds His Way Home After Alabama Tornado
High-tech medical exam cheating alleged

tagged as data | permalink | 2 comments

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

Overtones by Just Jack:
This CD is an earlier release than All Night Cinema, and is just as good in a different way. The music has less going on melodically and harmonically, veering more towards laid back British rap over catchy beats. It has the first song of his I heard, Starz in Their Eyes, along with a handful of songs that are catchy enough to get stuck in your brain, like Glory Days, which is a perfect ambient background song for tooling down the Fairfax County Parkway in my 2001 Honda Accord with the windows down.

Final Grade: A-

Terminator Salvation:
Even though this is billed as a Terminator movie, it has the barest of connection to the feel and flavor of the original movies. Sure, there are terminators and a familiar musical score but it could have taken place in any given post-apocalyptic universe without many changes. Ultimately the movie is a just a series of slightly-connected action sequences, all of which are good, but most of which aren't necessary for the plot. Decent, mindless entertainment.

Final Grade: B-

A Microsoft Life by Stephen Toulouse:
I tend to enjoy the books of "guys who blog while working for famous companies", and picked this one up for $7 on the Kindle. It was a light, enjoyable read, although I really can't remember much of what I read two weeks later. It's a little less technical than Joel on Software, but still targeted towards someone in the computer industry who can relate to the computer history presented.

Final Grade: B

Top Ten New Species of 2011
Cultured people feel less stress
Metro cans French music after complaints

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, June 03, 2011

Friday Fragments

a tungsten filament of insight

♠ Last night saw the release of DDMSence 1.9.1. This release provides a seamless interface to all of your social networking sites, allowing you to "friend" a Myspace user from Facebook or play Farmville from Linkedin. Actually, I'm kidding. This library has no mainstream crossover appeal at all, not unlike Dennis Kucinich in 2004.

♠ The next release of DDMSence will be 1.10.0, because in the technology world, periods are separators, not decimals. Perhaps I should start working some planned obsolescence into the numbering scheme with DDMSence 2011, or some immediate obsolescence with DDMSence Vista.

♠ One in five of the computers in my household still runs Windows Vista, mainly because that's what it came with and I'm too cheap to upgrade. I'm still not completely sold on Windows 7 either. It may be an improvement over Vista, but that's like saying that Honors English in public school is better than normal English in public school -- while that may be true, neither one is going to get your kid into college after he fails the personal essay because his most intensive writing activity growing up was texting.

♠ Cumulatively speaking, I think I'm well under my monthly limit for texts on the phone I got last October -- I'm allowed 250 per month, and have probably sent a total of 40. Perhaps I should donate the remainder each month to a worthy cause, or create an Internet startup that sends fortune cookie messages to your phone.

♠ I don't have any major plans this weekend, and Rebecca will be in Delaware for a bachelorette party. I'll probably preoccupy myself with the mundane, like mowing the lawn and preemptively spraying the backyard with malathion to fight the wave of mosquitoes that should be appearing any day now -- this is the one downside to living adjacent to a forest.

♠ Have a good weekend!

Photos from stolen laptop lead to arrest
ATM repairman accused of loading fake money
3-foot shrimp dominated the prehistoric seas

tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, June 06, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday evening, around dusk, I mowed the lawn and then launched an armed assault against the forest mosquitoes plaguing the backyard, just in time for barbeque season. You have to fight mosquitoes at dusk because they have genetically poor eyesight and cannot dodge the malathion as easily. Although I cleaned up immediately afterwards, I could still smell the lingering scent of chemicals for a good twenty-four hours.

I stayed in for the entire day on Saturday, catching up on a bunch of computer projects while the missus was away -- the day was a blur of work-work, XML, Schematron, the first season of Home Improvement, shells and cheese, and World of Warcraft.

On Sunday, I provisioned the fridge with essentials such as ice cream and fried chicken, and got a little more work in. I also made sure to block off some composing time for Museday Tuesday -- It's been three months since my last Museday, mainly because the combination of Windows 7 and Finale 2011 make composing about as enjoyable as sitting through a sophomore alto sax recital featuring nothing but Hindemith transcriptions.

In the evening, after Rebecca's return, we had dinner at Cantina d'Italia in Herndon where we learned life lessons in math: a "full carafe" of wine is actually more than twice the amount of two "half carafes", and far more wine than two people can drink if they plan on getting home safely and legally. Even though we lingered over dinner, there was still a solid 1/3 left in the carafe when we left.

Bank of America gets padlocked after homeowner forecloses on it
Bounce houses go airborne in New York
Great white sharks attracted by AC/DC hits

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

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

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 or suggested by a reader. 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 could be the hit single from Glenn Gould Plays Tatu.


Slinky: (adj.) Characterized by or proceeding with slinking or stealthy movements.

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

Although I tried to write something stealthy, the end result seems to be more about the toy of the same name. This excerpt's written for bass, percussion, and a thin section of woodwinds. The three-quarter time probably came about because I've been listening to too many Buddy Rich arrangements recently.

Twin friars die on the same day
Marking D-Day with Paintball
US police shoot fake alligator

tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Weird Search Day

or "how I stumbled upon the URI! Zone"

  • does my homeowners insurance cover if chipmunks destroy my camper
    Generally, homeowner policies do not cover acts of war -- I think you have a pretty good case unless an investigator can discern that the chipmunks in your area recently became insurgent or started bearing arms, and the only known case of that happening was in late 2009, following the release of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.

  • Are scabies prevalant at massage parlors?
    I'm not really sure if I should delve too deeply into the reason that Yahoo search puts me in 6th place for this search. This is the first I've heard of a scabies phenomenon at massage parlors, but I have very little firsthand knowledge to work from. I do know that avoiding the Happy Endings will help you avoid babies, and avoiding unusually aggressive massage therapists might reduce your chance of rabies.

  • cheats for the environmental science merit badge
    The requirements for Environmental Science really were a pain in the ass, so I'll let you in on a little secret that works for many science or outdoor-themed merit badges: Get them at summer camp and it's really more about attendance than doing any work. I think I earned four merit badges in a week at a Penn State Science Camp, and I definitely didn't do any actual Space Exploration.

  • ihop christiansburg,VA kristy
    So at some point in your college career, you rolled out of bed on a Sunday afternoon with a terrible hangover, and decided to chase it with a case of premature death at the local IHOP. There, you met the most attractive waitress you'd ever seen sober, named Kristy, but unfortunately the receipt didn't have her last name (specifically to thwart scraggly stalkers like yourself). In this day and age, your next stalking step would be to get on Google and hope that she mentions she works at IHOP on her Facebook profile, or maybe as the headline on her LinkedIn account.

    I would guess that the success rate of this approach is 0%, yet a query for "american flatbread ashburn emily" came in just days later.

  • analogy beethoven is to mozart as beverly cleary is to blank
    Beethoven is to Mozart as Beverly Cleary is to Madeleine L'Engle. She wrote thicker books with more serious content, parts of which aren't as important as she makes them sound. Plus, she lived to the age of 89, so she probably didn't hear as well towards the end.

  • urizone for yeast infection
    Strongly discouraged. My website would be tied up in pharmaceutical tests for years if I tried to market it as more than the most inspirational blog in the known universe.

  • Yum! lobbies Kentucky to allow fast food purchases with food stamps
    How to spot a psychopath
    Aggressive coyote terrorizes senior center

    tagged as searches | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, June 09, 2011

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This picture of my sister probably dates to the very early 80s. When we were kids, our family would purchase bread at the "used bread store" in Bailey's Crossroad. This was essentially a place where all the bread near its expiration date would come to die when no one had purchased it in the real store. I'm sure it was economically sound, but it also resulted in plenty of stale pieces (especially the ends) that were only good for feeding Fred the Squirrel in the backyard.

    You can still see chain-link fence in the background, which places it before the points in history where the neighbours on each of three sides annoyed my dad enough to elicit high wooden privacy fences.

    Rushville teen facing felony charges over prank
    Police cite man accused of paying with pennies
    It's not a weasel, it's a marten

    tagged as memories | permalink | 4 comments

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Friday

    This is the two thousand, four hundred sixty-seventh news update on the URI! Zone. Just looking at that number makes me tired so I'm not going to put any thought into today's post. What are your plans for the weekend? Are you hot (thermally or genetically)? If I just started reposting news updates from 2001 would you notice? When is your next kid due? Can I name my firstborn daughter "Lazy Susan"? Are you a good or bad programmer if you think globally but act locally? Is there a better swearphrase than "Shitbird on Tuesday"? Is leaving the price sticker on your new car's window supposed to make us envy you? Why do people still smoke? Why aren't there any good board games designed for two players, instead of four-player board games playable by "two players with no friends"? Does Chance and Community Chest money go to the bank or Free Parking? Why are there complex dance-step paw prints on our new black cooktop every morning? Why doesn't any of the food in the fridge ever look exciting to eat? Why can't you just type in a date on websites anymore instead of clicking through yet another calendar widget? Why is the lag time between placing and shipping an Amazon order growing every month? What's the deal with those hot shivers you get when you suddenly think you've forgotten something? If you forget to pee, do the hot shivers and cold shivers cancel out? Are you graduating this month? Who is visiting my website from Mobile, Alabama?

    You can fix your internal sensor with hot steam
    Embarrassing dad waves son off in costume
    Fake eviction notices meant to startle

    tagged as random, you speak | permalink | 2 comments

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


    8:10 AM: Up early, working on a brief.

    9:32 AM: Booty's not ready to get up yet. Amber has been up for hours.

    9:45 AM: Soft-boiled eggs for breakfast.

    10:42 AM: At the grocery store. The woman cart is up top and the man cart is down below.

    11:33 AM: Preparing the Mojo marinade for our chicken dinner.

    12:05 PM: Playing our new two-player game, Lost Cities.

    12:51 PM: Alternating between drilling and screwing.

    2:00 PM: Our cabinets now have handles.

    4:30 PM: Playing Warcraft while Rebecca works out.

    6:58 PM: Booty is not allowed to join us for grilled chicken night.

    7:02 PM: Mojo-marinated chicken and salad for dinner.

    9:27 PM: Triple chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup for desert.

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

    Attorney pleads guilty to keying cars
    Self-appointed superhero watches over Wenatchee
    Kenyan baboon plays mother to bush baby

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 4 comments

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Time-Lapsed Blogography Day

    BU minus fifteen years

    June 13, 1996 was Graduation Day at T.C. Williams High School, in the halcyon days when its poor academic record was a local secret, without the government-mandated stamp of fail affixed to it. T.C. was never actually as bad as reported, although it's true that you were either destined for MIT or McDonald's from day one, and the word, "halcyon", didn't appear in the colloquial dialect unless you were an SAT taker in the top-half of the college-bound.

    For further proof of selectively high academic standards, consider the snapshot below of Straight A procession.

    By tradition, anyone with a perfect 4.0 average led the graduation procession, and this year's class had 22 students within a few hundredths of a 4.22 (mainly because of the retarded 0.5 extra credit you could get for A.P. courses). Because nerds are very likely to get up in arms if they feel cheated out of grade recognition, it was decided that the 22 students would walk across the crater-pocked football field of glory in alphabetical order. So in front of me is Steve Seltz (Brown), to my right is Mike Stafford (Yale), and behind me is Jack Wilmer (Princeton). Not pictured are the large percentage of the 454-person graduating class that answered "work" or "undecided" on their post-graduation survey, or the slightly smaller percentage that could not read the survey because their teachers were too busy showing "Home Alone" in the classroom to teach literacy.

    I probably went to more parties in Graduation Week than I did in the first four years of my college career (because frontloading is a valid and successful strategy for life). On the 12th, we all had to attend the Graduation Rehearsal, which is very similar in spirit to a Wedding Rehearsal except that fewer people care about it. After rehearsal, I went to the graduation party of my friend, Rupa, who lived deep in Hybla Valley but got into our school by virtue of having a teacher for a dad.

    After the expectedly underwhelming ceremony in which the valedictorian invoked Star Wars and the salutatorian made analogies about Superman, my parents held a graduation party with my uncle and grandpa, as well as Henry and Felipe, who I grew up with in the very, very early years. I then drove across town to Hilda Dundon's graduation party, and ended up missing Mike Buns' party by a hair. That was okay though, because I needed to rest up for the All-Night Grad Party. It was your typical mix of fake gambling, sumo wrestler suits, velcro walls, and the game where you run as hard as you can before a bungee cord whips you back and teaches you about elastic momentum. That evening, I earned $10,000 in fake money, as well as a clock radio which eventually ended up with Anna's mom at their annual Yankee Swap in December 2001.

    I slept until eleven the next day (because even in my youth, I rarely slept late) and then attended Ben Seggerson's pool party in Windgate. I remember very little about this party except that there was a poorly timed thunderstorm and that Ben had a hot cousin. The FOLLOWING day, the events were repeated, except at Jack's pool instead of Ben's pool. The URI! family did not have a pool, but we did rock out in the sprinkler on occasion.

    San Francisco nixes grasshopper tacos
    AIDS an effective bank robbery weapon
    Americans rated most hilarious in global poll

    tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    In 1983, Bull Run was still in the boonies, and the area had not yet become merely a stop in the seven-hour queue for Jiffy Lube LIVE!! We left my sister on the battlefield that day, and never saw her again.

    Mugabe toilet user awaits word of his fate
    Solo Swimmer to Trek Across Shark-Infested Red Triangle
    Children's author ejected from plane for bad language

    tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Review Day: Lost Cities

    Lost Cities is a rare two-player game that's actually designed for two players. There are only two pages of rules, and setup involves shuffling the playing deck, meaning that this is a very easy game to dive into for a couple quick rounds. In spite of the very simple rule set, gameplay is surprisingly deep, and there are many controllable layers of strategy.

    The exploration motif is really just a backdrop for a Skip-Bo-like card game. There are five coloured suits of cards, representing five expeditions you can launch. You play cards in ascending order from your hand and try to get the sum of your cards (2 through 10) as high as possible before the game ends (each expedition needs 20 points to break even on the cost of supplies and travel). If you're feeling lucky, you can "invest" up to three times at the start of an expedition, which could double or quadruple your final score, but this could also backfire and multiply your losses if the expedition doesn't break even.

    The most difficult part of this game is the simple math required at the end of each round. You can master the rules in no time, and then the depth of gameplay quickly becomes apparent. Because a round ends when you run out of cards in the draw pile, trying to start and complete all five expeditions is generally a bad idea. Will you play offensively and max out a couple expeditions? Or defensively, and hoard the cards your opponent needs to finish his expeditions? Because there are only a single set of numbered cards for each expedition, things can get dicey if both players decided to compete on the same expedition. If your opponent is spreading too thin, you can try to "run down the clock" by always drawing from the draw pile to end the game. If you want to buy some time yourself, you can delay the game by only taking from the discard piles.

    The investment multipliers give the game some suspense, and really make comebacks viable if you're down by a whole lot. If you're in the last round and going to lose by 50 points anyhow, you might as we go out with a bang and try to invest heavily in one or two expeditions.

    Overall, this is an enjoyable, fast-moving, two-player game with minimal learning, wheat, or setup involved. Once both players are in the rhythm, a single round can last as little as ten minutes. Definitely recommended.

    Final Grade: A

    Top ten PIN codes picked by iPhone users
    People argue just to win
    Clever tool use seen with parrots and crows

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Friday

    I didn't get to write an update last night, since I spent an extra hour sitting on the Fairfax County Parkway in order to go 0-3 with the FGM volleyball team. I then decided that mundanities like showering and sleeping should get a higher priority than writing fragments.

    My plans for the weekend include a trip to Old Rag, which seems to happen once every three years, as well as dinner with Rebecca's parents on Sunday evening. Have a good weekend!

    Pimp number 39 haunts Afghan car owners
    Sagging pants leads to airport arrest
    Details emerge about 'child pornography' yearbook photo

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

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Weekend Wrap-up

    On Friday night, we went for a spur-of-the-moment Happy Hour with Rebecca's coworkers at the physical therapy clinic. Where the week before we went to the Clyde's which is apparently Swinger Central for people in Ashburn, this week we went to the Greene Turtle in Leesburg, a sports bar with decent food and overpriced drinks. After dinner, we were caught inside by one of the innumerable thundersqualls. It ended moments later with a double rainbow over Giant.

    On Saturday, a party of seven headed to Old Rag for a hike, along with eight million other day warriors from some kind of "-urb" in Northern Virginia. The weather was a lingering dropcloth of smoldering humidity, heavily hinting at rain without breaking all of the way up the mountain. We hit the summit around 1:00 for lunch and a brief rest before we were swarmed with tiny orange mating insects and a huge thunderstorm rolling in out of the northeast.

    This got everyone off of the mountain in quite a hurry, but again, it never actually rained on top of us. We came back down by way of the fire trail, and then had ice cream in Warrenton at the Carousel stand. After a sterilizing bath to drown all of the hitchhiking insects, we had chicken-bacon alfredo pizza for dinner and watched Labyrinth until Rebecca fell asleep.

    Sunday was an errandy day, with a trip to the grocery store and a much needed tire inflation. In the evening, Rebecca's parents came over for a dinner of grilled turkey burgers with a cucumber relish. We looked at pictures from the Peru trip and then called it a night.

    Facebook Facial Recognition used for good
    Chance of naked bike riders on Saturday night
    New York airport geese to be cooked for the poor

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

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    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 or suggested by a reader. 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 could be the hit single from Glenn Gould Plays Tatu.


    Coequal: (adj.) equal with another or each other in rank, ability, extent, etc.

    My Composition (0:30 MP3)

    This excerpt is written for a variety of paired instruments. The definition of the word, coequal, didn't trigger any inspiration, but the onomatopoeia of the word itself became the guiding motive, first introduced by harpsichord and glockenspiel.

    Deer with wings the cause of power outage
    Republicans cut short Obama impersonator
    Circus offers clown-selling for big-top fears

    tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This snapshot was taken in 1983 in our backyard, in front a pine tree which has never looked so lush ever since. The guy in the back was named Tony, and he lived in the cul-de-sac at the bottom of our street. Eventually, he was no longer welcome around our house, but I can't remember if it was because he stole things, or he broke things, or a combination of the two.

    Happy birthday to my wife! And Brianne, of course.

    Got his 'mined' in the gutter
    Horace Goodspeed marries 16-year-old
    Evidence proves, most lesbians are men

    tagged as memories | permalink | 3 comments

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Progress Day

    • I'm about 130 pages (10%) through this giant book on XSLT and XPath, which is heavier than at least one of my cats and should round some of the knowledge I need in my new position.

    • In kitchen land, dishwasher and icemaker hook up is today, and the Vanilla Ice countertops are scheduled to be installed next Monday. After that, we get to the paint, light fixtures, and dining table.

    • I have watched 2 of 8 seasons of Home Improvement, mostly in the background while I work on other things.

    • Our volleyball team is 2-4 with 6 games to go.

    • Our indoor-planted basil is now taller than a desk ruler. The oregano continues to struggle.

    • Our forest mosquitoes are greatly reduced but not defeated, in time for weekend barbequing plans.
    Fired IT manager puts porn in CEO's presentation
    Boeing rights a wrong: the flight attendant button
    My life as an undocumented immigrant

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

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Friday Fragments

    good times, bad food

    ♠ Now that Rebecca has finally seen Labyrinth, the Chilly Down scene is one of her favorite things to watch, after this Friskies commercial. I remember thinking that the wild gang was really creepy when I was young. I also used to fast-forward through the stupid ballroom dance later in the movie because I felt that it didn't advance the plot, and it detracted from the more important parts with mazes in them.

    ♠ Speaking of mazes, the eastbound Dulles Toll Road at 495 is easily the most poorly designed interchange in the area right now. Between the overhead signs that identify five lanes when there are four and the giant "495 N: Center Lane!" sign in the part with only two lanes, it's definitely on its way to being the next Mixing Bowl.

    ♠ I've been spending a larger amount of my day in traffic recently, what with work meetings and a volleyball league whose court location is only convenient to paratroopers. Since today's CDs are so short, I've been listening to more of my old jazz CDs -- the ones where they try to cram as many two-minute songs onto an extended CD as possible, not the ones where Chip McNeill plays flat-five variations on Flight of the Bumblebee for twenty minutes.

    ♠ Someone recently discovered by site with the query "is chip mcneill gay?" and it seems to follow the trend of people asking Google questions as if it were Jeeves. Just yesterday "how do I set up Settlers of Catan?" made an appearance.

    ♠ I have lost most of my recent Lost Cities games with Rebecca recently, usually because I get distracted too easily from my initial strategy and end up overreaching. I also seem to be very unlucky playing the white deck, but tend to do well when playing the yellow deck. There's probably a life lesson in this as well.

    ♠ Plans for the weekend include some birthday-related barbequing, possibly with pinatas, margaritas, or tatas on the side, as well as some much needed sleep. Have a great weekend!

    Cat steals from everyone in the neighbourhood
    Whining is the worst sound in the world
    Scantily dressed visitors unwelcome in jail

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Weekend Wrap-up


    Drinking out of nose cups.


    Badminton and Cornhole

    3 out of 4 Brians endorse this cookout.


    Food!
    Escaped dog runs the Maryland Half Marathon
    Fans surprised to learn that Japanese pop idol isn't real
    Eight million gallons of water drained from reservoir after man urinates in it

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

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Countertop Day


    Vanilla Ice actually turned out to be Vanilla Sugar. Paint suggestions welcome.

    For people who don't care about home improvement, here is a dancing nephew:

    Here's What Gunman Posted to Facebook During Standoff
    The creepiest trees on Earth
    Botox and texting may not mix

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

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    Memory Day: Snapshots


    It seems like there are a statistically significant number of pictures from my youth taken in front of this pine tree -- it probably has something to do with the need for a regular background texture and color in my dad's darkroom days when he developed all of his own pictures.

    I always felt that the moose hat was far cooler than the Smokey the Bear hat, even though the moose was anonymous and lacking celebrity. Plus, Smokey had a hard-shelled hat, while Anon the Moose was soft all over.

    The seven biggest dick moves in online gaming
    Woman accused of spraying deputies with breast milk
    Capcom announces unreplayable game

    tagged as memories | permalink | 4 comments

    Thursday, June 30, 2011

    Conference Day

    It was yesterday morning when I was making a legal right turn on red (with no pedestrians present) that I was furiously honked at by a driver in a bright red Mustang. He was driving in the far lane of the two-lane road (Beauregard Street) I had turned onto, and was apparently so agitated that I had come within five and a half feet of marring his finish that he had a musical seizure, belting out some sort of angry Morse code on his horn for the next fifty yards. Evidently, he worked just a few blocks up the road, and as he pulled into his turn lane, he held some sort of law enforcement badge out his window (mounted on a square of black felt that was obviously too big for wallet-size) and gave me his best glare.

    I assume that I was supposed to be intimidated by the consequences of driving responsibly next to someone who wasn't a cop but had a badge like one, but his playing of the badge card just made the whole scenario comical. This is probably the only situation in life where it would actually be fun to own a trained monkey, because the threat of being covered in poop or having a baby eaten would be greatly outweighed by the hilarity of getting it to snatch the badge as I drove past (although "drive-by snatch" is another concept that probably sounds better on paper). Afterwards, I could film an FX serial about a monkey that solves crimes.

    The reason I was on Beauregard Street yesterday was for my first conference experience in my new role, held at the Hilton Mark Center just upstairs from the American Scientific Glassblowers Society symposium. It was kind of on the small side from my expectations, with about 55 attendees, and the presentations were generally pitched to a management level rather than a technical one -- in the last presentation of the day, the speaker skipped over a slide full of small print with a dismissive "oh, this slide's too technical".

    Still, the material being presented was good, even if three of the eight speakers (including the keynote) were last minute replacements -- it connected the dots between my old role and my new one while constantly referencing the Object Management Group (OMG!) and supporting a game of word bingo with phrases like "policy", "swim lanes" and "Federal, State, Local, Tribal".

    I also bumped into a guy I went to high school with, who happened to be one of the prime speakers, and whose CV shows that he's done more in the last two months than I have in my entire life. He was the one sweeping the high school science fairs with cures for cancer and rapidly incrementing atomic numbers while everyone else was making volcanoes and plugging things into potatoes.

    The conference was well catered, from the breakfast burritos to the steak and salmon entrees served at awkward circular tables where complete strangers played the D.C. game of "So what do you do?" until common ground for conversation could be found. It adjourned at 3 PM with ice cream sandwiches, in plenty of time to flee the city before those pesky HOV restrictions went into effect.

    Austin hotel shuts down as more glass falls to the street
    Summer's Eve starts campaign to replace Awesome with Vaginal
    Inside Google+

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

     

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