Posts from 08/2011

Monday, August 01, 2011

New Edition Day

Congratulations to ME, for successfully keeping the URI! Zone (née The URI! Domain) alive for the past fifteen years! I have several taglines I might use to advertise this longevity, including:

  • The URI! Zone: Slightly longer than Gosford Park but way more interesting.
  • The URI! Zone: Older than Google and catching up to The Simpsons.
  • The URI! Zone: Once hosted on Geocities, but always too good for Angelfire.
  • The URI! Zone: Elucidating the need for a 22nd Amendment on blogs since 2004.

For the first five years, this website was a funhouse of crap, similar in nature to eBay without the concept of auctions. It has now been ten full years since I moved to Florida, pretending to be a musician, and converted it into a blog. I resisted branding it as a blog for many years though, because I thought (and still think) that "blog" is a mildly retarded word, like "pwn" or "dumpling".

It feels quite nice to look at the right sidebar of this site and see ten full years of daily updates (barring the occasional summer month in the early years where I only had dial-up access). Ten years is the magic number for blogs to reach syndication, so I'm hoping that you'll be able to watch a show where William Shatner reads my posts on TBS at 7 and 7:30 every evening.

To celebrate the 15th birthday of this literary gem, I am giving away a $15 Gift Certificate to to one lucky reader who is capable of following instructions. Simply leave a comment on this post that answers these questions:

  • When was your first visit to the URI! Zone (even if it's today)?
  • Where are you visiting from (geographically speaking)?
  • How has the URI! Zone cataclysmically changed your life for the better?

I will pick the best response to win the gift certificate next Monday, August 8. If every response is an insipid lipid bubbling in mediocrity, I'll let a random number generator do the work. By entering this contest, you grant me permission to include your positive stories when I apply to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to get designated as a historic site. I really want one of those white metal signs to hang in my living room.

Man attempts hernia surgery with butter knife
Woman gets jury trial for plastic truck testicles
Family upset by Chuck E. Cheese mascot's apparent gesture

tagged as website, contests | permalink | 8 comments
day in history

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Newsday Tuesday

NASA's Juno to circle Jupiter for 'planetary recipe'

The US space agency plans to launch next week a solar-powered spacecraft called Juno that will journey to the gassy planet of Jupiter in search of how the huge, stormy giant was formed. [...] With its fiery red eye and a mass greater than all planets in the solar system combined, excluding the Sun, Jupiter is intriguing to astronomers because it is believed to be the first planet that took shape around the Sun.

When asked why the Sun, which is a star and not a planet, was explicitly excluded from a list of planets, the editor stated that he was still relying on the Associated Press for math and science research.

[The] trip to Jupiter [...] will not be a direct shot, according to Jan Chodas, Juno project manager [...] "We launch from Earth in August, we swing out past the orbit of Mars, we do a couple of deep space maneuvers to fire the engine," Chodas told reporters. Juno then heads back toward Earth, "and we do a flyby of Earth of about 500 kilometers in October 2013, and then we slingshot ourselves out towards Jupiter arriving in July 2016," she said.

Chodas also reported that the screenplay rights for this interplanetary road trip have already been purchased. Directed by Uwe Boll, a sneak preview of this 2013 release shows Rainn Wilson with crackling witty lines like "When your momma sits around the Sun, she really sits around the Sun! Homeskillet."

"After the Sun formed, [Jupiter] got the majority of the leftovers," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator [...] "So we want to know that ingredient list. What we are really after is discovering the recipe for making planets."

The correlation between planets and recipes is not unfounded -- previous exploration on the surface of Mars led to the discovery of the Colonel's secret chicken recipe, and the two words even share a common etymological background. After all, before you decide to prepare a complex dinner, you really ought to planet.

When it gets there Juno will make use of a series of instruments, some of which were provided by European space agency partners Italy, Belgium and France, to learn about the workings of the planet and what is inside.

When pressed for details, Bolton admitted that the instruments were a set of Guarneri violas, which would be dropped into various pits around the planet. "We will have done a good deed even if we don't learn anything from it."

Two key experiments are to gauge how much water is in Jupiter and whether the planet "has a core of heavy elements at the center, or whether it is just gas all the way down," said Bolton.

To date, the only planet which has been proven to have "gas all the way down" is Uranus.

Scientists also hope to learn more about Jupiter's magnetic fields and its big red knot, a storm that has been raging for more than 300 years. "One of the fundamental questions is how deep are the roots to that red spot? How does it maintain itself for so long?" Bolton wondered.

Hitler cat overlooked for adoption because of markings
Trucker who left cab to urinate killed by lurch
Boater dies after snorting "likely" block of cocaine

tagged as newsday | permalink | 2 comments
day in history

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Stuff (No Longer) In My Drawers Day

This is Part II of my efforts to photograph a bunch of old crap in my crawlspace so I can throw it all out without guilt. Part I was a couple weeks ago.

In the olden days, you couldn't throw out your manuals, because there was probably a ridiculous set of symbols or questions hidden inside to prevent people from making copies of the games. As you can see, we had a marked preference for Sierra games in our house.

I played this game for three months over dial-up when it first came out and was bored out of my mind. After all that time, I had made it to a level 18 BARD, and spent the entire time "kiting wisps", which meant allowing a specific monster to chase you around the map while singing a song that slowly killed it over the course of 10 minutes. Bards were too weak to fight anything directly, and I hated joining other people's parties.

At some point in the 90s, Sierra On-Line bought Dynamix, a company which had a bunch of off-the-wall games NOT afflicted with sequelitis.

I loved the Quest for Glory series, and even owned the first one with its original name, Hero's Quest (before possible litigation from the makers of the HERO QUEST board game). These games fell out of my favour around Quest for Glory IV, which had a large number of impassable bugs. In fact, every Sierra game I bought in that year had these bugs, which is why I never bought another Sierra game afterwards.

The Game-Maker software purported to let you create your own tile-based games and then offered to distribute them for you at a higher-than-nominal fee. I was hugely disappointed with it, because I wanted to make Ultima, and it was really meant for platformer games.

Jones in the Fast Lane was one of the games I replayed a ton as a kid -- you set goals for education, money, happiness, and job, and then tried to be the first person to reach those goals. There is now a Flash version available, complete with the original cheesy music.

Codename: Iceman was a different sort of Sierra game -- it was overly difficult, and required some knowledge of latitudes and longitudes, as well as a basic understanding of sonar. This was the game that taught me CPR, because you had to type it in from the manual early in the game. SHAKE AND SHOUT. CALL FOR HELP. ESTABLISH AIRWAY.

I was probably the only person to own SimAnt -- the most useless Sim game apart from SimEarth. You dig a big ant colony while avoiding spiders and lawnmowers, then you get bored and flood it with a thunderstorm.

Mug-Shot Industry Will Dig Up Your Past, Charge You to Bury It Again
2 men suing woman they saved
Extra sugar is not a legal option at Dunkin' Donuts

tagged as memories, media | permalink | 3 comments
day in history

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

The Outer Mark by Just Jack:
This is Just Jack's first album, and though it's good, there aren't any stand-out songs. The material is a little too similar to The Streets (albeit The Streets with a hint of intelligence), and the CD gets additional negative points for ending with two remixes of the same song. The song itself is mildly entertaining, but no one wants to hear it three times on a single play. I'd recommend sticking with All-Night Cinema and branching back to Overtones if you want his good tracks.

Final Grade: C+

Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution:
This is a collection of essays on the state of Open Source software from various influential figures, and it's about as dry as that description sounds. There is no continuity between essays, and enough typos and poor editing decisions to be noticeable. Eventually I just skipped ahead to the histories of Wikipedia and Slashdot, which were slightly more engrossing but not enough to save the book as a whole. Avoid this book unless you're writing a thesis.

Final Grade: C-

Lenka by Lenka:
The song, Trouble is a Friend, was recommended to me on Pandora, and the rest of this album stands up just as well. It's pure happy pop music and works well as a mood lifter. Lenka reminds me of a less-weird Regina Spektor.

Final Grade: B+

Smart people are getting smarter
Giant African Rat Kills with Poisonous Mohawk
Stop wearing bunny suit, police tell Idaho man

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Friday, August 05, 2011

Friday Fragments

the reason your kids are so popular

♠ You only have two days left to win a $15 gift certificate, in celebration of this site's 15th birthday. As of 10 AM this morning, there were only 6 contestants -- you don't want to lose to the guy that used a <blink> tag OR the guy that tried to use it and failed and then had to edit his post.

♠ I also took the opportunity to give this page a very minor facelift yesterday -- by the age of 15, it should at least have a pair of hairs or maybe some boobies growing in unexpected areas. I'm trying new fonts as well -- this one may not be the final, but Trebuchet MS is getting stale. On the right, you can find link buttons to the various social networks I'm currently on. Hopefully someone comes up with an Enemy Registry, so I can join it and then arrange my buttons to spell FINGER.

♠ Of all my old designs, the shortest-lived one was also my favourite. The image on the right shows how the URI! Domain looked for four months in 2003, right before I purchased The manila folder idea was classy, and the concept of having a PDA that did all of the navigation in a folder was light-years ahead of its time. Plus, it had Booty's feet. What's not to love?

♠ Today, the site and its layout are distilled to their very essences, not unlike a very Asian batch of moonshine. No one EVER visited the "Code" section, which had CGI C++ scripts for making your own chat room, and the only people that went to the "Olio" section were people in search of material to plagiarize for English essays. Plus, I like to keep things clean.

♠ Speaking of cleaning, we finally have a dishwasher that does more than "make the dirty dishes warm" and it's taking some getting used to (We donated the old one to a Mexican restaurant as a tortilla warmer). I don't know how anyone can actually fill a dishwasher to capacity -- we usually have to start it at 50 - 75% full or we'll run out of dishes. On the bright side, the dishwasher is so quiet that it has dropped to fifth place on the list of "Reasons We Can't Hear the TV", behind the air conditioner, the fridge, Booty when hungry, and earwax.

♠ Booty likes to eat her own earwax.

♠ This is the final weekend of vacation before I head back to work on Monday. It's perfectly timed because I'm right at the point of boredom where I waste time redesigning my website and have to resist doing things for work. Over the past week, I've watched half a season of Home Improvement, started The Wire, played the indie game, Limbo, done some World of Warcraft which is starting to get boring again, and refired Torchlight.

♠ Plans for the weekend include a camping trip near Hagerstown, and cat care for the inestimable Titan. I may also respray the lawn for mosquitoes so we can start preparing for the Fall Barbequing season.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Swede admits home-made atom experiment was 'crazy'
Teen buried in sand: 'I thought I was going to die'
Wild dog urine may hold a secret message

tagged as fragments, website | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Monday, August 08, 2011

Winner Day

Congratulations to Mike (of Mike and Chompy) for winning the 15th Birthday $15 Gift Certificate contest! It was a very competitive race, with each entrant assigned a number (with 9 being the "donate it to charity slice", where charity is my nickname).

Mike can use this unexpected windfall to buy a book on why the East Coast is better than the West Coast, in advance of his upcoming move to Los Angeles, the city with the worst airport in the nation (and the only city with worse traffic than the D.C. area). Then after he's been convinced, he can sell the book back on the Amazon Marketplace and walk away with a tidy $5 profit.

I'm back to work today, in outfits involving undershirts, and tonight we have the first game of our Double-Elimination Volleyball Playoffs. We are 8th Seed out of 8, which almost makes me doubt the usefulness of driving all the way to Fair Lakes in rush hour to play. I'd probably settle for a Participation certificate at this point.

Mystery roadkill prompts DNR investigation
Abused baby boobies grow up to be abusers
AF Pulls 'Jesus Loves Nukes' Training

tagged as contests | permalink | 6 comments
day in history

Tuesday, August 09, 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.

Iodized: (adj.) to treat, impregnate, or affect with iodine or an iodide.

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

I almost passed this random word by until the use of "impregnate" in the definition got stuck in my mind. This excerpt, then, would probably be better titled as "Salt Baby".

Panda returned to the wild inconspicuously
Captain Morgan's pirate ship found
New saggy jeans designed to improve mobility

tagged as museday | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Memory Day: Snapshots

Based on the heart badge sewn over my heart, the lack of glasses, and the classy British Knights on my feet, this picture was taken in the spring of 1991. Since one of the goals of the Boy Scouts of America is to instill a patriotic distaste for fundraising in the youth, this snapshot shows me and Eric Ruesch selling orchids for Troop 131 at the Safeway in Bradlee shopping center. Besides orchids, we also sold holiday wreaths and tangelos, but were luckily spared from ever having to sell popcorn. Proceeds went towards our summer camp experience.

I have a sense of placid urgency when it comes to my Memory Day feature -- now that I'm rapidly barreling towards 32, my recollection of the day-to-day minutia from childhood is starting to fade. Writing about these memories here would be a good use of my time, if I can ever find the motivation to do so. Are there any parts of my previous 31 years that you'd like me to hit?

Needles are the enemy for balloon dress
Busy NYC Starbucks block sockets to free up seats
Are your coworkers killing you?

tagged as memories, media | permalink | 3 comments
day in history

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Transformation by Carol Berg:
This was Book One of the "throwaway fantasy series" I bought for Beach Week. It employs many of the standard fantasy tropes like desert kingdoms and invading demons, but is far more character-centric than one might expect from reading the editorial summary (hints of Janny Wurts, but much easier to blaze through). This book works as well if read by itself.

Final Grade: A

Revelation by Carol Berg:
After finishing Book One in a day and a half, I quickly downloaded Book Two. All three were at a pleasant price point of $7.99, which is much more apt to make me buy on a whim than all the $10-$18 garbage cluttering the Kindle Store these days.

Book Two does a good job of unfolding the complexities already laid out in the original story, making the world deeper rather than broader. The only downside to Book Two was that much of the action took place in a completely separate world -- the world that was so carefully crafted in Book One was far more interesting, and the book dragged when the second world was introduced.

Final Grade: B

Restoration by Carol Berg:
Book Three had some issues, but it was still a satisfying conclusion the to series. The plot logically digs deeper into areas already hinted at previously, but the conflict lacks the punch of the previous books. The main character also spends a good chunk of time feeling sorry for himself, which I would have hoped he'd have grown out of by Book Two. All in all, this was a decent series -- easy to read, fast-paced, and well-written.

Final Grade: B-

The Wire, Season One:
Everyone always said that HBO's The Wire was great TV, but I never really had much interest in watching it -- the blurbs and summaries about cops catching drug dealers just didn't seem particularly intriguing. Having watched the first season, I can now see what all the fuss was about. It's not the plot that drives the show, it's the characters and carefully-woven political layers.

The first season is a slow burn that really makes the payoff of the last few episodes worthwhile, but it manages to be humorous and engrossing throughout. Unlike many episodes of Six Feet Under and a few of The Sopranos, I never finished an episode and felt like I had wasted an hour of my life with no forward plot motion to show for it. There is a learning curve with the street dialogue and sheer number of characters that pop up, but they're introduced and reintroduced carefully enough that you can catch on without too much worry.

Final Grade: A

Deaf man complains that nudists wouldn't offer interpreter
Itsy bitsy bikini ads for UK beach volleyball stars
By Helping a Girl Testify at a Rape Trial, a Dog Ignites a Legal Debate

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

5:46 AM: Waking up early.

5:58 AM: Multiple personalities.

6:14 AM: The "g" in the sign keeps burning out.

7:25 AM: My constantly multiplying window plants.

8:01 AM: Artsy view out the window.

9:11 AM: Working on the UNIVERSAL CORE!

11:34 AM: Cats welcome me home for lunch.

12:02 PM: Shells and cheese for lunch.

2:00 PM: Done working for the day and relaxing with some TV time.

4:45 PM: A nice afternoon for mowing the lawn.

8:30 PM: Late dinner at the Tortilla Factory.

10:25 PM: Closing out the night with Herr Metal (an 80s hair band) at Friday Night Live in Herndon. Free!
Neo-nazis tricked by message-changing T-shirt
Penis injury from Gretna police dog attack was unjustified
Brazil prison uses geese as alarm system

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments
day in history

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

Time is slipping away like the Fairfax butt slasher, and there's only one month until I turn 32. This weekend was a fairly low-key one, and started with a Friday night dinner at the Tortilla Factory next to a table full of young moms, one whose child was probably named Joanna, based on the "Jo Momma" shirt the mom was wearing. From there, we ambled down to the pulsing night scene of Herndon downtown to hear Herr Metal, an 80s hair metal cover band.

I did some DDMSence work in the morning on Saturday, followed by a Home Improvement marathon (where marathon is defined as "3 episodes") and a Game Night featuring Taboo and Costco mini quiches. Competition was intense, and by the end of the night there were an equal number of winners and losers.

Sunday was IKEA day -- we drove down to Potomac Mills before it was overrun by massive plagues of yuppies and looked at choices for dining room tables. We settled on a style, but not a color, and walked out only with armfuls of seat cushions and pillows. After a brief stop at my parents' house to steal more seasons of The Wire, we returned home for a dinner of shells and cheese and more mini quiches.

Around 9, Chris stopped by to reclaim Titan after his week-long vacation, and the other cats were mostly sad to see him go.

Britain's Rarest Spider Released Back Into Wild
Baby, you can park my car
Man stole and swallowed client's ring

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

Tuesday, August 16, 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.

Emollient: (adj.) having the power of softening or relaxing, as a medicinal substance; soothing, especially to the skin: emollient lotions for the face.

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This excerpt is written for a smattering of strings and woodwinds, horns and a percussionist. I envisioned a hot, dry sandy beach with cool breeze blowing across it.

Rabies: 1st U.S. human case linked to vampire bat
CDC seeks fliers on Delta plane with stowaway bat
"Grease Devil" panic grips rural Sri Lanka

tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments
day in history

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Memory Day: Snapshots

Here's yet another picture from 1983. Our neighbours, Bill and Bonnie Malone lived in this house on Pickett Street, and he's shown here allowing the local kids to help sweep up the cherry blossom petals. The girl in the middle is Meghan, our neighbour from the other side.

Driver using two cell phones gets 12 month driving ban
In-flight film "explains" mysteries of female pleasure
Wild Close-Ups of Rare Mammals From Huge Camera-Trap Study

tagged as memories, media | permalink | 3 comments
day in history

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Weird Habit Day

I have a multitasker's brain. Like a red-yellow-white component cable (or green-blue-red if your brain is slightly classier but still outdated), my brain is split into different channels for sights, sounds, and thoughts. It starts to chafe if any particular channel isn't being used, which is why I MUST play music while I work, and regularly work on the computer while watching a TV show.

When my brain isn't operating at full saturation, the unused channels reflexively fill up with noise. For example, in the grey area between waking and sleeping at night, the trumpet arrangement of The Carnival of Venice loops in my head. It's not even an interesting Hunsberger orchestration, but the repetitive Arban theme and variations I played ad nauseum in middle school with the piano interlude that repeats identically ten times throughout the song. Sometimes my fingers will move as if playing the song as well, because I still have complete muscle memory of every variation.

I think the fact that the song is so boring and predictable has made my brain endorse it as the perfect sleep inducer, because it has involuntarily appeared in my brain every single night for at least a decade. I don't even have to be thinking about it or expecting it -- it just shows up when I'm falling asleep, or occasionally when I drift awake in the middle of the night.

I suppose it could be worse -- the complete discography of Ligeti would not be nearly as pleasant.

Flash mob robs 7-11 in seconds
Brain-eating ameoba kills 3
Bachmann: I'll bring back $2 gas

tagged as random | permalink | 3 comments
day in history

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Fragments

the non-rhyming limerick of life

♠ I'm 90% certain that this picture of a fat cat on is NOT Booty, mainly because of the presence of a cat-door. Logically speaking, installing a cat-door into a real door defeats the purpose of the real door -- when I throw Booty out of a room, I want to ensure that she STAYS out. I suppose putting food in a box with a very small entrance might be a good exercise inducer though.

♠ Speaking of exercise, I discovered Mike's (of Mike and Chompy) Wii Fit pad while cleaning out the basement and decided to fire it up to see what I've been missing. The device told me I hadn't exercised in over 800 days, which is longer than my marriage. (This is also why all of my Nintendogs ran away when faced with starvation). It still doesn't seem cost-effective to do a workout routine where you exert yourself for thirty second spurts between five minute loading screens -- it feels too much like watching commercials in a sitcom.

♠ Speaking of watching things, I finally got around to watching Harry Potter 7 Part 1: The Black Gate. It's a very dark movie, literally, since the colour palette rarely jumps above #3a3a3a and features a lot of black ghosts flying around at night in a thunderstorm during a total eclipse of the (dark) arts. The movie wended its way across various deciduous and non-deciduous forests for two and a half hours, and not a whole lot happened. I hear that the finale is jam-packed with action, which makes this pair of movies the anti-Kill Bill.

♠ Kill Bill was such a self-indulgent movie. We watched it at the beach in 2005 -- I think I fell asleep in the middle of it, and then fell asleep again while I was asleep.

♠ Plans for the weekend include dinner plans in Leesburg tonight, and some poker at Jack's house on Saturday, if we can break through the gridlock that's likely to result from the million motorcycle march that is commemorating 9/11 through traffic aggravation. Sunday is highlighted as a "do nothing" day in advance of Rebecca's first day at Physical Therapy School, and we'll probably use it to watch more of The Wire while eating popcorn and chocolate chip cookies.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Super Scrabble players push brain ability beyond what was thought possible
Online jihadist calls for Muslims to kill David Letterman
"Vampire" arrest sparks discussion on pop culture

tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday evening, we met up with one of Rebecca's coworkers from the physical therapy clinic for dinner in Leesburg at the Doner Bistro. A doner is like an unfried calzone filled with shredded meat and coated in enough cucumber sauce that the entire affair is a squeezed frog every time you take a bite. I had a bacon beer with my meal and we watched a torrential downpour introduce itself to a BMW-with-open-sunroof at the fancy restaurant across the street. We followed dinner up with dessert at Milwaukee Custard, also in Leesburg at a shopping center with one of every yuppy essential from Petsmart to Pei Wei.

I spent much of Saturday correcting my MIDI setup, and was able to reduce the input delay on my keyboard from half a second to a few milliseconds. Though it's still slightly jarring, it no longer feels like I am composing from the future, so I'll be more compelled to write Museday features on Tuesdays. We had dinner at Yamazato Sushi in Alexandria and then went to Jack's house for a guest-hosted game of poker (once you have kids, it's easier to let people host things at your house). Rebecca walked away with first place and $40, while Tom walked away with a fiver and five ones, essentially enacting a no interest exchange of the ten dollar bill he had arrived with.

Sunday was a quiet day, with Rebecca preparing for first lectures by watching videos about cadavers. I tried using the Wii Fit again, and finally noticed the option for setting the weight of my clothes away from the default of 2 pounds -- does anyone actually work out in 2 pounds of clothing? My clothes barely weigh two pounds at low tide. Because of the clothes differential, Wii Fit decided that I had gotten fat since the previous day, and asked if my weight gain was due to overeating or other catastrophes. Since "heavy clothing" was not an option, I went with "I don't know" and received a lecture about metabolism. It finally let me continue with the workout, and I was able to do two situps before summer had changed into autumn and it was time for dinner.

We closed the evening out with The Wire and Peking pork chops, simmered all day in the slow cooker.

Utah researcher helps artist make bulletproof skin
ORLY Airport tests virtual boarding agents
Chipotle Changes Menu After Secret Ingredient Revealed

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Answers Day

"What is Pei Wei? Also how do you say that?" - Anna

Pei Wei is an Asian fusion (fasion) restaurant that serves noodley types of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese food. It's mostly lame, because they put metal tip trees on each table with a hanging sample dollar in case you don't get the idea. There's nothing wrong with tipping in general, but you order the food cafeteria-style in this place -- the server brings your food out, walking maybe 10 feet, and then you never see them again. There are plenty of people I would like to tip if I never had to see them again, but none of them work at Pay Way.

"And while you're answering questions, what is bacon beer?" - Mom

Bacon beer is beer with a hickory smoked taste that leaves a faint aftertaste of bacon in your mouth. When you pair it up with food, the bacon becomes more intense! The Schlenkerla Rauchbier I had on Friday was very dark, but didn't taste like a dark beer at all.

"While you are answering things, how were the pork chops? If they were delicious, will we see another recipe-inspired post?" - Erin

Peking Pork Chops

  • 6 pork chops, about 1 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  1. Trim excess fat from pork chops and place in bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Combine soy sauce, sugar, ketchup, ginger, and garlic in a bowl. Pour over meat.
  3. Cook on LOW for 4 hours or until pork is tender. Don't cook too long -- the meat is done when you can flake it apart with a fork like fish. Hopefully you have a slow cooker with a meat probe.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, and love. Serve over white rice.
Burger King retires the King
Ferry runs aground with captain stuck in toilet
Urban cliff divers make a splash

tagged as random, recipes | permalink | 3 comments
day in history

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aftermath Day

In the aftermath of the 5.9 magnitude earthquake which tore through our simple town like a dotted line on Tuesday afternoon, I thought it best to capture some of the destruction on my camera, just in case I have problems with insurance agents later on. Thankfully, everyone is okay, but the amount of structural damage caused by this event is obscene.

A sinkhole to hell, or possibly Petropavlovsk, has opened up in the kitchen:

Sewage has backed up into the basement, and looting is rampant in the neighbourhood:

Rebecca lost her right leg and eye from falling debris, which is severely impacting her study habits. In addition, Andy Richter has inexplicably arrived in our living room and refuses to stop measuring things:

I'm sure I'll find more damage in the rest of the house, but I have stopped temporarily to search for a potable water source. Be safe out there.

Bill Clinton talks about being a vegan
Zoologists capture elephant's AHA moment
East Coast should be ready for aftershocks, official says

tagged as mock mock, media, day-to-day, favourites | permalink | 3 comments
day in history

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Game Day

Irene's going to give me the double-win!

Animals Being Dicks
GameStop opening Deus Ex boxes, removing free game code
Bull semen spill causes scare, closes U.S. highway

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

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Fragments

why you can have nice things

♠ When the earthquake struck knocked politely on my lawn, I was busy in the kitchen installing outlet covers. One variety which covers a dimmer switch and socket next to each other was not available in stores and had to be ordered online -- this type is called a "2-gang 1 rocker 1 duplex" cover, which incidentally sounds like a very good pilot concept for a sitcom in the ghetto.

♠ Now that the earthquake has finished trending, I'll have to come up with my own original content to milk for website traffic again. Faux catastrophes like a Mineral earthquake are perfect for my mock mock tag, which has been woefully underused this year.

♠ The earthquake and its two aftershocks, Steve Jobs and CmdrTaco, overshadowed much bigger news: one of our own readers, whose name starts with a "D" and rhymes with "BOOBY" is a new dad as of August 18. Congratulations! Based on previous experience with OPB (other peoples' babies), Ethan Patrick Fraker is currently the size of a Denis Wick euphonium mute (stone-lined), but plenty more valuable on eBay.

♠ I have never bought or sold anything on eBay, although once I went canoeing on a wee bay. I guess I don't really see the draw of bidding on weird stuff on the Internet, which is odd given the exorbitant number of hours I've wasted on the auction house in World of Warcraft.

♠ WoW is getting boring again -- It's very easy to login and waste time, but playing is more out of familiarity and lack of a better game than fun or addiction. I may let the subscription lapse in September and drop those eight million gigs of patches into the Recycle Bin.

♠ Speaking of recycling, our office is plastered with signs advertising "Single Stream Recycling". I suppose that means we can put all our cans and bottles in the same bin, and then someone will dump it all into the same creek behind the building. This should not really impact my recycling habits because I was never big on segregation in any arena.

♠ There are no plans for the weekend, because apparently we're due to get peed on by a giant hurricane named Irene. I have a new strategy for stocking up at the grocery store though -- while all of the other rubes are fighting over milk and toilet paper, I plan on hitting all of the less popular aisles. We should be able to get through this weather event just fine with a bag of charcoal briquets, roach spray, cold medicine, dill weed, romance novels, and cake frosting.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Rebels find Rice photo album in compound
Photographer Refuses to Take Portraits of Facebook Bullies
Social media could render covert policing 'impossible'

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day in history

Monday, August 29, 2011

List Day: Hurricane Irene Inventory

  • Trees downed: 0
  • Lives lost: 0
  • Flood-moistened basements: 0
  • Crushed cars: 0
  • Crushed hopes: 0
  • Differential of Cats over Time: 0
  • Power outages: 0
  • Exercise sessions: 0
  • Branches downed: 1
  • Games purchased: 1
  • Trips to McCormick & Schmick's: 1
  • Delicious sandwich recipes invented: 1
  • Water jugs left in Safeway: 2
  • Harry Potter Books Reread: 3
  • Episodes of The Wire watched: 4
  • Hours spent playing Bastion: 4
  • Hours spent writing code: 5
  • DDMSence enhancements completed: 6 of 58
Secret list of celebrity .xxx domains removed from market
Kentucky Jury Sides with Doctor In Penis Amputation
SignalGuru helps drivers avoid red lights

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day in history

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recipe Day: BU's Fake Cheesesteak

This is a recipe I invented on Sunday evening with "things from around the kitchen", when I had a manly hunger for meat but no steaks in the freezer and no desire to go shopping. There are probably all sorts of substitutions you could try, but the end result will turn out to be a pretty good approximation of a cheesesteak sub.

Ingredients (for 1 serving)

  • 1 sesame seed bagel, sliced
  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 onion, cut into half rings
  • 1/4 cup Yellowtail Shiraz
  • 1 slice pepper jack cheese
  • sugar
  • thyme
  • minced garlic
  • butter
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • mayonnaise


  1. Preparing the Caramelized Onions
    • Pour olive oil into a small skillet until the bottom is thinly, but fully covered. Add a pat of butter and 3 teaspoons of sugar, and then add onions.
    • Cover and cook over medium-low to low heat for about 20 minutes. Occasionally tilt the contents of the skillet around to keep everything juicy. Continue on to the meat instructions while you wait.
    • When onions are clear and thoroughly cooked, remove from skillet and lightly blot on paper towels.
  2. Preparing the Meat
    • Cut and flatten ground beef into very thin strips that will cook evenly and fit in a bagel.
    • In a second skillet, combine a tablespoon of olive oil, the red wine, a dash of minced garlic, and beef strips. If you are poor and only own one skillet, you will have to wait for the onions to finish first, and you'll want to clean out the skillet. You'll also want to get a higher paying job so you can buy another skillet.
    • Cook beef strips over medium heat until they are no longer purple (from the wine, not salmonella), turning once. Add a very small dash of thyme to the skillet juices and stir the strips around (a little thyme goes very far).
    • When beef strips are nearly done, and you won't be turning them again, spread a little mayo on each strip. Do this at about the same time you might put cheese on a cheeseburger.
    • When done, tilt skillet to separate juices from beef, and then remove strips.
  3. Preparing the Bun
    • Tear up a slice of pepper jack cheese and spread on each half of a sesame seed bagel. add a little parmesan to mellow the taste of the pepper jack a little bit.
    • Toast the cheese bagel until cheese has melted, but bagel is not yet crispy or brown.
    • Spread a little extra mayo on the bagel after toasting.
  4. When all of the pieces are complete, place beef strips inside of bagel and layer onions within the beef. Put the bulk of them on top so any remaining juices gravitate down through the beef.
  5. Enjoy meal, and try not to think of all the dishes you now have to wash.
Fish-catching trick may be spreading among dolphins
Costco can't move "I slipped on a slurpee" lawsuit
Guitar Frets: Environmental Enforcement Leaves Musicians in Fear

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day in history

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Memory Day: Snapshots

Here's another picture of me clowning around on my pride-and-joy He-man bike. I'm wearing the official sweatshirt (depicting a wise owl) of James K. Polk Elementary School which means this picture was taken in late 1985 or early 1986 while I was in the first grade.

Gardener sruvives accident with shear luck
'Bad mothering' lawsuit dismissed
Girls get caught for late-night goat walk

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day in history


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