The URI! Zone - 02/2004

Sunday, February 01, 2004

We left Northern Virginia yesterday around 9:30 to go see Miss Saigon. After driving around the uselessly twisty portion of 495 above DC, and paying some of our booty on tolls through Maryland, we arrived in Wilmington, Delaware, a small pocket of urban blight that looks just like a real city, but only four blocks across. After six miles of suburb driving in search of a national chain for lunch, we finally stopped at Arby's (being the only choice besides Dunkin' Donuts and one McDonald's).

The show took place at the DuPont Hotel/Theatre at 2 PM, and was filled with the usual mix of high-class old folks and sleek yuppies. The production itself was quite good, especially considering its roots as a gargantuan epic. The orchestrations managed to survive with eleven musicians rather than forty-some, though the lead trumpeter occasionally sounded like he was doing Stamp warmups instead of playing musically.

The cast was hit or miss, although Jennifer Hubilla as Kim, and Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer were perfect. Alan Gillespie as Chris was the least-whiny Chris I've heard to date, though he took a page out of Ewan "Belty" MacGregor's book whenever he had a solo. Mics were not necessary for him. John was good enough, though he could have wailed a little more in the gospel-y solos, and Thuy was Mexican, so I couldn't understand most of his dialogue (and when I could, it didn't have much emotion).

The only true sore spot of the production was the actress playing Ellen, a dowdy "clenches fists and closes eyes for high notes" performer who sparked zero sympathy as Chris' wife. She should be noted for almost single-handedly destroying the emotional buildup of the story in her final solo, but luckily she only had two real songs, and the Engineer did such a great job in the following number that she was quickly forgotten. You'd think there'd be better performers out there capable of the role (especially since Kim and the Engineer were so good), or at least the actress would improve after a year on the road with the show...

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    maverin, scratch built seige tower, "no genitalia" and "holding a sword", everflow baby seat car, laws on interfamily marriages, hurtntime, what is the ph level of the occoquan reservoir, rome founding by trojans, tim galyen, geoffrey hung

FSU has 'tight' dinners for recruits
But not as 'tight' as Colorado
101 Dumbest Business Moments in 2003

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

Monday, February 02, 2004

I think today is Groundhog Day. Happy Groundhog Day. Maybe we'll catch and eat one tonight. Surely there are groundhog recipes on allrecipes.com.

I'm going to be working late tonight, but the upside is that I can probably take next Friday off to do home-y type things.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    michelle cao, haydn olio, nefarium, toll booth technician, a pedagogy presentation 3/19/02, erosion fun facts, free uri walkthrough, correct order recapitulation exposition development, do colored light bulbs have any effect on the growth of plants

The state's school superintendent has proposed striking the word evolution from Georgia's science curriculum and replacing it with the phrase "biological changes over time."
The Moon Unit of the new millenium

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Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The sellers have agreed to all the repairs listed in the sales addendum, so it looks like I'm on my way to becoming a happy homeowner.

Next stop: Pottery Barn™.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    mussolini last words but ... but... colonel.., how to do drum major auditions, blackbeard the pirate burial place, "thesis the movie"

Valid excuse for robbing banks
Woman finds way to plug new movie, "Thirteen Going On Thirty"
Husband killed 'for bringing girlfriend home'

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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

As most people probably know by now, Bush is interested in establishing a moon colony to facilitate the exploration of deep space . Over the next five years, he'd like to redirect $12 billion dollars towards ensuring that the next round of moon landing photos are less fake than the previous ones . Insider sources suggest that half of that amount is earmarked for licensing stock planetary footage from recent space documentaries, such as Independence Day and Third Rock from the Sun.

Ignoring, for a moment, the fact that NASA spends $86 billion dollars a year to launch broken things into space (or launch things into space and break them) and to take pictures of microscopic dirt , and that the proposed budget for next year looks like there will again be huge deficits when Bush merges arts education and prisons into a single program (under the tagline "Compulsory Practica Musica") , this really doesn't seem like a cost-effective move right now. Although I'm sure we'll get wonderful innovations in daily life as a result (such as pens that write upside down, Hungry Man dinners, and Men in Black III), this program is just a mismanagement of catastrophic proportions waiting to happen. How does one justify the spending of so much money on a program which is experimental at best when other programs are hurting for money within the borders of our own country?

If I were an outgoing President, I'd rather be known as a President who started and ended a war, rather than a President who started a war and fled to Mars. Actually, if I were President, we wouldn't have gone to war. As an aside, it's interesting that the War on Iraq is now a War on Terrorism, despite continued affirmations that Iraq and al Qaeda were not linked. No doubt, this is one more of Bush's mispronunciations of the word "Iraq" -- his Texan twang doubled the number of syllables.

I suppose though, that if Cheney's company is allowed to steal $27 million dollars for Hungry Man dinners with the excuse, "It's difficult to determine how many people will be at the dinner table in the middle of a war zone and the number must be based on estimates." , I shouldn't begrudge NASA its piece of the pie.

    Q: Do you think there will be life on Mars?
    A: Well, maybe if I land on a Saturday night. Otherwise I am going to bring a book. (2MB, MP3)

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    pictures of sir lancelot du lake, the theory of lengthwise rolling, suicide "punishable by death" england, radish plant growth chart for thirty days 30, saxophones sound like, "reflective circles", common goldfish new born - 5 years old

The stupidest year of Super Bowl ads in recent history
"Right Breast stole my thunder"

tagged as newsday, mock mock, politics | permalink | 9 comments

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    mozart ultimate refiner haydn, barney doom wad files, "figure out" "time signatures"

Oil strikes woman
Learn or log off
The Debt No One Wants to Talk About

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Friday, February 06, 2004

The debacle that is politics continues this week, as Joe Lieberman drops out of the presidential race. His platform of "banning all video games I have never actually played, but heard were bad" probably wouldn't have gotten him far anyhow .

Clark's son leeches onto his dad's press machine for a few minutes with the epiphany that politics is all about media coverage and says he doesn't want his dad embarassing him anymore if he's not a sure thing.

And to provide a fair and balanced party line, George Bush continues to defend his stellar military record by not recalling what he did beyond paper shuffling. As everyone knows, money is a successful deterrent to attacks, which is why Bush's fundraisers say "$100, $75, $50, $25, even just $5 will help us answer these shameful attacks.".

There's an interesting dialogue going on in the Comments section for the February 4th news post. Feel free to jump in with your thoughts.

In local news, closing on the house is next Thursday, but if it doesn't work out, here are two other properties I'm interested in:

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    persued whiffle, migrating robins in australia, how the sunlight effects radishes and green beans, hippo fun facts, wolf duck grain river boat puzzle, where do pepsi's profits come from, spiffy words, essays on the development of the symphony from stamitz to beethoven

I would like to see us get this place right first before we have the arrogance to put significantly flawed civilizations out onto other planets
The story of the most misused number of all time
Surgeon closes wounds with paper clips

tagged as newsday, politics | permalink | 0 comments

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Today has been a lazy, lazy day, punctuated by bouts of usefulness.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    liz benyo, note is which line of the staff, wbs inn weary, her wheelchair and lifted herself, greatest piece of music wagner, atlas of tongue coating, giraffe's tongue blue because

German teaches dog Nazi salute
Man lives with dead brother for eighteen months
Van loaded with dogs and cats and byproducts

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Sunday, February 08, 2004

I watched Lost in Translation this afternoon, a quiet, steady-paced movie that's not intended for impatient people. I thought it was interesting and good enough, but not the masterpiece that everyone lauds it to be.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    http://www.urizone.net/olio/arthur.htm, toll plazas in virginia, passacaglia shostakovich macbeth, nate shafroth, complex larry sonny

Courier banned for a worser font
I'm a boy and I'm superior
Blow your mind with a look at your beer

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, February 09, 2004

I'm applying for my Top Secret clearance at work now. If the g-men come knocking on your door, tell them that I was a pillar of the community and don't send them to this seemingly un-American link .

The next iteration of Mozilla Firebird has now been released, renamed as FireFox. You can download it here .

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    red car illegal shanghai, tita cooks for her sister, theory of lengthwise rolling, atlas of tongue coating, anorexia nervosa in bulgarian bees

Chastity belt sets off airport security
Child forced to feed dead grandpa
Now shoot your enemies with the music of the BeeGees
A reason to make a joyful noise unto the Lord

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004

At work, I'm transitioning over to two projects involving AmberPoint and SalCentral, which I know very little about, beyond their uses for web service management. This means that, at least for the short term, I can stop using the developmental accident that is Weblogic Workshop. The progam is a proprietary rewrite of the Java development wheel for web applications deployed in Weblogic. It boasts such features as an auto-checker that runs so fast that it might crash when you're deleting bad code, a button to click that frees up 80 or 90 megabytes of its 200 megabyte footprint but which crashes the program with an "OutOfMemoryError" if you click it too much, and an app deployer that apparently runs over a 2 baud modem. The project we completed with it, though, was well received, with the ad copy phrase "1000% better than what was there before" pinned on for good measure by the company in charge of integrating.

No last minute issues have come up with the sellers or the mortgage, so everything is still on track for a closing two days from now. I'm taking Friday off from work to do some cleaning and some scrubbing. If you want to join in on the festivities, let me know.

Intrepid biker guy was back on the road this morning.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    put more blood at cs command, paige poythress, odd llama pictures, using beadgcf, the mightiest tree

Play a game of Kaba Kick
A cow walks into a bank.
Why Eagle Scouts need to be kept busy
Rock'n rolling aboard Tokyo's infamous orgy bus (text not suitable for children)

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Last night, Booty was sitting in her usual spot on top of the desk shelf, watching the parking lot cars drive in and out. When a particularly bright headlight meandered across the line where the ceiling meets the wall, she made a particularly zealous jump to catch it.

The back of my desk is about six inches away from the wall, which allows plenty of room for wires and plugs and miscellaneous heat fans. Despite sleeping atop the desk every day, this was not something Booty remembered. She slid from the ceiling to the floor with claws unfurled, and became caught in the web of power cords at ground level. After several minutes of shuffling and scratching, she managed to climb up the wires and reappeared through the monitor hole, unshaken.

Since then, she likes to chase the lights on the window seat, where there are no treacherous Pits of Doom.

I submitted all my paperwork for a security clearance yesterday, so in about six months I'll get the interview asking if I've ever worn red shirts or known any militant foreign nationals pursuing a revenge agenda (Alex).

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    parno queens, prix boulanger web-can, furfurrate, how beatles affect teenagers, turn of the screw insane governess, what does roftlmao mean, who experimented on radish seeds with different types of water, villains of the bible, sealable lids, short stories-revenge, salamandastron cliff notes

I get about ten searches a day now for one of: Theory of Lengthwise Rolling, Anorexia Nervosa in Bulgarian Bees, or Atlas of Tongue Coating. The pace has picked up for high school students searching for essays to plagiarise. I'm very tempted to replace one with the most ridiculous literary tripe possible, just to see if I get any irate letters from failed students.

Why you should lose your temper instead of pressing 1
The campaign will use public billboards, including one showing a fish swimming inside a condom.
$217,000 speeding fine
NZ train driver on stress leave after running over garden gnome

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Thursday, February 12, 2004

I remember a time when the Family Circus used to be "aw shucks" cute, even if it was never hilarious. Nowadays, it's either hip Internet throwaway jokes or it has a personality crisis and wants to be a boxed strip rather than a single frame. Yesterday's comic is a prime example -- having a caption and also a balloon text just doesn't work if they're sequential. It just says that the cartoonist ran out of space and had no better place to jam the text in. A comic that tries this and succeeds is Close to Home, since either the balloon or the caption can be read out of order and the humour is preserved.

I think it's about time for Family Circus and Dennis the Menace to finish off and get replaced by Classic versions of the same, like Peanuts. There should be a Classic Calvin and Hobbes too, while we're at it, and the Boondocks should not take up a whole third of a page just for a two shade gradient background and a throwaway joke about famous black people.

And stop with the Garfield. How many ways can you kill a spider?

Today is closing day. Tomorrow's update might be prepared in advance, like a famous dead guy's obit, with any house news held off until Saturday.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    pedro card game, prokofiev defected, leonardo dissecting bodies, joseph ehrenberger virginia tech, prokofiev the flaming angel, what time signature has 6 beats, who urged queen elizabeth to begin a colony in north america, scopophobia, president garfield dancing shot, toll plaza capacity and level of service, woody english trumpet

Bush plans to back marriage amendment
Rent-A-Coder doesn't understand the concept of secret info
Snowball thrower forced to deliver pizza
Swimmer drives with shark on his leg
Bussey didn't have a telephone, so he made 45-year-old Roy Andrew Gendron mow the lawn with a push mower until he could think of a plan to alert authorities.

tagged as mock mock | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, February 13, 2004

I reread some Janny Wurts these past few weeks, specifically the bulk of the third book in the Wars of Light and Shadows series. The third book is peculiar because it's being published in four hardback chunks (otherwise the bindings would break). I read the first three chunks, Fugitive Prince, Grand Conspiracy, and Peril's Gate in rapid succession, which comes to about two thousand pages of incredibly arranged prose. You really have to apply yourself to read this series but the end result is well worth the effort. Many people find the text tedious and overdramatic, but it's really just a completely different style of writing from what most authors (fantasy in particular) churn out. I guess it's to be expected in a genre where two well-known authors (Tolkien and Feist) create shallow characterizations to further the action rather than really exploring things like motivations and thoughts.

The third chunk of this book teeters very close to the edge of melodramatic camp, but sets up the final chunk quite nicely (the final thousand pages is expected to be released at the beginning of next year). If you are a patient reader who enjoys the English language, and wants a book with no easy answers and no black and white heroes and villains, I would recommend this series over all others. Here is a sample of the prose, taken from Peril's Gate:

    Warned by a muffled, metallic ring, Arithon spun. He clamped the boy's wrist in a strangling grip that arrested the sword halfway pulled from the scabbard. "Nine hells of Sithaer, are you insane?"

    "I should kill you here!" Fionn Areth gasped through locked teeth. "There are widows across the five kingdoms who'd thank me."

    "They might," Arithon agreed, his annoyance turned acid. "But a blade in my back won't see you safe. The opposite in fact. My blood in the snow would act as a beacon for Koriani scryers. If you think you can manage to evade their spelled snares, Dakar still has the food and the horses. You aren't going to find him without my guidance. Better to salve your fool's craving for justice after we've scrambled to safety."

    Fionn Areth's murderous resistance failed to slacken under restraint. Darker truth eclipsed reason. He knew this creature who entreated in calm self-defense was unnatural, an unprincipled sorcerer whose guileful strategies had slaughtered three dedicated war hosts. Across the continent, men flocked to Lysaer's sunwheel standard and pledged to the Light to destroy him.

For fun, here is a sample from Feist's bestselling horrible book, Rise of a Merchant Prince:

    "What are you thinking?" asked Erik of Roo, his best friend since childhood.

    Roo said, "Just how funny families can be." He pointed to the group on the dock, listening carefully to Nicholas.

    Erik said, "Notice our Captain."

    Roo nodded. He knew Erik meant Calis. The elflike man stood off to one side, with just enough distance between himself and the others to be apart, yet close enough to answer questions when asked.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    what jello does not have artificial flavoring, tarestesia, colon outburst, how complex or difficult is schoenberg's music

I have a house now. I'm housed.

Why not to lean against a chainsaw when it's cutting your bra off
Women over 40 biggest online gamers
Germans use sexism to promote Linux
Handfield said last month that it was difficult to imagine veteran detectives and prosecutors being fooled by three young girls.

tagged as reviews | permalink | 3 comments

Saturday, February 14, 2004

I did house stuff all day today. My parents even came out to lend a hand. Tomorrow will probably be more of the same, followed by a new episode of Alias. If I haven't already sent you the guided tour, you can see pictures in a new part of the Photos section, labelled "House" for good reason. There's also a blown up version with some movies here .

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    nitrosomonas supplier, listen to movement for rosa by camphouse, montana nudist colonies, improvising chord, carl halmo, greenland teenage smoking, chris fraker

Happy Valentine's Day to all my hoochies .

Woman opens fire on intruder
Teen accused of BMW scam
Cops still don't understand the concept of recording devices

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Sunday, February 15, 2004

I finished cleaning out the basement today. Have a stock update in celebration.

I plan on going to work tomorrow despite the federal holiday.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    picture of a knight knight riding on a horse sir lancelot, picture your dog in needlework, prositutes new york, antique incinerator, growing green beans with 25 watts

Amazon glitch reveals self-promoters
Les Mis to use electronic orchestra
Celestial Bling
Spongebob reflects bad stereotype

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Monday, February 16, 2004

Tomorrow, I have a company coming out to give an estimate on windows for the new house. I'm going to have to shift my buying paradigm to go from $20 for a movie at Best Buy to $400 for a framed piece of glass that looks like it's not there when it's clean.

Jim Barry says I should start a residency in my basement for starving composers.

I was listening to Maynard Ferguson's Chameleon album last night. The music would sound incredibly good if they would just remove one musician from the band -- Maynard, himself. He brings his band down.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    japanese olio minstrels, hindemith trumpet sonata nazi, fake treasure maps, zeke's newsletter, muomi, single roleplayers, are camels colorblind, chipmunk fun facts

How not to keep your new license
Coffee breaks sabotage employee abilities
David Walker kept winning a contest to predict which side condom wrappers would land on, when his friend allegedly pulled out a gun, saying he had had enough.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

A social phenomenon that I've always found interesting is the day-after conversation that follows when two people cross paths. If a person happens to spot someone with whom he or she is reasonably familiar, but doesn't get close enough to say hello (driving in cars is a common example), that person will feel compelled to mention the sighting the next day at school or work. The viewer cannot just cite the viewing though -- he must first ask if the viewee was there at the given time, to ensure that it was no mistake.

If the viewee says yes, the viewer will then mention the sighting. At this point, the viewee is never satisfied with just a blanket sighting statement -- he will ask the viewer to pinpoint the exact location, like which aisle of the supermarket or which exit on the freeway. (Possibly, the viewee can't take his own word for knowing where he was at that time -- he needs reassurance that someone saw him there). Once it has been established that the viewee was actually somewhere and the viewer saw him, there is a general air of satisfaction, as if a hard math puzzle was just solved.

Backing up, if the viewee had said no, the viewer would still mention the sighting, but would say that he saw someone "just like" the viewee. Then, the viewee will pose the same questions about the exact location, just in case he was really there and forgot about it (again, as if asking the questions will change his response). The viewee will then tell the viewer where he was at that specific time, and the conversation will end on a note of satisfaction.

I've noticed this phenomenon as far back as elementary school, and I'm sure you have seen it at least once.

Florida-Mike almost got hit by a pimp yesterday .

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    "lead me away. i have been rash and foolish. i have killed my son and my wife. i look for comfort; my comfort lies here dead. whatever my hands have touched has come to nothing. fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust.", popcorn microwave bibliography science, maverin, roscoe conkling's stalwart republican machine, why do composers use sonata form, marry a goat india, farthest sharp to the right

Student sucks at concealing evidence
Cell jammers declare war on signal
"To be very blunt about it, we have more important issues to be focusing on."
The reason for spam law loopholes comes out

tagged as random | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The new windows will be installed in four to six weeks. In the meantime, I'll be transporting all of my books and papers and non-daily gadgets to the house. It looks like I'll be moving around the end of March or so.

A year ago today, I posted the top fifteen funniest comments on RateMyProfessor.com . It looks like the site's longetivity has been established -- I never expected that I'd have steadily produced news posts since 2001. Mike's blog is up to three months now -- that's like twelve of his normal length projects.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    most villains bible red hair, quickest way to germinate a bean, most popular shoplifted items, how much eighth notes equal a quarter note, lost temple tricks, insane governess, snakes head flew off, band director wave arms, aeneas trip to underworld -.com, christy kull, ddt poisonous death

Soldier's Husband Accused of Death Hoax
How to Name a Street
A Fulton County jury delivered its blow to the little kicker this week.
Rumsfield Fighting Techniques

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Thursday, February 19, 2004

I'm quickly reaching a backlog of interesting news posts, so I thought I'd take today to catch it all up. This also allows me to post a bare minimum of witty original material, since I can rely on stupid people in the news for my updating fodder.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    hounds on an island, rachmaninoff "sounds like", nuclear launch detected, jennifer ada holland, what is the meaning of "the best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up", chart of flat flat and sharp sharp scales

From the stupid people department:

Oven reaches breaking point; opens fire on couple
Damage control is not a resumé requirement for coaches
High school teacher sold guns in his drive-thru beer shack
Pepsi's iTunes Giveaway has one minor flaw
Vick charged for being dimmer than his brother
Hard heads a key to survival

From the crime and law department:

Teen finds his picture on missing children's Web site
RIAA sued under gang laws
Hawaiians could eat with their dogs
Maximum Exposure means just that

From the Interestyng Spyke department :

Alpacas to the rescue
Space station falling apart. $12 billion needed soon.
Music students learn the art of the scratch
Patient doesn't trust banks or digestable currency
How to sabotage your opponents' tan lines
The audience cheered loudly whenever she pronounced a particularly daunting technical term properly.

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Friday, February 20, 2004

It's time to play a game of "Design Brian's Living Room"! Print out the picture at this link and arrange the furniture in an aesthetically pleasing manner. If you have Photoshop, I've even made your job easier: you can download this image (682KB PSD) and drag or rotate the Layers around the floor plan instead of using archaic scissors. If you have an especially worthwhile design, take a picture or send me the PSD file and maybe I'll use it.

In the image, all the furniture is oriented towards the bottom of the image to begin, except for the end tables which point right. The couch and the chair need a little space in front to recline. The windows are 34" off the ground, so the stereo, TV, and taller bookshelf should probably not go directly in front of one. The stairs and the area directly below it should be unimpeded.

Think you can be on Trading Spaces? Put your skills to the test!

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    what are four hazardous gases that can easily be captured in a jar, mike's apartment full download

On the job training at its best
FBI fights piracy by putting stickers on the CDs that no one is buying
Piranhas reach England

tagged as contests | permalink | 0 comments

Saturday, February 21, 2004

If you ever have the opportunity, take advantage of Amazon's Super Saving Shipping option, which removes all shipping charges in exchange for a week longer delivery time. I order some Java books on Wednesday afternoon with this option and they were shipped out Thursday night. I just received them by slow USPS today.

There's talk of renaming T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria because T.C. Williams was a segregationalist in the 60s. OH NO. I hear some of the early Presidents owned slaves. We've got a lot of renaming to get done.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    one hundred year old inventions in north carolina, chips nitrogen doritos

Woman Fined for Registering Cows As Voters
Unlucky souvenirs returned to Uluru
Use trees, not trains
William Hung gets record deal

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Sunday, February 22, 2004

There's a few new cat pictures up on the Photos page.

Japanese toymaker Yonezawa Corp. recalled a card game called Bacteria Panic (the loser is the person left holding a card marked AIDS) after complaints from disease-pride groups, the Japanese Patients Council and the Tokyo Friends of Hemophiliacs. "We never meant to hurt the feelings of patients and their families," said Yonezawa spokesperson, Yokuji Okuma, pointing out that the instructions clearly warn, "Never play this game with the real victim of diseases".

Another success in Japan in 1991 was Human Trash. Players gamble with cards representing different kinds of women, who are the "trash". A pregnancy card loses a turn, a virgin card is extremely valuable, and unwanted females can be sold to Hong Kong.

- Countdown to the Millenium

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    what pitches are common on both the treble and bass clef staffs, chips ahoy cookies, ground unit not trained grunt

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Monday, February 23, 2004

Anna and Ben are engaged as of yesterday. It's about damn time. Congratulations!

It's that time of the year again. Look for my Oscar picks starting tomorrow and running up to the ceremony on the 29th. You can read my older picks on March 24, 2002 and March 23, 2003 .

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    pay toll booth, mash theme chords, spasms of being intellectual, how to float a high templar tricks

Man accused of stealing patrol car with a crane
It's time you primates quit making a monkey out of me
Student suspended for SI Swimsuit edition
Arnold wants dirty foreigners like me to get to run for President

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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

"It was so sweet backstage. The Teamsters are helping Michael Moore into the trunk of his limo." - Steve Martin at the '03 Oscars

It's time for the Third Annual Uri! Picks for Oscar Night! I saw even fewer movies this year than in the past two years, but I'm luckily saved by the fact that the same four movies appear in every category. Before you run off to your bookie, you should know that I got 4 of 24 correct last year and 9 of 24 the year before that. My scores should improve this year, because I'm not letting Booty have any say in the picks.

With that said, let's start with the categories that no one cares about and build up a false sense of suspense through Sunday's update where I'll make my picks for the four most important categories that no one cares about. Any movie I've seen is marked with a dot. As you can tell, I haven't seen any of today's movies.

Best documentary feature
    The Nominees:
    My Architect: Film maker studies the life of his father, architect Louis Kahn, and traces his secret lives and wives
    The Weather Underground: Looks at the evolution of the radical group, Weathermen, through the 60s and 70s in America
    Balseros: A film maker tracks Cuban refugees from detainee camp to their new lives in America through good times and bad
    Capturing the Friedmans: A film maker observes a family torn apart by accusations of child molestation through good times and bad
    The Fog of War: A film maker looks at the life of Robert McNamara who "shows regret and pride in equal measure for his mistakes and accomplishments" (he had good times and bad)

    What will happen?
    Voters will not remember which movies they watched and ultimately decide that McNamara is a child-molesting Cuban who had good times and bad. Since this is not a particularly pleasant scenario, The Weather Underground will win for resembling a Bruckheimer action movie.
Best documentary short subject
    The Nominees:
    Asylum
    Chernobyl Heart
    Ferry Tales

    What will happen?
    There are currently five movies with the title Asylum on Blockbuster's site. Depending on which you take home, you could get anything from a horror flick to a romance movie involving Ian McKellen. Chernobyl Heart is about heart conditions following nuclear accidents, and I don't know what Ferry Tales is about since there is no synopsis. Since the purpose of a documentary is to educate, Ferry Tales will win, because by the end of the movie I would learn what it was about.
Best animated short film
    The Nominees:
    Boundin'
    Destino
    Gone Nutty
    Harvie Krumpet
    Nibbles

    What will happen?
    An animated short always has to have an offbeat title that suggests its light-hearted and/or whimsical tone. Destino loses. Of the remaining titles, Boundin' will win because it suggests the carefree image of an animated puppy "boundin'" (GET IT?) through a field of dandelions with the theme from Super Mario Brothers 2 playing in the background. Harvie Krumpet will be unmemorable, because the title is a mishmash of Harvey Keitel, Harry Potter, and Wallace & Gromit (characters who would have an unlikely progeny, were they to do a little dance and make a little love). Nibbles will lose because it's too close to last year's ChubbChubbs! and the previous year's Stubble Trubble. I still think Mt. Head should have won last year. You could have so much fun with the press releases.
Best live action short film
    The Nominees:
    Die Rote Jacke (The Red Jacket)
    Most (The Bridge)
    Squash
    (A) Torzija ([A] Torsion)
    Two Soldiers

    What will happen?
    This fight is solely between Squash and Two Soldiers. A live action short film should not require a subtitle or translation, because the movie is over by the time you've finished the title. The length rule is also why the 1994 Indian movie, Shree Shree Rajadhiraja Shree Shree Madana Kamaraja Shree Shree Vilasa Raja Shree Shree Mahdubana Raja Shree Shree Krishnadeva Donda Raja, and the 1967 British movie, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade would both fail as live action short films. Your movie title should also not look like an advanced mathematics problem, so (A) Torzija ([A] Torsion) is out of the running. Squash will ultimately win because Hollywood is the land of stupid diets and squash is a healthy side dish when not sauteed with peas, carrots, and pig fat.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    number of toll booths, melody shifted a beat, romatic era of european music

Court rules that child's name would expose him to mean haikus
More on the T.C. Williams name-changing issue

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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The Oscars, Part II of VI

Achievement in art direction
    The Nominees:
    Girl with a Pearl Earring
    The Last Samurai
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
    Seabiscuit

    What will happen?
    Movies (and children) should never be named Seabiscuit because it quickly dispels any drama and goodwill the movie has. Master and Commander will win the Oscar for nonsensical titles, but tragically that category has not yet been invented. The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise as Tom Cruise will get a few votes but not enough to carry it. This leaves the Oscar up for grabs between Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Last year, I picked all the movies which were NOT going to get Best Picture, to make for a more democratic award environment. However, this year I'll have to jump on the bandwagon and say that The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will win the Oscar in this art category.
Achievement in costume design
    The Nominees:
    Girl with a Pearl Earring
    The Last Samurai
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
    Seabiscuit

    What will happen?
    Movies (and children) should never be named Seabiscuit because it quickly dispels any drama and goodwill the movie has. Master and Commander will win the Oscar for nonsensical titles, but tragically that category has not yet been invented. The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise as Tom Cruise will get a few votes but not enough to carry it. This leaves the Oscar up for grabs between Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Last year, I picked all the movies which were NOT going to get Best Picture, to make for a more democratic award environment. However, this year I'll have to jump on the bandwagon and say that The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will win the Oscar in this costume category.
Achievement in makeup
    The Nominees:
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

    What will happen?
    All three of these movies should get the Oscar for making up long titles to increase self-importance. Every self-respecting movie is apparently supposed to have at least one colon, so The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will earn this Oscar. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl's colon count is reduced by the fact that ghost pirates don't have colons. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is set in a time where there were colonies, but that's not quite the same.
Achievement in visual effects
    The Nominees:
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

    What will happen?
    No one will get the Oscar in this category, because voters will see the nominee list and presume that the makeup category was accidentally put on the ballot twice. To avert disaster, the Academy will have a quick executive consultation with Miss Cleo and give the Oscar to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    how does candy affect math test scores, pessimistic poem, augmented fourth brian uri hints

Barbie-wielding man stalks neighbourhood
Proposals gone bad
Eminem's publisher sues Apple
But let me let you in on a little secret: I am not as dumb as I look
Bull gores groin

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Thursday, February 26, 2004

The Oscars, Part III of VI

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
    The Nominees:
    Big Fish
    Cold Mountain
  • Finding Nemo
    House of Sand and Fog
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    What will happen?
    I'll be happy if I never have to hear LotR's minor second motive ever again, and the music in general was good but expected (there's really not much you can do with so many expectations and preconceptions in the genre). Big Fish and Finding Nemo will split the vote in a Nader-Goresque manner, but not on porpoise. Since James Horner has already received eight Oscar nominations, the award will go to Gabriel Yared (who also wrote the music for The Talented Mr. Ripley) and Cold Mountain.
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
    The Nominees:
    "Belleville Rendez-vous" in The Triplets of Belleville
  • "Into the West" in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" in A Mighty Wind
    "Scarlet Tide" in Cold Mountain
    "You Will Be My Ain True Love" in Cold Mountain

    What will happen?
    In the New Zealand travelogue, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, most of the documentary is spent runnning, riding, or hiking east, so I'm not sure why this song is called "Into the West". Voters will no doubt be equally confused and think the song tells about Will Smith fighting a giant spider on a railroad train. A Mighty Wind is not mainstream enough to get voters, and "Belleville Rendez-vous" comes from a cartoon composed of rejected art from The Curse of Monkey Island. The Oscar will go to "Scarlet Tide" because the other song from Cold Mountain can't decide whether it's in Ebonics or Olde English. Ain ain a word!
Achievement in sound mixing
    The Nominees:
    The Last Samurai
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
    Seabiscuit

    What will happen?
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World will get a pity Oscar in this category because Russell Crowe might get pissed off and try reciting some more poetry. The Academy fears a pissed off Crowe more than a pissed off Cruise. Seabiscuit will go home with a special award for noun mixing.
Achievement in sound editing
    The Nominees:
  • Finding Nemo
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

    What will happen?
    These movies have the ocean and boats in common, though luckily none of them star Kevin Costner with gills. By this point in the broadcast, ABC will be running low on time because they have to say The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World in every category, so they will shave off precious seconds here by awarding the Oscar to Finding Nemo.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    pictures of nickelpedes, the texture and hardness of radium, pictures of the brain working your short-term memory, shumps, how do i get fox jumped over the lazy fog, chicken stand

Happy Birthday Dad and Jim Barry!

Police said it appears Jinah took a running start to try to spit further than his two friends when he unintentionally vaulted himself over the balcony railing.
Moron takes it to a whole new level
Origin of the Quiznos Sub commercials (flash movie with sound)

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Friday, February 27, 2004

The Oscars, Part IV of VI

Best animated feature film of the year
    The Nominees:
    Brother Bear
  • Finding Nemo
    The Triplets of Belleville

    What will happen?
    Finding Nemo will win this category by a landslide, since Disney has lost its touch. At least Treasure Planet is not in the running this year. It's a risky proposition to not pick The Triplets of Belleville however, since last year's winner was another goofily drawn cartoon that no one had ever heard of.
Best foreign language film of the year
    The Nominees:
    The Barbarian Invasions
    Evil
    The Twilight Samurai
    Twin Sisters
    ?elary

    What will happen?
    None of these films even looks foreign, and the last just looks like a French person in ESL trying to say "celery". You can't fool me with a tilde. The ad copy for Barbarian Invasions says that it's about sex and friendship and other things that invade our lives. DUCK! It's a FRIENDSHIP INVASION. Evil wins, since the remaining competitors look too much alike.
Adapted screenplay
    The Nominees:
    American Splendor
    City of God
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    Mystic River
    Seabiscuit

    What will happen?
    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Jedi will win this category, simply because it's the hip thing to do, regardless of whether it deserves it.
Original screenplay
    The Nominees:
    The Barbarian Invasions
    Dirty Pretty Things
  • Finding Nemo
    In America
  • Lost in Translation

    What will happen?
    The actual screenplay of Lost in Translation doesn't deserve an Oscar, simply because it was the work of the actors in the movie that brought it to life. Without the talent of Bill Murray, it would have just been another movie where stuff happens and people are bored, à la Gosford Park. Finding Nemo isn't particular original even though it's good. Voters will choose The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in this category because their muscle memory will cause them to mark a box that isn't really on the ballot. To salvage the show, Billy Crystal will choose Dirty Pretty Things and make light-hearted jokes about Audrey Tatou.

We're only two days away from the Oscar ceremony, which I probably won't be watching. Tomorrow I'll cover all the actor categories, and the final day will be devoted to the directorial categories and Best Picture. Who will win? Only I know.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    michelle cao, fork tailed bush katydid, weenie wagon, if all the girls who attended the yale prom were laid end to end, i wouldn't be a bit surprised

Happy Birthday Paige!

It's like the ring from The Lord of the Rings and we're kind of like Frodo, trying to get it over with.
Father spanks daughter in school
60 year old kung fuist catches robber
Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them
Man to cat, "Stop monkying around!"

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Saturday, February 28, 2004

The Oscars, Part V of VI

Best performance by an actor in a leading role
    The Nominees:
  • Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
    Ben Kingsley in House of Sand and Fog
    Jude Law in Cold Mountain
  • Bill Murray in Lost in Translation
    Sean Penn in Mystic River

    What will happen?
    Johnny Depp modelled his pirate character off of Pepe Le Pew and Keith Richards. Still, a "kid's" movie won't be eligible for an Actor Oscar. Jude Law consistently looks like a creepy Justin Theroux, and I don't know if anyone takes Sean Penn seriously anymore, despite his talents. The Oscar will go to Gandhi in House of Sand and Fog.
Best performance by an actor in a supporting role
    The Nominees:
    Alec Baldwin in The Cooler
    Benicio Del Toro in 21 Grams
    Djimon Hounsou in In America
    Tim Robbins in Mystic River
    Ken Watanabe in The Last Samurai

    What will happen?
    Ken Watanabe sounds like a leftover from one of the Star Wars movies. Benicio del Toro's face always looks like it was mangled in a freak lawn-mowing accident (in fact, his name translates roughly as "Benicio was hit by a Toro"). Tim Robbins and Alec Baldwin kind of run together, so Djimon Hounsou will get the Oscar, because he appeared on an episode of Alias as Kazari Bomani.
Best performance by an actress in a leading role
    The Nominees:
    Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider
    Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give
    Samantha Morton in In America
    Charlize Theron in Monster
    Naomi Watts in 21 Grams

    What will happen?
    Charlize Theron will pick up her first Oscar because she is hot underneath all the prosthetics. Keisha will lose for being too young, Diane will lose for being too old, Samantha will lose for looking too much like Princess Leia in her IMDB profile, and Naomi will lose for no good reason (and then start a publicly traded company named after herself so stock analysts can say "NAOMI WATTS UP" and chuckle).
Best performance by an actress in a supporting role
    The Nominees:
    Shohreh Aghdashloo in House of Sand and Fog
    Patricia Clarkson in Pieces of April
    Marcia Gay Harden in Mystic River
    Holly Hunter in Thirteen
    Renée Zellweger in Cold Mountain

    What will happen?
    Many voters will choose Shohreh simply to hear her name butchered by a well-meaning presenter, especially since Marcia's name is far too easy to make into an off-colour joke. However, Renée Zellweger will squeak ahead by a nose and take home the Oscar.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    listen to a movement for rosa by mark camphouse, i like beech, guiteau's gun, coca-cola questionnaire sample, caligula fun facts

Cat saliva cleaner than dog saliva
Man steals 25 cents of power
Don't buy the house with body parts in it
Push To Walk doesn't actually work

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Sunday, February 29, 2004

The Oscars, Part VI of VI

Achievement in cinematography
    The Nominees:
    City of God
    Cold Mountain
    Girl with a Pearl Earring
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
    Seabiscuit

    What will happen?
    This year has some of the corniest titles ever, and they all sound like they're first cousins of each other. Since I haven't seen any of the movies in this category, I will presume that they all employed cutting edge techniques like following the action with a handheld camera, transitioning with blur, and FADE TO BLACK. You can take your camera to a mountain, but you can't make the mountain do anything for the camera. As such, Cold Mountain will win, because they must have used some damn crazy effects to make a mountain (albeit a cold one) interesting enough for nomination.
Achievement in directing
    The Nominees:
    City of God
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Lost in Translation
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
    Mystic River

    What will happen?
    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will get this without a doubt, because of the director's work with the entire trilogy, despite making a third section that has eight endings. I have a feeling I'm going to hear the annoying minor second motive plenty of times if I watch the ceremony.
Achievement in film editing
    The Nominees:
    City of God
    Cold Mountain
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
    Seabiscuit

    What will happen?
    Seabiscuit wins. It has the shortest title, and therefore must have had the best editors of all varieties. This will inspire a wave of knock-off movies next year about a gallant race dog named Firemuffin, and a valiant racecar driver named Cyclonescone.
Best motion picture of the year
    The Nominees:
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Lost in Translation
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
    Mystic River
    Seabiscuit

    What will happen?
    Lost in Translation is not big and fat enough to get Best Picture, so the race will be between The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl will get a few write-in votes, since these three titles are like the Triplets of Melville: too long and not quite worth it. Incidentally, none of these titles would work as answers to an SAT analogy problem, despite the colons. The winner will be: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Big surprise.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    origami five headed hydra, beidler ghosts

Pet spider kills its owner
Rachel Green does tech support
Woman Reports Neighbor for Disturbingly Loud Sex

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