The URI! Zone - 12/2005
- Q: OK, last question: Have you guys seen the movie "Team America," which features puppets performing in "Lease: The Musical"?
RAPP: Yes, we watched that number again during rehearsal.
Q: The "Everyone Has AIDS" song?
RAPP: Yes, it's hilarious.
Q: 'Cause the lead puppet looks kinda like Roger.
PASCAL: Yeah, but he's also wearing a scarf, too, so he's like a combination of Mark and Roger.
What a stretch!
Some shops, for example, use "zit lamps," which drive teenagers away by casting a blue light onto their spotty skin, accentuating any whiteheads and other blemishes.
Al Qaeda leaders bin Laden and al-Zarqawi haven't been found "primarily because they don't want us to find them and they're going to great lengths to make sure we don't find them"
where the upper crust of the Internet come to read my musings and post in the comments section
You can probably get a spanking for much cheaper by using local labour
The Bucks stops here
What is that? That's where you were going? Oh, man. You wasted my time!
Monday Morning Football
Because today's update is short, I'm adding an audience participation aspect -- make up a funny caption to go with this picture. The winner will receive an all-expense-paid trip to my house, or a picture of a pencil with their name on it:
A grandma who knows how to have fun
A grandma who knows how to have fun
Yesterday's search terms:
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We went to see the movie version of RENT last night and ended up being the only people in the theatre. Apparently everyone was hiding in their basements with a surplus of corn flakes, milk, and toilet paper in anticipation of the first winter storm catastrophe of the season (because in the event of a blizzard, you should immediately begin making Hummel figurines out of paper maché so you have something to trade for food when the snow melts and people return above ground for the first time in twenty years to repopulate the Earth). Ultimately, the snow ended up being pretty in the air and slushy on the ground, and I only spun out fourteen times on the way home.
Going into the movie, I was someone who knew the original cast recording by heart, but had never seen a stage version of it. I thought the original scores were very catchy and eclectic and the drama had a few high points, though other parts were too dragging and could have used some streamlining or reworking. All of this is captured in the movie version, which meanders through the most important threads of the show, doing some very well and others just passably.
All of the actors did exceptionally well in their performances, which is expected since they spent years of their life in these same roles on Broadway. It was definitely nice to hear them do their familiar songs, although Taye Diggs and Adam "boy do I have way too much hair" Pascal have lost a little bit of the young vocal vibrancy they had ten years ago. I wasn't too thrilled with the replacement they used for Mimi, Rosario Dawson, although she grew on me as the movie went on. I felt like her voice was too pretty and mature for the role she was in. The original, Daphne Rubin-Vega, was not a great singer by any means, but felt more believable as a 19-year-old.
The film dragged the most when it tried to act like a play. The movement of the "Seasons of Love" anthem from the second act to the beginning, with all the cast members just standing on a stage felt totally out of place. Some numbers seemed to have been translated directly to film without any use of film techniques. I think that if you're going to do something in a different format, you should try to take advantage of what makes that format work, rather than do a rigid one-to-one. RENT on film probably loses much of the energy you would get from a live performance, and many scenes just seem a little limp. The film works best when it doesn't just stick to the original script -- adding energy from camera motion and moving from room to room (which you can't do on a stage), or intercutting musical numbers with montages and flashbacks. Some of the most effective songs in the film were the ones where the actors were singing over a silent montage rather than singing in the frame. I thought the sequence for "Without You" that ended with the funeral was point-perfect and probably more emotional than it could have been on stage.
There were some interesting cuts made in the name of trimming the running time, although it's still about twenty minutes too long. All of the "Christmas Bells" sequences were removed, yet they left in the entire Santa Fe song which could have been trimmed out. The omission that I missed most was the "Halloween / Goodbye Love" sequence right after the funeral. To me, it seemed like one of the most important parts of the show, since it really explores what's going on between Roger and Mimi, and confronts Mark about his own issues. It was also a little jarring to hear much of the sung dialogue spoken, especially when it rhymed. I was not aware that Dr. Seuss had been called on as a lyrics coach.
The film is supposedly rated PG-13 but it is definitely just as racy as Broadway show was. Despite the fortunate removal of the "Take Me" song, all the lyrics are here in their entirety and it's definitely not a movie you want to send your 13-year-old off to see. Apparently PG-13 is now broad enough to include pole dancing, heroin injection, swearing, bare asses, and songs honoring masturbation. I'm not sure how Chris Columbus managed to pull that off -- my bet is that the review board presumed that the guy who made Home Alone, Harry Potter, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Adventures in Babysitting couldn't possibly make a racy movie, so they didn't even watch it.
So is the movie worth seeing? I liked it more than not. If you are a fan of the show, you should go see it, if only to enjoy the incredible performances of the original Broadway stars. There will be parts you hate and parts you probably like better. The story definitely doesn't feel as topical as it might have been last century, but the music is still solid and doesn't disappoint.
It also put me in a musicals mood, so I can start looking forward to Les Miserables, which I will be taking my clan to in mid-January at the National Theatre. I promise not to devote an entire week to it like I did when I went in 2002.LOST stars party too hard in Hawaii
One more reason not to live in Canada
Mr. Konieczka said the youth left after being told the birds were guinea hens.
The first wave of seasonal drivers hit the roads yesterday -- the ones who apparently stay home all year long and then shower the world with the rain of their inept driving and parking skills, flooding every road and parking lot. Having lived in a cave for eleven months out of the year, they come out in their albino SUVs to go Christmas shopping, completely unaware of how people are used to doing things, like the guy on the Metro who stands on the left side of the escalator, or the retarded coworker that doesn't understand that questions are not welcome when a meeting has already run forty-five minutes over. As Christmas gets closer, these types of people become more prevalent, and you find me staying at home out of stores much more often.
I only have one more present to purchase for Christmas. The reason for this is that it does not yet exist, and while I am a particularly savvy online shopper, even I am not that talented. Now that I have a secret cubbyhole full of presents in my house, I come to the part where I have to wrap them all. I hate wrapping.
Actually, wrapping is tolerable when the items have a predefined shape, are not squishy, all corners are right angles, and there are no more than six sides. If the present should decide to stray from these narrow constraints, it will most likely be thrown in a bag with some colourful tissue paper, or put inside a shape-approved box and wrapped. These constraints are directly responsible for the high popularity of books, movies, and gadgets as gifts that I buy, rather than pillows, livestock, or cornucopias.
You'd think a neat and orderly person like myself would be a superb wrapper, but this is not the case. Excess paper gets folded up and hidden under some Scotch tape, the scissors lines look inspired by shots of vodka, and there is never any kind of fancy ribbon in snazzy Moebius patterns unless I can just stick a big bow on the front with more Scotch tape (I also used to wear clip-on ties as a kid). If you think my presents look bad, you should see how I fold my laundry. Undergarments don't even warrant a folding, and all types of shirts, from T-shirts to dress shirts, get folded once in the middle and then once more with the sleeves tucked in a fold. All of my clothes are essentially stored away in quarters, which makes for some rather avant-garde wrinkle patterns when I finally pull them out to wear. I guess it's good that I only have a small number of outfits, since they all end up being wrinkly wads at the end of the day anyhow. I could go out and buy more, but then I would have to put up with seasonal drivers, and nothing in stores fits me anyhow.
Instead I will just stay home with my wrinkly shirts, unwrapped presents, and cats in my lap, pretending to watch new episodes of LOST when in reality the entirety of this month is just a bunch of repeats.The building wins
Two men were seen running from the blaze, one of whom was disguised as Father Christmas
We wanted to represent the Bible in a different way and to interest young people
Yesterday's search terms:
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Vote for your favourite in the left sidebar. Voting ends Monday morning!
In other news, we're supposed to get 3 to 6 inches of snow and sleet by noon tomorrow. This is a meteorological synonym for "Work at Home".Home Makeover goes to Virginia Tech
It is not yet known whether alcohol was involved.
Classical music makes you feel like a yuppy
Yesterday's search terms:
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the best update idea I ever done stole
- Brian Uri! has been alive for 314 months.
- It has been 113 months since I graduated from high school with Jack Wilmer.
- It has been 90 months since I roomed with Dan Shiplett who was dating a girl at Tech who I had gone to junior high school with who had also dated the guy I mentioned that wrote that I was a jerk in my seventh grade yearbook.
- I have known Anna for 75 months.
- It took Kelley Corbett 74 months to get the hell out of Blacksburg.
- I started working at FGM full-time 30 months ago. I've worked there a total of 39 months though.
- Mike Catania has (surprisingly) not lost interest in updating the Chompblog in 25 months.
- I've been reading Kim's blog for about 12 months but I have only known that I already knew her for 8 months.
- Kathy Biddick lived in my house for 3.5 months.
- Greg Bilyk and Ian Nauroth both discovered their name in an entry less than 1 month after I wrote about them, using Google.
Call your dog
The pen is mightier than the sword
One passenger rolled down his window, hollered obscenities at Linn and hurled a half-full can of soda before he realized Linn was a trooper.
Congratulations to Rachel, who submitted entry #6 in last Thursday's Funny Caption contest ! She wins a picture of a pencil with her name on it, presented by the ineffable Booty. Runner-up with 5 votes was Mike with entry #1 and Anna with entry #3. They each win a picture of a pencil with Rachel's name on it, presented by the charming Booty. Full results are posted in last Thursday's post.
My weekend was quite laid back. When not devising new ways to plant pencils on Booty so they would stay put until I managed to whip out my camera and take a picture, I played games, read books, watched movies, and went to work. I worked enough hours over the weekend that I'll probably take a day off at the end of this pay period. I also watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith which was harmless fun, but took way too long to get rolling. I think it's interesting that all movies have to go through the basic setup of plot even though every movie watcher knows what the movie's about when they walk into the theatre, since movie previews these days tend to give everything away immediately. In the case of this movie, every movie poster and trailer pretty much proclaims, "He's an assassin! She's an assassin! They cross paths, with sexy results!", yet forty minutes go by without any sign of this, and when this plot point is finally revealed, the surprise is gone.
If only there were a way to make a movie preview that doesn't give ANYTHING away while still making the movie appear interesting enough to go see. How much more effective are movies like Memento and Sixth Sense when you walk into them with no preconceptions about the plot? "This kid sees dead people, and Bruce Willis helps him out, with sexy results!" On the flip side, trailers for crappy movies should end with a disclaimer saying, "You have seen all the cool parts of this movie, so please save your ten dollars". Everyone's seen the supposedly funny movie where all the funny lines were harvested to make a festive wreath of a trailer, leaving absolutely nothing redeeming in the movie itself, or the movie that looks intriguing in previews but limps across the screen like a peg-legged pirate in the sand trap of the ninth hole.
Left in my Blockbuster queue (which is like a Netflix queue, but requires you to go into Blockbuster, rent more than one movie, and then put them in some kind of order, often alphabetical) is Batman Begins which I wasn't particularly interested in, but which everyone seems to rave about. Side note: When I was a kid, I thought Bruce Wayne and Bruce Willis were interchangable, and since I didn't know who either one was, I figured Batman was supposed to be disguised as some Hollywood actor. I'll probably watch that tonight -- it's 140 minutes long though, which in my opinion, is ridiculous for an action movie. If Batman Doesn't End someone high up is going to have to pay. Starting with Michael Keaton.The bizarre world of Patrick Byrne's Overstock
Patterson pressured them to indulge Koko the gorilla's "nipple fetish"
A remote control that works on humans
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Newsday TuesdayJudge Invalidates Admission by Va. Slaying Suspect
Officer: "Do you know why we're here?"
Suspect: "Yeah, because I stabbed my mom in the neck."
A Virginia judge invalidated a killer's confession because he blurted it out before the officers were able to read him his Miranda rights. Apparently the judge expected the officers to treat their opening statement as a legitimate part of the interrogation, when anyone with a bit of common sense knows that a cop always starts with that phrase. It's as common as opening a chess game with a pawn or asking the hefty guy at the All-You-Can-Eat Shrimp Night if he wants extra pie. "Do you know why we're here?" isn't a question that invites a confession so much as a polite way of saying "You're sketchy and we're about to ask you some questions." And obviously the suspect wanted to confess, so the judge tossing out this bit of evidence is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.TV Writers Must Sell, Sell, Sell
Product placement in TV shows increased 84 percent last year. I don't mind product placement at all if it's not the focus of a scene -- for example, driving past a billboard for Snuckey's or drinking a can of Pepsi without commenting on it is fine. Making every car in a show a Ford and having a character yell out "Get in the F-150!" is stupid. Alias is especially silly in this regard since every vehicle in the 3rd season was some kind of Ford. I also think that an increase in product placement should result in a decrease in normal commercials but apparently networks do not believe in a life of balance.My, Christopher Robin, you've changed
I have no sentimental attachment to the Pooh-verse, so the decision to turn Christopher Robin into a more-marketable little girl doesn't really bother me at all, but I'm sure Pooh-bahs all over the world will be outraged at the change. All I remember of watching the animated cartoon as a kid was that Pooh and Piglet were fun to watch but Eyeore and Tigger were obnoxious, and I probably only read the books a couple times. The article ends with four other changes to cartoons for mass-media's sake, including this one: The narrative of Enid Blyton's The Little Black Doll, a black doll that wanted to be pink, was reversed to avoid possible racist interpretations. Black tabby, indeed.Video shows police handcuffing 5-year-old
After pouting in an empty classroom for thirty minutes, a kindergarten girl is escorted to the principal's office where she tears things off the walls and breaks stuff on the desk. School administration, rightfully fearful of frivolous lawsuits, call the cops who handcuff the girl (who has calmed down by then) and chuck her in the paddy wagon.
The school teachers obviously did all the "right" things here, although it's a shame when the right things pander so much to bratty kids these days. After about ten minutes of putting up with the little princess, the teacher should have gotten mom back on the phone and mom should have given her blessing to launch the kid out of a cannon or something equally as creative. All kids have tantrums, but when your kid does stuff like this at school and refuses to listen for thirty minutes, you're probably not doing something right as a parent. Also, the police response was stupid -- frightening the kid after she's already calm and sitting does nothing to fix the original behaviour. It's like collecting puppy pee in a cup everytime your puppy pees on the floor and then pouring it on his food eight years later -- the puppy, by then a snarling mastiff, will have no recollection of his bad behaviour, and will then eviscerate you and use your head as a squeaky toy.Nude ear-squat video clip inquiry starts
This article reads like a junior high book report. They never directly tell you what an ear-squat is, so I'm presuming it's common knowledge in Malaysia. Personally, if I were to invent a procedure which forces criminals to expel foreign objects from local borders like that, I would pick a much saucier name than "ear-squat". That just sounds like a fetish gone bad.German diner fined for biting waitress' toe
A German court fined a man for biting a waitress on the toe and drawing blood after he spilled beer on her foot and she told him to lick it clean.
What the heck. You told some random stranger in a restaurant to lick your foot. It's your own fault that your foot is now a vampire. There is a reason that the napkin industry makes billions of dollars every year -- to prevent tragic situations such as this one.
Yesterday's search terms:
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His hindsight, however, isn't half bad.
Paris Hilton display upsets neighbors
Neighbours say the lynched Santa doll is not in the Christmas spirit
The temperature was near 10 degrees with gusty winds, since this morning was an appetizer for the wintry mix we're supposed to get later today. So it was with great reluctance that I woke up at 7:30 AM instead of 5:30 AM and cranked the heat up to a toasty 73 degrees. Now you are at work, and I'm not. LOL!
Actually, I had already planned on taking today off, because by the end of yesterday I was already one hour over my quota for the pay period, and I don't believe in overtime unless it's for something extraordinary (see also, December 2004 where I worked 80-hour weeks for about two months). After a leisurely morning of English muffins, blankets, and cats, I'm now ready to sit down to write today's update.
I haven't practiced my trumpet in a couple weeks, because the amount of effort I put into maintaining some minimal level of proficiency does not balance out the satisfaction I get out of playing. Going back to the "List of Crap I Will
Never Get Around To Do" I wrote in July, I decided to start composing again. To get back into this, I've been listening to everything I ever wrote in hopes of some inspiration.
The problem with composing is that I was great at coming up with ideas before I got to the composer academy but was not so good at bringing those ideas to maturity. Now, I have enough craft to develop ideas, but I tend to second-guess all the new ideas I come up with, as a direct result of years of learning in an environment of bubble-boy composers who automatically dismiss anything remotely tonal or derivative as shallow.
I also went through my folder of collected germs, where I used to transcribe fragments and melodies as they came to me (The benefit of having a tiny apartment is that your keyboard is right next to your bed so you can record your ideas when you wake up in the middle of the night). I found a few pretty ones that I'd like to use someday in an appropriately crowd-pleasing venue: (515KB MP3). The last one on the MP3 was in my "Dreamt Melodies" folder and I can't even remember doing it.
Since I'm having trouble coming up with worthwhile new ideas, I've decided to tiptoe back into composing by reworking the string quartet which I wrote at FSU in 2001 and which I now hate. I think the third movement (2MB MP3) came out well because it covers two areas which I do reasonably well: tying everything together for a nice conclusion, and creating interesting rhythms. Rhythm is the backbone of interesting music -- don't let those crazy musicologists tell you that it's harmony or repetition or any other nonsense.
The entire third movement was spun out of a minute-long section from my debacle of a first movement (547KB MP3) which could be run through a grapefruit strainer and cut down by two or three minutes, doing all of the listening world a favour. The rest of this movement says to me now, "This is my first serious piece written for a serious ensemble at a serious music institute (!) so I'd better write it so I get taken seriously. Seriously? Seriously!". The second movement has a neat melody, but otherwise says, "I spent all day playing Super Smash Brothers at Mike's apartment, but I'd better write a couple more notes on the page for next week's lesson". By the time I wrote the third movement, I'd gotten over any preconceptions about school and other composers and just wrote whatever was fun to do.
Luckily I still like my Master's Thesis though. There's not a note about it I would change.Tyce Honer, 4, said he forgot he had put Louis the 10-pound cat in a refrigerator in the family's barn to keep it safe.
Stay away from your local mini golf course, or maybe we meant Tappahanock
Playmates Arrested After Flight
- Will Young - Switch It On
- Girls Aloud - No Good Advice
- Barenaked Ladies - One Week
- Norah Jones - Don't Know Why
- Keane - Bedshaped
- Depeche Mode - Precious
- Cardigans - I Need Some Fine Wine
- The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony
- Sugababes - Push the Button
- Radiohead - High and Dry
- James Blunt - You're Beautiful
In an incredible case involving allegations of murder, an international manhunt and noodles, Ontario police finally believe they know what happened
'Sex rage' couple facing $34,000 bill
Your husband's a doll
List Day: Crap in My Drawers
Because organization is the key to a happy life (and Western Music), I have a four-drawer legal-sized file cabinet crammed full of files, programs, scores, and other useless trivia of the past. I have a file labelled "Misc. Stuff" that has the honor of storing everything that doesn't really go into any other file (or stuff that I throw into the cabinet when I'm too lazy to make a new label). Here's a partial list of the contraband you might find if you were to peruse this file:
- The number I wore on my back in the 1993 Northern Virginia Regional Championship regatta with the Freshman B boat, a.k.a. the "our crew program is too big so we'll pretend there's such a thing as a 2nd freshman race so they don't feel bad about the fact that they suck too much to really be on the freshman boat" boat.
- An unused ticket for the 2000 Sugar Bowl which I got as a benevolent gift some drunk band frat boy who had stolen a bunch of them from somewhere, and three tickets to the 2002 Gator Bowl, where I met up with my Tech friends while living in Florida and spent the entire trip huddled in misery with the flu. Apparently, Philip Barbie, who bought the tickets for the trip, bought a few too many.
- A sheaf of car-game papers from a trip to Virginia Beach in 2001 where I drove and everyone played Hangman, the License Plate Game, or Name that Automobile Logo.
- Mini-golf scores from Motor World and Mutiny Bay. I always came in 2nd except for the other two games where I came in last.
- A personality profile from 7th grade when they tried to make us all pick our career paths before it was too late. Here are excerpts from the profile, with witty social commentary included in parentheses based on who I am now.
You are what VIP calls an "Enthusiast". You get things started and get exitedly involved (false). You like learning about yourself and your world around you (true). People like being with you because you are warm (not this winter) and understanding, and always willing to help someone. You are a natural leader (you do not run on nuclear power).
When planning for a career, you might want to think about jobs that let you use your creative skills, like the arts (BU the composer), communication (BU the blogger) or any of the human service areas (hell no). You might consider a career that lets you work with people rather than competing with people (hell no). You are outwardly centered which means you are keenly aware of what is going on around you and what is happening to others (true). You like being with people (true) and people like being with you (they're all greedy bastards who want in my will).
You learn things holistically -- you learn the concept, then you learn the important details later (very true). Details and step-by-step instructions may make you uneasy or bored (completely opposite).
When you make your important decisions, you automatically consider other people's feeling, views, and opinions, making sure your decision is based on what is best for everyone and everything. This is an important personality function because this helps make you kind (woo). Sometimes you make your decisions using only the facts at hand and without considering other peoples' views. This at times can be confusing to those with whom you work and play (what a stupid paragraph -- "You only like to eat apples, but sometimes you like to eat oranges. You are confusing to others because of this. Stop that.").
You are flexible in your operational style -- when you start something and some other thing comes along, you do not get upset at having to change or start over. Openness is an excellent trait, because you are easy going and you base your activities on what is important at the time (still very true).
- A bumper sticker for the FSU School of Music ("College of Music" my ass) that was taped to the inside of my window in Florida for two years, next to the bigger VT bumper sticker.
- Mini-recorder tapes of five crew races from my senior year, NOVA's, Stotesbury, and Nationals.
- My Titan Super Saver card, a weak band fundraiser which was essentially useless except for the 10% off of bowling. Bowling discounts were key in high school.
- A smattering of movie ticket stubs, from Memento to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
- Two expired library cards for Alexandria and Fairfax.
- All three of my high school ID cards, which show how tragically acne'd I was throughout high school. My senior ID has a sticker with my bus number on it. Apparently they thought we would forget how to get home.
- Ticket stubs from the 2002 showing of Les Mis and the 2004 showing of Miss Saigon.
- Five hotel key cards from various band and crew trips throughout high school and college.
- A Virginia Tech Photocopying Services card required to make copies in the library. I think it still has a few cents on it.
- A B.Dalton Book$avers card, expiration date 1/97. Anyone remember Brentano's and Egghead Software?
Only six days until Christmas... My presents are wrapped, how about yours?Superman's package is too big
'Ghost' blows himself up
Man Finds Diamond Ring In Unlocked Car
I hear that Bono is 33.3% of Time's Man of the Year Award for 2005, sharing the honor with Bill Gates and Mrs. Bill. Normally, I find celebrities' self-indulgence and disconnect with the real world highly amusing, but when it comes to Bono, I just get annoyed and impugn with impunity his worthiness to win. At least they picked two other winners, otherwise his ego might expand to an unimaginable point, increasing the surrounding air pressure, melting polar ice caps, and stranding thousands of sperm whales off an archipelago in the sea.
I'm sure Bono has indirectly done some good for Africa by wearing leather pants and rearranging the same song for twenty years, but there's just something incredibly smarmy about his moral superiority and that everpresent smirk. You're an entertainer, no more and no less. Lose the messianic showboating. Plug your cause at your next concert, throw some money at it, and go back to being an entertainer. If you're going to write songs with political messages, at least make them catchy and fun to hear (see also Green Day and Manic Street Preachers) so people who don't give a whit about the deeper meanings can still enjoy them.
Coldplay has the right idea -- they support a number of causes, all of which are linked in unassuming fonts on their website, or written in tiny print at the back of their CD jackets, with the understated message "We think these are important causes, so please visit them". In their XM interview, the interviewer asked why they didn't incorporate political messages into their music like U2. Chris Martin responded by playing a few bars from Clocks with some new lyrics about Dick Cheney, and said something to the effect of, "We could do it, but no one wants to listen to that bullsh*t". Amen, brother. Just don't name your next kid Banana, and your band will be set to steal U2's self-proclaimed "Gods of Rock" title.
When I become a rock god, none of my money will go to established charities. Instead I will donate much of it to the "People I Like" Fund, to be spent as needed by its recipients. I think that donating money in a top-down fashion is inherently flawed because everyone between you and the guy that really needs it wants a piece of the pie. But, I also think that there isn't enough time or money in the world to make things better by donating directly to the people who need the money, so why not just shrug in a typical American fashion and pay off all my friends' loans?
"There are probably more annoying things than being hectored about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star in a cowboy hat, but I can't think of one at the moment." - Paul TherouxScreech owl gets higher than a Georgia pine
You've got mail, and maybe gonorrhea
Cameras on the Dulles Toll Road are all fake
On the way home yesterday I made a quick stop at the Reston Best Buy for one last gift. Best Buy is nestled in one of those cozy yuppy strip-malls where the patrons outnumber the parking spaces like girls at a traditionally female liberal arts college trying to recruit guys for extra tuition. Now that the Christmas season is fully upon us, we're once again exposed to the yearly customs of how to behave in a parking lot. Here are a few pointers on proper Christmas shopping etiquette, if you are new to the area:
- If you can't find a spot, make your own spot: Especially good places for this are the loading area in front of stores, which is really just a bunch of wasted space, or the yellow curb at the back of the lot, directly next to an exit onto a main road. Your time is too important to cruise around the lot looking for spots, and shopping a couple weeks earlier is just unthinkable.
- Screw around with other drivers on your way out of the store: Walk tall, with keys in hand and a determined look on your face. Stride down a row of cars as if you know exactly where you're going. At the last second, turn into a CIA spy and duck left behind the black Chevy, cutting through several rows of cars to get to your own.
- Anyone can be an expectant mother or senior citizen: Those spots they reserve near stores for the elderly pregnant are completely up for grabs at Christmas time, because who can tell if you're 1-month pregnant? You can also take the sign's wording literally and claim that you're already a mother, but now you're just waiting for something. Even men can use these spots -- science has made great strides in recent years, so it's very plausible that I could have a fetus inside of me, and I don't even eat (many) babies.
- Screw around with other drivers on your way out of the store, part II: Pretend you don't know where you parked your car. Wander the lot, often cutting between rows. Find one that looks like yours and try to unlock it, then shrug apologetically and cut over to the next row.
- If you see someone leaving in a spot on your immediate right, you can claim it: Contrary to popular belief and/or physics, cars can make a perfect 90 degree right angle turn into a parking spot without having to back up or swing wide to the left. Try it.
- If someone is backing out, you should get right up on their bumper to make sure everyone knows you're taking that spot: If the guy leaving cannot maneuver because you're riding his bumper like a Depression-era hobo, that's his own damn fault for not planning ahead. Selfish asshole.
- If it's painfully obvious that the lot is full, check anyhow: Especially if you see cars cruising down every row looking for spots, you should come to a complete stop at the entrance of each row and stare down to the end with your superhuman vision. Maybe, just maybe, there's an open spot that the other twenty drivers missed, and it will be your lucky day! Woo.
- If you put on your turn signal, it means you get the spot: This is the consumer-method of marking your territory, and is much friendlier than getting out and peeing on someone else's car. If someone still takes your spot, you have the right to pee on their car anyhow. And poop. With corn.
Following these tips should make the holiday commute more enjoyable for everyone involved. Happy Shopping!Researchers Find Barbie Is Often Mutilated
Eminem Music Allegedly Used As U.S. Torture Device
It's Not the Pipes, It's a Naked Man in Your Basement
I was sitting down to write an update about the Audubon Quartet last night when I was interrupted with a call from work to give a presentation tomorrow on my recent superior cutting edge work (which is really just a bunch of portal files with some Java code, and not anything particularly noble or cancer-reducing, but don't tell that to the Nobel judges). Because of that diversion, today's post will be a montage of neat pictures from my past, which I've set aside in the course of my archiving efforts. I now have a third computer in the house: LLAMA is my main machine, MUSIC is, obviously, the MP3-playing computer in the basement, and KOALA is my permanent backup/archive machine. KOALA sits under the desk next to LLAMA and sometimes they pretend to be indigenous. The point of the story is that I've spent the last couple days sorting through and archiving all my old photos, with the secondary hope that I can redo the Photos page on this site to make it less annoying and more like Webshots (which is annoying, but also quite keen).
This Hokie-coloured storm was even cooler in person. Photo courtesy of ESPN magazine or something.
Rose on the Beach, 10/13/01
I had taken my second trip down to Marsh Sands Beach to write "Happy Birthday Anna" in the sand for a birthday card and came across a dozen fake red roses washed up in the surf amongst all the mutant horseshoe crabs .
St. Mark's Lighthouse, Florida, 10/20/01
Taken in Florida when my parents came down to visit for the weekend. I was pulled over on this trip by a state trooper for going 45 in a 25/protected-animal zone but let off with a warning because my dad was twice as tall as the officer. In this picture, I'm abusing the Photoshop filter I read about over on dooce.com because it's so darn swell. Dooce is a very entertaining read in general -- go read it.
Mike and Chompy, 04/07/03
We ate dinner at Mike's a lot in an innocent era where the futon did not yet have AIDS from being gross. It might have just had a mild case of Chlamydia. Photo courtesy of Alex.
View from my Office, 12/02/03
This was taken back at the old office where I had a corner office with two walls of windows and a perfect sunrise view (since I worked from 5 AM to 1 PM). Too bad I had to share it with three other people and got the shafted middle spot. On my first monitor, you can see documentation for a crappy content management system which I read all day long for about a year before we cancelled the project because of a lack of anything good about it.
My favourite unrelated niece playing in the sand at Anna's wedding.
Booty and Amber, 12/21/05
My cats, taken about four hours ago. That's Booty in the background too, being all artistic and stuff. Amber is just autistic and stuff, and you can tell this because her new favourite game is to shut the bedroom door and then meow until I reopen it and let her out.
Nestler requested that Letterman stay at least 3 yards away and not "think of me, and release me from his mental harassment and hammering."
New Jersey: We can always use another relative on the payroll
Dog frozen to railroad tracks
A Milwaukee firefighter was tricked by three other firefighters into performing a lewd act while on duty
When your guinea pig is cold or has low self-esteem
Ho ho ho, and welcome back from your weekend of debauchery and food. My own was quite pleasant, starting with a Friday afternoon filled with movies and Chinese food. I saw Serenity for the second time, and Batman Begins for the first. The latter was definitely good, dispelling my belief that action movies longer than two hours automatically suck (see also, Bad Boys II: Stuff Blows Up). Christian Bale made a great Batman, and Actor Who Auditioned For Batman But Didn't Get It made a great Dr. Crane. The Katie Holmes role was pretty anemic, but that generally seems to be the case with any movie where a superhero has a love interest. You'd think they could use their super powers to attract better women, but I guess women are the Unstoppable Force, even to superheroes.As a belated Christmas treat, I've recorded a MIDI of an Agnus Dei I wrote in 2001 in the hallowed halls of Evan Jones' modal counterpoint classroom. It uses a familiar Christmas carol for its cantus and is aptly titled, "Deck the Halls with Lamb of God" (573KB MP3). You can see the last surviving copy of this masterwork on your right, which I narrowly salvaged from an overzealous trash man -- a slip of paper which will no doubt be worth millions some day.
Actually, the crinkly look is a feature of Finale 2006, which lets you put graphics on the score, because making the score harder to read obviously enhances a composer's creativity and makes him more loved by the irate performers who have to excavate the notes from the morass of swampy bitmapped backgrounds. It's almost as bad as company e-mails sent in purple fonts with "Piece of Notebook Paper.gif" as the background. Every company has at least one perpetrator of those.
Today, I also released an open-sourced version of my Warcraft 3 map, Onslaught, which you can download at www.nohunters.com. I give it less than two months before some novice mapmaker steals it wholesale and releases a crappy derivative map, but I'm not working on it anymore and I figure that it could be a good learning tool of the JASS programming language for aspiring mapmakers. I didn't even realize that people still played Warcraft III, but I guess it's still pretty popular.
Now that Christmas is out of the way, it's time to prepare for 2006. I usually don't make New Year Resolutions and 2006 won't be any different. Resolutions are for people in need of improvement, and I have obviously been a perfect specimen of idyllic human existence since puberty (or at least since I bought a propane grill). In fact, my agent is currently in talks with the Dover Area School Board to use me as proof-positive of Intelligent Design, a lucrative deal that will also put my mug on a set of coffee mugs, T-shirts, and playing cards. In the short-term though, I'll be busy unpacking, assembling, washing, wearing, and watching my various Christmas gifts, like the cozy scarf I wore to work this morning where I managed to close it in the car door (I am a scarf newbie). Luckily the scarf survived. What did you get for Christmas?Happy News: Upbeat stories, all the time
Substitute music teacher spills the beans about Santa
I don't know if it was on ring or vibrate, either.
2005 in Review, Part I of III
To be continued tomorrow...Losing your virginity is like losing a member of your family.
Fiancee actually a man
Indictment by mobile phone
2005 in Review, Part II of III
To be concluded tomorrow...
Happy Birthday James Houck!Experts stunned: you don't learn anything in college
Tobler told police that it was a longtime hobby of his to deliver the bottles
Fake money stolen from real bank
2005 in Review, Part III of III
Happy Birthday Becca!In 2003 he spent two weeks rolling a monkey nut with his nose
Big suitcase or tiny husband?
How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men
It's the end of an era!
I made a dream come true. And I am not a pervert.
It may have been smarter to leave the flour-filled condoms at school.
The Ultimate Showdown
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