The URI! Zone - 11/2010

Monday, November 01, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

Pictures from this weekend's Halloween Party can be found at the end of the Life, 2010 album.

In the Lessons Learned department, Halloween night is the best time to go to Red Robin and find it to be 80% less packed.

4-Year-Old can be sued in bike case
Haunted House Has Painful Past As Asylum
World Cup 2010 - Conspiracy claim over Paul's death

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Late Day

Please accept my deepest apologies for the lack of update today, but it's really all your fault, since the days where my updates are the latest are also the days with the highest amount of traffic from people who have been Pavloved into thinking that 6 AM will bring explosive new wit like a midair bomb on a UPS carrier -- no doubt that terrorist was halfway through the third season of Alias, got bored waiting for his Netflix to arrive by Yemenese post, and decided for a reenactment of a Sark-Vaughnese scene.

To make up for the Museday which I did not write today, here are some fresh new facts you may not already know:

  • I have now written 68 Museday excerpts over the past three years, and expanded three into two-minute works. If I were to release a CD, it would clock in at 39:42, which is longer than most "real" albums released today.
  • The ringtone on my cellphone is Muse's Undisclosed Desires.
  • Having a cellphone actually disconnects me further from the world than the old landline, because it's usually in the other room and I don't hear it until the next day. Thank you, technology. Now please do good by jamming all of Rep. Frank Wolf's robocalls. He wins by 120% every election -- the least he can do is coast in silence.
  • Booty currently waddles like a duck.
Dentists offer Halloween candy buyback program
Smokers must clock out, as they should
High speed Internet comes to Mt. Everest

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Stuff in My Drawers Day

Rebecca is currently studying the Immune System in her human anatomy class, and last night, I pulled out my 10th grade presentation to learn her a thing or two about them antigens. While searching through my portfolio of oversized art, I came across a batch of drawings from the Cartooning class I took at the Torpedo Factory in 1992 (which was really just an excuse to spend too much money on oversized paper and then waste it).

Here is a cartoon I drew in one of those classes. I'm guessing the sign is blank because I was never clever enough to come up with a good punchline, and not because I was being existential (existentialism starts in about 11th grade). Can you do better? What would you write on the sign?


Spanish prostitutes ordered to wear reflective vests for their own safety
Pizza chain offers $31,000/hour part-time job
Movie Shoot Turns Fatal

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Baby Day

Here are a few pictures from our trip to Cici's last night to meet Emily (Spellerberg) Lund's daughter. Emily is on a whirlwind tour of Virginia from Oklahoma, before moving to Seattle as part of the Witness Protection Training Academy Matt's military deployment.


We also cannot forget the local babies.

I should have brought Booty for this picture -- she weighs enough to have eaten a delicious baby.

Bonus Pictures: My nephew in Christiansburg, taken two weekends ago.

Law curbs Happy Meal toys
Mark Saunders officer 'planted song titles' in evidence
Denver voters reject space-alien commission

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Quick List Day: 15 Things I Will Never Understand the Appeal Of

  • Anime

  • Everybody Loves Raymond

  • Nickelback

  • Stealth-Based FPS Games

  • Avocados

  • Rum and Coke

  • Pet Ferrets

  • Majoring in Art History

  • Reviewing the Seller Instead of the Product Online

  • The Music of Fatboy Slim

  • Moving End Prepositions Into the Middle of Phrases

  • Reading Online Poker Hand Histories

  • Disproportionately Large Boobies

  • Escalades

  • Ten-Foot Ceilings

Man in disguise boards international flight
Front-yard Virgin Mary owner bans public
Man attacked with a can of refried beans

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

Saturday was a busy day, opening with a trip to the Potomac Point Winery in Stafford for a Groupon-based Premier Harvest Tour. This tour took a typical tasting and stretched it out over two hours and fourteen different wines, throwing in tips and tricks for better tasting (not unlike a Nintendo Power issue devoted to wine).

In the evening, we made the 1.5 hour commute into DC for Annie's 27th birthday, and after fleeing the crowded confines of Cork, we ended up in the basement bar at Saint-Ex where I tried to convince people that tempranillo is delicious while eating orders of regular fries and adding "Sweet Potato Fries" to Friday's list of Things to Not Get Your Panties In a Knot Over.

Sunday was a low-key day with a little grocery shopping and such, and we closed the evening out with Cornish Game Hens and a game of Scrabble. Now, we're continuing our inexorable roll through November towards various Thanksgivings (although we're cutting back to 2 this year, rather than 4).

How was your weekend?

Bush's all-time low point involves Kanye West
Do you hate waiting? Get in line...
Fur flies over ruling on Hello Kitty rabbit

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Museday Tuesday

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

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

Captious: (adj.) apt or designed to ensnare or perplex, especially in argument

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This excerpt is for accompanied horns, and mixes 9/8 and 2/4 time signatures like an astute arguer trying to change subjects.

'Wheel of Fortune' contestant solves puzzle with just 1 letter
Live in Australia for a dollar a week
Starbucks defeats woman's tea burn lawsuit

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

List Day: School Reports in My Drawer

  • Squash (third grade)
  • Leonardo da Vinci (fifth grade, seventh grade, ninth grade -- reuse is GREAT, even outside of computer programming)
  • The Code of Hammurabi (fifth grade)
  • How Long Do Batteries Really Last? (fifth grade)
  • The History of Idaho (seventh grade)
  • Global Warming: How Will It Affect the Agricultural World? (seventh grade)
  • Do Students Consider Waste When They Buy Food? (eighth grade)
  • Does Listening to Music Affect Your Ability to Concentrate? (ninth grade)
  • A Study in the Composition of Regional Surface Water (tenth grade)
  • London's House is Falling Down (tenth grade -- my biography of Jack London)
  • Flapjack John and Maple Syrup Malefactors (twelfth grade -- because "A Comparison of A Light in August and Beloved" was so tame)
  • An Idealized History through Divine Miracles (freshman year, college -- taking an early Roman Christianity class with so few students that you cannot skip is a BAD IDEA)
  • A Provocative Study of Neoclassicism through the Eyes of One Who Was Not Yet Born (fourth year, college -- hello, Dr. Polifrone's Contemporary Music class)
  • The Symphonic Style of Sergei Prokofiev (fifth year, college -- co-authored with Paige)
  • Hauptmann's Conception of Meter and Rhythm: Unification Through Hegelian Dialectics (first year, grad school -- History of Music Theory)

Although it may seem from the natural progression of these reports that I became smarter over time, I would wager that my report on squash was more useful than the one on Hauptmann's treatise, especially since it contained a recipe from the Joy of Cooking (properly cited, of course).

Eat more cheese, but stop eating cheese
Cowboys suffer domain name losses
Man With Urine Fetish Could Be Punished Under Law He Inspired

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans' Day

Happy "Realize the Uselessness of Fixed Date Holidays in Vacation Planning" Day and/or Kelley Corbett's birthday.

Mystery missile seen launched off coast
Slave-making ants target the strong, not the weak
Harford robbers planning a massive LAN party

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


5:46 AM: When it comes to encroachment, football players have nothing on Booty.

6:05 AM: Showered and ready for work.

6:14 AM: It's nice to have the sun up an hour earlier.

7:07 AM: It's not so nice to have my office in the winter, when the sun shines directly on my monitor.

9:00 AM: Someone stops by to assist with the candy removal operation.

12:32 PM: Arriving home to find Rebecca studying hard.

12:53 AM: Booty tries to convince me that it's food time by showing that her ribs can be seen through her fur.

1:52 PM: Relaxing with Minecraft.

2:39 PM: The bin Rebecca uses to keep her bags in one place and cat-hair-free is not working as intended.

4:30 PM: Raking the back yard. Guest Photographer: Rebecca

5:19 PM: Sorting through some boxes of Rebecca's stuff from her parents' house. Incidentally, when you buy lots of cheap beer for Beer Pong at your Halloween Party, and then no one plays Beer Pong, you are left with a tragically large amount.

7:07 PM: Since it would be inappropriate to have Shells and Cheese for dinner after having had it for lunch, tonight's meal is a batch of Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks with cocktail sauce.

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

Mobile phones to diagnose STDs
HP pays millions to settle school bribery charges
Mentioning old friend Jeffrey Dahmer is a sure way to get out of jury duty

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Monday, November 15, 2010

No Time for Updates

Have some babies instead.

Study finds that seeing meat calms you down
The porpoises were unavailable for comment
Wyoming pays $110,000 to trucker kidnapped by trooper

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Museday Voteday

Today's update was going to be a Museday, but then I realized that I've already written 20 excerpts this year, far more than any other year since I started in 2007. Rather than thin the competition like an absence of cornstarch in a batch of homemade eggdrop soup, I decided that I would put the existing 20 up for voting today, which will also give me a little extra time to work on the finale.

The usual drill will apply: during the month of December, I'll extend one of these works to a full-length piece about two minutes long. Vote for the one I should extend using the Poll in the right sidebar and I'll post the extended work on December 21. Any snippet with the double-thumbs-up icon next to it is eligible for your vote (these are the ones that seem to have potential for expansion, and are not necessarily the best of the bunch). If you're new here, you can get the idea of what happens by listening to the 2008 expansion, which is still my favourite. Even if the only instrument you know how to play is the radio, give a listen to the potential excerpts and vote for the one that charms you the most!

For added artistry, I have described each snippet with exactly seven words, which probably describe the excerpt more appropriately than the words that triggered their creation.

Motile: It is fugal, if not a fugue.

Bushwhacking: The fourth Indiana Jones really did suck.

Saturnine: Leonard Bernstein becomes the Sesame Street composer.

Pusillanimous: Red Rover is harder with rabid chickens.

Corrugated: Right at home in Origin's Savage Empire.

Sylvan: Link just learned to fly with leaves.

Mussiest: Never play drinking games with a walrus.

Indefatigable: Listening to Steve Reich that day.

Commodious: Let's go to a JMU Jazz Concert!

Elegiac: Grandpa sits at home alone all day.

Malarial: All the pit bulls have gone Nazi.

Invidious: Six cups of espresso and some ADD.

Fusty: As if Frowzy really needed a sequel.

Acerbic: In this DOOM level, monsters have soul.

Flinty: Chromaticism and gnomes don't mix very well.

Lissome: Blue Ribbon Brass at the Renn. Faire.

Meretricious: Spiccato and overdriven guitars: a winning combination

Vermillion: This song wouldn't improve Super Mario Sunshine.

Mendacious: Theme for the grandson of Largo LaGrande.

Captious: Capture the Flag is funner with muskets.

You can also go back and listen to Musedays from 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Volcano evacuees demand chamber of love
Alabama offers a sex-toy drive-thru
Beer lubricated the rise of civilization
Which Museday excerpt deserves a full composition?

Bushwhacking (2 votes, 33.3%)


Saturnine (0 votes, 0.0%)

Pusillanimous (0 votes, 0.0%)

Indefatigable (1 vote, 16.7%)


Malarial (0 votes, 0.0%)

Mendacious (3 votes, 50.0%)


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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weird Search Day

or "how I stumbled upon the URI! Zone"

  • ATROCIOUS HICKIES

    The capital letters may be warranted in this search query. Honestly, who would ever want to make out with a molerat?

  • fsu teacher fell off overpass on way to airport
    Unless the city of Tallahassee has recently gone through the dryer on high heat, it's a little too far to walk to the airport, so it's unlikely that a stereotypically out-of-shape academic would try. Besides the dangers of overpasses, you'd also face a myriad of challenges such as panhandlers, stretches of vacant lots and strip clubs, and the unruly students at Florida A&M.

  • making a hamburger assembly line with vanilla wafers for fourth grade economics
    Approximating the Industrial Revolution with vanilla wafers is like rounding pi to ten digits with a custard pie and all of your fingers. To really drive this lesson home, why not have the students create actual hamburgers? Most of the boy students will catch salmonella from handling the raw meat and picking their noses, leading to an overabundance of girls and various state-sponsored reproductive laws, and then BANG, you've also taught them about China. When class is over, you can also sell the hamburgers to the cafeteria, retaining all profits and forcing the selfsame students to purchase them for lunch, and BANG, the kids have learned about sweat shops.

  • brawl at kathys wedding

    After the amount of alcohol consumed by Table Eleven, I'm surprised that a brawl was not inevitable.

  • If somehow a ping pong ball should make its way into your rectum
    Is this the start of a poem? According to RhymeZone, there are no "perfect rhymes" for rectum, which is peculiar since, by its very nature, a rectum is the perfect end to a couplet.

    Seek medical attention immediately, for any tears will infect'em.

  • Sample quiz for Why should juvenile deliquents be thankful at Thanksgiving?
    On Thanksgiving Day, where would you prefer to be?
      A) Under supervised house arrest for that crack but far from recidivism.
      B) Baked for three hours, but at 325 degrees, not in the good way.
      C) Catching airborne contagions from some Puritans.

  • Man seeks Obama, Jesus restraining orders
    Paris bitten by New York-style bed bug scare
    Vending machine recommends drinks to buyers

    tagged as website, searches | permalink | 2 comments

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Quick List Day: The Only Occasions When I Swear

    • Accidentally biting my lip with great force

    • Participating in the "1-2-3-Shit" football cheer.

    • Stubbing my toe

    • Hanging around with Kelley Corbett

    • Hanging around with Mike Catania

    • Anytime I reflexively think something will hurt horribly before my brain realizes that it was barely a scratch

    • Getting disconnected from a particularly intense game of Warsong Gulch

    GOP Frosh: Where's my health care?
    Evidence that we can see the future?
    TSA investigating "Junk" passenger

    tagged as lists | permalink | 3 comments

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Friday Fragments

    better Nate than lever

    ♠ The diligent readers with incredibly little to do at their jobs have probably noticed that the daily update has slipped later and later in the day since midweek. This is not a trend I intend to embrace -- it's just been one of those weeks where I'm filled with brilliantly brilliant ideas to write about during the day, and then zero motivation to prepare an update when I get home at night. This should improve next week, as the holidays approach. You may even get to see one of those near extinct post-types: the Newsday Tuesday.

    ♠ When not avoiding the duties of updating this web page like a grandfather without Ex-lax or Metamucil, I've been releasing a new patch for DDMSence, eating tons of leftover turkey, refreshing my memory on the first season of Dollhouse so I can start watching the second, and exercised Booty using nothing but a shoelace from a pair of sneakers I wore in 2004.

    ♠ Booty often complains that she does not get as much screen time in the URI! Zone as she used to, although if I were to give her a guest column on a occasion, it would merely be a positive feedback loop for getting fat and sleeping. This is to be expected though, since I followed much of the same routine when I was 8 years old, although no one had to express my anal glands.

    ♠ I have a feeling that "anal glands" are the only construct which have never been expressed in poem form. No doubt, that poem will take shape as soon as someone can invent a perfect rhyme for "rectum".

    ♠ A surprising number of posts managed to incorporate some scatalogical references this week, making the URI! Zone like the Rick Steves of online weblogs. I promise that all of next week's posts will stay far from the back door.

    ♠ Plans for the weekend include setting up our (fake) Christmas tree, an action which is apparently three months late according to the shelf inventory at Costco. I'll also do some raking and cooking when not sleeping or talking about back doors.

    ♠ Have a great weekend! Don't forget to vote in the Museday Tuesday poll!

    Fake doctor jailed for giving breast exams in bars
    Undertakers offer coffins for the gay market
    Man shoots TV over Palin success

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Weekend Wrap-up

    We did not get a chance to set up the fake Christmas tree this weekend, although our experiments in the lab did lead to the creation of a two-headed cat. This feline chimera occurs when you invite scary people over and then block all of the hiding places under the couch with pillows except for one. We also started watching the second season of Dollhouse, which led to interesting philosophical discussions about what would happen if you imprinted a human personality into a kitty.

    On Saturday night, we went to the new Japanese restaurant in Herndon, Nippon Japanese Restaurant, whose only claim to fame so far is existing "behind the McDonald's". Our meal of soups, sakes, sushi, and sesame ice cream was delicious, and well worth the price -- this may end up becoming our go-to place for sushi (besides the cost-effective mass-produced packs at Costco). Also, unlike the neighbourhood Omia's and a hole-in-the-wall Peruvian place we went last week, there were actually other people eating in the restaurant at the same time as us, a thrilling social achievement.

    Today, I'll be busy counting up all of the votes in the Museday Tuesday poll, which shouldn't take much time at all since only two people have voted so far. This is my passive-aggressive approach to soliciting more votes, and also works in any peer pressure situation.

    Clown robs woman on the pot
    From Walmart to the strip club
    Top 48 ads that would never be allowed today

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    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Almost Newsday Tuesday

    The triumphant return of Newsday was going to cover West Potomac's recent decision to let cheaters retake tests, following closely on the heels of the decision to more closely emulate child sports (where everyone gets a paper plate award and no one is special) by replacing F's with Incompletes on report cards. However, I was robbed of this material by the principal's decision to reverse both policies. Once again common sense gets in the way of humour.

    I'm not surprised at the reports of inexorably increasing levels of cheating in schools. Many of the average students I've gone to school with or taught over the years couldn't think their way out of a mime's box, and Internet searches from desperate musicians trying to cheat their way through MacGamut or Practica Musica for basic ear-training assignments continues to be the number one way that new visitors reach this site.

    If I ever have enough contiguous free time, my goal is to open up an Internet content mill filled with all sorts of incorrect, yet correctly cited, research, which I can then observe as it propogates through student papers. Then, far in the future when there are flux capacitors, my incorrect research will be the germinating seed of some history textbook in Texas.

    Official misspeaks, seeks more sex stories
    Parental food nagging may lead to fussy eaters
    Debt collectors use Facebook to embarass

    tagged as newsday | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Memory Day: Report Cards as a Predictor of Future Success

    alternately titled "Squash"

    First Grade (Mrs. McClung)

    Tragically, my handwriting never did improve, so Mrs. McClung passed away with unresolved wishes, and probably haunts the perpetually-construction-afflicted elementary school where she taught. In addition, never again did I read at an exponential level.

    Third Grade (Mrs. Hutt)

    He was always a good citizen, except for the time you accused him of stealing a dollar from that other kid and called him a liar, but what else can be expected from a teacher that interchanges adjectives with nouns? Fortunately, today, my scholship is THROUGH THE ROOF!

    Fourth Grade (Mrs. Sharkey)

    I can't decide whether Mrs. Sharkey really thought I liked steak sauce, or she tried to write "a wonderful", got confused by our lesson on homophones, and had to try again on line two. In any case, I plan to reuse this blurb in its entirety for the movie poster when the movie of my life is released.

    Fifth Grade (Mr. Ferris)

    This was the year I discovered that you could get out of class by being in the band. My two absences from "physical science" class and rolling balls down inclines warranted a phone call home. I never did like that science teacher, but as penance, I ultimately took a cumulative 3 years of Physics classes, a testament to my unlimited potential (energy).

    Sixth Grade (Mrs. Turner)

    Even today I make careless mistakes out the ass, since I tend to bring something to completion and then drop it completely (see also, any of my musical compositions). My website updates are often rife with typos and grammatical errors, which is why God invented Rob Kelley.

    TSA Chief apologizes for induced shower
    German couple in court over 'squeaky bedsprings' sex
    Classic Thanksgiving Dessert A Turn-On, Study Says

    tagged as memories, media | permalink | 2 comments

    Thursday, November 25, 2010
    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Weekend Wrap-up

    Among the activities which took place this holiday weekend:

    • Thanksgiving lasagna

    • A Relational Database Model for DDMS

    • Steak Diane and Kahlua Cocoa cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory

    • A decorated Christmas tree and associated wise men

    • Game Night at Anna & Ben's

    • Re-raking the back yard

    • The end of Dollhouse

    Italy PM replaces penis on statue, angers experts
    Government Workers Driving Nukes Got Drunk
    Money can't buy you love - or social skills

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

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Time-lapsed Blogography Day

    BU in the days before blogs

    Fifteen years ago, on November 30, 1995, I was a senior at T.C. Williams High School. I had a Calculus exam in Mr. Kokonis' class during 5th period which was interrupted by a fire drill, but otherwise the day was rather dull. After school, I was playing around in a very early edition of Finale (before they started versioning them with years and trying to convince me that music notation in 2007 was radically different from music notation in 2006 and worth $150) and wrote the first bars of what would eventually become the jazz band chart, Neckbone. This chart was performed at least four times, putting it ahead of most of the fare found in an Undergraduate Composers' Forum.

    Eleven years ago, on November 30, 1999, I had my usual Shultz dining hall lunch of macaroni and cheese, pizza, nachos and cheese, with a side of bacon and a glass of lemonade while mostly enjoying the company of Liz, Doobie, Kelley, Shac, and Jason Chrisley. It was my fourth year at Virginia Tech, which meant it was time for the first of Kelley's innumerable recitals -- I was responsible for the poop-quality recital poster as well as page-turning for the accompanist. After the recital, we all went to Philip's -- he was blessed with our company quite frequently, being the only friend who had an off-campus townhouse within walking distance.

    Nine years ago, on November 30, 2001, I was in my first year of grad school at Florida State (pre-Booty). In the morning, I gave my presentation on Hauptmann's Conception of Rhythm and Meter to a forcefully enthralled History of Music Theory classroom. The gist of Hauptmann's work was simple: A perfect fifth "sort of" cuts an octave in half, and a perfect fith can "sort of" be cut in half by a major third, so hundreds of pages of musical numerology facts can kind of be derived from these rigid rules in a mostly mathematical manner (as long as you are comfortable assuming that 3 is a happy number and 2 is the numeric equivalent to "sad"). After lunch, a critical mass of composers ended up in the ampitheatre where we usually congregated (probably because it was too nice a day to be inside pretending to compose, which is what composers usually do), and someone had the bright idea of taking the new composition professor, Dr. Wingate, out for happy hour. I tagged along, thinking it would a good way to broaden my composer horizons and learn a few things, but it ultimately turned into complaining hour about the music theory department, not unlike any given night at Mike's apartment.



    Tiny House Movement Thrives Amid Real Estate Bust
    Spanish woman claims ownership of the Sun
    60-day spud-a-thon at an end

    tagged as memories | permalink | 5 comments

     

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