This Day In History: 01/13

Sunday, January 13, 2002

I think too much when I compose these days. Sometimes I yearn for the naive days of my youth where I could just write notes that felt right, without overtly worrying about craft. It seems that the obstacles between inspiration and the written score increase as you learn more about writing. You'd think it should get easier, the more you know...

Prince Harry is a Pothead .

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Monday, January 13, 2003

There was a great payoff to an ongoing plot on Alias last night. All of the actors are strong, but Ron Rifkin especially did a good job in this storyline. It's too bad that more people don't tune in; it's an excellent show that's not just a spy thriller. It manages to create complex character studies against a backdrop that just happens to be the spy world. Of course it doesn't help that ABC does a horrible job of promoting it. Besides leading in with an old Disney cartoon classic every week, they also put together the most ridiculous screen teasers that make the show look juvenile and shallow. I wouldn't blame anyone who's ever seen an episoder trailer from dismissing the show as crap.

I subbed in two sections of written theory I this morning, and even though I like teaching it, I'm glad that I don't have to do it three days a week anymore. It is nice to be respected by the students though; all the students I taught today are also in my sightsinging classes, and most were in Fundamentals last semester.

I saw a flyer up advertising the FSU Korean Ensemble today. I don't think I've ever seen anyone play a Korean in an ensemble setting. I bet you have to be pretty good to solo.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I've never understood why many mail programs default to replying at the top of the page. Granted, reverse order threading is common on sites with daily updates such as this one, but one of the best features of e-mail is that you can retain an easy-to-read format of a back and forth conversation. Replying at the top of the letter, while convenient for the reader, renders the e-mail pretty useless for archiving later on.

Recently, I picked up Diablo II again, to see whether the last patch was worth the two year wait. It adds a few interesting twists on the game, but nothing that dramatically changes any dynamics. Overall, the game's pretty much the same as it was -- a little shallow but addicting.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    farseer harass, vinny ensuelo, doctors decided to leave the bullet, does music affect math tests, what makes people temperamental, Monarch Publishing, high school slang

It's time for the 17-year cicadas
Forty years on a golf course is "living off the land" becomes anti-Bush powerhouse
Filling a computer with potatos not covered under warranty

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

A few months ago, I listened to First of the Gang to Die by Morrissey and thought it was catchy with a very unique lead voice, even though it was kind of a stupid song. Based on that, I picked up two Morrissey CDs out of a bargain bin, You are the Quarry and The Best of Morrissey. After listening to these, I can say that Morrissey is the king of pretentious, unmemorable music. He wastes his great voice on pointless anti-establishment songs with lyrics like these:

    America your head's too big, Because America, Your belly's too big
    And I love you, I just wish you'd stay where you is

    In America, The land of the free, they said, And of opportunity, In a just and a truthful way
    But where the president, Is never black, female or gay, And until that day
    You've got nothing to say to me, To help me believe

    In America, It brought you the hamburger, Well America you know where, You can shove your hamburger
    And don't you wonder, Why in Estonia they say, Hey you, Big fat pig
    You fat pig, You fat pig

    Steely Blue eyes with no love in them, Scan The World,
    And a humourless smile, With no warmth within, Greets the world
    And I, I have got nothing, To offer you
    Just this heart deep and true, Which you say you don't need

    See with your eyes, Touch with your hands, please, Hear through your ears, Know in your soul, please
    For haven't you me with you now?
    And I love you, I love you, I love you, And I love you, I love you, I love you

    - America is Not the World

I've listened to the Best Of CD three times now and can't recall a single melody. The Quarry CD is more catchy but the lyrics really kill it. I guess the lyrics one listener might claim as thoughtfully deep can be heard by another listener as cringingly bad. It's a shame that such a great sound is wasted on these songs.

Morrissey has also caught the U2 bug, as evidenced in his liner notes:

    As a lyricist, singer, and performer, Morrissey has created a mythology unrivaled in popular music . . . increasingly, when one thinks about Morrissey's conversion from pop start into an entire cultural brand, it is tempting to make comparisons with Andy Warhol . . . One day there will most probably be a Faculty of Morrissey Studies in more than one distinguished seat of learning.

Here are some more sound clips so you can draw your own conclusions.

All the Lazy Dykes (391KB MP3)
How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel? (469KB MP3)
I Have Forgiven Jesus (453KB MP3)

Alias and Lost were both excellent last night. It's amazing how much new information Lost can keep providing viewers without actually giving a definitive answer on anything.

Morrissey on
Family disowns tsunami liar
Virginia rodeo gets unexpected song rendition

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday Fragments

  • I've already received several calls from talent scouts about the music video I posted yesterday. VH1 wants to feature me on a box of Totino's Pizzas, alligator purses, and a line of wheelbarrows. American Idol, here I come!

  • I like to think that there's a big fat guy sitting right in front of Alito in this picture, and no one can see around him. Or the room is spinning like a tilt-a-whirl.

  • It's been years since I added anything to the Olio section, so I thought I'd mix things up by posting this article my dad sent me last month . It's about the many legal troubles surrounding Virginia Tech's Audubon Quartet. It comes from the New York Times, but it's no longer available online anywhere.

  • CNN must be trying something new to catch visitors' eyes -- "Watch: Colin Farrell sex tape hits the Internet". I wonder how many CNN readers actually clicked the link on their home page in hopes of watching the Colin Farrell sex tape. How do all these celebrities keep on losing their sex tapes? Did they just forget and leave them in the VCRs when the maid came? Wouldn't they be worried about accidentally taping over it when the next Survivor is on?

  • So Howard Stern has moved over to Sirius now, where he doesn't have to worry about censorship . I've never heard his show, only read about it in its periodic controversies, but doesn't moving to satellite radio mean that he's giving up the one advantage that makes his show unique? Now that he can say whatever he wants and it isn't the little guy fighting against the big censoring corporation, where's the drama and the forbidden nature of the show? Sometimes a bleeped out word is funnier than actual swearing, just as a partially clothed Woman of the Gap is more eye-catching than a totally naked woman.

  • I mentioned Women of the Gap because people keep searching Google for "nude women of the gap" and arriving at my site. This will trick them even more. Also if you're looking for "nude pics of Harrison Ford" you won't find those here either. Take that, Google.

  • My company sent some people to some eye-catching conference out in California where we set up this futuristic-looking booth. I think this means we're a big deal now. You can always judge a company by how much of their booth is made out of corrugated cardboard and printed PowerPoint slides. A higher percentage of these raw goods means your company isn't so hot. Chrome and alumninum, though -- that means your company is a great company with great skills and it's gonna do great.

  • There's also some new kitty pictures on the Photos page showing Kitty and Sydney's second visit in two weeks to my lovely palatial estate. There was a minimum of growling this time around, so apparently feline short-term memories last longer than one week.

  • This Sunday night we'll be going to see Les Miserables on its final tour to Washington D.C. It should be a good show, but I promise not to wax poetic for a week following the performance -- I already did that in 2002, and as you know, the URI! Zone consists wholly of original ideas.

  • When I was in Macaroni Grill last Saturday night, I went to the bathroom (as I am sometimes wont to do at restaurants). Over the typical Macaroni Grill accordian music, they were playing simple English phrases and how you would say them in Italian. I entered the bathroom to the disembodied voice saying, "I would like another meatball, please." I don't remember how that's said in Italian, because I have an ADD personality, and cannot pee and learn at the same time.

  • There were also old people sitting down to a big family dinner at 10:30 PM, probably following the showing of some movie. I thought old people just fell asleep on the couch at 8:17 during Survivor -- I didn't know they were social.

  • I started signing all my emails with "BU" around April of 1997 according to my old email archives. Before that I actually wrote "Brian". How weird is that? I also used to use "Cheers," instead of "Regards,".

  • It now costs 39 cents to mail a letter instead of 37. They should just increase the cost of junk mail and business mail while keeping the personal rate at 25 cents. Seriously, how many people not in a nursing home actually write real letters anymore? I also have to decide whether it's worth it to buy eight 2-cent stamps to use up the remainder of my old stamps, or if I should just stick them all on Booty's back and watch her walk in circles trying to get them off.

  • Why does every yuppy town have to have a strip mall with a clock tower? Does anyone use the clock tower to tell time? My feeling is that you should have to go the whole nine yards if you're going to build a clock tower that looks like a Red Roof Inn -- little gnomes that pop out every hour and tiny Dutch boys chasing tiny Dutch girls around on a revolving track.

  • After getting kicked off the team for stomping on someone's leg in the Gator Bowl, Marcus Vick got arrested for flashing a gun at a McDonald's in Hampton. There really can't be much going on upstairs with that kid. I hope they don't let him into the NFL and he starts giving interviews on how the man is trying to keep him down. That would be entertainment .

  • Have a great weekend! I haven't decided if I'm going to take Monday off (since I was sick two days this week), but give me a better offer and I'll consider it.

  • Mary Poppins trapped in a wall
    Cow on the moove spared
    Why it's better to wave

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    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Newsday Tuesday

    Top Army recruiter weighs fat camp for recruits

    The Army has been dismissing so many overweight applicants that its top recruiter, trying to keep troop numbers up in wartime, is considering starting a fat farm to transform chubby trainees into svelte soldiers.

    The Army tried a similar approach with a series of "Don't Be Gay" camps in the mid '90s, although the success rate from those camps was 0% -- by attending the camps, young people were implicitly breaking the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rules and forced to leave the service.

    [Maj. Gen. Thomas] Bostick told The Associated Press that obesity looms as "a bigger challenge for us in the years ahead" than any other problem that keeps young people from entering the military, including lack of a GED or high school diploma, misconduct or criminal behavior and other health issues such as eye or ear problems.

    Based on complex computer simulations of this data, various draft-dodging websites have now reported that the least draftable profession would be that of a fat deaf pirate, because of their girth, eyepatch, lack of formal education, and their antisocial thievery.

    The Defense Department has announced plans to boost the active duty Army by 65,000 to a total of 547,000 soldiers by next year, and grow the Marines from 175,000 to 202,000 by 2011.

    It seems like they're taking the incorrect approach in the Marine garden -- instead of growing MORE Marines, they should just be growing bigger ones. Servicemen who have a few extra pounds will seem more intimidating to the enemy, and come with their own built-in body armor that's much cheaper than standard issue. With a little scientific research, we could create an army of obese soldiers with plenty of padding and an impenetrable exoskeleton. The Army's R&D branch states that they are already making progress in this arena, although they are currently waiting for the patent to expire on KFC's Extra Crispy recipe.

    Obesity afflicts recruits for other physically demanding jobs, including firefighters. Deputy Chief Ed Nied, chair of the safety, health and survival section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, said fire departments are also making a "major push" to encourage better fitness among young people who want to join.

    Deputy Chief Nied is rethinking his "major push" approach after hearing reports about the detrimental effects on firehouse floors from obese firefighters who were pushed down the pole.

    [...] Bostick said a slim-down camp could be part of the new Army Prep School at Fort Jackson, S.C. The school opened in August, and gives recruits who didn't graduate from high school the chance to earn a GED before starting their nine weeks of basic training.

    It is at this camp where recruits retake the classes they failed in high school. Real life applications are stressed, such as geometry lessons on pyramids, and peer mediation lessons about friendly fire.

    "We are getting heavier as a nation as far as our young people are concerned," [recruiter Darryl] Bogan said.

    Bogan's conclusions are based on a recent study that shows that obese Americans now outweigh the merely overweight which put large people on one side of a scale and larger people on the other, then determined which side weighed more. The rest of the research grant was spent on alcohol and women.

    One of Bogan's recruits, 18-year-old Idalia Halley, was shocked when she found she was a few pounds too heavy to enter boot camp. [...] On her second try, Halley said she weighed in at 162 pounds and logged a 30 percent rate of body fat to meet the Army's standard. "I know I've lost some weight because I have to pull my pants up tighter," the Army private said. "And besides, I don't think the food's all that great ? except breakfast."

    In all likelihood, the Army could increase the number of recruits, simply by advertising how good their breakfast is. Everyone loves breakfast, even skinny people.

    Mexico's worst bureaucracy stories
    Computer geeks learn to flirt
    Scary crucifix removed from church

    tagged as newsday | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Memory Day: Army Men

    Like most young lads who grew up in the 80s before toys were a garish mash of retarded Power Rangers and Pokemon, the core unit of outdoor play was the Army Man. Arriving from China in thick plastic bags hanging off the ends of the aisles at Best Company in Shirlington, these crudely stamped lumps were probably the Chicken McNuggets of the plastic industry, but they provided hours of fun even if they were poisonous to touch or eat.

    As a child of an economist growing up in the House of the Rising Sum, my army men never had any quality of craftmanship, but this was offset by the fact that I had millions of them -- every time there was a sale of 100 men for a dollar, that was the bag I received. On the plus side, this meant that I could stage battles of epic proportions, but the negative aspect of this was that the men in one set were a different size from another set, so I usually had to fight battles of giants versus dwarfs (or World War III: America vs. North Korea, as I would call it today).

    Each set of army men came in a basic set of poses. You had the radio man, the grenadier, the officer, the squatting shooter (which is also a toilet game in India), and the standing shooter. There were also several gunners lying in the mud, which could be "pretended" into wall climbers in a pinch.

    One of my sets had the army man shown on the left, and it was either supposed to be a poor rendition of someone surrendering, or "The Todd" in Army duds perpetually frozen in high-five formation. Unfortunately, there was only one in the set, so he was left hanging for eternity.

    Because most of the household toy-money was spent on Lego sets featuring two interlocking squares and eight thousand custom pieces that didn't fit into any other set, corners had to be cut in the outdoor toy arena. When I fell in love with a $60 army base with moving bridges and ramps, my dad built a base himself and painted it green. This product was probably more durable than the original but looked less like an army base and more like a two-story parking garage.

    Later, there were no army men for sale, but there WAS a giant bag of red, blue, and black robots. This definitely did not appeal to my sense of play. In my world, there was no mixing Legos from different sets, or crossing the beams between history and sci-fi, and the robots were usually relegated to the back of the shed where they gathered spiderwebs and spricket poop.

    I still have a plastic bag containing a complete regiment of higher quality men, another regiment that looks like it barely survived the war with the plastic stamping machine, a few robots, and a battalion of Matchbox cars in the basement, and last night, they went on safari.

    Amber won.

    Student apologizes for peeing on nativity scene
    Neighbours balk at feritility-music biz
    Cougars not welcome on Carnival cruises

    tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    I was initially biased against this movie, based on the ridiculous trailers featuring Leo proclaiming, "I can get inside your mind!" while obligatory CGI was obligatory. The fact that the trailer premiered during the awful LOST finale didn't help its case. The movie adheres to the Moulin Rouge school of cinematography, where the first fifteen minutes are full of quick cuts and nonsensical actions before they calm the eff down and start explaining at a slower pace.

    At the end of the movie, I was pleasantly surprised with how coherent and followable everything was. This is no Memento -- although the subject matter requires some brain power, I don't feel the need to go back and rewatch it again just to pick up on missed threads, and I was satisfied with the story told and the ending. Definitely worth a viewing.

    Final Grade: A-

    24, Season Eight:
    24 was always the go-to show for mindless entertainment back when Anna lived here, but we were never able to get through the illogical sixth season together. I finally picked it back up last year, greatly enjoyed the seventh season, and finished the final season just last weekend. There are no new plot devices here, and it's mainly a retread of "ideas that worked" from older seasons, but it's all well-done enough to keep you involved. I'd rank this as good as the 4th and 5th seasons, but not as good as the 7th. In addition, the finale ends "as it should" without any hints of metaverses, purgatory, or dead wives.

    Final Grade: B+

    Songs for the Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age:
    I got this CD for Christmas after liking the single, No One Knows, but unfortunately, that single is the most relatable song on the album. The rest veers heavily towards death metal, featuring heavily distorted guitars mirroring bass lines over repetitive chromatic step lines. They sound like Muse, with more shouting and testosterone and less harmony, and this isn't a good thing. There's also an overuse of useless interludes between songs, as if the album is being played by a radio DJ. I want music, not segues!

    Final Grade: D+

    Kinder Surprise egg seized at U.S. border
    A Walled Wide Web for Nervous Autocrats
    Cross-eyed opossum capturing hearts

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Stuff in My Drawers Day

    I regularly thin the population of my file cabinets to make room for new useless junk. On Wednesday, I came very close to trashing 2 1/2 inches of awards and certificates from elementary school through college, some of which I highlighted in this post. I ended up keeping them at the behest of Rebecca, since we figured that they would be a good way to develop complexes in our future children.

    Among the things which did not make the "save for later" cut:

    • Back issues of the Boy Scout Troop 131 Newsletter, The Buffalo Chip.
    • Black and white photos showing an absence of wildlife in Huntley Meadows Park, taken for the Nature merit badge.
    • Triplicate copies of college applications for Virginia Tech, UVa, James Madison, and William and Mary.
    • Virginia Wine brochures from 2008 and 2009.
    • A collection of student evaluation forms from Florida State (called SUSSAI forms because SUSSAI sounds like SUICIDE, and the instructors can probably recognize your handwriting) which spend more time bashing the Practica Musica ear training software than discussing my teaching.

    Occupy squalor: The ultimate test for helicopter parents
    NYC subway workers running "rate my rat" contest

    tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

    Monday, January 13, 2014

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    8:15 AM: Late breakfast, after the previous evening's birthday party.

    8:46 AM: Morning exercise.

    9:23 AM: Finally awake and showered.

    10:13 AM: The outdoor Christmas lights finally come down.

    11:04 AM: Tearing down the Christmas tree.

    12:00 PM: Back from a Safeway run.

    12:27 PM: Pot pie for lunch.

    1:45 PM: Learning about the Java Persistence API.

    2:32 PM: Starting the fourth season of Justified.

    4:31 PM: Rebecca, returned home from her yoga workshop, knits with Booty.

    6:21 PM: Dinner at A Taste of Burma.

    7:08 PM: In search of the healthiest unhealthy snack.

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    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:08 AM: Ready to go.
    5:31 AM: Arriving in my office.
    7:00 AM: Basking in the warm glow of an SSH terminal window.
    12:04 PM: Pulling up behind this wonderful parking job.
    12:15 PM: Fried chicken for lunch.
    12:34 PM: Lunch for kitties.
    12:45 PM: Back to work.
    3:54 PM: Doing Hearthstone quests.
    4:15 PM: Running and watching Lilyhammer.
    6:45 PM: Preparing some shrimp for dinner.
    7:03 PM: Shrimp alfredo on a bed of pasta with a side salad and a Belgian quad.
    7:45 PM: Booty itches.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 4 comments

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

    Memory Day: Snapshots

    This photo was taken 26 years ago, in the spring of 1990. The T-shirt came from a promotional event where Arnold Schwarzenegger led local students in some calisthenics on the White House lawn.

    I wasn't particularly fit (other than some impressive Sit N' Reach scores) but I was Asian, and that was good enough for the press. The stylish socks and British Knights were typical of that era, and I remembered that one sock in the pair always refused to stay up due to the cheap elastic around the top.

    tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, January 13, 2017

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:56 AM: Showered and ready for work.
    5:58 AM: Arrived in the office after a long commute.
    7:02 AM: Working while Booty licks.
    8:00 AM: Quick breakfast break.
    9:30 AM: Back to work, sitting.
    11:37 AM: Lunchtime.
    12:00 PM: Back to work, standing.
    12:15 PM: Rebecca leaves for work.
    4:00 PM: Level 459 in Overwatch.
    5:29 PM: Exercising and rewatching the pilot of Sneaky Pete.
    6:03 PM: Giant burrito of leftover taco meat for dinner.
    10:01 PM: Booty lurks, telepathically telling me to get off the computer and feed her.

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    Monday, January 13, 2020

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

    7:32 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
    7:44 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
    9:14 AM: Waiting for Maia to wake up.
    9:32 AM: Good morning!
    9:59 AM: Rebecca brings home bonus McDonald's after yoga.
    11:48 AM: At Briarpatch Park after a cancelled pool party (Maia was devastated that the pool was closed for maintenance -- it was like the Wally World scene at the end of the movie, Vacation).
    1:42 PM: Lunchtime smoothies.
    2:28 PM: Running on the treadmill and watching the second season of Good Girls.
    4:34 PM: Clearly, today's nap involved between 0 and 0.0001 seconds of sleeping.
    5:07 PM: Maia wants a picture of her and mommy on the big, cozy bed.
    6:11 PM: Solo dad dinner at Burton's.
    7:33 PM: Brushing teeth for bedtime.

    This is the first 12 of 12 where I've only used my phone to take pictures. Honestly, it's not noticeably worse than the stone-aged camera!

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 0 comments

    Wednesday, January 13, 2021

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

    6:10 AM: Showered and ready for work.
    6:21 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
    8:36 AM: Checking in with Amber.
    9:06 AM: Monkey breakfast.
    11:51 AM: Working lunch.
    12:53 PM: Running on the treadmill while watching the 5th season of The Expanse.
    2:45 PM: Making more maps for Maia to download onto her Sheikah Slate (the Christmas ornament in her right hand) before quiet time.
    5:04 PM: Recreating Bunny Peak in real life.
    5:18 PM: Marinated pork chops and cheesy brussel sprouts for dinner.
    5:46 PM: Family dinner.
    6:32 PM: Excited to watch me play Zelda before bedtime.
    8:56 PM: Ending the night with a game of Azul.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, January 13, 2023

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

    6:00 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
    6:11 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
    6:56 AM: Working in my recently rearranged office.
    8:04 AM: Good morning!
    9:38 AM: Deaf Amber forgets where she is every 15 minutes, meows to leave my home office, then remembers that she'd rather be in here and meows even louder to come back in.
    10:40 AM: Exercise break while watching 1899.
    12:40 PM: Panera for lunch (Maia was home for the 3rd day in a row, recovering from some bug).
    2:25 PM: Everyone is playing Sushi Go.
    2:46 PM: Quiet time on the couch.
    4:11 PM: Ian likes car-watching over the Toll Road.
    4:45 PM: Riding the Silver Line to Ashburn and back. (Ian's first trip on a train). I love that the 2nd phase of the Silver Line includes unlocked bathrooms in the stations.
    6:50 PM: Toothbrush time is gettin' weird.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments


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