This Day In History: 03/13

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

The story at Cheney Daily finally ended yesterday and the site was immediately taken down. The registration for the site seems to be slated for the 23rd, and I guess the owner just got tired of updating. It's too bad it couldn't have ended a little better though. There was far too much left unresolved, and no sort of climax at all. Perhaps someday it will reappear as an archive somewhere for people who never got a chance to read it.

Tallahassee employs a Spanish moss picker. This morning, I saw him drive down the median in his sporty tractor, picking up dropped Spanish moss with a set of litter tongs. Of course, he left all the litter where it was.

Enough of the flute; it's time for drum patches now. Here's a MIDI excerpt from a theme of Doom ][ with the standard MIDI drum kit and then the "Power" kit of the SC-8850.

    Soundblaster Live! (MP3, 864KB)
    SC-8850 (MP3, 864KB)

LA pissed at Britney
Pop queen Britney Spears fled for cover after having urine thrown at her as she filmed a TV ad. The star was bombed with buckets of urine by angry neighbours as she sang on location in the early hours of the morning, according to the News of the World.

Residents staged their protest at around 4am in downtown Los Angeles, hurling bucket-loads at the 21-year-old singer as she performed in the street below. - recounted at Portal of Evil news

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Thursday, March 13, 2003

We watched two movies last night, Joy Ride, and The Ring. The latter was billed as the scariest movie of all time and did have its moments, but ultimately didn't live up to all the hype (kind of like Blair Witch Project). The first was a fun enough thriller/road-trip movie for a couple hours of entertainment.

In case of nuclear radiation, stand directly behind your door, but do not open the door, even if the radiation knocks.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
MOAB tested 100 miles west of Marsh Sands Beach

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Saturday, March 13, 2004

No big update because I'm going to be down in Colonial Beach for most of the day.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    lerky, michelle cao, zippy the turtle, gorilla:scientific name, hats novelty spam, chords september earth wind and fire, dokschitzer

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Monday, March 13, 2006

I managed to claw my way into second place at Saturday Night Poker With Special Guest Appearance By Florida People, despite a pokerial advisor who constantly told me that the smartest investment was to go all-in, and the time I folded a pair of threes which became three of a kind on the river. This was the first game I'd gotten higher than 3rd place in the Poker Night 2006 series, which allowed me to get my ten bucks back and break even for the night (or as even as possible after all those eat-monsters ate all my popcorn and cookies).

I bet I could actually be pretty good at poker if I ever applied myself, since I have a math minor from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and I got a B+ in that math class about the woodpeckers and the holes (maybe it was pigeons). The problem though, is that I find it more exciting to play dangerously so I rarely ever play it smart. And on the nights where I do play it smart, I'm thwarted by all-around bad cards, who apparently don't want me to win.

I'm going to start keeping track of who wins and loses again even though all of last year's stats met an untimely demise in a freak accident involving an eraser and the dry-erase board. I could create a bunch of complex tables and pie charts and then take pictures of everyone who wins, but that gimmick's already been done on other sites and everyone who comes to my games hates getting their picture taken anyhow. I don't understand why though -- aren't these the hottest men and women you've ever seen outside of a magazine spread?

Happy "Amber has lived here for one year" week! Last year at this time, I was taking my yearly week off from work and staying home in Sterling, since Anna and Ben screwed up our annual OBX week by getting married and all that. As if Jamaica was that much better than Duck. This year's OBX week is thankfully alive and well -- only nineteen more weeks to go!

Glasses that warn you when both you and your partner are alcoholics
Introducing: The Bacon-Wrapped Doughnut Burger
He's a hardened criminal

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

4:13 5:13 AM: The New and Improved Daylight Savings Time can eat me. I'm going back to bed.

5:57 AM: After sleeping for an extra fifteen minutes, there's no time for the monthly "Draw a Hat on the Mirror" photo shoot. There's always time for the brushing of the teeth (or "tooting the kazoo" as they say in some rural areas when your toothbrush is as big as mine).

6:04 AM: An artsy-fartsy shot, symbolic of the fact that where I'm going is much the same as where I've been (except that there are no annoying high beams where I'm going).

6:21 AM: You can tell that the corporate computers are high-tech because we have to spring ahead manually.

6:34 AM: Another artsy shot, taken in the fifth floor kitchen, which is symbolic of the fact that I'm going to have some hot chocolate.

7:28 AM: Sunrise comes so late now that it's not even sporting to try and catch a picture of it.

12:25 PM: Having a sandwich for lunch and reading the Post.

1:12 PM: I took a half day today so I could get some painting done in the afternoon. Most of the house is in a state of disarray at the moment.

BONUS: The bonus picture this month was supposed to be "Green", but these bars are actually PUFFIN BAY GREY. It's not easy being green... colourblind. Maybe the new light fixture will make you green with envy.

4:39 PM: The painting venture was a success, and now my walls and both cats are a pleasing NOUGAT flavour.

6:36 PM: Off to Falls Church for Spaghetti Night and some miscellaneous gallivanting.

7:49 PM: Having my patented spaghetti with secret Komodo Dragon sauce for dinner.

11:08 PM: Booty keeps me company while I upload my photos. The beds were temporarily stacked here so the other rooms could be painted. There may or may not be a pea at the bottom.

See my entries from January and February here:. See more 12 of 12ers at Chad Darnell's site!

Crikey, it looks just like him.
Fire extinguisher essential to stopping meth fire
Stolen diamond shows up in prison shower

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Review Day

Egg Cooker:
This little device was a gift from my mom, advertised as being able to consistently create soft and hard-boiled eggs in the microwave. Hard-boiled eggs are easy enough on the stove -- you just boil an egg and forget about it for awhile. The real test for this device was soft-boiled eggs which, in the hands of a stove charlatan, can either be too runny or too cooked.

Setup was simple, although the instructions did not include my microwave wattage, so I had to guess. The first test of two eggs failed: one egg exploded in the microwave and the other was barely cooked at all. The second test was only slightly better: one egg shattered but didn't explode, and the other came out perfectly. With a little more experimentation, I bet I could find a sweet spot, but cooking eggs on the stove is faster and not so messy. Only shell out the bucks for this if you fail at stove-operation or you'll end up with egg on your face (the yolk's on you!).

Final Grade: B-

American Gangster:
Denzel Washington as a Brooklyn drug lord is pursued by Russell Crowe as a diligent narcotics officer. This movie has been done a million times before, and though Denzel is always eminently watchable, the movie itself covered no new ground. The back-and-forth of the two actors in their own scenes didn't pay off: when they finally come face to face onscreen, the movie comes to a weak Hollywood conclusion. If you watch this and We Own the Night in the same weekend, you won't be blamed for getting their features all mixed up.

Final Grade: C+

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman:
I occasionally re-review things if I feel my opinion has changed and I really wanted to find something redeeming about this series from an otherwise excellent young-adult author. After rereading the entire trilogy, my opinion stands. Book One is interesting, disjointed, and has potential. Book Two hits the ground running with an immediate twist that puts Book One in a whole new light, but then fails to go anywhere at all. Book Three becomes bogged down in the author's hatred of organized religion, and what could have been a smart fantasy series turns into a personal diatribe at the expense of plot, story, and character. It has a few interesting ideas, like the creatures who evolved with wheels for feet, but none of them are written well enough to be worth the slog. Avoid this series like seafood in the back of a U-Haul truck on I-95.

Final Grade: D+

The Burning Crusade: There's no question that Blizzard Entertainment can pull off a good expansion pack, and this one for World of Warcraft was no exception. I picked it up back in December and have been playing it for about three months now. Besides being packed full of enjoyable content and unique quest ideas, it brings back the fun of exploring again. Unlike the old world, every area of the expansion was designed to be flown over, around, and through, and when I was first able to do so at level 68, I spent a coupld hours just flying around for fun, enjoying the scenery. If you liked WoW but got bored, the expansion will revitalize your interest. If you just never liked WoW, nothing here will change your mind. Be warned that if your computer can barely run the original game, it will probably choke and die on the graphics in this one.

Final Grade: A

Chuck Norris the only WMD in Iraq
The Geometry of Music
Frozen in Grand Central Station

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Fragments

an unlucky case of d?ja vu

♠ The latest change in the real-life URI! Zone is the complete replacement of the heating and air conditioning system. The work was done efficiently and reasonably priced by Cascades Comfort Services, and when the new system spins up to heat the house, a high-tech whirring excites the ears, like you just stepped onto the Tube.

♠ Speaking of Tubes, work has started on the Silver Line, so the Metro will extend out to Wiehle Avenue by 2013, and that location will have more going for it than just being a made-up word in Boggle.

♠ I'm hoping that the station there also gets an exotic sounding pronunciation, like "Vi-elle" (Virginian for viola) -- the actual pronunciation is "Wheely", which sounds too childish, like the refrain of a campfire song.

♠ When we went on our monthly camping trips to Spotsylvania as Boy Scouts, we had to sing all sorts of ridiculous songs, like Ging Gang Goolie, which was invented by the father of Scouting after listening to African tribal songs. Sounds a little racist if you ask me.

♠ We had baseball caps, not Smokey the Bear hats like the Scouts in the photograph, although there were two unfortunate years at the very beginning where we had berets. There's nothing that says "hardened wilderness survival expert" like a jaunty red beret.

♠ I actually earned the Wilderness Survival merit badge, although the "final exam" for it was pretty weak. Armed with only the supplies we might have if we had crash landed far from civilization (which included, but was not limited to, a sleeping bag, flashlight, canteen, trail snacks, a Swiss Army knife, and a change of clothes) we hiked about a half mile away from camp and built lean-to's out of fallen branches and leaves, then slept there overnight.

♠ I was more concerned with getting bugs in my sleeping bag than survival.

♠ Plans for the weekend include a visit from Rebecca's relatives who are in town for a couple days. I may also do my taxes for the last time as a single guy, which shouldn't be terribly difficult since I've had the same job for years and my mutual funds are roughly worth a pair of pants in Burkina Faso at the moment.

♠ Have a great weekend!

The officer who posted too much on Myspace
'Dracula' fish shows baby teeth
A woman who allegedly intended to artificially inseminate her wife with her brother's semen has been charged with domestic assault and battery.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up

This past weekend, we took a mini-vacation from our responsibilities and cats to return to Brightwood Farm for a weekend of goat-feeding and mild hiking. Following a couple tastings at the Molon Lave winery and the Old House winery, we ended up at the farm around 3 PM on Saturday. The farm has diversified since our last visit (about a year ago), and now includes a small cow, two new herding dogs, and plenty more chickens.

We spent the afternoon hiking on the "Back 40" and then rolled through several hundred Madison County speed traps on Route 29 to eat at the Bavarian Chef restaurant, a casual, jam-packed, yet classy place in the middle of nowhere.

I ordered the veal in mushroom, bacon, and cream sauce, with red cabbage and whipped potatoes, while Rebecca ordered the pork in a spicy, non-cream sauce, with carrots and potato dumplings. Dinner was delicious, and too filling to warrant a desert -- we weren't sure what to expect from a German restaurant, since the extent of my German eating experience includes hot dogs at Oktoberfest in Busch Gardens.

We woke up extra early the following morning to help feed the goats, donkeys, cow, sheep, ducks, and chickens, and then ate an organic breakfast ourselves, with fresh eggs and scones. Around noontime, we returned to civilization, and spent the afternoon doing laundry and watching Beginners.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Memory Day: Snapshots

This photo was taken in 1984 in our backyard. The tree in the background was the backdrop for a large percentage of pictures, probably because of contrast, pattern uniformity, and other thing a photographer used to have to care about before Photoshop.

On the far left is my sister at age 8. Next is Gina, my kindergarten girlfriend, me at age 5 in Kangaroos and my sister's hand-me-down jacket, my kindergarten best friend, Yunus, and his sister, whose name I don't recall.

Having skipped preschool, kindergarten was my first structured school experience. I went to William Ramsey Elementary because it was the closest school to our babysitter, Rosa. My Dad would drop us off there really early in the morning, and then Rosa would make us sleep for another hour before getting us ready for school. In the afternoon, we would run with the neighbourhood kids of North Armistead Street (in the days when it was only half of a ghetto) until my Dad picked us up.

After kindergarten, I moved to James K. Polk for the remainder of my elementary school career. Yunus moved back to Turkey and I never saw Gina again either. My sister, however, stuck around for another ten years.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

DeLonghi HMP1500 Mica Panel Heater:
I got this heater as a replacement to one that was in a slow-death decay period. It's actually much bigger than I expected (about the size of an artist's easel or a baby gate for midgets), but rolls around nimbly. As a non-fan-based heater, it's incredibly quiet and easy to adjust. The heat, however, is weird. It is definitely hot enough, but its radiating action means that it serves better as a room heater than a directed foot heater. It also radiates heat out of the top, which means that sticking it under a desk is probably a no-go. However, it's "good enough" for me until it breaks in a year.

Final Grade: B-

Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget 33967A Slow Cooker:
We got this slow cooker as a wedding gift and have used it dozens of times in the past four years. Like most modern slow cookers, it cooks too hot -- low is really high and high is really super-high -- but this can be worked around with a little practice. The dealbreaker is the fact that it has now randomly turned off in the middle of the day on three separate occasions, rendering dinner either delayed or chewy. Examination of Amazon reviews shows that this is a known issue with the entire line of Hamilton Beach slow cookers. Having disappointed me for the final time with Monday's corned beef, I'm going to have to drop this to a DON'T BUY.

Final Grade: F

House of Cards, Season Two:
The second season, while still eminently watchable, lacks something I can't put my finger on that hooked me through the first season. While I'm glad to see a show that only rarely stoops to explaining things that the viewer should figure out, it sometimes doesn't quite give enough context to various character motivations. This results in plotlines that meander away more than they tie together (compared to the first season, where all of the various plots intertwined and snowballed to conclusion). The closing scenes played out exactly as I expected them to, but I never really felt that there was a true struggle to get there. That said, I'll definitely watch a 3rd season.

Final Grade: B

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Cloud Day

I passed the Amazon Web Services Certified Developer - Associate exam on Tuesday morning, which gives me the right to use this logo image in any non-obscene contexts, and the right to end any and all conversations by asking, "Well why don't you put it in the cloud?". I got an 81%, and although the actually passing grade seems to be a close-held secret based on fuzzy math and fuzzier peaches, the general consensus seems to be that it's somewhere around 65%.

Altogether, it took about a month of regular after-work study to train for the exam, and the questions were surprisingly applicable to real world knowledge (not just variations on memorizing arbitrary numbers or trick questions). Of course, I can't reveal the actual questions, as they're under NDA, and Amazon would probably punish me by revoking my Prime free shipping.

Next up on my agenda is to take the Certified Solutions Architect - Associate exam, because apparently there's a 40% overlap in the materials for the two, so I might as well take it while it's fresh in my mind. For laymen, Solutions Architects are the ones who tell everyone what to do from their ivory towers, while Developers are the ones actually getting their hands dirty trying to implement the impossible dreams of the architects.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

6:55 AM: Up at 6 AM, but robbed of an hour.
7:00 AM: Early morning overtime for work.
8:11 AM: Booty arrives to help and/or hinder.
9:58 AM: Late breakfast over the, now-weekly, newspaper.
10:56 AM: Rebecca and a visiting Alice watch episodes of Catfish because it's too cold to go outside and do anything.
11:36 AM: Lunchtime for cats.
1:26 PM: Back to work for a couple hours.
3:38 PM: Giving Alice a whirl on the Oculus Rift.
4:40 PM: Obligatory pre-blizzard Safeway run for the essentials.
5:00 PM: Level 547 in Overwatch.
6:36 PM: Ridiculously out-of-focus picture of our Bon Chon dinner.
8:11 PM: Leftover apple crisp while watching I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

8:00 AM: Taking a break from working in the basement "office" for breakfast and the news.
9:34 AM: Good morning!
9:45 AM: Showered and ready for the (rest of the) day.
9:47 AM: Showing off the cow bowls.
12:02 PM: Running on the treadmill and rewatching Bosch.
12:31 PM: Leftover Joe's Pizzaria for lunch.
2:11 PM: As soon as Maia goes down for a nap, Amber gets lovey for naptime with Rebecca.
4:50 PM: Excited to go on an adventure (in her new shoes from Sena).
5:01 PM: Sitting in traffic.
5:19 PM: On her favourite swing at Lake Anne.
6:42 PM: Figuring out spaghetti.
7:38 PM: Bathtime by emphatic request, not out of necessity.

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Friday, March 13, 2020

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

4:43 AM: Showered and ready for work.
5:31 AM: Rare day in the office.
9:00 AM: Effective social distancing.
11:26 AM: Maia and Nolan come home from "Just for 2s" class.
11:44 AM: Premature Easter Egg Hunt.
12:10 PM: Orange Chicken from Costco for lunch.
1:40 PM: Running and watching Better Call Saul, Season Four.
2:35 PM: Playing Elder Scrolls Online during Maia's quiet time.
4:01 PM: "Bunny went on a trip to Rhode Island."
4:42 PM: Playing "Little Bunny Foo Foo" by yelling the lyrics into the recorder.
6:04 PM: Following a dinner of pizza from Joe's Pizzaria, many bunnies coalesce.
7:04 PM: Special baking soda bath for itchy allergies.

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