This Day In History: 03/14

Thursday, March 14, 2002

I'm almost done with my pedagogy presentation -- hopefully I'll be able to move on to something else by tomorrow. I'm also in the final tag of my third movement. I need to start thinking about what my next project will be for the remainder of this semester.

When I was in Blockbuster yesterday, I happened to realize that Jennifer Connelly of A Beautiful Mind was also the main character in Jim Henson's Labyrinth from the 80s. Huh.

"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die." - Mel Brooks

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Friday, March 14, 2003

I took Booty to the vet this morning to get medicines for a leftover sinus infection and tapeworm she picked up in the shelter. The vet pronounced her in good health otherwise, so none of her legs will fall off in the near future or anything. This is also the first cat I've had with a microchip embedded in its skin. If it ever gets lost, they can scan the barcode to determine where the cat is from. I bet though, that the microchip is really a trojan horse like Kazaa, and at some point in the future some crazy scientist will activate all the kittens in the world and conquer everything.

New pictures on the Photos page.

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Sunday, March 14, 2004

I was up at the house again today with my dad doing some painting and installing some more overhead light fixtures. It's weird driving through a neighbourhood that is truly dark (no streetlights). All the apartment complexes I've lived in recently have giant security lampposts throughout, some smack dab up against the windows.

New Alias tonight at 9 on ABC.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    leonardo sodomy charge, nohunters, clash of the footmen

Frozen lobsters returning to life
Bush praises man in speech on womens' rights

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Monday, March 14, 2005

Greetings from "I took a week off and you didn't"-ville. Life and cats are good. We're considering the names Sydney and Amber for the kittens, though April might be in the mix too. I'll talk more about them in another update, since this one is reserved for the new look of the URI! Zone.

After experimenting with several dramatic layout redesigns, I finally decided on a moderate graphic revision while maintaining most of what worked from the old site. The URI! Zone has been around for nine years now, which makes it younger than the shirts I bought in high school and still wear regularly, but older than most cats or dogs you currently own (Chompy included). I think I finally did the navigation well around Year Eight, so I'm sticking to my guns in that regard. The Links page has been trimmed down and the posting bug on the Forum has been fixed, but you won't find much new functionality at this point.

Here are the short-term upgrades that I have planned:

  • A navigation calendar on each month's news updates, so you can quickly locate a particular day.
  • Clean up of dead news links from July 2003 - February 2005 (earlier posts are all cleaned up now)
  • New avatars for frequent posters in the Comments section
  • New text on the About page about this past year's site
  • A picture on every news updates
  • Minutely more interesting news updates
  • More funny quotes
  • The backlog of photos from the past two months

Here are the long-term upgrades that I have planned:

  • A new navigation scheme for Photos (possibly many pictures per page)
  • Weekly or daily polls
  • A local search engine
  • Gaming-related pages

I have no grandiose plans for the site, other than to keep it regularly updated and interesting. I'd like to see the Forum get a little more use, though it's generally hard for the various visitors from school, work, games, and links to find things worth talking about. In general, I've stayed away from the deep and the somber in news updates, and I'll continue this for now. There are plenty of more interesting blogs discussing the meaning of life, angstful teenage poetry, or right-wing conspiracies, so the URI! Zone will continue to be a light site about weird news, stupid people, my personal life, and the occasional critique of a passing fad when my feelings on the subject exceed the Too-Apathetic-To-Write meter.

One of the things I always wanted to do is to create a comprehensive resource about something, be it Alias episodes, a band's music, or gaming tips. I've avoided this for two reasons:

  1. There are very few interesting, non-self-serving subjects which I'd consider myself an expert in
  2. There is already a comprehensive resource for anything you can think of on the Internet.

If you can convince me otherwise, or have a topic I could write about, feel free to let me know. What do you think about the new look? Fire away!

In advance of major holidays, sports events and parades, Luzhkov forks out tens of thousands of dollars for planes to seed clouds with dry ice and liquid nitrogen.
Inmate given laxatives as prank
Attorney accidentally sues himself
Teachers refuse to give homework

"I'd like to buy an owl." - Contestant on Wheel of Fortune

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Things I Remember

I remember watching cartoons on USA, where the opening animation was a bullet train (maybe the Cartoon Train) choo-choo'ing through the countryside and going through tunnels.

I remember the Nickelodeon station identification commercial where a set of false teeth gobbled up everything on the screen, and there was a different sound effect on each upbeat. The last two upbeats were filled with "Nick" and "olodeon!", followed by a springy sound and laughter.

I remember watching Dennis the Menace on Nickelodeon and wholly disapproving of the fact that there were two different actors playing Mr. Wilson. Joseph Kearns was the only good one.

I remember playing at my next door neighbour's when we were both about 4. We were hiding under the bed from her brother and she announced, quite proudly, "I can pee in the trashcan!" and then proceeded to do so, all while hiding sideways under the bed.

I remember falling out of a tree in their front yard, and getting the scar that's still prominently featured on my nose today.

I remember owning Construx before Legos were popular. One day I had to clean up whatever I'd built and I didn't want to, so I threw a tantrum and threw the Construx at the pine dresser, leaving permanent scars in the woodwork.

I remember picking up a cool toy at the Taney Avenue Mile Long Yard Sale which had four compartments and a series of levers that you moved in different directions to make a marble fall through every compartment. It always smelled like vomit, but it only cost me 25 cents.

I remember hearing this song ad nauseum in the car on long trips , or trying to fall asleep in the Nissan Stanza with my parents blaring Phantom of the Opera through the back speakers.

I remember that Senor Don Gato was the only worthwhile song we ever sang in elementary music class, because on the recording there were some ladies who sang the "meow meow meow" part.

I remember when one of our pregnant fish died so we dissected it and put it on slides so we could use the new microscope we'd gotten for Christmas.

I remember the Fugue Monster, a small rubber finger puppet that Mike gave me after one of Dr. Spencer's Fugue classes in 2003.

I remember that today is Annette Norstrem's birthday. Happy Birthday Netty!

Something they don't teach at driving school
Snowman decapitation in the name of progress
Stay out of the army -- get a tattoo

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Audience Participation Day: Name That Tune v3.0

For those of you keeping score, I've had two other Name That Tune contests in the past. The first only had incredibly brief snippets from rock music, but people did surprisingly well anyhow. The second contest was themed, and had participants chasing down sitcoms from the 1980s. (We are not including the two mini Name That Tune contests from 2005 because, frankly, they sucked worse than a solar-powered Dustbuster).

Today's contest involves popular and rock music from the past forty years, but the twist is that you only get to hear the bass lines. Here are the full rules:

  1. For each of the ten songs, submit both the title and group to me. You can get half credit for partial answers. The deadline for your entries is Tuesday, 3/20/07, NOON EST.
  2. The player with the highest score will win a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. Second place gets $5. In the case of a tie, each player will get $7.50. (This means that it doesn't matter how quickly you submit your answers, so check your work and use a #2 pencil!)
  3. Every song in the contest was reasonably well-known and popular in its heyday. There are no trick songs or songs only I've heard of. Here is the only hint you will receive: There are 2 songs from the 1960s, 4 from the 1980s, 3 from the 1990s, and 1 from this decade.
  4. There is no warranty on the correctness of the bass lines -- I transcribed them as best as I could, but did not necessarily get every slap, slide, fret, crackle, or pop.
Song #1
Song #2
Song #3
Song #4
Song #5
Song #6
Song #7
Song #8
Song #9
Song #10

Update Hint for the 90s: All three of the 90s tunes were in the Top 40 in the US, reaching #2, #10, and #27 respectively.

In the past, I've been a horrible judge of how easy or difficult my contests are, so I'll just say that I think there are 2 "gimmes" and maybe 2 impossible songs. Good luck!

Happy Birthday Annette!

"I'm just mad that I lost to a woman I think I'm way better than."
Lin vs. The Ants
Pope doesn't like Dylan

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Fragments

beware AIDS in March

♠ Ella came over for a playdate yesterday so she could show off her many talents, like dribbling spaghetti down her chin, sticking her fingers in sockets, and chasing cats. She has also learned how to greet Booty: (2MB WMV). She's not a LOST fan though -- by that point in the evening she was a victim of narcolepsy and intrigue.

♠ I thought LOST was clever last night. We picked up on the fact that the Sun/Jin story in the future was not what it seemed, since the actors' scenes seemed so LOSTianly delineated, but we didn't see the final time shift coming. I also noticed that the date on the tombstone was the date of the plane crash, and we suspect that the person is still alive. Finally, the "man on the boat" twist was weak -- I picked that up long ago. If he says anything about his son this season, Rose should punch him in the face.

♠ It's been a pretty low-key week although our Europe planning is back into high-gear. We're currently looking at cheap hotels based on the recommendations of Paige and Rick Steves, since the former will find us good deals and the latter will find us hotels near the ice cream parlors. Only two weeks until Europe!

♠ This week was also badge renewal week at work -- the period of time where all the eight million forms of government identification from the previous year suddenly expire and you fill out reams of duplicate forms in triplicate to renew it all for another year. Of course, other obstacles like to sneak into the process, like the card-printing machines that miraculously break down for three days at a time and the shady Irish revolutionary who offers you three point two million dollars for the secret ingredients in Lucky Charms.

♠ Speaking of the Irish, this weekend is St. Patrick's Day weekend, which means I can cook up five pounds of corned beef, give four point five pounds to Anna, and divvy the remainder up amongst the poor and the starving while drinking Guinness, eating cabbage, dancing jigs, and being gassy. This is how St. Patrick's Day is traditionally spent -- being gassy.

♠ Happy Birthday Netty! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Creepy gnome terrorizing Argentina
Woman sat on toilet for two years
Mary is not in the sun

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


7:08 AM: Booty decides that it's time for us to get up.

7:48 AM: Post-shower on a Saturday morning.

8:13 AM: Bagels with cream cheese for breakfast over the doom and gloom newspaper.

9:48 AM: At Lowes, comparing cabinet styles for our kitchen.

11:09 AM: At Safeway, buying a bunch of healthy crap.

11:33 AM: Apparently we need more counterspace for all of the groceries we end up buying. Apparently, we haven't gone grocery shopping in a while either.

11:48 AM: Carbohydrates are an integral part of my daily intake.

12:02 PM: Lunch is a ham sandwich on a sesame bun with swiss cheese, mayo, and bacon bits.

3:14 PM: Doing more kitchen remodeling research.

5:23 PM: Changing gears to search for beach houses.

6:00 PM: Dinner is a bowl of clam chowder with a reread of the Dragon Tattoo opener. I don't know how anyone who doesn't read fast got through the first two hundred pages.

7:45 PM: World of Warcraft night with Anna and Ben (and at the same time as Jason who's on a whole 'nother server).

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

Earthquake messing up your GPS devices
Bono and Spielberg up for Gorbachev awards
Lady Gaga may sue over breastmilk ice cream name

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Memory Day: A Coach's Death

It was eighteen years ago that my freshman crew coach died from blood clot complications, a month after a freak sledding accident at the Masonic Temple. I was fourteen years old, wore glasses with lenses the size of iPads, and was a junior at TC Williams. Although my grandma had passed away a year or two earlier, this was my first awareness of a death that impacted an entire community. As I tell about it from my journals at the time, it was pretty underwhelming.

March 13, 1994 7:32pm Sunday

Jack called a little while ago. Coach Yeich, the one that was in the sledding accident, had a blood clot sometime today and died. He was doing better too. It's weird. I feel bad about it but somehow I'm detached from the whole thing. He was friendly with me and he was a nice guy but I never really and truly knew him. I know I should feel sad but I don't. It's odd. If there is a funeral service, I'll go to it.

March 14, 1994 3:56pm Monday

After band, there was a crew meeting about Coach Yeich. A lot of people were crying. I felt kind of guilty because I didn't feel as sad as they did.

This was the coach that guided me through a tricky, early year of becoming a coxswain (which is French for "80 pounds of unfired clay responsible for ordering around 900 pounds of rowers"). The role is hard enough with confidence, but even trickier when you're just learning the ropes yourself. Coach Yeich provided the quiet trust and respect that allowed me to find myself as a coxswain, which made it all the more peculiar to me that I wasn't devastated by his death.

My feelings of guilt for not feeling bad spiraled higher in the following days, as waves of newspaper articles, support meetings, and cancelled events swelled through school and Alexandria. I would always look around at the girls crying and hanging on to each other and try to force myself to feel as sad as they were. This never really worked, and in a rare moment of teen dude bonding, I learned that others were feeling the exact same way.

That isn't to say that we were callous -- just that we had not yet had the life experience to process the situation: we knew that we were supposed to be sad, and we saw examples of the sad around us, but without that appreciation for life and death as a motivation, we were insulated from being affected.

This disconnect continued on the occasion of the funeral which took place in the creatively-named New Market (because Virginia is for lovers, not poets) four days later. As six of us piled into a minivan for the two hour trip west, the mood was light and it felt like nothing more than a St. Patrick's Day field trip (and excused absence) from school. We played Tetris on old-school Game Boys and I drank too much Pepsi and had to visit a rest stop.

We finally arrived at a church in the middle of nowhere, incongruously filled with the entire population of Alexandria. As the mood grew somber and I settled into a pew, I began to anticipate that this would finally be the time when I truly felt sad. Instead, as the service began, I became progressively more annoyed.

The story of Coach Yeich and the people he affected played a minimal role in his funeral service. Instead, his life and death were mere Powerpoint slides in the briefing I informally called "How Our Church Will Get You Through This Difficult Time". Rather than sadness, I felt gypped: I had come hoping to be affected and ended up in a time-share seminar. Even as a fourteen-year-old heathen, I knew that something was off about that service.

I rarely ever thought about Coach Yeich after that year, except when browsing through all of the news clippings I've saved throughout the years for no good reason. Eventually I grew to an age where death affected me, but thankfully, I don't think I've attended a funeral for anyone under the age of 60 since then.

There is no moral to this rambling tale -- it's just one of the many memories floating around in my head that deserves to be written down before I forget it.

Mysterious Hog Farm Explosions Stump Scientists
Phone-chasing teen rescued from trash chute

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Playing at the World by Jon Peterson:
When the subtitle of a book is "A History of Simulating Wars, People, and Fantastic Adventure From Chess to Role Playing Games", you should probably know what you're getting into. I asked for this book for Christmas, because I still have never played a game of Dungeons and Dragons, and thought it would be an interesting historical survey. Unfortunately, this history of simulating is not a history of stimulating. It's not so much a survey as it is an exhaustive detailed record of every single thing that has ever happened. It's taken me three months to get through the first two hundred pages and I think that Gary Gygax is going to be born soon. As a well-researched scholarly treatise, it deserves praise, but as pleasure reading, it rolls a one-sided die into tedium.

Final Grade: C-

The Office, Season Eight:
The first post-Michael-Scott season of The Office seemed to be universally reviled by the world, but it's actually not that bad. I expected a season matching the low points of the fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons, but was pleasantly surprised. Without Steve Carell, the rest of the cast has more time to shine, and several episodes seemed to bring back the heart of early seasons. Yes, there are some stupidly contrived situations and several dropped subplots, but it's entertaining overall.

Final Grade: B-

Origin of Love by Mika:
Mika's third album refines his over-the-top bombastic pop gimmick down to highly polished marble. Every song is enjoyable and catchy, but the edges have been smoothed down so much that it doesn't feel quite as fun as previous albums. Slightly overproduced, but still worth a listen.

Final Grade: B

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Friday, March 14, 2014

List Day: 10 Things Harder to Do While Wearing a Tie

  1. Washing your hands in the bathroom

  2. Scooping the kitty litter box

  3. Eating while standing over the table, trying to read the paper

  4. Rapidly going shirtless

  5. Going down 2 stairs at a time

  6. Blending in with software engineers

  7. Tying your shoes

  8. Jumping Jacks

  9. Mopping the floor

  10. Scratching your neck

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

7:34 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
7:49 AM: A nutritious breakfast with cat's feet.
8:10 AM: Writing a programming recipe about DataFrames.
10:05 AM: Self-publishing.
10:46 AM: Playing Overwatch.
12:53 PM: Lunchtime for kitties.
1:03 PM: Lunchtime for humans.
4:14 PM: Running through Claude Moore Park with Rebecca.
5:25 PM: Driving down the Fairfax County Parkway.
6:55 PM: Grilled meats at the Lowry's.
7:44 PM: Sitting around the fireplace.
10:11 PM: Welcomed home by buttsniffers.

To wrap up the weekend, we did our taxes on Sunday and then went to Jacksons for an early dinner. On Sunday evening, we did laundry and watched the first half of Gatsby.

How was your weekend?

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

More Pictures from Topanga Day

Our AirBnB bathroom and shower had a windowed side that overlooked a private bamboo grove. We pretended that no one had drilled holes through the fence to stream our poops on the Internet.

We enjoyed the short hike in Corral Canyon over Malibu, especially the port-a-potty that was pressure-washed with disinfectant minutes before we arrived -- definitely different than our last PCH port-a-potty experience outside of Santa Cruz where there was a mound of poop 3 feet higher than the seat.

On the day of the rehearsal dinner, Maia did not cry until she met the groom. To be fair, this picture was taken at midnight Eastern time.

This picture of the ceremony is slightly blurry because I used my phone camera and was walking the hills above the venue with a slightly whiny child.

Maia was a pretty happy trooper for the vast majority of the trip, though.

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

Monday, March 14, 2022

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:16 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
6:27 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
7:56 AM: Helping me organize Maia's room while she's spending the weekend with the grandparents.
8:09 AM: Surreptitious banana.
8:59 AM: Friends watching snowfall.
10:32 AM: Exercising and rewatching Silicon Valley, S2 during first nap.
12:47 PM: Buffalo chicken for lunch.
1:32 PM: The final snow situation.
2:33 PM: Indoor track practice.
3:25 PM: Finishing our screening of Soul.
5:55 PM: Trying a new ramen place in Herndon for dinner.
7:53 PM: Prepping for bed.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 0 comments

 

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