This Day In History: 03/15

Friday, March 15, 2002

This morning, Kathy, Mike, and I went out to Wakulla Springs for hiking and touring. There wasn't much happening on the nature trails, but it was a nice enough locale, and the bugs were at a minimum. After the hundreds of shouting third graders left the park, we also took the wildlife boat tour on the Wakulla River, which was chock full of assorted wildlife. I've posted pictures on the Photos page from the trip. There were a few more, but somehow they got corrupted between my camera and the computer.

I did in fact finish my pedagogy presentation handout late last night, so now I just need to proofread and print it for Wednesday. Next I'm going to start analyzing works for the next pedagogy exam and do my jazz history final project. I don't know if I'll actually finish my third movement by Monday, but I'm definitely going to try.

"Wow, A whole twenty-eight people in the study! This is the kind of in-depth study we need to see reported as news. Yay for ABC! When Family Feud samples more people than you, you know your study sucks." - Chet of Portal of Evil, on a recent driving study

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Saturday, March 15, 2003

Time flies, and it's already the Saturday at the end of break. I really didn't get much accomplished this week, but it was a good, relaxing time for all. On the MFIT front, I wrote a solid twelve lines of code this week. That's probably a good 0.001% of the project so I'm well on my way.

Booty wrote a line of code too, but it didn't compile.

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Monday, March 15, 2004

We watched Once Upon a Time in Mexico last night, a tired retread of ground already covered in El Mariachi and Desperado. The only notable parts of the movie were Enrico Iglesias trying to be a badass and Johnny Depp reprising the role he had in Pirates of the Caribbean, but as a CIA agent.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    worm beech, scriabin mystic chord, bricks in empire state building pepsi, jeered by the minor demons

Dinosaur on the run

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The new cats have very distinct personalities. Sydney is the psychotic grey one who likes to make feeding time hard by diving into the food tin while we're trying to scoop. She'll load up her cheeks with food, chipmunk-style, and then jump out and spray pellets all over the floor so she can eat them at her leisure. It's quite possible that she has worms, and we're taking her to the vet on Thursday to get her checked out. Sydney doesn't like being held for long periods of time but she's getting to be a better sport about it. There's a very feral streak in her, as if she were a fighting alley cat in a former life.

Amber is quieter and more thoughtful, and tends to run away from everything (then come immediately back). She doesn't have nearly as much of a food fetish as her sister and is not as gung-ho about playing with us. However, she's like Kitty because she'll play pretend by herself when no one's watching, and go tearing around the house in the process. Both cats play with each other all evening long, and occasionally Booty will join in a chase or two.

Kitty and Booty are tolerating the new ones just fine. If you place a kitten near Kitty, she'll mother it and if you place a kitten near Booty, she'll punch it in the face and chase it down the hall.

City cursed by stone
Anthrax in the DoD
Customers were scared of his riffs
Greyhounds not really dogs

_T TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE
Contestant: "I'd like to solve the puzzle."
Pat Sajak: "This shouldn't be too hard. Go ahead."
Contestant: "E.T. takes one to know one."
Pat Sajak: "Uhh...really?"

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What Celebrity Do You Look Like?

Over at MyHeritage.com , you can upload a photo of yourself and see what celebrities you most resemble. It's lucky for you, gentle reader, that I had plenty of free time last night:

Among some of the matches not pictured, Kim resembles Annette Bening, Anna resembles Alyson Hanigan and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Mike resembles Mother Theresa. I apparently look like Halle Berry, Heather Locklear, and Michael Vartan. Granted, all of these were less than a 50% match for me, and I just don't see any resemblance -- maybe it's recessive. After I uploaded Kelley's picture, I got tired of copying all the matches for my update, but surely this fun tool will be quite beneficial to your slow day at work today.

LOST tonight is a repeat, but next week is a new episode!

Cat stomper found to be nurse
Free Coffee at Starbucks today
Isaac Hayes Quits 'South Park'

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Recall Day

My memory is very strangely configured, much like every room on Trading Spaces after those crazy designers get through with their green denim wallpaper. My short-term memory is pretty weak unless I write things down, which is usually why it takes so long for me to finally remember to run important errands. As mentioned in bullet #42 of my 222 Things About Me , I have a keyed long-term memory: Very few of my memories are easily-accessed and near the surface -- it takes a triggering event for me to remember the details of that event, but then the floodgates open and I remember everything about it, even the embarassing things that other people would prefer be forgotten.

For example, I still have the entire songbook from five years of the Marching Virginians etched in my brain. As soon as I hear a bit of a song off one of the numerous crappy CDs we released, the muscle memory comes rushing back and I can pantomime the entire first trumpet part from memory. Don't believe me? The melody from Caribe starts like this: 2 - 2 - 12 - 0 - 2 - 0 - 0 - 2 - 2 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 2 - 12 - 1 - 1 - 12 - 2 - 12 - 23 - 2 - 1 - 12 - 2.

Although it's nice to know that my brain is a figurative oil well of undiscovered anecdotes and previously epiphanized epiphanies, I do occasionally run into issues when I try to be newly creative. I have no doubt that some news updates from the past year are repeats of early years since I remember very little of what I wrote so long ago. More telling is when I compose a new idea that ends up being something already written. In 2003, I wrote about the melody that I eventually discovered was eerily similar to a video game theme from many years earlier. This same scenario just repeated with the "Write My Lyrics" contest, specifically the end of the chorus.

Last week, while sorting my complete discography of Milli Vanilli / Bob Dylan duets, I came across one of several Kansas CDs which I hadn't really listened to since I left Florida. A very brief transition in one of the songs, The Wall very closely resembles part of my original melody, right down to the chord progression (I actually prefer theirs, and wish I'd thought of it first).

Hear my plagiarism (284 KB MP3)

This unconscious adaptation makes me wonder just how much inspiration relies on other sources, and how much actually comes from a unique fount of musical ideas!

Basketball coach has her priorities in order
Crazy acid-throwing woman
Blame the unicorn

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend was pleasantly boring, between the rain and work, but I can't complain, having spent the previous weekend neutering cats in San Juan. My Friday was well-documented in 12 of 12, and ended with an impromptu gathering of friends for tea but not crumpets around 10 PM.

I spent Saturday morning doing work of the paid variety, and then the rest of the day working on a personal project which I'll unveil in the coming months. It will probably be completely useless to my entire readership here, but flashy for other nerds. I even made a website for it, since every successful project is required to have a catchy name and a website, even if it doesn't exist in any usable form.

On Sunday, we celebrated the changing of the clocks by sleeping until 11 AM and then spent the afternoon in rainy Fairfax. We attended an open house at the home of one of Rebecca's friends until 5, and then stopped by Fairfax Honda to test drive one of the new 2010 Civics with a salesman who loved Hondas only slightly less than Apple products. March is "narrow down the car choices" month, followed by April, which is "burgle the dealership of the selected car" month.

We finished the evening out with homemade fajitas, which were delicious but made the house smell like fajitas this morning when I woke up.

Jesus appears in a frying pan
Giant meat-eating plants prefer to eat tree shrew poo
Air Canada learns that hockey trumps flying

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Recipe Day: Swiss-Mushroom Burgers

Ingredients:

  • Hearty buns that won't fall apart at the first sign of saturated fats
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
    • Generous dash of thyme
    • Italian bread crumbs
    • Onion salt
    • Pepper
  • Swiss cheese
  • Bacon bits
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Mayo
  • A bare minimum of greenery, so it looks healthy

Instructions:

  • Form patties with ground beef and bread crumbs. Season with thyme, onion salt and pepper.
  • Wash then saut?e mushrooms in a skillet with olive oil. Drain.
  • Grill patties to medium, adding cheese in the final few minutes.
  • Spread mayo on toasted buns, then add bacon bits. The mayo keeps a uniform level of bacon throughout the burger, and using bits instead of strips prevents you from pulling a strip out on your very first bite.
  • Serve with Smithwicks.
Blogger Johnny Northside must pay $60,000 to fired community leader
Prayer ritual alarms US flight crew
Act Now! Pirates Offer Discounts on Select Ransoms

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Beginners (R):
This movie, starring Ewan McGregor, perfectly fits the mold of a quirky, indie flick, and if you're in the mood for such a flick, you'll enjoy this one. The movie tells the tale of a middle-aged man learning to connect more with his life after the death of his father (Christopher Plummer in his Oscar-winning role). It dragged a bit in a few places, but was otherwise a cute, unassuming story.

Final Grade: B-

Tower Heist:
This movie is just barely a heist movie, and really only serves to give Eddie Murphy a chance to act like Eddie Murphy, while Ben Stiller acts like Ben Stiller. There are plenty of humorous one-liners and jokes to be found, as long as you don't try to follow the plot too closely or expect much in the way of an actual heist plotline.

Final Grade: C+

Community, Season Two:
We liked the first season of this show a lot -- it was fresh, self-aware, and gave off an Arrested-Development-like aura in its stylings and humor. The second season starts strong but then drags down to near unwatchability, before recovering slightly in the end. The biggest problem seems to be plotting -- after running out of funny situations to milk from the perspective of the community college experience, they spend more episodes doing parodies of common TV tropes or plotlines that verge on complete fantasy. None of these fantasy episodes are half as successful as any first season plotlines in the real world.

Final Grade: C

Treme, Season One:
This is the latest HBO show from the creator of The Wire, telling the stories of various people in post-Katrina New Orleans. It is definitely a solid show -- great acting, strong characters, and good music -- but it never really caught my fancy the way The Wire did (Rebecca disagrees, as she liked Treme a lot).

I felt like the show could have used a little better balance between plot and character development, as it sometimes seems like one of those shows where you just wait around for things to happen to people. I also felt, ironically, that for a show which focused so heavily on the music of New Orleans, there was actually too much footage of music, and that's when I was the most bored. John Goodman was great in a role that seemed designed just for him, and the various brass musicians (like Wendell Pierce) did a decent job looking like they were actually fingering the right notes during all of the songs.

Final Grade: B-



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Friday, March 15, 2013

Fix-it Friday

quick fixes for the world's overrated problems

The Problem: US hospitals report an alarming increase in superbugs, which are highly resistant or even immune to antibiotics. After the tipping point, it may become more dangerous to check into a hospital than it would be to stay home with some Robitussin.

The Solution: Rezone and colocate hospitals onto shared campuses with Chuck E. Cheese restaurants.

The Justification:

  • The mucous-like layer of food coating every surface of the restaurant will prove irresistible to superbugs currently residing in the sterile halls of a hospital. Once enticed, superbugs will be overwhelmed by the nearly visible fog of germs from children of all creeds and colors, hanging in the air like damp laundry.

  • Superbugs may have twelve-stepped their way past the siren call of drugs, but they are no match for the wildly variable bacteria carefully cultured in the ball pit. Kid bacteria is triply reinforced by the repeatable circuit of a kid's hand between their nose, their mouth, and their butts, sometimes in alternate orders. The bacteria of a nose-mouth-butt hand has found safe haven in the restaurant, and crossbred with bacteria from mouth-nose-butt hands and, in rare cases, butt-butt-butt hands.

  • There is already 1 Chuck E. Cheese restaurant for every 10 registered hospitals in the US, so new construction costs would be palatable.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

List Day: 20 Things I Have Never Experienced

  1. I have never played a Pokemon card game.

  2. I have never seen an episode of Power Rangers.

  3. I have never broken a bone (in my body or anyone else's).

  4. I have never knowingly engaged in activities designed to overthrow the U.S. Government by force.

  5. I have never eaten bear meat.

  6. I have never owned anything from Brookstone.

  7. I have never played a double-reed instrument.

  8. I have never walked more than 11 miles by foot continuously.

  9. I have never been on the ground in the state of Texas.

  10. I have never consumed grain alcohol.

  11. I have never worn skinny jeans.

  12. I have never driven a car without back seat.

  13. I have never watched an episode of Mad Men.

  14. I have never gone hashing.

  15. I have never played a single game in the Call of Duty franchise.

  16. I have never used eBay.

  17. I have never spoken before a crowd larger than 200 people.

  18. I have never been the direct victim of a property or violent crime.

  19. I have never had a cavity.

  20. I have never participated in any thrill sport involving me in the sky more than 20 feet off the ground.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 27 years ago in September 1990.

One of our elder scout leaders owned land in Spotsylvania where we were allowed to camp once every month. Sometimes, these trips involved a side tour of nearby Fredericksburg where we learned boring facts about the Civil War.

I'm obviously ducking down so I don't block any of the short people in the back row. I'm also wearing my prized possession -- a laminated shark's tooth that eventually shattered after one too many uses as a hopskotch token.

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The End of the F***ing World, Season One:
This is a quirky dark comedy about a boy who thinks he's a psychopath and starts wondering what it might be like to kill the girl who hangs out with him because of his edginess. It puts a unique spin on the typical coming-of-age road trip story and does a good job balancing levity and seriousness. There are a couple brief scenes of animal violence that might be offputting, but they don't linger. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey:
This game was very promising upfront, in spite of its UPlay installation requirement. I enjoyed the opening stages a lot, like a less tedious version of the Far Cry series. The game is so shallow, though, that it quickly reaches a point where it's no longer fun. It suffers from the "8,000,000 committees developed this game" syndrome, offering hundreds of hours of beautiful, polished content without providing any motivation do to any one activity more than once. As an example of this, you can sway the war between Sparta and Athens by assassinating leaders and inciting rebellion among the townsfolk. The outcome? The other side takes control of the town and you can do it all again, without any noticeable impact on story or your reputation. I got about 20 hours into it (level 12 of 50-odd levels of character progression), saw that I had only explored about 5% of the map, and realized that I was already repeating the same shallow activities over and over.

Final Grade: C-

Bosch, Season Four:
The fourth season of Bosch is really strong, strong enough to make me go back and watch the previous ones again. I've never thought Bosch was the best of shows, but always enjoyed the sense of camaraderie between characters. It's a little difficult to keep up with some of the side characters with my viewing of previous seasons years in the past, but it didn't hurt my enjoyment. I also enjoyed how the side plot of the "bike killer" played out unexpectedly -- it was originally one of the things I was going to pan in this review as a time waster. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

The Demons We See by Krista D. Ball:
The 6th and final book in the Secrets and Spells anthology succeeds on the strengths of its logical character development and bantering dialogue. Though a little heavy-handed on the allegory and going into more detail than I would ever need on the fashion choices of every character, I read this quickly and enjoyed it enough to purchase the next book. (Be warned that it ends at a "resting point" with no strong resolution, so it will be unsatisfying as a one-and-done).

Final Grade: B

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Monday, March 15, 2021

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

5:46 AM: Showered and ready for work.
5:57 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
6:50 AM: Working on presentation slides.
7:44 AM: Trying on all the shoes under Rebecca's side of the bed.
12:15 PM: Working lunch.
2:32 PM: Foraging for daffodils in the common area.
3:00 PM: Working on another website.
3:47 PM: Running on the treadmill and watching Good Girls.
5:02 PM: Maia reads about Zelda while Rebecca video-chats with Marc. She is wearing her "Zora Armor" which lets her swim up waterfalls.
5:19 PM: Breakfast for dinner.
5:42 PM: Family dinner.
7:01 PM: Reading one of the ghetto Berenstain Bears spin-offs for bedtime.

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