This Day In History: 04/12

Friday, April 12, 2002

Authors of Yesteryear, Part V of VI

John D. Fitzgerald wrote a seven book series about the Great Brain in the 1970s. It was about a boy in a small Utah town at the end of the nineteenth century who was smarter than the average joe. Told from the point of his little brother, the Great Brain spends most of his time swindling his friends and family. An eighth book was published from manuscript after the author's death but I haven't read it. The books were light, enjoyable reading and provided an interesting "historical fiction" look at the old West. The only problem in the series was the first chapter of each book, which was usually a literal repetition of all the family background information necessary to the story. If I were a big musical geek, I could say that reading the series straight through was like a 13-part sonata rondo, but of course, I'm not...

Another good author was Zilpha Keatley Synder, who wrote The Headless Cupid series and a few side novels. I didn't care for many of her books, but the Cupid series was always a winner, with its mixed divorced family getting into strange situations. My favourite Snyder book was The Great Stanley Kidnapping Case, not because the story was so great, but because it had some of the best dialogue in the series. Janie and Tesser were two well done characters in all the books. Of note outside this series was The Egypt Game, Black and Blue Magic, and Eyes in the Fishbowl. I don't really remember why I liked the Egypt Game so much; I have fond but vague impressions of it. Black and Blue Magic was a good coming-of-age story with a dash of magic flying ointment. Eyes in the Fishbowl was probably the oddest book of them all. I didn't really understand it when I read it as a kid, and still didn't understand it much when I read it over Christmas last year. It seems to be a fairly trippy story about strange occurences in a department store after dark. If anyone else has read this and gotten something from it, feel free to enlighten me.

Speaking of creepy doings in department stores after dark, there was a Nickelodeon show in the 80s called Today's Special with a mannequin that came to life after dark, a postman made of play-doh, and a scary looking mouse that talked in rhyming couplets. The only thing scarier than that strange show in my childhood was the big red bird marionette on Pinwheel with cocked eyes that spoke like a cross between a hyena and a Slinky.

Tomorrow: Franklin Dixon, Ellen Raskin, and Brian Jacques

I read The Street Lawyer by John Grisham yesterday, which is like his other law books but with a little bit of moral conscience. It was made more enjoyable by the fact that it was set in D.C. and really felt like it, down to details such as the "freezing rowers on the Potomac". Grisham's books are always good for a little pleasure reading, though they're definitely not worth getting in hardback ever. I used to read them hot off the presses, but lost track of them a few years ago after the horrible Testament.

To finish off the pep band MP3s, here's two more featured arrangements: Verve, an up-tempo swing chart (MP3, 884KB), and X-Marks, your run-of-the-mill "descending seconds bass line with a Lydian melody" rock chart (MP3, 882 KB).

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Saturday, April 12, 2003

I was going to go out to Panacea this morning and take a final round of sunrise pictures (EVER), but it was too chilly at 5:30 this morning! Maybe I'll go tomorrow!

I took Booty out for a ride this morning but it was hampered by some random walk-a-thon hosted by the city! Not content with plotting the most efficient course, the walk-a-thon crisscrossed and backtracked across main arteries, accompanied by crossing guards who enjoyed sending walkers across traffic just as lights turned green! I should make myself a charitable organization and set up a walk-a-thon for Booty, with all proceeds going to Booty! There are new Booty pics on the Photos page, by the way!

I've cleared the final paperwork for getting one of my students to sublease the apartment over the summer! He'll be moving in the day after I move out and be the proud new owner of the cemetary-view I've monopolized for the past two years!

Yesterday's Musical Explorations: B-52s, David Bowie, The Jam, and assorted other singles! If you have any groups you think I should listen to, post a comment!

Ethics in Video Game Journalism!

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Monday, April 12, 2004

I ordered up a new computer for Anna this weekend with a complement of additional memory, graphics stuff, and other necessities. Dell is currently selling an entry-level (read: not particularly upgradeable) 2.66ghz machine for $400 after mail-in rebate, while my current 2.0ghz machine cost me $2000 two years ago. The only downside to the entry-level machine is its lack of AGP slot for 3D graphics cards. If you don't play many of those, it's definitely a good deal.

The additional memory got shipped from Crucial. I ordered it Friday and it arrived in Herndon on Saturday. Since then, it's been showing the dreaded "Pacakage not due for delivery" on the FedEx site. What this means, for people lucky enough to have never shipped through them, is that the package is already in a truck tooling around town. However, the due date from the sender is still a couple days away, so FedEx will intentionally sit on the package (probably literally) until its due date because there's no pressing need to deliver it.

What this means for me is that the package I could have easily gotten during the day on Saturday will not be delivered until tomorrow afternoon.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    secretary's heel stories, teaching major and minor triads, joe ehrenberger, dave day trombone, reasons for failure of reliance infocom

Man bets all in roulette and wins
Here's a picture of John Ashcroft's face, made entirely of little porn people.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Now that I'm no longer living an infected life, I'm back in the swing of doing housal tasks. My next big assignment will be to redecorate the large guest room on the ground floor. I've already picked out a red carpet and next up will be the wall colour. I plan on hiring the recently-fired Paige Davis, formerly of Trading Spaces to report on the ongoing renovation of the room.

Stolen dogs not dead, only dyed
Dominatrix joins the government, finds former client
Fishing for people

"A decorator can make lots of money -- provided she wins the lottery." - Wendy Morgan

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Evolution of a Composer: A Pictorial (Part II of II)

  • I finally decided to go to school for composing and ended up at Virginia Tech in 1996 where my first composition professor hated everything I brought in and constantly asked me to do exercises where I should "put a few wrong notes in the score". Over time, lessons became less about learning new craft (because I was a stubborn son of a bitch) and more about a cat-and-mouse game where I would try to convert his dissonance exercises into tonality. One trick I used to do was to put four consecutive quarter notes somewhere in the score, and see how long it took him to zero in on them and change them for "rhythmic interest's sake". I think he batted near .992 or so on catching them all. If my compositions were a game of Pokemon, he was beating the crap out of Snorlax.

  • My next composition professor was on his way out the retirement door, and had another house up at Northern Illinois University where he spent most of my lessons. He would rather be sitting on his stoop with a six pack of Rolling Rock than actually doing any teaching, which is why kids abandoned his Music Appreciation classes like rats on a sinking ship. He pretty much gave me free reign to write whatever I wanted, and occasionally interrupted his stories of yore to correct some technical problems. This was a great composing environment for me and I wrote my best music under him. This was also when I roomed with Kelley Corbett, who one day said, "Dude, Uri, you write some crazy sh_t".

  • Once you get to Master's level composing, you have to care about it to succeed, and I didn't. Being in an environment where half the people really know what they're doing while the other half really think they know what they're doing makes you second-guess everything you write, and the fun, care-free days of writing songs over I - VII - VI - V without caring how it will be received are long gone. I got tired of the composers' concerts with songs like "Fantasy Using One Note for Three People Shooting Snot Into a Bucket" or "Insert Any Word Here for Solo Flute Because They Are the Easiest People to Guilt Trip Into Performing For You". As a result, my output went way down and the only things I have to show for my two years are a string quartet which sucked, and a chamber piece which didn't suck.

  • From there, I crawled back to the world of composing-light, where you can write music that performers want to play and the average American joe wants to hear, where no one looks down their nose at you when you arrange Irish Washerwoman for Doobie (even though he never plays it, PMO). I very rarely ever write these days, but when I do, it's fun again! And that's the whole point. Why do it if you don't enjoy it?
  • New LOST on tonight! Last one until May sweeps month! If you like to Tivo these things, make sure you set it for 65 minutes not 60.

    Hurry up, grandma
    Yahaya needs more minutes
    Gamers make good robbery targets

    tagged as memories | permalink | 5 comments

    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:34 AM: I slept in by nineteen minutes today, permanently altering the space-time continuum. I own one of those Clocks for the Blind with digital numbers large enough to see from fifty feet on a smoggy day.

    5:49 AM: I always use the big mirror for my pictures, and the little mirror was getting jealous, so today I switched it up.

    5:55 AM: It's breakfast time for kitties! For the full multimedia effect of feeding time, here is a live action version of the events leading up to this scene (2MB WMV).

    6:04 AM: This composition is titled, Brake Lights on the 7100. I have half a tank of gas, which is misleading because the needle stays there for the next eight gallons then drops immediately to Empty. The temperature gauge goes from hot to chaud, which is French for hot because things are always pretty hot when I'm driving. My car is almost six years old and only has 53,000 miles on it, because I used to drive it once a week to Walmart for groceries (in Florida) and walked everywhere else.

    6:08 AM: The construction companies keep these lights on all night long. I'm pretty sure you can see Reston from space now.

    6:36 AM: (bonus picture) I take a sunrise picture every single time I do 12 of 12 because change frightens me. Of course, the month that the bonus picture is based on a Random Word Generator that says "sunrise", it's overcast and rainy. Here, instead, is a picture of a sunrise in the window where I could normally see a real one.

    6:59 AM: At work, having footraces with my evil twin in the reflection.

    7:48 AM: Breakfast break at my snack shelf, sponsored in part by Quaker, Kellog's, Chef Boyardee, and Costco. Today's random breakfast bar flavor was Blueberry.

    8:14 AM: This is another traditional monthly shot, except that someone seems to have finally used my whiteboard this month.

    2:10 PM: After lunch at home, doing some telecommuting. If you magnify the reflection of the screen in my glasses, you can probably find out where the government hid the aliens. Of course, the government might also be monitoring my office via the unfortunately placed light fixture that looks like it's about to fall on me. At this angle, my walls and ceiling look like a strange optical illusion, as if I'm in some virtual reality version of Q-Bert.

    3:14 PM: I have so many pictures of Amber in various ridiculous poses that I should make a coffee table book (maybe the Katma Sutra?). She's lying on one of my technical manuals, but it's not like I needed it or anything.

    4:51 PM: Doing some extracurricular contributions to a Wiki about some of my favourite books. Thumbs Up sign added to make the picture more interesting.

    5:49 PM: Eating leftover Pizza Hut pan pizza while watching Six Feet Under at the behest of Mike. It didn't immediately draw me in like some other shows, but it gets better as it progresses.

    After this, I realized that I easily had twenty-five pictures already and decided to upload them. I took out the boring ones with the rhinos and the stretch pants, leaving behind only the cream of the crop for your viewing pleasure!

    See my other 12 of 12s from 2007 here:. See more 12 of 12ers at Chad Darnell's site!

    Googling your date
    Dad sues over car damaged in chase
    Life in van has appeal for sisters

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 5 comments

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:02 AM: The fact that the time is a mirror image of itself is not enough to make waking up palatable.

    5:17 AM: Showered and foggy.

    6:20 AM: Relax. If you lived here, you'd be home now. And you would live in a dump.

    6:24 AM: Arriving in time for the sunrise at Skyline.

    7:58 AM: After some work in the lab, I drive to the nearby home of my parents so I can steal their breakfast foods.

    8:41 AM: It's nice having a job where you can work from anywhere with a computer. My options would be much more limited as a bowling alley manager or Washington Monument elevator operator.

    2:40 PM: After returning to Skyline for a two hour meeting, followed by a trip to the office, I finally return home. Booty wants food. Amber sees a ghost in Booty's butt.

    2:53 PM: A late lunch of 2 leftover hot dogs (already eaten) and three clementines.

    5:05 PM: Working on the laptop, while Booty gets the ghost out of her butt.

    6:13 PM: Stretching for an evening run in Claude Moore Park.

    8:04 PM: A late dinner of leftover Cornish game hen and cilantro broccoli.

    9:15 PM: Working on tomorrow's Museday entry, in which I write a 30 second song based on a randomly chosen adjective, and Rebecca writes a short story fragment on the same word.

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

    School sends lesbian to a fake prom
    Man accused of stealing at least one Polson area home by breaking in, filing false paperwork
    Ohio coach proposes to rival on field

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 9 comments

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:36 AM: Up extra early this morning because Booty was being obnoxious.

    5:47 AM: Amber guards our thriving basil plants.

    6:02 AM: Obligatory artistic shot of the One Way sign at my exit.

    7:04 AM: Working hard.

    7:28 AM: A dark and dreary day, although my spider plant is multiplying like a nines table.

    11:04 AM: Popeyes for lunch.

    1:21 PM: Working from home in the afternoon.

    3:36 PM: Trying to get back into the third season of Heroes which majorly sucks.

    4:45 PM: Rebecca gets home from work.

    5:16 PM: Relaxing with some Warcraft. The stand on my monitor broke, so now it just leans against the base.

    6:23 PM: Buffalo Chicken Tacos at Don Pablo's.

    7:24 PM: Watching Booty get fresh with my wife.

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

    Sorting algorithms as dances
    Restaurant to retrain employees after alcohol mix-up
    Outrage after police officer sprays baby squirrel

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:53 AM: Up early, but not as early as Rebecca.

    6:14 AM: Showered, but not shaved.

    7:04 AM: Mexican standoff in the kitchen.

    7:15 AM: Everything bagel for breakfast.

    8:00 AM: Starting my "morning off" with a new game.

    11:23 AM: House and bathrooms cleaned.

    12:30 PM: Shells and cheese for lunch.

    3:14 PM: On a conference call for work.

    4:15 PM: Mowed and blown.

    6:10 PM: Crafting yet another brief.

    7:55 PM: Hoisin Explosion Velvet Chicken for dinner.

    9:21 PM: Late, late dinner.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:45 AM: Showered and awake.

    5:51 AM: The deluge begins as I step outside. Also, that new streetlamp is way too bright.

    6:04 AM: The deluge ends as I arrive at work.

    7:15 AM: Apparently pretending that I have Google Glass.

    9:45 AM: After meeting 1 of 2.

    11:30 AM: Welcomed home by cats.

    12:16 PM: Since I was fifteen pounds heavier when I last stopped buying Shells and Cheese regularly, I now have a fifteen pound buffer to abuse.

    1:00 PM: The cost of a steam cleaner, amortized over the lifespan of two vomiting cats...

    2:18 PM: Kicking off a new side project.

    3:59 PM: Catnap.

    5:30 PM: Exercising with The Office.

    9:04 PM: Safeway pizza for dinner, while Rebecca turns in her coursework.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 3 comments

    Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:55 AM: Showered and ready for work.
    6:48 AM: Arriving at my parents' house in the rain.
    8:48 AM: Working remotely out of my old dining room before heading to Maryland for a meeting.
    10:50 AM: You can tell my commute is short, based on the total mileage I've driven in 4 years.
    11:55 AM: Picking up groceries on the way home.
    12:00 PM: Fried chicken for lunch.
    12:20 PM: Making three-bean chili for dinner.
    1:12 PM: Back to work with Queen Booty.
    1:56 PM: "Dialing in" to a work meeting.
    3:58 PM: Done with work.
    5:15 PM: Running on the treadmill and rewatching Breaking Bad.
    8:51 PM: Chili for dinner.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 3 comments

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:32 AM: Showered and ready for work.
    5:49 AM: First day in our permanent office space.
    6:34 AM: Setting up shop in the corner with the fewest distractions.
    9:21 AM: Arriving home in Rebecca's car so she can use it for the rest of the day.
    9:22 AM: The reason for the loaner car.
    11:36 AM: Lunchtime for kitties.
    12:25 PM: Leftover Mellow Mushroom for lunch.
    12:29 PM: Dialing in for a conference call.
    1:58 PM: Writing code.
    3:41 PM: Off the clock.
    5:02 PM: Running on the treadmill and watching The Night Manager.
    6:51 PM: Making the dinner of champions.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 5 comments

    Friday, April 12, 2019

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

    6:28 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
    6:40 AM: Breakfast.
    7:04 AM: Working in the alternate basement office.
    9:16 AM: Good morning!
    9:45 AM: Breakfast for the ladies.
    11:03 AM: After an errands run for chicken tenderloins and propane, giving the kitchen floor a deep cleanse.
    11:55 AM: Running on the treadmill and rewatching Better Off Ted.
    12:35 PM: Leftover pizza for lunch.
    1:11 PM: Maia comes home from Forest Time at Algonkian Park.
    3:15 PM: Playing Grim Dawn while Maia naps.
    6:45 PM: Homemade chicken tenders for dinner.
    7:10 PM: Maia does not like homemade chicken tenders.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, April 12, 2021

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

    6:06 AM: Showered and ready for work.
    6:31 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
    7:38 AM: Working.
    8:59 AM: Distractions.
    9:53 AM: Baking a cake.
    11:44 AM: This might be heresy, but Giant substituted Kraft for Velveeta Shells and Cheese in our grocery order and it's cheaper, better, and has fewer calories.
    1:20 PM: First mow of the year.
    2:44 PM: Jumping so high.
    3:30 PM: Playing DOOM: Eternal.
    5:12 PM: "Look at me now. I'm makin' bunnies."
    5:40 PM: Leftover ramen for dinner on the screen porch.
    6:18 PM: Inspecting the circle trail we're building in the common area.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, April 12, 2023

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

    5:58 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
    6:18 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
    6:50 AM: Off to the bus stop!
    7:26 AM: In the Herndon office.
    11:30 AM: Working lunch of buffalo chicken.
    3:51 PM: Everyone gets a hook!
    4:07 PM: Porch tales.
    4:07 PM: Maia's lemonade stand.
    4:40 PM: Mini golf in the backyard.
    5:34 PM: Pizza for dinner.
    6:24 PM: Bath time.
    7:15 PM: Goodnight hugs.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, April 12, 2024

    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, after a 5:30 round of Beat Saber.
    6:30 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
    6:59 AM: Getting ready to go to the bus stop.
    8:33 AM: Working on my 20th work anniversary.
    9:59 AM: Prototyping different visualizations for a training module.
    11:37 AM: Unhealthy lunch, also known as the "Tallahassee Friday Night".
    2:41 PM: Home from school and making a dandelion bouquet.
    3:10 PM: Clearly not napping, while Maia plays Pokemon on the Switch.
    3:37 PM: Expanding our under-sink storage potential.
    5:22 PM: Playing basketball.
    5:45 PM: BBQ spare ribs for dinner.
    7:22 PM: A game of 5-Minute Dungeon before bedtime.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 0 comments


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