This Day In History: 04/13

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Authors of Yesteryear, Part VI of VI

Of all the books I read as a kid, Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game was probably the one that got the most face time. Part murder mystery and part treasure hunt, this slightly surreal book told the tale of a deceased millionaire and the seemingly random people selected to be his heirs. The entire book turned out to be as twisty and convoluted as a movie like The Usual Suspects. If you've never read it, go check it out of the public library. It'll only take a few hours to read and would be well worth it.

Brian Jacques began the Redwall series several years ago. Like Watership Down, it featured mice and other woodland creatures with human characteristics, set in a swords and battles fantasy setting. All the mice sang interminable songs and all the moles said things like "Boo hurr!".

When the series first began, I liked it quite a bit. However, after Mossflower and Mattimeo, the series started to go downhill. It became readily apparent that every book was a template copy of the previous, with a different villain and new characters. These were big books too -- as big as any Harry Potter book today. I stopped getting new ones after The Bellmaker, simply because I could get the same effect by rereading one of the earlier books. The last time I was in Border's, there were two whole shelves full of books in this series, so the author must be alive and well.

On the other side of the mass-produced book coin is Franklin Dixon. Of course, there isn't really a Franklin Dixon -- that was the pen name used by the syndicate which churned out the Hardy Boys series. Anonymous authors would churn out a story or two, leading to the uneven quality of the stories. As a kid, I eventually read all the "original" Hardy Boy books, which must have numbered in the sixties. They may not have been literary masterworks, but they were good for a quick reading fix, and predictable enough to be comfortable. You had the Hardy brothers running around solving crimes, their fat friend, Chet, sitting in his jalopy being chubby, and then the two girlfriends who never did anything but act like girls of the fifties (Chet didn't get a girl, apparently, because he was chubby).

These authors don't account for the entirety of my early reading; I haven't even cracked the surface. I could spend another week talking about Choose Your Own Adventure books, the Lone Wolf series, Philip Pullman, and all the other forgettable series from the public library. For a more balanced view of the books I used to read, check out the Fiction section of the Reviews page.

The End

I finished my final project for Fugal Writing yesterday, and I've posted an MP3 and score of it on the Music page under "Smaller Works". It was fun to do, although I'll probably get called on the carpet for the chromaticism in my countersubject.

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Sunday, April 13, 2003

I didn't get out to Panacea today either, but I'll definitely go one last time before I flee the state (countdown: 17 days). This weekend, I continued learning about PHP. It doesn't seem to be a very difficult language to pick up, and I may choose to use it for the next big URI! Domain rather than servlets. It's always easier to test languages which aren't pre-compiled, even if they're a little slower in the long run.

This afternoon, I'm going finish making up the final exams for my class, but right now I think it's time for some fried chicken and Pepsi.

Today's Musical Explorations: REM, U2, They Might Be Giants, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and XTC.

The Apathetic Online Journal Entry Generator
Tony Blair on the Simpsons

Three new Booty pictures today.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I finally finished To Ride Hell's Chasm after several extended interruptions towards the end. It's a very good book, though not my favourite Wurts book. I'll definitely read it again in the future. For an accessible entry point into Wurts' writing, try Master of Whitestorm.

I'm trying out Filezilla for an FTP client, after having used WS_FTP 95 since 1996. I'll let you know what I think about it.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    There were no interesting search terms yesterday, so here are some representative terms I encounter on a daily basis: Storm Warnings, One Art, Oedipus Complex, How do I germinate beans? How do I germinate beans underwater? How do I germinate beans in a boat in a moat? How do I Germanate beans that are French? Does listening to music affect anything? Odd Titles, Famous Tightwads, Looney Laws

Asked whether he consulted scientists in developing the project, Braunstein said: "Not really. We went on the Internet for backup research."
Fed-up fat cat goes on hunger strike
Easter rocket war hits Greek isle
However, one officer wrote, "I am confident that (Jesus) will be back some day soon."
Everyone knows that walling off your slums leads to good results

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

People are concerned because the latest study of cloned beef showed minimal differences between it and the real thing . Personally, I'm all for cloned foods. Everything we're going to eat will kill us off in the end regardless, and whatever secret genetic mutations may be lurking in the depths of a cloned cow haunch can't be any worse for us than twenty-four buckets of Popeyes chicken. Think how great steak would taste if they bred the perfect cow and then cloned it into oblivion. In addition, it would do a lot to solve the world's hunger problems, given the declining number of farmers versus commercialization and industry.

Videos Challenge Accounts of Convention Unrest
Homeowner killed after discovering man living in his home
Early risers are mutants

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

I'm a regular reader of Chad Darnell's blog, and decided to join this month's round of 12 of 12 for hijinks and fame (and the women of questionable morals that often follow fame). In a nutshell, it's simply a blog update where you take 12 pictures of your daily routine on the 12th of the month -- you can see his archive of past months here . This is what I did yesterday:

1) 5:39 AM: Waking Up
My alarm goes off every morning at 5:25 AM, and if I don't drag myself into the shower immediately, I will never get out of bed. This picture is actually a redo -- the first one I took was of me shaving, but the lens was so fogged up that I just looked like a blurry yeti with rabies (the last thing anyone wants is to find their picture on Google Images under just such a heading). Why are toothbrush handles so big today? Are peoples' hands getting smaller?

2) 5:57 AM: On the Road
I love my commute because it's only seven miles long. I love it more because the lights are always green at this ungodly hour. The artistic flare of the traffic signals can either be attributed to my impeccable picture-taking technique or the way I balanced the camera on the steering wheel while driving over potholes -- your choice.

6:40 AM: Sunrise in Reston
After I've had my hot chocolate and a breakfast bar, caught up on the news and all my e-mail, and attained some level of mild consciousness, I can turn around in my swivel chair to watch the sun come up over the Reston skyline.

8:47 AM: Working Hard
Two hours later, I surface from the tribulations of work to snap a quick one-handed picture of myself at my computer. That it's surprisingly in focus is a sign of my award-winning "left-handed technique". Get your mind out of the gutter.

1:04 PM: Driving Home
I head home right about the time that all those clowns who wasted an hour for lunch at Chipotle are coming back for more fun-filled work. Notice that my eyes are, in fact, on the road, although moments later, I hit a cow.

1:27 PM: Eating Lunch
This is me, eating a ham sandwich and reading the Washington Post. Apparently the President is unpopular, there's war in the Middle East, and that vegetable you thought was healthy actually causes eyeball cancer.

7) 2:14 PM: Mowing the Lawn: This is me, wheeling my lawn mower out of the shed for the first mowing of the year. Immediately following this action shot, the front wheels of the mower got caught on the lip of the shed door and I almost dropped the camera. Undeterred, I gassed it up and trimmed my vast expanse of lawn (all 0.12 acres of it).

8) 4:01 PM: Feeding the Cats
I have two automatic food alarms installed in my house, and they start going off as soon as I get home from work everyday. Generally I can hit the Snooze button on these alarms until around four o' clock in the afternoon, which resets the alarms so that I don't have to hear them again until I wake up the next morning. Any earlier and I get an earful right around 3 in the morning, which is not fun for anyone involved. It's like my own personal version of the timer in the hatch on LOST, and things get pretty ugly if I don't get the food bin out in time.

9) 5:45 PM: Playing Games
After a quick shower, I decided to sit down for a game of World of Warcraft. Playing this game is like playing the lottery: you type in your username and password to login and then wait while the game tries to load your account. Five minutes later, you get a message saying that there's a problem with the server, you can't connect at this time, and to please try again later. This was fun for about eight and a half minutes.

10) 6:23 PM: Cooking Dinner
There's no healthier way to end the day than with a dinner of toast, orange juice, five slices of thick-sliced bacon, and three soft-boiled eggs. Am I right? Bacon grease is clinically proven to lubricate your internal organs like WD-40 on a squeaky hinge so make sure you get at least two helpings of it every day. P.S. The bacon was disappointing, and ended up looking and tasting like damp paper towels.

11) 9:04 PM: Watching LOST
It's Wednesday, so I'm watching LOST. Rather, I'm watching commercials intercut with tiny LOST interludes. I took this picture during a commercial so I wouldn't miss the moment when Michael Vaughn crawled out of the hatch to tell Locke he was one of the 4400. I hope that wasn't a spoiler.

12) 10:22 PM: Going to Bed
Yes, I go to bed incredibly early because 26 is the new Geriatric. Moments after turning off the camera and getting in bed, I got back up because I realized that I'd better upload the final picture so it wouldn't just be 11 of 12 (and 1 more still in my camera). A more apt title for this picture might then be Feinting to Bed.

Bonus Picture: "RED"
A stunning aerial flyby shot of a vintage 2002 IKEA couch, made more comfortable by a red afghan.

Were you awed by the level of thrills and excitement in my day? I was going to include the part where I deciphered the alien language and successfully communicated to the alien ambassador that we have nukes, but cameras aren't allowed in that facility. These are all the parts I can talk about.

Rival bands class over little-KISS tribute
Ugly people make bad parents
DEA Agent Who Shot Self In Foot Sues U.S.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 6 comments

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Fragments

two monkeys, fifteen minutes tops

♣ Less than twenty-four hours after making fun of Reston's personal Light Brite system in my 12 of 12 notes, I drove by this morning to find that all the construction lights were shut off. I guess this goes to show that if you put your mind to it, your website can accomplish anything -- it's not a lost cause!

♣ I thought Wednesday's episode of LOST was enjoyable, and have high hopes for the remainder of the season. I still think the season stumbled a bit with the worthless filler episodes right in the middle -- who cares about a tattoo?

♣ I also called Juliet being a plant the entire time. What would make the story especially interesting would be if Jack, too, had just pretended to be gassed, and was part of some secret plot as well -- his character's all out of interesting plot lines so they might as well screw around with him a bit. Then the two of them could smooch on the beach while fondling his tattoo, and play lookout for the Others.

♣ On Tuesday, we went out to the Fair Oaks theatre to see the movie, The Lookout, starring the youngest son from Third Rock from the Sun, as a brain-damaged janitor caught up in a bank heist. I thought it was pretty neat overall, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a much better acting job than he did in Brick. Granted, he didn't really have much to do in that movie except look around (Keanu Reeves style) and stand with the sky in the background. Other pieces of the movie to recommend it: Jeff Daniels as a blind man named Lewis who wants to open a restaurant called "Lew's Your Lunch", and a stripper named Luvlee Lemons.

♣ Do you put lemons in your water? I always do.

♣ Before the movie, Rebecca and I went to the Pei Wei Asian Diner in Fair Lakes II (as if Fair Lakes I wasn't big enough already). They have an entire cannister of lemon wedges placed strategically next to the drink machine. We had the Beef Pad Thai, which was tasty, and the Asian Coconut Curry Chicken, which tasted like a frozen TV dinner. Thumbs up overall, except for the part where the ice machine shocked the hell out of me (literally, not Puritanically).

♣ Normally ethnic restaurants, especially Chinese restaurants, tend to hire people of the same ethnicity to set the mood, but this Pei Wei had a surprisingly high mix of Hispanics and non-Asians working in the open air kitchen. Tragically, I did not see anyone named Hermano -- if they ever hire one, he could have the notoriety of being Pei Wei Hermano.

♣ I don't think I've ever watched any of the Pee Wee Herman movies. I recall occasionally watching the Pee Wee show during Saturday morning cartoons and finding it unsettlingly trippy, much like Today's Special and Pinwheel with that damned nightmare-inducing sonar bird.

♣ You can tell that Pinwheel is not suitable for impressionable children, since the introduction to the show starts with the entire population of Pinwheel-town dying in a chemical gas attack (God bless YouTube for preserving bits of Americana like this). Even the slightly off-key theme song singers don't survive the attack -- I refuse to believe any real composer would end the theme song the way this one ends.

♣ Speaking of dead people, I've started watching Six Feet Under which got rave reviews from Mike (who hates everything except Led Zeppelin and his dog so it must be decent). I'm about halfway through the first season right now, and though I'm not particularly addicted to watching it, I do agree that it's a very well-acted and interesting show -- it gets better as the characters get deeper, and being an HBO show, character depth is what it's all about. At the least, it's good enough to keep me entertained until the next TV seasons start popping out in May (like The 4400 and Scrubs).

♣ Another thing that's kept me entertained recently is the Gameboy DS game, Puzzle Quest, which is a quirky hybrid that takes the matching game, Bejeweled, and drops it in a fantasy setting with surprisingly addictive results. I also bought Super Paper Mario for the Wii, which I haven't played very much yet, due to the previously mentioned addiction to Puzzle Quest.

♣ This weekend will kick off April is Bathroom Renovation Month, which will involve tearing out all the old fixtures and cabinets in the two upstairs bathrooms and replacing them with a sexy pastiche of blue walls, white trim, oak wood, and sandy ceramic tile. Sunday is also Angela Oh's birthday, the composer who accidentally got her dog high in 2003. Happy Birthday!

♣ Have a great weekend!

IRS Agent defrauds Home Depot
Not allowing ourselves to WILF takes a mixture of planning and willpower.
That's why I'm going to Broadway, man

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


12:01 AM: Reading in bed, one minute into the new day.

8:13 AM: A blurry Booty requesting breakfast.

8:53 AM: Toasted bagels with cream cheese for breakfast on a plate painted by Rebecca. The cream cheese was yet to come...

9:59 AM: Rebecca wasn't feeling well, so Booty and I played games while she napped a little while longer on the couch. I'm not sure why Booty spent the entire day looking up into the heavens.

11:42 AM: Looking up Easter recipes online to see which ones we could do without any major shopping trips.

12:23 PM: In preparation for a dinner of ham, ham, and ham, I had a light lunch of spaghetti with a little butter and onion salt.

2:56 PM: Now it's time for cat naps. This was an incredibly lazy day.

4:53 PM: Mike (of Mike and Chompy) arrives for an impromptu Easter dinner.

5:31 PM: What better way to celebrate Easter than with eggs of the devil?

5:34 PM: Trying to figure out a flow chart of the essential ingredients for things you do that you later regret (but that make a really good story).

6:01 PM: Easter Dinner. We may have eaten a lot today.

8:11 PM: Chocolate chocolate cake and an episode of Weeds for dessert!

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

Introducing the Rescue Shelter Boys
Woody Harrelson attacked by a zombie with a camera
Colorado nixes TOFU plate

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Museday Tuesday

As part of this feature, which I started in 2007, I compose a very brief work (under 30 seconds) inspired by a randomly generated title from an online word generator. The composition can be for any instrumentation, and could even be a purely synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.

I work on the excerpt continuously for an hour and then post whatever I've managed to complete, even if it's a poorly constructed slum of a song supported by a foundation of droning double stops and abused tubas.

Indefatigable: (adj.) incapable of being tired out; not yielding to fatigue; untiring.

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

My first impression of this word was that something that can chug along untiringly would probably take a little while to get going. This one's written for harpsichord, strings, marimba, percussion, and other random patches.

Stuffed animals to be sold at auction
Son files harassment charges against mother over Facebook
Bono named worst investor in America

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stuff In My Drawers Day

or The Evolution of Good Storytelling

December 1983 (4 years old)

One day I got up to watch TV and I watched Scooby Doo and I watcht Scooby Doo at 7:00 PM and at 800 PM I got my clothes on and ate my breakfast then I turned on the TV when Mom woke up and she put on her clothest on and we got on to the car and drove to the market and brought some milk then we drove home.

When telling a story about your day, always use mind-bending Memento-style chronology devices to increase interest, such as turning on the TV both before and after you watch it, and waking up at night. Also, bring your own milk to the store, and make your story more declarative by adding extra periods.

April 1984 (4 years old)

One day I woke up when I was a baby I was too. But no bottle untell I was fed. The next day I plaied the next day. The End.

This is a fine example of a "memoir", since it tells the story of youth and long distant memories and not what I did the day before. The days of the week are itemized in the left margin, as if the original intent of this biography was to provide daily updates about my life (the first blog™) before it turned into a memoir.

April 1986 (6 years old)

My spring vacation story

On Saturday I went to the Eggsplotion. Then we went to the playground, and colored are eggs, hid them, and hunted them. Then I went to eat dinner. Afterwards we cleared the table, after that I went to bed.

Conjunctions are a more advanced type of period.

The next day, it was Easter. We ate breakfast. Them, we went to the arbiretem. We went in the garden, We went home, and played. We played egg hunt. Then ate dinner. After that we cleared the table. And went to bed.

Establish a pattern of normalcy, so the day of the shark attack really stands out.

The next day Ellen had to work on her stupid prawject. Well I played. It was fun! We went to eat lunch. Then played again, ate dinner, and went to bed.

Ha ha, I didn't have a project.

Next day. We went to are babysitter and played all day, came home, ate dinner, and went to bed.

Next day. My sister went to a g.s. hike from st. Andrews church to fort word. We had to go to are babysitter again; after that we packed up.

Leave it to those industrious Girl Scouts to fight obesity by taking a 0.9 mile hike.

Friday. We drove away to Petersburg Battlefield. It was crazy! We stayed in Days Inn.

The battlefield was off the hook. The Days Inn combined the luxury of home with the comfort of a battlefield.

(Sat.) We went to lots of places then went home.

As I get older and early memories fragment into false impressions, this will probably be the level of detail I apply to every single trip I took as a kid.

Sun. We didn't do anything.

Get ready for the shark attack.

Mon. We went to a freind's house and saw the great wall of britains. And had grilled hotdogs for lunch. We played, made a fort, went home.

I'm not sure why we were watching a movie about Hadrian's Wall, but at least we had hot dogs. I guess we were safe from sharks this time around, but what about in the sequel??

Live missile found in bathroom wall
Bolivia gives equal status to Mother Earth
New app calculates calories through photos

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Cat Picture Friday

I'm hoping to take the rest of the day off, so I can experience the grueling life of these cats. See you next week!

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

6:10 AM: Up early sorting pictures from Saturday's "High Tea - 6 Mile Hike - Dogfish Head" adventure.
8:45 AM: Ready for a low-key day.
9:03 AM: Paying some bills.
9:21 AM: Late breakfast of eggs and toast.
10:39 AM: Treadmilling with The 100.
12:49 PM: Making the new Costco-alternative to Velveeta Shells and Cheese. Mixing cheese from a powder is so 1992.
1:40 PM: Rebecca packs for an afternoon bike ride, which happens past a brewery.
4:07 PM: Starting on my new post-cloud-migration project, teaching about THE CLOUD.
4:30 PM: Laundry time.
5:55 PM: Trying out a new game, Pillars of Eternity.
7:04 PM: Chipotle for dinner.
8:00 PM: Watching Sherlock before bedtime.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Memory Day: Seventeen Years Ago

April 13, 1999 was a Tuesday, which meant that all music majors were in the Recital Salon for a weekly Convocation of required performances. Convo was scheduled conveniently after lunch, so it could double as a siesta if you sat in one of the chairs with a metal rail behind it serving as a headrest. Because every music major had to perform once per semester, there was an established bag of tricks to rely on to minimize the pain of your performance. For example, really artistic pieces with no accompaniment got a lot of playtime because then you wouldn't have to pay a pianist.

The trick I employed in my junior year was to find the absolute shortest song possible that still counted as a serious musical endeavour -- Scherzo for Trumpet and Piano by Ilia E. Shakhov. Coming in at just under two minutes, this piece fulfilled Convocation requirements to the letter of the law, like writing an essay in English that's three pages long, but with 1.01" margins and 1.2 line spacing.

What follows is one of the lowest quality musical performances since the marching band tried to play the finale of Shostakovich's 5th Symphony while running across a football field. This was no surprise -- I knew that I was not good enough to be a performance major and just wanted to get the Convocation over with so I could go back to writing music that no one would ever play.

  • Tolerate the Scherzo (2 MB MP3)

In the aftermath of this revulsion, a couple trumpet players who actually WERE performance majors (on the middling-to-poor scale) discreetly approached me as if I were their pot dealer and asked where they could "buy the sheet music to that really short song".

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:56 AM: Early morning treadmill run with Colony, Season Two.
7:26 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
9:09 AM: Breakfast over a thrilling chapter on linear geometry.
9:39 AM: Good morning!
10:30 AM: Hunting cats.
10:38 AM: Helping with the vacuuming.
10:51 AM: Off to library story time though she'd rather be writing new age music (she's a little yawny).
12:51 PM: Noodles for lunch.
3:25 PM: A bottle of distrust.
5:36 PM: Happy hour with the departing boss.
6:16 PM: Second nap is game time, although the inmates have figured out the effective range of the camera in the yard.
9:13 PM: Costco stuffed peppers for dinner.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 3 comments

Monday, April 13, 2020

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

7:40 AM: Showered and ready for Day 31 of self-quarantine.
7:49 AM: Tiny bagels from Giant for breakfast, because all of their other goods are actually in stock as opposed to Safeway.
8:06 AM: Sneaking in some ESO questing until she is risen.
9:13 AM: Good morning!
9:36 AM: Pancakes for breakfast.
9:55 AM: Virtual Easter service.
11:16 AM: Hunting for Easter eggs.
12:12 PM: Egg salad sandwiches for lunch.
12:31 PM: Preparing beer-marinated chicken breasts for dinner.
2:49 PM: Running and starting Money Heist, Part Four.
4:38 PM: Reading yet another Berenstain Bears book while Rebecca participates in a virtual book club.
6:46 PM: Dinner on the screen porch.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

7:10 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
7:23 AM: Early morning walk amongst the cows at the Lucky Star Farm.
7:37 AM: Farm cat.
8:20 AM: Fresh eggs for breakfast.
8:43 AM: Family around the kitchen table (Maia is Princess Tiana).
9:58 AM: Visiting the Ahlbin clan in Rhoadesville.
11:02 AM: Down the hill, around the carriage house, past the pond, to the guinea hens.
2:58 PM: Post-trampoline popsicles.
3:05 PM: "I want to snuggle with mommy."
6:35 PM: Heading back to the farmhouse after a dinner of chicken and hot dogs.
7:19 PM: Back where we started this morning.
7:28 PM: Sunset on the farm.

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