This Day In History: 04/14

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Yesterday I read Grisham's The Brethren, so I'm now caught up on all the Grisham books I missed from my years as an undergrad. The book was surprisingly good, and a little deeper than most of his recent work has been. Grisham uses the device of two disparate stories eventually joining together, which is a nice change of pace from his usual narrative style. This one's definitely worth a read.

There's a Composers' Concert tonight, on which I'll be performing the third edition of Badinage with Rob. It's not really a "new" work per se, but it's always good to have the opportunity for quality recordings of older works. I'm considering putting my other trumpet work, Scarabus on a concert next year. The concert itself is going to be a bloated behemoth, with fifteen composers (seven of which are undergrads, I believe). One composer even has a five movement work on the program. It'll be like watching a double-feature of Ben-Hur and Spartacus but with fewer props.

The power was out in the building this morning, so hopefully that will get taken care of before the concert. I gamely waded into the pitch black confines of the downstairs locker bay and got my trumpet by the wan glow of my trusty watch light for a rehearsal this morning.

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, April 14, 2003

I started working on the new layout for the next edition of the URI! Domain (hereafter called URI-8, because I'm a lazy bastard). It will be much more compact and easier to navigate, and some sections may get the heave-ho. If you visit a particular section of this site frequently, please let me know using the Comments button, and I'll do what I can to keep that particular page around.

The finale of Married by America airs tonight. The front-running wife-to-be is obviously milking the show for all the publicity possible since she's a struggling actress. Taking a look at her web site brings up some nice gems such as:

  • She graduated high school the same year I did.
  • Her future goal is to host a show on MTV, VH1 or the E! Channel (obviously reaching for the stars).
  • Was a "Fleeing Citizen" in Independance Day [sic]
  • Appeared in principal roles for such companies as Ashley Furniture, Credit King, Gap Clothing, Junior's Café & Pizza Hut.

It's a little old place where he could get together.
Saddam in the house. Everybody in the house say we hate you.
The weekly sex column was written in Ebonics and phony advertisements included a spray that "Kills townies dead"

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Yesterday, I found a hair salon/barber shop that does decent cuts for $10 after coupon ($13 for women). It's in the Clock Tower shopping center of Sterling, a ghetto version of the more high class Clock Towers in other cities, so it doesn't get much foot traffic.

I got all the USPS and FedEx components of the new computer yesterday, and I have to go home early again to watch for the UPS guy with the actual computer. It's so hard to drive seven miles home, but I'll grin and bear it.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    naked medic in starcraft, diablo 2 skill chooser, drum majors learning how to conduct, covert pine worm

Please identify these people, especially the guy with the "Break Sh*t" sign
Diseased stock told to lie to give blood
A prime time to ask the President questions
Naked swinger gets in Beaver Creek

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

I bought 28 square yards of red carpet for the guest room yesterday and will be prepping the room for painting tonight. I've also started working on a series of four lunchtime seminars I'll be giving at work on various music topics in August. When not cleaning or working or planning, I'm accumulating over 800 gold in World of Warcraft with a Level 48 character.

Alias is slowly getting better. The first half of the season was too self-contained without enough addictive storylines to keep viewers coming back, but now they're starting to explore some meaty stories which could bring the show back up to its former glory.

Demotivational Posters

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Fragments

Because bullets and stream of consciousness make everything better

  • No one is at work this morning. Not even the clowns that wake up earlier than I do and roll in at 5:00 or 5:30. I guess that's what makes it a good Friday.

  • According to MONEY magazine, I have the #1 job in America: Software Engineer . The article does a good job of outlining the pros and cons of being one, although I'd argue that software engineering doesn't necessarily cause eyestrain and back, hand and wrist problems -- the type of person that makes a good software engineer is probably going to be spending hours at his computer getting carpal tunnel every day regardless, so they might as well get paid for it. If I were to grade my own job (at a small company), I'd give it an A- for stress, an A for flexibility, and a B for creativity. I can't judge "ease of entry" because I've been working here for so long that they probably have my baby shoes on file in HR.

  • Looking at the other nine jobs in the top ten list, there really aren't any that I'd rather be. Far too many of them involving constant, forced interaction with other people which I would probably hate very quickly. It might be fun, though, to be a psychologist for a month and just make up advice about my patients' mothers. It's always your mother's fault. Your face is your mother's fault too.

  • I would also get a kick out of being a criminal psychologist, the kind that works for the FBI and generates profiles of serial killers and the like, because I'm fascinated by how messed up people can get and what made them that way. I just finished reading In Cold Blood which was interesting enough if a little long-winded. I probably wouldn't have been as intrigued by it had I not seen the movie, Capote.

  • The reason I couldn't be a criminal profiler is that I probably wouldn't do well with all the gory, gruesome parts. I could take the cases that have not yet devolved into gore -- like tracking down a fourteen-year-old who's tearing the heads off all the Peeps in CVS before he ups the ante to live chickens. Or maybe the juvenile delinquent who ritually defaces all the boxes of Captain Crunch (he's a cereal killer, you see!)

  • I never understood the draw of Captain Crunch. It didn't taste that great, and if you left it in the milk for too long it became an unappetizing Admiral Flaccid. If I'm going to eat a cereal that's going to slice up the inside of my mouth, I'd rather just eat a box of Cookie Crisp and call it a day.

  • Best cereals from my youth (in no particular order): Fruity Pebbles, Honey Nut Cheerios, Corn Chex, Sugar sprinkled with Rice Krispies. Worst cereals from my youth: Any foul concoction purported to be Cocoa-flavoured or with a Monster on the front, or both, Fruit Loops, Nintendo Cereal.

  • Yes, I actually had Nintendo cereal, because you could cut out the Proofs of Purchase and send them in for some useless knick-knack. I also had a subscription to Nintendo Power magazine, a fifty page monthly advertisement for really bad video games hiding under the guise of a strategy guide. I should have learned my lesson when Howard Phillips gave Milon's Secret Castle two thumbs up.

  • I beat Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time for the Gameboy DS this week. It wasn't particularly difficult, but was entertaining and laugh-provoking throughout. This game is proof positive that Mario doesn't have to be in a 3D world and constantly fall off moving ledges to be entertaining. My Nintendog, Tuba, just learned how to sit. I still have my eye on the DS Lite (due out in May or June) just because it's so sleek and sophisticated looking. It has a ridiculously bright screen too. You could probably use it for illumination if you ended up with a flat tire in the middle of the Arizona desert during a new moon and didn't have a flashlight. Plus, it's tiny.

  • I recently saw an iPod Nano up close -- those things are crazy-tiny. I'd be afraid that I'd break it if I ever owned one. I'll never own an MP3 player because between my computers and my XM Radio, I'm very rarely in a location where I can't listen to my tunes.

  • Tomorrow is Angela Oh's birthday, which I will celebrate by doing yard work, unless these thunderstorms actual happen. I should really start poker back up, but I guess that can wait until next month. Have a good weekend!

  • How to tell that your daughter needs a hobby
    Some people watch NASCAR for the hillbilly wife fights
    Some people buy lawn gnomes...

    tagged as fragments | permalink | 3 comments

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Newsday Tuesday

    Obama looking at cooling air to fight warming

    Tinkering with Earth's climate to chill runaway global warming ? a radical idea once dismissed out of hand ? is being discussed by the White House as a potential emergency option, the president's new science adviser said Wednesday. That's because global warming is happening so rapidly, John Holdren told The Associated Press.

    In fact, global warming is occurring so rapidly that the current administration is also investigating its use as a distribution mechanism for the federal stimulus package, as many states are complaining that the money is not arriving fast enough. "We have a very fortuitous overlap," said Holdren, "since the states that do not believe in global warming, like Alaska, are also the states that are refusing to accept the stimulus money." Holdren also mentioned that successful attempts to harness the speed of global warming could ultimately lead to improved response times in clearance background checks, passports, and the time it takes to get from the end of the Blue Line to Metro Center.

    His concern is that the United States and other nations won't slow global warming fast enough and that several "tipping points" could be fast approaching. Once such milestones are reached, such as complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic, it increases chances of "really intolerable consequences," he said.

    To promote consumer awareness, the Nantucket Nectars corporation has trademarked "Summer Sea Ice" and is donating 5% of the profits from their new drink to geoengineering research. They will also be sponsoring cow tipping (point) competitions on college campuses, since explosions of methane are both hilarious and educational.

    Twice in a half-hour interview, Holdren compared global warming to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."

    Like all good politicians using bad analogies, Holdren's description of global warming was open-ended enough to be interpreted multiple ways. He did not specify whether we were driving the car towards the base of a cliff, which would probably result in immediate death and dismemberment, or whether we were driving off the top of the cliff, which would assuredly be scary, but would also give us precious seconds to fashion a makeshift global warming parachute out of seat cushions and safety belts.

    The 65-year-old physicist is far from alone in taking geoengineering seriously [. . .] At an international meeting of climate scientists last month in Copenhagen, 15 talks dealt with different aspects of geoengineering.

    A closer look at the schedule revealed that 7 other sessions discussed the legitimacy of climate science, with an 8th devoted to bad weather jokes like "How many meteorologists does it take to change a lightbulb?1

    Holdren, a 1981 winner of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, outlined these possible geoengineering options:

    • Shooting sulfur particles (like those produced by power plants and volcanoes, for example) into the upper atmosphere [. . .]
    • Creating artificial "trees" ? giant towers that suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it.

    Although John Holdren insisted that no approaches were off the table, it was discovered that he had already abandoned less promising approaches:

    • Telling people to stop breathing.
    • Gathering melted Arctic ice in ice cube trays and refreezing it.
    • Breaking down CO2 into its base elements, and then starting a carbon dating website to pair up the newly single carbons with other less destructive elements.

    [E]fforts are racing against three tipping points he cited: Earth could be as close as six years away from the loss of Arctic summer sea ice, he said, and that has the potential of altering the climate in unforeseen ways. Other elements that could dramatically speed up climate change include the release of frozen methane from thawing permafrost in Siberia, and more and bigger wildfires worldwide.

    In mentioning these possible catastrophes, Holdren inadvertently revealed the Soviet Union's secret Cold War stash of methane bombs, painstakingly created by feeding the populace lentils and beans for over thirty years. Although Khrushchev had hoped for power on the order of Hiroshima, the research was devalued after the bombs "just made people run out of the room", and permanently discontinued after some test subjects merely reported that "it smelled like popcorn".

    1: Three -- two to hold the ladder and one to climate.

    Politician fumes over gay elephant
    Saudis ban lewd USA license plates
    The Untold Story of the World's Biggest Diamond Heist

    tagged as newsday, favourites | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Progress Day

    It only took a year for the Department of Defense to mea culpa their stance on online music.

    Carlsberg workers strike over drinking policy
    Drug test-cheating fake penis maker sentenced
    New lizard does not require fake penis

    tagged as random | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Review Day

    There are no spoilers in these reviews.

    Weeds, Season Six:
    The sixth season of Weeds is told in the form of a road trip. This injects some freshness and interesting side characters into the mix, but backfires by showing just how boring and used up the main characters have become. There are occasional moments worth laughing about, but overall, the show has just become an excuse to insert gratuitous nudity and sex. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this, but it's not enough to carry the show.

    Final Grade: C-

    Designing With the Mind in Mind by Jeff Johnson:
    User interface books are a dime a dozen, and many of them, like the one used in my undergraduate Design of Information class are uniformly awful. This book manages to be concise and unrepetitive while also offering basic psychological and physiological reasons for various codified rules, which gives it more depth than your average UI book. None of the information here is new, and the book is a little pricey ($50 list), but it's a good refresher/shelf-reference book for UI design.

    Final Grade: B

    Have you asked me a question yet?

    China bans references to time travel
    Sex & Zen at premiere of Hong Kong's first 3D erotic film
    Man arrested for creating fake army unit

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    7:11 AM: Between the hours of 2 AM and 6 AM, Booty slowly encroaches upon the pillow until I'm evicted (see also, Crimea).
    7:26 AM: Showered and ready for Spring.
    7:45 AM: Breakfast.
    9:47 AM: Home from Costco, with a happy freezer full of meats.
    10:46 AM: Teaching Booty how to read.
    11:37 AM: Building a badminton court that won't decay during the first rainstorm.
    1:34 PM: Celebrating a successful badminton installation with cheese and crackers.
    2:12 PM: Booty cannot join our party.
    2:25 PM: Inaugural badminton game of 2014.
    5:56 PM: Birthday dinner at the Carlyle in Shirlington.
    7:44 PM: Showing off the latest in TV technologies.
    8:56 PM: Competitive head-to-head Hearthstone time.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 4 comments

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    List Day: Updates

    • Sydney, the temporary third cat who moved in last month is super chill now, and wanders around the house doing strategic somersaults that will result in her butt landing on your feet.

    • The software deployment that was tried and aborted last year and then tried again in March is humming along smoothly now that we identified the memory leak that only occurs with an enterprise level of simultaneous users.

    • My company won the proposal that I worked on nonstop for ten days in March, so I'll be starting on a new full-time project in the next few weeks. Clouds will be involved.

    • I'm also going to be teaching a four-week course on Amazon Web Services to people in my division in May and June.

    • All three of my sites (this one, DDMSence, and Stone Band) are now mobile-friendly and will not get destroyed by Google's updated search algorithm at the end of this month. You can see this in action from a non-mobile browser by slowly dragging the width of your browser window from bigger to smaller.

    • Tonight is Steak Night.

    tagged as lists, day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

    Thursday, April 14, 2016

    Review Day

    There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

    Sicario (R):
    I really liked the intensity of Denis Villeneuve's last movie, Prisoners, which made me give this one a try. The movie does a great job of building a specific mood of dread and is well acted throughout with good shades of grey in the main characters. The plot and overall resolution is less effectiveness, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

    Final Grade: B-

    Brothers Grimm by Drapht:
    This album from yet another Australian hip-hop artist has a few catchy songs like Jimmy Recard. The problem is that his voice starts to turn into white noise if you listen to more than a couple songs in a row. Better in isolation than as an hour-long playlist.

    Final Grade: B-

    The Cactus Eaters by Dan White:
    Rebecca recommended this book to me because she likes travelogues, depressed middle-aged men with internal monologues, and hiking. I enjoyed the writing style and the descriptions of the Pacific Crest Trail, but often got frustrated by the narrator's penchant for doing stupid things or messing up his relationships.

    Final Grade: C+

    Bosch, Season Two:
    If you liked the first season of this show, you'll like the second as well, as it's cut in the exact same mold. It's generally pleasant, but spends a lot of time on transitional scenes and mundane details that don't do much to further the plot. Not much happens for the first four episodes, but the last six are reasonably compelling. Additionally, the balance between the "case of the season" and the long-term mystery behind the murder of Bosch's mother is handled poorly, and it feels jarring every time the plot changes gears to focus on one or the other. Free on Amazon Prime.

    Final Grade: B-

    tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, April 14, 2017

    Questions Day

    It's time for another Questions Day! Want to get a second opinion on something? Ask anything you want, be it about myself, deeply philosophical music theory, politics, or something you don't understand. Need some recommendations? I'll answer all of your questions next week!

    tagged as you speak | permalink | 3 comments

    Wednesday, April 14, 2021

    Release Day

    Introducing the Official Website of Don Maitz!

    Don Maitz is a Hugo-winning artist whose artwork has appeared in hundreds of classic fantasy and science-fiction books, including books by Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, Gene Wolfe, and Michael Moorcock. He is also married to Janny Wurts, whose website I rewrote last summer.

    With this makeover, all of my pandemic website projects come to a successful close, just in time for other kinds of new releases at the end of the month!

    tagged as website, programming | permalink | 0 comments

    Friday, April 14, 2023

    Vacation Wrap-up Day

    Last week was Spring Break for Loudoun County Public Schools, our first official spring break as parents. We opened the week with a treat for ourselves, a trip to Jammin' Java to see Elizabeth and the Catapult on Sunday, while our babysitter, Laura, put the kids to bed. Elizabeth opened for Mark Erelli, whose music was fine but not really my preferred style. I spent most of that part of the concert distracted by the fact that Walton Goggins will probably play Mark in his future biopic.

    We drove down to Massanutten Resort on Monday afternoon, making good time on the non-annoying part of I-81 before the drowsy's set in after Harrisonburg. Massanutten Resort is not the "all-inclusive" type of resort -- it's just a jumble of different vacation homes (mainly for ski season) with many activities and restaurants close enough so you don't have to go far. We stayed at a cabin called "Massanutten for Kids" which boasted a huge playroom full of toys and books in the basement.

    On Tuesday, we explored the campus, walking the Arboretum Trail and hitting playground #2 of 3. We had smoked barbeque sandwiches for lunch and then everyone returned to the cabin so Rebecca and Ian could take epic-length naps. After dinner, we drove up to the overlook for a brief hike, then had ice cream bars at the local store.

    On Wednesday, Rebecca got up early to hike then we spent most of the day around the cabin. We walked around Painter Pond in the afternoon then had dinner at the Campfire Grill. I had a game steak, which was essentially a burger patty served on a skillet.

    Thursday was our busiest day. Rebecca and Maia got up early for a sunrise hike. Maia was so excited that she woke up at 5:30 AM. After breakfast, we went to the petting zoo to feed goats and sheep.

    We did afternoon naps in the cabin, although Maia was so excited for the next activity that she spent the whole time in front of her mirror wearing her swimsuit and goggles and chanting "Water Park!"

    The Indoor Water Park was the favourite activity of both kids. Maia got to float on the lazy river several times and watch the waveboarders (though she's not quite 42" to be able to do it herself). Ian loved the 1-foot-deep pool which was shallow enough that he could propel around like a baby tadpole. Afterwards, "Water Park!" and a made-up song called "Lazy River" became staples of his vocabulary.

    We came home on Friday and had our first "travel throw-up" incident. We all handled it well and Maia was running around the Chickfila playground without a care just an hour later.

    On Saturday, Grandpa Tom came by to do some egg dying. On Sunday, Rebecca and the kids went church at Riverside, then to Maryland to see some of her mom's family. I missed these events, having caught an awful cough from Maia over the course of the week!

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments


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