This Day In History: 06/13

Monday, June 13, 2005

As a sequel to my "Do you remember what you were doing years ago" post, I was planning on picking a random day from high school and writing about it for each of this week's updates. As luck would have it, June 13, 1996 was the day I graduated from high school, aptly illustrated in the photo to the left (which includes the college-age sister too embarrassed to get any closer to the family, but does not include my dad who mistakenly stood on the wrong side of the camera too often to get into many pictures).

At T.C. Williams High School, a 4.0 is the numeric equivalent of a straight-A student, but taking Advanced Placement courses gave you a bonus 0.5 which could ostensibly push you higher than the maximum. Because of this zany take on mathematics, I was ranked #1 in my class of about five-hundred. There were about fifty of us in the #1 slot, which let us all look good on college applications. In actuality, I was about 21 of the 50, and probably several hundredths of a point away from the top, since taking dumb-people classes like Music Theory, Band, Jazz Band, and Art inevitably lowered your average. This tidbit has no real bearing on the day, except that I didn't have to give a ridiculous speech and I had to show up a half hour early so they could herd all the smart cattle to the front of the line.

While waiting for the processional to begin, my wild-eyed physics teacher, Dr. Patel, warned me that ceremonies were garbage, graduations didn't mean anything, and most of the surrounding chipmunks were not going to go far in the world.

We walked out onto the football field in our teacher-chaperoned "pairs of two", possibly a symbol of educational redundancy, and sat down. Underneath my gown I had a bottle of water, three rolls of Spree, and a deck of cards, but no Bingo scoresheets . These helped to pass the time through interminable speeches and families who insisted on cheering for their underachievers despite the principal's constant pleas to hold the applause until the end. The Air-Force-bound, meteorologic physicist genius, Ada Holland, (who retook the SATs to get from 1560 to 1600 or something) gave the Salutatorian speech about heroes and Superman. This was followed by the Valedictorian speech of Ruth whose GPA was statistically insignificantly higher (by taking fewer classes) and who I haven't heard from since (she may be out back smoking crack with Zulfan). Her speech mentioned Star Wars a lot, with a few random spewings of nonsensical magma about heroes. I guess the theme of the graduation was heroes.

The graduation was followed by a minor party at home with my uncle, grandfather, and the kids of our family babysitter twelve years earlier. This party was followed by two more, one at Hilda's which I momentarily loitered at, and one at Mike Buns' which I skipped altogether. The night was punctuated by the All-Night Grad Party, designed by the PTA to keep the newly graduated hooligans away from drugs and alcohol (omitting, for a moment, the fact that a good 94.3% of the population from G.W. Junior High, the feeder school for the rich yuppies of Alexandria, were deep into substance abuse before their junior year at T.C.) The only notable events of the night were a sumo-fat-suit booth, a bungee corridor where you tried to run as far as possible before slingshotting backwards, and a blackjack table where I won $10,000 in funny money. I subsequently traded the funny money for a clock-radio which got regifted several years later at a random party.

And when the party was over, it was no longer June 13, 1996.

tagged as memories | permalink | 7 comments

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12: A Study in Mundanity


1) 5:45 AM, My Bathroom
Swabbing a circle in the mirror condensation that was big enough to contain my head made me realize how big my head is.

2) 5:52 AM, My Foyer
Welcome to a dismal, rainy, chilly Monday morning.


3) 6:04 AM, Herndon
Waiting at a stoplight and listening to K.T. Tunstall.


4) 6:11 AM, Lunch Room
Our lunch room overlooks the Toll Road which is always jam packed with worker bees trying to get to D.C. I thank my Lucky Charms for my scenic 7-mile commute every single day.


BONUS) 10:04 AM, My Office
I was a little late on this one because I lost track of time. The bonus picture was supposed to be whatever you were doing at 10 AM EST. I am eating a lunch of Mini Ravioli at my desk and waiting for Chad to post the European 12 of 12's.


5) 11:34 AM, Parking Lot
I left work early because of a migraine and saw the Canadian Geese Family in the parking lot. They're cuter when they cross the street in a single file line.


6) 11:56 AM, Home
It's always nice to come home and see your pets in the window watching you.


7) 2:45 PM, Laundry Room
After migraine detox, a.k.a. naptime, I started a load of laundry to minimize the complaints of passerby that I smelled of fetid cheese.


8) 4:14 PM, My Bedroom
I moved the majority of my furniture out of the bedroom, to make way for the planned "punch a hole in the wall and install a window" operation that's going to happen on Friday.


9) 5:24 PM, My Office
Booty and Amber seem to enjoy the new location of my mattress, and I'd have to agree. After working on the computer for a bit, I can just stumble a couple feet away and land on it. Ignore the fact that it takes up 100% of the floor space in that room. Floor space is overrated.


10) 5:45 PM, My Living Room
Playing with my new toy, the Gameboy DS Lite. The console fits comfortably in my hands without being unwieldy and the screen is so bright that I'm now blind in one eye and deaf in the other.


11) 6:08 PM, My Living Room
Watching the season premiere of The 4400 (which I taped the night before to skip over commercials), and eating a bowl of fetuccini alfredo.


12) 10:33 PM, Guest Bedroom
Getting ready to go to sleep in the Blue Room, where I'll be staying until construction work in the other bedroom is all done. Good night!

Too drunk to be driving
You don't need claws to scare a bear
Introducing the hypoallergenic cat

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

5:35 AM: These ghost cats which haunt me at night almost run too fast for me to catch them on film. Almost.

5:46 AM: Getting ready for work in a different bathroom, just to mix things up (or because the other bathroom is under construction and has no sink).

5:53 AM: Like a grade school bully, Amber likes to accidentally-on-purpose bump into Booty for no good reason.

6:06 AM: Things to do on one-lane roads when the guy in front of you is traveling 20 mph in a 35 mph zone: Take pictures of the sunrise.

6:29 AM: I predict that this last vestige of unadulterated skyline in Reston will be vanquished within five years.

7:55 AM: My office hasn't changed much since two months ago, apart from the All-You-Can-Eat Steak Dispenser in the corner (not pictured).

8:42 AM: Breakfast!

9:26 AM: Taking a break from work to water the plant, which was abandoned by my previous officemate two years ago and is still hanging in there. Since I now work for him, it might be a devious recording device to catch me slacking off -- I think it's a plant.

12:45 PM: Bonus Picture "Secret": A snapshot of a presentation on my whiteboard with all the juicy parts blacked out.

2:58 PM: At a light on the Parkway. It looks like those condos are being protected from harmful cumulus clouds by the pedestrian overpass, but that would be too sci-fi for Fairfax County.

4:45 PM: Cleaning the grout residue off the new ceramic tiles in bathroom A.

5:30 PM: In the basement, nonchalantly playing double high Gs.

6:12 PM: Dinner during the thunderstorm: Velveeta Shells and Cheese with bacon bits. Booty is sitting in the background, hoping I drop something.

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

See my previous 12 of 12s:
May
April
March
February
January

Xinhua did not explain how the contractor was able to run the project considering his inability to see.
Doing Away with Dewey
Pants suer leaves courtroom in tears

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Fragments

the unluckiest column of the month

♠ Congratulations to Paige and Matt who have a new daughter as of May 29! Because all new babies need to start out life with an online gaming handle to get ahead, Paige has given her the nickname, Senorita Clementina. You can find pictues of the newbie on Paige's site (click on the link in the left sidebar).

♠ It's too bad that Clementina wasn't a boy, because then Paige could contribute pictures to Guys Eating Stuff (also in the left sidebar).

♠ Now that there are officially more babies than adults in the readership of the URI! Zone, I've decided that the next major feature to add will be a Fantasy Baby Draft, where you select your favourite reader-offspring and follow it through a season of American Gladiator style baby-wrestling. Statistics such as diet, how often their diapers are changed, and hand-eye coordination can be tailored and tinkered with.

♠ I've never really understood the appeal of fantasy drafts or fantasy Final Four matchups, mainly because my interest in sports ends at the point where the team I'm rooting for stops playing. Cheer on the Hokies in a game? Sure! Cheer on Kansas because if they beat Ohio then the Hokies might move up one spot? Retarded.

♠ Speaking of sports, here's an article about throwing like a girl that I found while pruning all the old news links from my News Archives: . The ending is the best.

♠ I don't have any major plans this weekend, though tonight is Video Game Night which will probably involve lots of alcohol and driving (in Mario Kart) or brawling (in Super Smash Brothers). I'll also start studying for the next Java certification out of the only study guide I could find under $40, filled with annoying jokes and cartoons (because engineers supposedly learn much more from engineers who think they're comedians). I hear that Gabe and Laura are also getting married on Saturday. Congratulations! To celebrate, I'll probably go to my parents' house while they're down in Blacksburg and steal all their beer.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Bumblebee costumes make you pregnant
German paper slammed for Uncle Barack's Cabin
Unicorns do exist

tagged as fragments | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


8:10 AM: Up early, working on a brief.

9:32 AM: Booty's not ready to get up yet. Amber has been up for hours.

9:45 AM: Soft-boiled eggs for breakfast.

10:42 AM: At the grocery store. The woman cart is up top and the man cart is down below.

11:33 AM: Preparing the Mojo marinade for our chicken dinner.

12:05 PM: Playing our new two-player game, Lost Cities.

12:51 PM: Alternating between drilling and screwing.

2:00 PM: Our cabinets now have handles.

4:30 PM: Playing Warcraft while Rebecca works out.

6:58 PM: Booty is not allowed to join us for grilled chicken night.

7:02 PM: Mojo-marinated chicken and salad for dinner.

9:27 PM: Triple chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup for desert.

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

Attorney pleads guilty to keying cars
Self-appointed superhero watches over Wenatchee
Kenyan baboon plays mother to bush baby

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 4 comments

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Memory Day: My First Job

My first job, paying $5.50 an hour, was an internship at Potomac Electric Power. It was just after high school graduation sixteen years ago, and took place in the aging power plant that looked as if it would tumble into the Potomac River during a mild earthquake. I was too young to legally have a job the summer before, and did nothing during my senior year other than occasional Alexandria Symphony stage crew gigs (and our family was of the "your job is to be in school" mentality).

As I've mentioned in previous posts, the PEPCO internship was billed as a computer-oriented position for an up and coming computer science major. I arrived at work at 7 AM every morning, had 30 minutes for lunch, and then left at 3:30 PM. In general, I just did the leftover work that none of the four secretaries wanted to do (and the fact that it took four secretaries to work a front office totaling ten people should have been an early warning sign that this was not going to be the next Apple). Here are the tasks that comprised my average day:

Entering "Fly Ash" Tickets
Each truck that brought coal to the plant was weighed on its way in and out, to determine the net weight of the coal. My job was to take the handwritten carbon copies and type them into the PEPCO mainframe so someone else could run a report. Generally there were about 30 tickets a day, and the mainframe took 5 minutes to login. Total Time: 20 minutes

Typing up Purchase Orders
When people around the plant needed equipment, they would fill out a triplicate order form (the white-yellow-pink variety). I would then take this information and type it onto a new triplicate order form of the same variety with the office typewriter. I never figured out why they wasted a real form on the handwritten copy, but I was not paid to seek efficiencies. I typed 2 or 3 orders per day. Total Time: 20 minutes

Printing Reports
Once I finally had a computer, I would occasionally be called upon to open up corporate memos or documents on the fileserver and print copies of them for the managers. Total Time: 5 minutes

Delivering Mail
This was a task that the full-time secretaries were glad to offload. The plant received US and inter-office mail for 100 different people, and my job was to sort and deliver the mail into a massive wall of cubbyholes. The problem was that the wall of cubbyholes was not alphabetical -- it was sorted with the lead plant worker in the top row, and his team in the slots below him. Total Time: On the first day, it took me 2 hours. On the second day, I created a mapping grid with the names listed alphabetically followed by their location in the mailbox grid, and hung it on the wall. Subsequently it took 20 minutes.

Lunch
Two baloney and Miracle Whip sandwiches on white bread, a brownie, and an apple (in the days before I became allergic to fruit skins). Total Time: 15 minutes

It is left as an exercise to the reader to figure out what I did with the other 7 hours of the workday. It is an exercise I had to endure daily for the entire summer.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

Shadows by Lenka:
Lenka's third album is billed as "lullabies for adults", which is exactly what was delivered. The music has lost much of the playful quality that I enjoyed in previous albums, and replaced it with a hazy, washed out sound that's mellow and comfortable, but not always interesting. The advertising blurb states that this album was inspired by Lenka's marriage and pregnancy, and it's true that it's the musical equivalent of a contented mom.

Final Grade: C+

Regular Expressions Cookbook by Jan Goyvaerts and Steven Levithan:
Regular expressions are in one of those knowledge areas that I actually have learned over the course of my career, but when the time comes to write any expressions that are reasonably complex, I find it faster to just look for examples online. I had hoped that this book would nudge me more towards regular expression self-sufficiency, but it has not. The progression of "recipes" increases in complexity nicely, but so much space is devoted to edge cases and differences between different languages that it greatly loses readability. I still find it faster to adapt online examples than figure out new expressions with my brain.

Final Grade: B-

Excelline Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas:
In my continuing quest to find freezer foods that are easy-to-prepare and actually taste good, I tried these quesadillas from Costco (they were next to the chicken pot pies that were so delicious). On the positive side, the box says that there are 8 but I ended up with 10. Everything else is a negative: the quesadillas cook unevenly in the microwave, resulting in cold chicken and burnt cheese, and a puddle of water leaks onto the plate making any surrounding foods soggy. The smell is good but the taste is forgettable -- there are no real "food" flavours in a bite to cover up the "generic processed stuff" flavour emanating from both ends. The quesadilla falls apart as you cut it, and the salt content is so high that it will probably start crystallizing on your uvula during the mastication process. Leonard wouldn't like this.

Final Grade: D-

tagged as reviews | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, June 13, 2014

Recipe Day: Asian Fusion Pork Chops

Timing

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Marinade Time: 4 hours
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless pork chops (3/4" thick)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • Asian spice mix or garam masala

Instructions

  1. Mix soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, and ginger in a bowl, and pour over trimmed pork chops in a glass container.

  2. Marinate pork chops in the fridge, turning every hour or so.

  3. Preheat grill up to super-high and oil the grill slats.

  4. Sear for 1.5 minutes on each side over high heat.

  5. Reduce heat to medium and continue grilling for 6 minutes on each side. Sprinkle spice mix or garam masala on chops as they cook.

  6. Remove from heat and let sit for ten minutes before serving.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

7:30 AM: Waking up to cats that expand to fill all negative space.
7:39 AM: Awake.
7:54 AM: Soft-boiled eggs for breakfast.
8:24 AM: Family relaxy time.
9:06 AM: Rebecca leaves for various yoga activities.
11:56 AM: Treadmill time while rewatching Chuck (which has not aged at all in the intervening years).
12:23 PM: Leftover pizza for lunch.
2:00 PM: Playing Overwatch with friends.
3:15 PM: Laundry.
4:45 PM: Back from a Safeway run.
8:01 PM: Taco Night on the back porch.
9:20 PM: Couch & TV time.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

5:35 AM: Showered and ready for work.
6:07 AM: The new normal work breakfast, in the absence of giant boxes of chips or an office to store them in.
8:01 AM: Working hard.
11:49 AM: Arrived home to find a back porch party.
12:04 PM: Leftover chicken for lunch, 50% inedibly dry. Thanks, Safeway.
12:44 PM: Lunchtime for children (and kitties).
3:18 PM: Post-nap drinks.
3:55 PM: Using voting as an excuse to crawl around in the grass.
5:07 PM: Egg for dinner, followed by beefcarrotbroccoli puree.
6:18 PM: Using second "nap" to make some taco beef.
7:45 PM: Bellybutton bathtime.
8:55 PM: Taco Night!

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, June 13, 2022

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:25 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
6:36 AM: Breakfast #1: Bagel.
7:02 AM: Ready for a 30 minute neighbourhood walk / trash pick-up with light drizzle.
8:08 AM: Breakfast #2: Banana.
9:08 AM: Early Father's Day breakfast (#3) with just Maia at Virginia Kitchen (her first breakfast at a restaurant).
9:53 AM: Camping in the Grand Canyon.
11:44 AM: Waiting in line for the crepe guy.
12:40 PM: Swinging at the Potomack Sportsplex playground.
1:16 PM: Eating the crepes.
3:58 PM: Using quiet time to catch up on the fourth season of Stranger Things, which isn't awful.
5:29 PM: Dinner from Burger 21.
6:34 PM: "You have to use your hands? That's like a baby's toy!"

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

 

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