This Day In History: 06/14

Monday, June 14, 2004

There are new cat pictures up on the Photos page, and here are some movies for your viewing pleasure.

Earthquake! (842KB WMV)
Playing (4MB WMV)
All four cats(4MB WMV)

Woman put fork in lover

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This week is still ancient history week.

Eleven years ago today was June 14, 1994. Like a peculiar suburban Tennessee Williams play, it was a hot and humid half-day at the end of my sophomore year, and it was the last day of "going to every class" before exams. The Alexandria City Public School System, like any good school system, felt that students would not benefit unless they went to every class but had an inability to divide the day into increments of five minutes at a time. As a result, we went to every class for approximately 19 minutes before the bell rang.

First period was English with Mrs. Riviere, who owned a bed and breakfast in Berryville and commuted about eighty miles to school everyday. Well on her way to retirement, she decided to have a sub on the half day, which surprised no one. Second period was French III with a teacher who was easily the meanest old lady in la monde. It was during this year and this class that I started work on Break-Out! for the TI-85 (which eventually culminated two years later with the complete Game-Calc by Uri! containing Break-Out, Connect Four, Battleship, and Whack-a-Rat, but had the downside of taking up the entire memory of the calculator).

Nothing happened in third period Algebra II With Trig. The With Trig means that they threw in an extra semester of trigonometry, so you wouldn't have to have a useless gap in the second half of your year. Fourth period was Biology BSCS -- I no longer know what the BSCS stands for but I know it wasn't bromothymal blue. For this particular class, Ben Seggerson and I were administering a makeup test for the chapter we were forced to teach while the rest of the class just sat around and talked. In the final week of this class, the teacher informed everyone that there would be a notebook check of every ditto, test, and handout she'd ever given, and that it would constitute 40% of our grade. She apparently had a checklist which she was going to grade our notebooks against, although no one really believed her. Since I had thrown away everything to do with this class weeks earlier, I turned in a carefully manicured notebook filled to the brim with old math assignments, doodles, and hundreds of copies of the one ditto I had left. This faux notebook was a work of art, since many of the pages were carefully stapled and taped together -- when you flipped through the notebook haphazardly, you only saw the particular pages that looked official. Another student later reported that she threw out all the notebooks immediately after the school year ended, so I would have gotten an A regardless.

Nothing else of note occurred in the remaining classes, Art I and Band, though I did go to lunch at Jack's since he lived close to school. We managed to have a soda before the nineteen minute deadline loomed and we had to rush back to campus. Incidentally, Jack is the one who got me my current job, and he got promoted to business area manager of my project last week (also managing to throw in a nice little engagement to his girlfriend a few days ago). Were this faux-blog to have any greater world significance, this would be the point where I connect Jack to a deeper thread in the weave of life. Since this faux-blog actually has no significance whatsoever, I'll just close with my standard news stories.

Killer cow arrested
Baby man

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

List Day: Habit and Routine Make My Life Possible

  1. I always get gas at the same gas station, which is always the cheapest one within a reasonable radius of my house. I always buy gas with cash.

  2. When writing a book, sometimes the author will describe, in great detail, a hand gesture or motion of one of his characters. If I read a passage containing such described motions or facial expressions, I always try to recreate them myself. If anyone were to watch me, it'd probably look like I was flashing gang signs at my novel.

  3. I try to do as much of my shopping early on Saturday morning as possible. I will hit the grocery store around 7 and gas up the car. Then I'll head for Costco around 9 to get in before the yuppy bison stampede through the doors, and do any ancillary shopping at nearby stores like Target and Home Depot. If I sleep late, I'll just not go shopping, rather than risk being caught on the roads after 10 AM. That's when gridlock begins.

  4. I usually mow the lawn after work on Fridays. I always mow the outside edges first. Then, I'll either go back and forth in straight lines, or I'll continuously mow in a clockwise spiral until there's no grass left to mow. I won't know which way I'll do it until I start.

  5. I always floss the front teeth first, since those are the most visible. Then, I will work from right to left along my top teeth, and do the same for my bottom teeth. This means that the front teeth get flossed twice. There's a slight space between my front teeth that I can push air through with my tongue. If that feels clogged, I must get to flossing as soon as possible.

  6. I wash my dishes as soon as I'm done using them. Sometimes I will even wash dishes during meals or meal preparation to prevent wandering cats from getting fat.

  7. My wake-up routine: roll out of bed, stumble into the shower, brush and shave, dress, feed the cats, get the newspaper out of the driveway and throw it on the porch, get in my car, drive away. This routine takes twenty minutes tops. My come home routine: get the mail, roll garbage cans back to the side of the house, collapse on the floor or couch with cats for a few minutes, and then get on the computer to check mail, since I surely received urgent top secret mail in the fifteen minutes since I checked my mail at work.

  8. If there are two reasonably equivalent ways to get somewhere that I go regularly, I will alternate between them until I've figured out the most efficient way to go. On long trips, I will usually take the route that has the least number of miles rather than the route that is the fastest.

  9. I have to keep moving and do as much "chore work" as possible once I get home from work. As soon as I lose momentum, I've pretty much called it a night and nothing else will get done.

  10. I try to keep my dinner courses from touching on the plate but I don't care if they end up mixing. I will generally eat all of one entree before starting on the next one, except for fries. Fries, chips, and other potato products are the only part of the meal that I often mix in between bites of other foods.

Potato Potahto
Nice illustration
The life of British office workers

tagged as lists | permalink | 5 comments

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Musical Musings

  • Last weekend, we went to hear Rebecca Berlin at a local Starbucks which was not much larger than I am (and not nearly as good-looking, of course). She rotated sets with her sister, and played a few songs together as well. Overall, it was a strong performance, despite the fact that Starbucks never turned off their piped-in background music. I bought a copy of her demo CD, which you might enjoy if you're into coffeehousey singy music -- her voice isn't perfectly polished, but it's pretty damn good for a young'n.
    • Rebecca Berlin - California (1:20 MP3)
      Rebecca Berlin - Monochrome (1:10 MP3)

  • New on my playlist this month:
    • Charlatans UK - Title Fight (1:19 MP3)
    • Chat a Nuga - Dance a Little (1:14 MP3)
    • The Feeling - Never Be Lonely
    • J Geils Band - Freeze Frame
    • Magnet and Gemma Hayes - Lay Lady Lady (1:06 MP3)
    • The Ordinary Boys - I Luv You
    • The Rasmus - In the Shadows
    • Scissor Sisters - Land of A Thousand Words
    • The Vines - Ride

  • I really like the timbre of Gemma Hayes' voice.

  • Kathy also loaned me a copy of her latest addiction, Life in Cartoon Motion by Mika. It's a very solid album which takes the basic conventions of pop and distorts them through a fun-house mirror -- kind of The Darkness meets the Scissor Sisters. Mika is at his weakest when he tries to do straight pop tunes, but there are only a couple of them on the CD.
    • Mika - Grace Kelly (0:42 MP3)
      Mika - Love Today (0:50 MP3)

  • I haven't heard any good music on American stations recently -- just more of the same garbage. I do have enough crappy bands tallied up now for an Annual Musical Suck Competition, where bands like The Fray, Three Doors Down, StainD, and Nickelback, can compete for a Horrible Music trophy which I will award. The trophy will be a rotten head of lettuce -- not because it's symbolic, but because I have one in my fridge and I don't plan on actually spending any money on this competition.

  • Another recent CD which I bought to use in my daily game of Solo Musical Chairs is Simpatico by the Charlatans UK. The group has evolved away from harder rock, and this album is a more mellow, reggae/ska-inspired collection which works quite well as background music. The only reason I wouldn't recommend it is because it's one of those idiotic Enhanced CDs that won't play in a computer.
    • Charlatans UK - Blackened Blue Eyes (1:20 MP3)

  • The most disturbing song on the radio right now is, without a doubt, I Wanna Have Your Babies by Natasha Bedingfield (0:32 MP3). I don't particularly want to see babies "springing up like daisies".

  • The last CD in my quarterly CD binge is Tired of Hanging Around by the Zutons which is solid all the way through. The group plays simple rock-oriented songs with driving beats and catchy hooks. The lead singer isn't great, but male rock singers are better when they have a memorable voice rather than a pretty one (see also, Steven Tyler vs. Morrissey). This CD was definitely worth the price.
    • Zutons - Tired of Hanging Around (1:14 MP3)
      Zutons - Oh Stacey (0:47 MP3)

  • I occasionally hear the unique voice of Ellie Lawson on the radio, but I can never find her CD. She doesn't seem to exist in any secret MP3 repositories online either.

  • Museday Tuesday has been effective at getting my hand back in the composing game. I never planned on doing it every Tuesday, but I'll probably rotate a Museday in whenever the news is too boring for Newsday. I'm currently working on a Spanish tune, tentatively titled "The Chootanaga Cha Cha".

  • What do you think of this week's music? Do you want to have my babies? Do you want to go to the discotheque? Share your thoughts in the Comments section!
Alabamans take a dump (truck) in the wave pool
I think that croc is a crock
George Bush and the Vanishing Watch

tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 5 comments

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


7:34 AM: Waking up early to do some work.

9:56 AM: Shaving for today's wedding.

10:38 AM: Girls eating breakfast (.com)

1:12 PM: After dropping off Rebecca (who was in the wedding), I stopped by my parents' house to eat their food. My mom did not wish to be photographed.

2:04 PM: Rebecca the Bridesmaid

2:06 PM: Flower girls

2:15 PM: Vows in 90 degree heat

2:27 PM: Recessional

3:57 PM: Flower girls at play.

4:32 PM: He's considering it.

5:18 PM: Eighty people in a room tends to reduce the efficiency of the air conditioner.

8:53 PM: After we got home, we were too pooped to make anything good for dinner.

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

Man in SWAT standoff married "too damn long"
Driver jumps the toll -- literally.
The Freegan Establishment

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Time-Lapsed Blogography Day

BU minus fifteen years

June 13, 1996 was Graduation Day at T.C. Williams High School, in the halcyon days when its poor academic record was a local secret, without the government-mandated stamp of fail affixed to it. T.C. was never actually as bad as reported, although it's true that you were either destined for MIT or McDonald's from day one, and the word, "halcyon", didn't appear in the colloquial dialect unless you were an SAT taker in the top-half of the college-bound.

For further proof of selectively high academic standards, consider the snapshot below of Straight A procession.

By tradition, anyone with a perfect 4.0 average led the graduation procession, and this year's class had 22 students within a few hundredths of a 4.22 (mainly because of the retarded 0.5 extra credit you could get for A.P. courses). Because nerds are very likely to get up in arms if they feel cheated out of grade recognition, it was decided that the 22 students would walk across the crater-pocked football field of glory in alphabetical order. So in front of me is Steve Seltz (Brown), to my right is Mike Stafford (Yale), and behind me is Jack Wilmer (Princeton). Not pictured are the large percentage of the 454-person graduating class that answered "work" or "undecided" on their post-graduation survey, or the slightly smaller percentage that could not read the survey because their teachers were too busy showing "Home Alone" in the classroom to teach literacy.

I probably went to more parties in Graduation Week than I did in the first four years of my college career (because frontloading is a valid and successful strategy for life). On the 12th, we all had to attend the Graduation Rehearsal, which is very similar in spirit to a Wedding Rehearsal except that fewer people care about it. After rehearsal, I went to the graduation party of my friend, Rupa, who lived deep in Hybla Valley but got into our school by virtue of having a teacher for a dad.

After the expectedly underwhelming ceremony in which the valedictorian invoked Star Wars and the salutatorian made analogies about Superman, my parents held a graduation party with my uncle and grandpa, as well as Henry and Felipe, who I grew up with in the very, very early years. I then drove across town to Hilda Dundon's graduation party, and ended up missing Mike Buns' party by a hair. That was okay though, because I needed to rest up for the All-Night Grad Party. It was your typical mix of fake gambling, sumo wrestler suits, velcro walls, and the game where you run as hard as you can before a bungee cord whips you back and teaches you about elastic momentum. That evening, I earned $10,000 in fake money, as well as a clock radio which eventually ended up with Anna's mom at their annual Yankee Swap in December 2001.

I slept until eleven the next day (because even in my youth, I rarely slept late) and then attended Ben Seggerson's pool party in Windgate. I remember very little about this party except that there was a poorly timed thunderstorm and that Ben had a hot cousin. The FOLLOWING day, the events were repeated, except at Jack's pool instead of Ben's pool. The URI! family did not have a pool, but we did rock out in the sprinkler on occasion.

San Francisco nixes grasshopper tacos
AIDS an effective bank robbery weapon
Americans rated most hilarious in global poll

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Random Chart Day: Canadian Car Rentals

A whopping 32% of the cost of a ten-day car rental in Quebec is taken up by fees and taxes. Should Ticketmaster ever need a new home, I can think of one country that will welcome them with open arms.

tagged as data | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Daily Hour

On the one hand, my Daily Hour experiment has not evolved quite as I'd expected, since I now spend much of my free time programming. On the other hand, the experiment worked exactly as it should have, because it forced me to dabble in a bunch of different activities until something grabbed me. The weird part is just that the activity that grabbed me is one I already spend all day at work doing!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Flag Day

Happy Flag Day!

As an eighth grader in 1992, I drew this design for my French teacher, Madame Gibbs, who needed something to put on the cover of the "World Potluck Dinner" program. This event was held at the school every year and consisted of different minorities bringing the most stereotypical food of their culture to share.

Of course, the programs were copied using an old-fashioned ditto machine, so the resultant program featured one and a half shades of blue, bleeding splotches, and less contrast than the darkly lit scenes in an episode of Game of Thrones.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Coke Zero Day

I've been a Coke Zero drinker since early 2006 because it allowed me to drink free sodas at my old job continuously throughout the day, but it didn't have the disgusting aftertaste of Nutrasweet-based Diet sodas. I'm still on the Coke Zero bandwagon (as evinced by the 140 cans I bulk purchased at Costco because they only stock it once every ten years), but I still get irritated by Coke Zero's penchant for premature bubbling. You can try this Mr. Wizard experiment at home to see what I'm talking about:

  • Take a chilled can of Coke Zero from the fridge and gently pop the top.
  • Have a sip or two then gently place the can on your desk.
  • Go back to work writing missile guidance systems, or whatever you do, and allow time to pass as time does.
  • At some point between 2 and 10 minutes later, you'll hear a ruckus coming from the opened can as if some of the Coke molecules got excited about the new season of Fargo and started a pep rally. The can will start to carbonate loudly until all of the remaining soda is affected, then everything will go quiet.
  • Take another sip of Coke. It is now mostly flat and not nearly as enjoyable.

It is left as an exercise for the reader to explain this phenomenon.

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

12 Monkeys, Season One:
Based on the classic movie starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, this first season takes a while to get away from the source material and discover its own voice. It drags a bit in the middle and there is too much explanation of time travel for the sake of dumb network audiences. However, when it finally does strike out on its own, it becomes an intriguing, watchable example of high-concept sci-fi. The last 3 episodes in particular do a great job of tying everything together. I liked this enough to buy the remaining 3 seasons all at once.

Final Grade: B

Reset by e-dubble:
Clocking in at just 7 songs and 26 minutes, this hip-hop EP left me wishing it was longer. Songs like Down are catchy and pleasant to listen to. It's equally as good as the album that follows it, Two Tone Rebel.

Final Grade: B+

Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape:
The first half of Jim Gaffigan's latest comedy special is stronger than the end, but we enjoyed the entire thing. You generally know what types of jokes you're going to get from a special like this, and he doesn't stray far from the template. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B

Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB:
I only upgraded phones because an S8 was part of my 15th work anniversary loot bag. Otherwise, I would have been happy using my S5 forever. The S8 is taller but narrower, making it easier to pocket but harder to browse content on. It's also incredibly slippery, making it the only phone I've ever bought a case for. The phone functions just fine although it's weighed down by the typical bloatware from Samsung that I can only partially remove / disable without rooting the device. Ten years ago I would have done this, but years of Windows and Firefox updates destroying my careful curation of customization has worn down my willpower to stray far from the factory settings. Overall, this is a nice little phone that satisfies my limited phone needs (texting, Reddit, the Washington Post, and Instagram).

Final Grade: B

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Monday, June 14, 2021

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

7:04 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
7:13 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
9:36 AM: Pancakes for second breakfast.
9:43 AM: Enjoying my pancakes.
10:15 AM: Time in the Enrichment Jungle.
10:53 AM: Reducing tank refill time from 6 minutes to 1 minute. "You did it!"
11:59 AM: Tammy spends the morning with us helping out.
2:43 PM: Family nap time after a delicious lunch from Blackfinn Ameripub.
4:47 PM: Afternoon Minecraft time.
5:36 PM: Not sure we can top this bird. Or this castle.
6:14 PM: Dinner of leftovers.
6:55 PM: Summer bugbites, bunnies, and flowers for the vase she made at summer camp.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

 

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