This Day In History: 08/13

Monday, August 13, 2001

The beach trip was a resounding success. While all the rest of Virginia was getting pounded with rain and thunderstorms, we enjoyed hot, muggy sunshine that was perfect for beaching. Sleeping outdoors on the first night was a little rough, but a good time was had by all. I've added some pictures from the trip to the Photos section.

Now, it's time for the whirlwind packing tour -- fitting everything I own into my car within 48 hours. It's too bad that I won't be able to see more Tech friends before I go, but there's always the Internet for keeping track of people you'd normally never see again.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2002

For me, the hardest part of composing is the transitions. I find it incredibly difficult to write a transition that actually belongs where it is, rather than one that eventually sounds okay after more listenings. I have to write transitions as I go, rather than writing the meaty parts and putting the tendons in later. Without variation, the first draft is always too square and blocked, while later drafts run the risk of being too short (Having a short attention span tends to foster jumping quickly between good ideas, and I have to work to make myself linger in an area I think the listener might be bored of).

There are still a few transitions in the second movement of my string quartet that are worn like second-hand pants, and I'll probably change them someday if I can come up with something better. Today I restarted work on my thesis, and got a few good ideas down on paper. I came to a 'stuck' point when trying to transition from the introductory material and the first wham-bang theme.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

9:01 AM: Here is the obligatory post-shower shot, since I got in trouble last month for wearing a shirt in it.

9:23 AM: Making bacon in my Makin' Bacon device. Perfect grease-free bacon in three minutes, with no messy cleanup. As seen on TV!

9:55 AM: Jamie and Mike eating breakfast and smoking some bacon before heading out to do touristy things in the greater metropolitan area. Mike will probably put up their 12 of 12 on his own site sometime in the next couple days.

10:18 AM: While running low on entertainment options, we decided to bring out the catnip, letting the two visiting kitty brothers have a fight to the finish and placing bets.

11:14 AM: After a spot of telecommuting for my real job, I did a little off-the-cuff graphic design work.

12:22 PM: Next, I tore up the beds in the guest room, in case Jamie or Mike had typhoid fever or tuberculosis while they were here.

12:45 PM: Doing a load of laundry with the bedsheets and my new giant, fluffy Costco towels ($18 for a set).

1:08 PM: Eating leftover chips and dip from Poker Night last night, and watching Freaks and Geeks.

5:12 PM: Went out hunting to catch dinner and cornered a pound of individually-wrapped ground beef in the freezer (It put up a terrible fight and I was lucky to remain unscarred).

6:02 PM: Leaving Sterling for Falls Church.

6:31 PM: Cutting up strawberries for some chocolate fondue.

7:03 PM: Making toasted bread with dipping cheese and buttered mushrooms to go with our pasta dinner. We ultimately got full on mushrooms and cheese and skipped the pasta completely.

10:09 PM: BONUS "Light": Coming home from Falls Church to my lovely home.

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

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

Introducing the Nintendo Wee
Redheads are subject to taunting
Only 24 homeless live downtown

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Memory Day: Sweaty Lightweights

Back in my high school Crew days, I was the coxswain for the Lightweight boat. As in most weight-restricted sports, the Lightweight bracket started out as a way for Lilliputians to compete against each other, but ended up as a just another abusable system where coaches tried to stack the fat without exceeding the upper limit.

On the men's Lightweight boat, there were two weight restrictions: no single rower could be over 145 pounds, and the entire boat's average had to be less than 140. In our case, we regularly had two rowers near the 145-mark, with our bell curve average softened by Ian Schmidt's 132 pound frame. Coxswains are not allowed to be included in the average, because fat coxswains don't steer any differently from skinny ones (although my 108 pound self would have been a boon). Female lightweights had it even worse, with a maximum limit of 120 pounds (as if teenage girls aren't already obsessing enough about their weight).

Besides the usual effective tactics of employing various eating disorders for profit, there were a few other common ways to get your weight down for the pre-race weigh-in, where hundreds of emaciated Lightweights gathered around a cattle scale to hear the Decree of the Fat. A quick hit of laxatives generally did the trick, although this could backfire during the race itself. Another option was sweat runs, where people would put on as many layers of clothing as possible (sometimes including a layer of garbage bags) and then run a couple miles around the weigh station. On the girls' side, every third or fourth rower in line to be weighed could be seen spitting in a cup, as if the weight of the saliva would have anything more than a placebo effect.

Despite our boat's collective blubber, there was only one race when we failed to make weigh-in -- at the Stotesbury regatta in 1996, the rowers some how managed to have 9 pounds to shed (probably attributable to the fact that we ate at McDonald's and Bob's Big Boy for the two previous meals). A two mile sweat run up the Rocky stairs in Philadelphia cured our weigh-woes, and the judges allowed us to compete with an average of 140.05. However, we may as well have sat on the shore for the comedy of errors that followed, as outlined in one of my historic journal entries:

"Our goal was to hang on to St. Joe's who had come in second timewise to LaSalle and were 8 seconds ahead of us in heats. We were actually doing quite well in the beginning. We edged out TJ and started to move up into 3rd. Then Ben caught a crab with his oar for about 10 seconds, dropping us back down to 6th. Then I called a spurt but Travis didn't hear. He went for a full stroke and hit Charlie in the back. Charlie was then off of his seat for the last 600 yards or so. Even so, we came in 5th and beat Yorktown."

There's no real moral to this story other than to note that Yorktown lost to a boat with two incapacitated rowers. They must have had one too many laxatives.

Blue screen of death makes Olympic appearance
Giant dog turd wreaks havoc
Put the pretty one out front

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

List Day: 20 Things I Have Never Done

  1. I have never driven a convertible or an SUV.
  2. I have never gambled in a casino.
  3. I have never eaten crawdads.
  4. I have never been in a fight.
  5. I have never gone hunting.
  6. I have never watched Schindler's List.
  7. I have never participated in any activities where I am wearing skis or falling through the air.
  8. I have never been to Australia.
  9. I have never owned anything Pokemon-themed.
  10. I have never sung karaoke.
  11. I have never gone clubbing.
  12. I have never taken a ride on the Green Line.
  13. I have never played the video game, Rock Band, or any of its sequels.
  14. I have never been in a car accident.
  15. I have never had a cavity or broken a bone.
  16. I have never run in an organized race, political or physical.
  17. I have never written a song with a part for English horn.
  18. I have never saved anyone's life (except the time I told people not to go see Hope Floats).
  19. I have never blacked out, even with alcohol in the equation.
  20. I have never bowled over 148.

Bonus Game: One of these is false. Which one?

Delinquent eagles on the loose in Ohio
Speeding player thought fans were after him
Busy bees prescribed energy drinks

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Fragments

softer, weaker, slower

♠ With some unanticipated free time on Wednesday, I downloaded The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to the Kindle. Despite the numerous online reviews that the book is "soooo long" and takes 200 pages to get moving, I enjoyed it. I suppose a slower, more methodical reader that likes to read each sentence aloud and then chew them twenty times before swallowing the concepts might get bored before it gets good, but I found that the pace of the book was just fine. I started the second book of the trilogy last night.

♠ I can think of very few intentional trilogies that were high quality all of the way through -- most barely manage to bat 2 out of 3. Some trilogies should have stuck with being a unigy (The Matrix and Pirates of the Too Much Uncut Footage both come to mind).

♠ When I hire someone to ghostwrite my autobiography at the age of 63, I'll be sure to publish it as a single volume that's short enough to fit in a single binding, but just long enough that the Quentin Tarantino adaptation (View BU) has to be one and a half movies.

♠ I will also try to spend much of my adult life as a lion tamer, so when it comes time to invent a book title, the author can tell his friends that he is "ghostwriting The Whip".

♠ Plans for the weekend include a baby shower for my sister, which we'll use as an excuse to visit the breadbasket of Virginia and stop in at a Bed & Breakfast. I'll also be mounting a TV on the wall with my dad's help this afternoon, and may end up at Jazz in the Garden this evening, pending the influx of eight million thunderstorms which have anemically threatened the house before moving on without fury this week (not unlike an overweight bully who doesn't do cardio).

♠ Have a good weekend! Don't forget to respond to my census!

Jellyfish invading Spain
Some managers show "imbibing idiot bias"
French criminals now face short arm of the law

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


8:27 AM: Waking up in a tent, in Greenbrier State Park.

8:54 AM: Campfire food for breakfast.

10:47 AM: Down at the lake-beach.

11:00 AM: Frisbee time.

11:27 AM: Rebecca shows what she learned at yoga camp.

12:17 PM: Scrounged sandwich and chips for lunch.

2:20 PM: Returning to Virginia.

3:02 PM: Booty is HUNGRY.

3:35 PM: Showered and shaved and ready for the day.

5:54 PM: Making pork and mushroom skewers.

5:55 PM: Grilling.

7:27 PM: Watching the Closing Ceremonies.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


12:08 AM: Going to bed after post-wedding travel.

7:38 AM: Showered, but not shaved.

7:50 AM: Breakfast.

8:30 AM: Editing wedding photos and continuing the FGM tradition of post-wedding office nameplates.

10:08 AM: Measuring Booty's productivity.

11:49 AM: Early lunch.

1:15 PM: Cat lunch.

2:58 PM: Watching the fourth season of Community, which is trying way too hard to be quirky.

3:30 PM: Cat nap.

5:42 PM: Running and free Weeds on Netflix.

8:21 PM: Primo Italiano with extra tomatos and Italianos for dinner.

8:39 PM: A game of Lost Cities over dinner (Rebecca won by over 60 points).

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Birth Day

To celebrate my sister's birthday tomorrow, here is a video from her 12th birthday, way back in 1988.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Raising Hope, Season One:
This sitcom by the creator of My Name Is Earl tries to recapture the feel-good humour of the predecessor show, but never quite reaches its goal. The most entertaining part is watching Garret Dillahunt in a comedy role after years of being the villain (The 4400, Burn Notice), but there's ultimately not enough here for me to keep on watching the next season. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C+

Ex Machina (R):
This movie about artificial intelligence manages to be both compelling and suspenseful while also serving up some sound science and easy-to-follow technical explanations. It's sort of the same genre as Her but with more ominous overtones. It's fairly cerebral and talky, but I wasn't bored once in any of the extended conversations between the three main characters.

Final Grade: A

No Place in Heaven by Mika:
Mika's fourth album is slightly mellowed out, but has some strong hits and catchy pop devices. It continues to grow on me.

Final Grade: B+

Kindle Paperwhite:
I purchased the new and improved Kindle Paperwhite at the end of June to finally replace my second generation Kindle from 2010 (which did not support content sharing with Rebecca). It has a streamlined footprint, a noticeably smooth resolution, and a speedy interface. The touch screen makes it much easier to navigate, and the brightness settings are perfect for all ranges of ambient light. The official case is sold separately, but is sturdy and has the nice feature of turning off the Kindle when you close the case.

I took the Paperwhite on my European Vacation (reading Physics of the Future, Gone Girl, and Snow Crash), and it performed admirably with a battery life measured in weeks. I got the version with no ads (because I'm a yuppy with disposable income) and 3G (because it's really convenient to be able to buy a book from anywhere, even in Europe).

Final Grade: A

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

8:12 AM: Up and at 'em, much later than normal.
8:22 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
10:09 AM: Good morning!
10:49 AM: Rebecca comes home from morning yoga.
11:17 AM: Doing some much needed lines in the yard between thunderstorms.
12:10 PM: Hair is cut for another three weeks.
1:00 PM: Family music time.
3:55 PM: Naptime concludes.
5:06 PM: Car travels.
5:28 PM: Early dinner at Burton's.
7:34 PM: Amber only has one upper canine tooth now, but still enjoys sitting next to Rebecca when she's eating frozen custard.
8:19 PM: Bathtime!

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Friday, August 13, 2021

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

7:59 AM: Showered and ready for the day, in a beach house.
8:09 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
8:31 AM: Everyone is finally awake.
9:24 AM: Getting dressed for the beach.
9:40 AM: Sandbridge Beach.
9:46 AM: The tide is coming in.
12:53 PM: Lunch after a dip in the pool.
1:15 PM: Afternoon game of Tokaido.
4:56 PM: Drawing a garden.
5:33 PM: Pool party.
6:03 PM: Grill night.
7:02 PM: Ian's first pool excursion.

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