This Day In History: 10/13

Saturday, October 13, 2001

I went back out to Marshes Sand Beach this morning to take pictures of the sunrise, but got stuck behind a slowpoke on 319 and missed it by about six minutes. Better luck next time... I've put up the pictures that I took this morning on the Photos page.

On Thursday, a bomb-like device was found on the fifth floor of the Newman Library at Virginia Tech. It shut down campus for several hours and got everyone from the local police to the FBI involved. The bomb later turned out to be a hoax -- an extremely realistic replica filled with liquid soap. You can read the full story here in the campus paper , although the reporting in that paper has never been particularly good.

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Sunday, October 13, 2002

I've spent this weekend working on the new website for the FSU student chapter of SCI. Although this will not be the ultimate location, you can see the work in progress here . Comments on formatting and content are always welcome.

As always, I have a small backlog of things to post that I saved during special feature week:


Queen snubs little boy. Brother will remember when he becomes a thug. Those kids' facial expressions are priceless.


This is an interesting optical illusion. Don't believe it? Try cutting out the two squares in Photoshop or MS Paint and comparing. They're exactly the same colour.

I can see sounds.

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Monday, October 13, 2003

It's Columbus Day, but it's business as usual for going to work. Booty says hi.

I'm searching for good domain names for this site that aren't already taken. Among the current possibilities:

    uridomain, boyllama, orgella, urillama, llamauri

This list is by no means complete, so any suggestions would be welcome. The only limitations: no punctuation, and the domain must be unclaimed on one of the .net, .org, or .com suffixes. You can test out names at Dotster .

Many soldiers, same letter
Gary Coleman will run to Alaska next

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I've done a fair bit of work in and around the house this week, most recently moving a bunch of hostas from the front of the house to the side of the house in the new planter boxes we installed over the weekend. I have a whole backlog of house and cat pictures from the past month -- I just need to get the motivation to crop and upload them all.

Lost is on tonight. This particular episode has apparently already won a bunch of awards.

Deer hitches a ride
If puppets have oral sex, it's NC-17.
He took a crossbow from the trunk of his car and shot a phonebook so he could impress his mother with the power of the cross bow. He said when she wasn't impressed, he shot her in the chest.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tag Thursday

My column on effective cat grooming using only a bellows and a half pint of grapefruit juice will be temporarily postponed, as I was tagged yesterday by Kim to "List 5 things people might not know about you". Tags are a very serious deal in the blog world for two reasons:

  1. Personal Protection: Breaking a tag is like breaking a chain letter, and usually results in the breaking of legs. Once my friend, Pedro, chose to ignore someone's tag and they broke into his apartment, erased his blog, kicked over his potted philodendron, and then tortured his pet shrimp by deveining it while alive. I don't know if Kim has a mean streak or has ever deveined a shrimp, but I would rather not gamble with her possibly sizeable wrath.
  2. Making the World a Better Place: If you don't do the tag yourself, then you cannot pass the tag onto other people. This completely robs them of any material to write about -- there are many bloggers out there who have nary a fun idea in their head and live day to day with tags like a welfare mom working for tips at a Piggly Wiggly in Iran. By doing your part to pass the tag on, you are putting fresh thoughts into bloggers' heads. Tomorrow when we all wake up and begin our daily dose of reading, we will get to learn something interesting about someone, rather than a link to a Which Spice Girl are you? quiz (83% Posh), and all because I did my civic duty. You can thank me later.

So without further prognostication, here are five things you might not know about me!

  1. Many sites now require you to type some random string of letters to prove that you are a human and not a spamming computer whenever you want to post something or register for an account. I get these wrong a surprising amount of the time. Either I am partly a robot, or I'm having mental flashblocks from all those colour-blindness tests in my youth.
  2. I have self-diagnosed myself with the harmless but scary condition hypnopompic paralysis , where my mind seems to wake up before my body, and I cannot move. This seems to happen most often when I take midday naps where I'm concerned about what time I need to wake up. There's always an initial sense of panic, and it generally takes me several minutes to understand the state I'm in and how to get out of it. I escape it by taking very deep breaths until I wake up for real, because apparently your breathing is one of the few physical things you can control. I never knew this was a real condition until I started poking around on the Internet a few years ago. I figured it was just nightmares.
  3. I like to be generous with people's wedding registries because it always seems like other people buy the least expensive stuff like "Spoon $9.99". An hour ago, I bought all the duck-themed bathroom goods for my friend's upcoming wedding. I attached a card with various sentences made up of the word "quack" and some popular punctuation marks. I also threw in two rubber bath ducks for good measure (although a lone goose would have been more appropriate). I'm not sure why there were duck-themed bathroom goods in the registry, but now the couple will never have to worry about lacking ducks. I think there was a clinical study a few years ago proving that this worry was a leading cause for American divorces. (The leading cause for French divorces was les canards).
  4. I have bouts of nostalgic yearning where I'll revisit something from my past, like rereading all my Gordon Korman books in a row, or playing all the Ultima computer games (except the crappy XI which had so much potential but ended up being a buggy poor-man's WoW). I think I have beat The Legend of Zelda at least once every three years since I got it as a kid, and I've reread The Westing Game so many times that all the pages are broken off the binding now.
  5. It was really hard thinking up a number 5, since most of the easy tidbits were already poured into the batter of my 222 Things page. Anyone with a 100 Things About Me page can generally use it as a good excuse for their lack of creativity with this tag, and I actually considered just talking randomly like this until I had a full paragraph, in hopes that you wouldn't notice that I didn't actually mention a #5. In the end, I decided not to do this, because you are all smarter than you look and would catch onto my games pretty quickly. Give yourselves a pat on the back for being so bright! And look over there, cute puppies!

I now pass the tag-torch on to Florida-Mike . By now he's beaten every Flash game on the Internet and needs something to occupy his telecommuting days. In addition, I also tag every single person who reads this page today, lurkers included. Please post 2 things I don't already know about you in the Comments section! If you have already been tagged, I'm giving you a discount -- you only have to write one thing. If you do not write something, you are officially a rat fink, and you will not receive the Amazon.com gift certificates I give to all regular readers next August for this site's tenth anniversary.

Happy Birthday, Rick Dunham, a.k.a. Gold Medal!

Mom seeks personal reenactment of The Brady Bunch
Make sure you pay your fire tax
Pythons just aren't having a good week

Yesterday's search terms:
marching virginian trumpets, i bought my world of warcraft cds from ebay india, who can redo my felt top on my pool table in miami florida, welcome back cake

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Fragments

the reason why your kids are so ugly

♣ I had actually planned to do Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 this month, but time flew by like Harry Potter to an Angst-Ridden Teenager Conference, and it was almost noon by the time I realized it was the 12th. You can still visit his site to see pictures from everyone else's day.

♣ As for my own, it was about the same as usual. I got to work at 6:09 AM (I know the exact time because you have to sign in and deactivate the alarms if you're the first one in), worked until 1, came home and made a ham and mayo sandwich with three pieces of 97% Fat Free ham, worked for another two hours and then went to Boston Market for dinner with Anna and Becca. My life would not make a very exciting Choose Your Own Adventure book.

♣ When I was a kid, I wrote a manuscript that had some resemblance to a CYOA book, except that every page had a two-option question and one of them always led to death. It was not a very forgiving scenario. If you could chart the flow of the narrative with a plant, it would have been a pussywillow.

♣ Also from my treasure trove of childhood memories, I recall watching the movie Willow over and over. Eighteen years later, I don't remember much about the plot other than the fact that there was a midget who sucked at magic, a baby, and a witch. I certainly loved it back then though, and childhood movies always retain a special magical quality as long as you never try to watch them again as an adult.

♣ It's crazy to consider that kids of today have a completely shifted spectrum of childhood movies than I did. Most kids who are entering their teen years now have probably never even heard of those 80s classics like Howard the Duck, Back to the Future, and Gremlins. What will the world be like when you exclaim, "One point twenty-one jigawatts!" in a crowded room and receive only blank stares in return? Won't it be sad when kids cite The Grudge as the scariest movie from their youth rather than Friday the 13th?

♣ I remember one of Encyclopedia Brown's Two Minute Mysteries that occurred on Friday the 13th -- the questioned crook mentions that, like clockwork, he always goes to the bank to pay his rent on the first of month. The Inspector realized he was lying because whenever a month has Friday the 13th, the 1st is a Sunday.

♣ Friday the 13th never really bothered me because I'm not very superstitious and don't care about numerology other than the "oh neat" factor (like the way the digits of factors of 9 add up to 9).

♣ My numerology is in perfect working order anyhow, since this site recently had its 40,000th visitor since 2003 and my car broke 50,000 miles. Also, there are 60,000 women in my home harem.

♣ This weekend I'll be working again, and using the off hours to clean up the pigsty that is my home harem. Why just yesterday, I found a dirty fork on the floor! Or not so much the floor as in the sink, soaking in warm, soapy water. That will never do.

♣ Happy Birthday Rick Dunham (Gold Medal) today, and Dan Shiplett (Beavis) tomorrow! Have a great weekend!

Gaming with your brain
Vote Pirate Party in Iowa
Disney says no to Mouse Orgy

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

If you have the chance to go on a helicopter tour of Kauai, TAKE IT.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New England Travelogue

Our trip north began last Friday morning with a direct, painless flight from Dulles to Boston. The entire duration of the time we spent in airports and planes was less than a one-way road trip to Blacksburg. We rented a retardedly small Yaris and drove to Danvers to say hello to my uncle in his frame shop, and then had local subs in a marina nearby.

We reached Rockport in the midafternoon (easy to do since all of our destinations were within fifty miles of each other) and wandered around the scenic town faking out tourist shoppe owners who thought we might buy something. The marina was picturesque, and filled with boats whose names were variations on puns about vacation, fish, or both. The bed and breakfast we stayed at was nice and comfy, and the innkeeper was friendly, but it was more a glorified motel than a B&B, especially since we had raisin bran for breakfast there.

From Rockport, we drove to Nashua in time to rouse Mike (of Mike and Chompy) from his previous night's hangover. A medicinal diner visit for a late breakfast was followed by a trip to Belknap Mountain on Lake Winnipesaukee (which was also the setting for the Bill Murray movie, What About Bob?) where we drove Mike's yuppy car halfway up the mountain and then hiked up the neighbouring Piper Mountain instead along the "White Trail". This trail was aptly named, as most of New Hampshire is white, even outside of winter.

Mike's birthday dinner for turning 31 was filet mignon, as well as games of Taboo with Chris and Xan.

Mike: "This one's easy. This is what you are: boy ____"
BU: "Band."
Mike: "No, it's an animal from -- "
BU: "Spain."

On Sunday, we took a brief tour of downtown Lowell which was mostly seedy (like when you accidentally buy the wrong type of grapes) and his professorial office in the Music Building which was roughly the size of Booty. We then ate coal-fired pizza and played a game of Hoopla in which Mike had to act out "Gloria Steinem" before getting on the plane back to Virginia.

How was your weekend?

Here's the Pub, Church and Field for Public Sex
Man robs to avoid girl
Sea lion gets surgery for gunshot wounds on face

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

The Wire, Season Three:
This season brings the action back from the docks to the inner city, and wraps up several storylines that were started way back in the first season. I enjoyed it more than the second season, and about as much as the first.

Final Grade: B+

The Wire, Season Four:
The most impressive thing about season four is how many young actors they managed to find that both look and act like eighth graders -- usually there's either a Glee/Breakfast Club syndrome, or you get a bunch of youngsters who can't act at all. Season Four tackles the Baltimore public school system, and is the closest spiritual comparator to the book, The Corner. The same body of main characters is generally present, although some of the originals are allowed to fade into the background in a natural way to make room for the new ones.

Final Grade: A

Code Complete by Steve McConnell:
I purchased this book directly out of school, probably after reading it on a list of "books you must put on your shelf to make it look like you are truly a software engineer". I then cracked the cover, waded through the initial chapters on project requirements and design and permanently lost interest. A decade later, I'm reading it the way it should be read -- a couple sections at a time like a Tips n' Tricks book rather than a narrative -- and finding it much more insightful. The book is still far too long-winded, and the theoretical sections can kind of drag, but skipping ahead to the practical parts definitely makes this worth a read.

Skip the Kindle edition though -- 900 pages of text translates into 40,000 pages of e-ink, and the formatting is cluttered to the point where the bibliographies and "key point" icons are squished into the text, meaning that you can barely fit a single coherent thought on any given page before jumping to the next one.

Final Grade: B

Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes:
I tend to like games that merge strategy with turn-based puzzles, and at $15 on Steam, I decided to give this one a shot. It has an annoying anime art style with an awful anime plot, and instantly forgettable orchestral music, all of which I generally expect from this genre. Gameplay is Bejeweled-esque, as you match army units into groups of 3 to charge them up and attack the enemy forces.

Unfortunately, unlike every other color-based puzzle game I've ever played, the developers of this one managed to select all of the colors that are impossible for a colorblind person to differentiate. It'd be manageable if the units were red, yellow, and blue, but they seem to be shades of orange, sea green, and teal-blue. In addition, entire game pieces aren't colored -- instead, the colors manifest themselves in tiny stripes, or helmet plumes. After I failed the third puzzle a second time because I couldn't compare the brown smear on the bear's ass with the orange tat on the front of the magic elk, I realized that this was not a game I would excel at. My final quibble is that it's a direct console port, so you spend more time waiting at a loading screen than playing the game.

Final Grade: C-, F for the visually handicapped

Family lost in corn maze calls 911 for help
Seattle superhero arrested in pepper spray incident
Stevey's Google Platforms Rant

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

7:08 AM: Up early, after Game Night at the Smith's.
7:21 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
7:42 AM: Working on a proposal with cat #2.
8:59 AM: Still working on a proposal with cat #1.
11:45 AM: Hearthstone break.
12:01 PM: Fried chicken for lunch.
1:15 PM: Making diagrams about the biggest data you've ever seen.
3:21 PM: Catnap.
4:30 PM: Exercising with Parks and Rec, Season 6.
6:48 PM: Grilling up some steaks.
7:10 PM: Dinner time for kitties.
8:34 PM: Booty lap time and Person of Interest.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

5:05 AM: Ready for work but choosing poorly in ISO modes.
5:27 AM: Arriving in the office.
5:36 AM: Because updating when I login makes more sense than during the 4 previous days when I wasn't in the office. Thanks, Windows 10.
7:56 AM: Writing a Python function that maps LDAP fields to a UserMixin. If OpenLDAP were one of my employees, I would have fired it years ago.
9:44 AM: Met at home by two camouflaged cats.
12:01 PM: Fried chicken for lunch.
1:29 PM: Taking over hosting and administration of the official Paravia Wiki, which is now IN MY CLOUD.
2:37 PM: Final mow of the year.
3:26 PM: Treadmilling with iZombie, Season One, recommended by Mary.
5:00 PM: Playing ESO, at level 17.
6:49 PM: Burger Night on the porch.
8:24 PM: Rebecca and Booty organize Physical Therapy binders while I play video games.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

7:46 AM: Treadmill time while refreshing my memory on season four of Orphan Black.
8:28 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
8:38 AM: Buttermilk Eggos for breakfast.
11:05 AM: Cleaning the house while no children or mothers are underfoot.
11:40 AM: Maia returns from a brisk nature hike with Rebecca.
12:25 PM: Story time.
12:29 PM: Working lunch.
1:32 PM: Using my powers of persuasion to elicit a nap.
3:19 PM: Bottle service.
4:40 PM: Second nature hike of the day for Maia.
6:16 PM: Post-bottle milk coma.
8:00 PM: Preparing suffed peppers for dinner (pre-fab from Costco).

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:22 AM: Showered and ready for work.
7:04 AM: Toast for breakfast (out of bagels).
8:26 AM: Getting Maia up for preschool.
8:45 AM: Working on a proposal.
9:55 AM: Quick Safeway run for essentials, like bagels.
10:48 AM: Getting ready for a 3-hour video conference.
11:55 PM: Ian briefly joins my conference while Rebecca picks up Maia.
1:56 PM: Maia is silly.
2:15 PM: Hopefully the second-to-last mow of the season.
3:10 PM: Level 18 in New World.
5:14 PM: Ian is strapped in for a teeball game with Maia.
5:41 PM: Leftovers for dinner on the porch.

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