This Day In History: 12/12

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

I'm safe in Blacksburg despite the ladder on the highway outside Columbia and the 2 foot visibility fog in the mountains. I'll talk more in depths when my computer's all set up back home.

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Friday, December 12, 2003

People sometimes ask how I choose the linked stories that I post here every day. There's really no science to it -- I just make frequent visits to my three news bookmarks, www.cnn.com, www.poe-news.com, and www.slashdot.org, and bookmark anything interesting going on that day. The following day, I go through the news assortment and pare it down. I cut out the stories of gratuitous sex and violence, the stories that are just disturbing, and most of the stories about government and Presidential stupidities (because there's just so many of them).

Even then, it's amazing what people will post as news. Yesterday in the Metro section of the Washington Post, there was an article about a man found dead in his apartment inside a duffel bag. Police were reported to be treating the death as "suspicious" and "investigating it as a homicide". Another article I read this morning included a brief section on Bush's Iraq contract policy:

    At a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Bush defended the decision, saying American taxpayers want the contracts restricted to those countries that "risked lives."

    "The taxpayers understand why it makes sense for countries that risked lives to participate in the contracts in Iraq. It is very simple," Bush told reporters.

    "Our people risked their lives, a friendly coalition risked their lives and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that. And that is what the U.S. taxpayers expect."

I'm not sure when Bush became such an expert on taxpayer needs or when he asked us about this issue, but I bet that given a choice, most taxpayers would rather have their $50 back than feel so strongly about which of Cheney's multinational corporations gets the money .

If my fifty dollars is going towards creating and funding a permanent economic black hole in the Middle East, it only makes sense to get as many greedy countries into the deal as possible. Then maybe they'll only take $47.95 of my money, and I can get two hash browns on the side.

New prime number: People are going to make posters of it to hang up on the wall!
Everything's bigger in Texas; even "hidden" hate messages

tagged as newsday | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, December 12, 2005

Congratulations to Rachel, who submitted entry #6 in last Thursday's Funny Caption contest ! She wins a picture of a pencil with her name on it, presented by the ineffable Booty. Runner-up with 5 votes was Mike with entry #1 and Anna with entry #3. They each win a picture of a pencil with Rachel's name on it, presented by the charming Booty. Full results are posted in last Thursday's post.

My weekend was quite laid back. When not devising new ways to plant pencils on Booty so they would stay put until I managed to whip out my camera and take a picture, I played games, read books, watched movies, and went to work. I worked enough hours over the weekend that I'll probably take a day off at the end of this pay period. I also watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith which was harmless fun, but took way too long to get rolling. I think it's interesting that all movies have to go through the basic setup of plot even though every movie watcher knows what the movie's about when they walk into the theatre, since movie previews these days tend to give everything away immediately. In the case of this movie, every movie poster and trailer pretty much proclaims, "He's an assassin! She's an assassin! They cross paths, with sexy results!", yet forty minutes go by without any sign of this, and when this plot point is finally revealed, the surprise is gone.

If only there were a way to make a movie preview that doesn't give ANYTHING away while still making the movie appear interesting enough to go see. How much more effective are movies like Memento and Sixth Sense when you walk into them with no preconceptions about the plot? "This kid sees dead people, and Bruce Willis helps him out, with sexy results!" On the flip side, trailers for crappy movies should end with a disclaimer saying, "You have seen all the cool parts of this movie, so please save your ten dollars". Everyone's seen the supposedly funny movie where all the funny lines were harvested to make a festive wreath of a trailer, leaving absolutely nothing redeeming in the movie itself, or the movie that looks intriguing in previews but limps across the screen like a peg-legged pirate in the sand trap of the ninth hole.

Left in my Blockbuster queue (which is like a Netflix queue, but requires you to go into Blockbuster, rent more than one movie, and then put them in some kind of order, often alphabetical) is Batman Begins which I wasn't particularly interested in, but which everyone seems to rave about. Side note: When I was a kid, I thought Bruce Wayne and Bruce Willis were interchangable, and since I didn't know who either one was, I figured Batman was supposed to be disguised as some Hollywood actor. I'll probably watch that tonight -- it's 140 minutes long though, which in my opinion, is ridiculous for an action movie. If Batman Doesn't End someone high up is going to have to pay. Starting with Michael Keaton.

The bizarre world of Patrick Byrne's Overstock
Patterson pressured them to indulge Koko the gorilla's "nipple fetish"
A remote control that works on humans

Yesterday's search terms:
llama fun, big and very big hole drilling, congressmen who wanted to punish the south severely

tagged as day-to-day, contests | permalink | 9 comments

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Newsday Tuesday

For Some, Laptops Don't Compute

Administrators in the Alexandria City Public School system are starting to question whether their two-year-old program to give a laptop to every single student (and the accompanying effort to turn their high school into a wirelass* hotspot) is really worth the cost. One board member said, "I think the decision was made to bring computers into the school system before they really knew what they were going to be doing with them." I first mentioned this initiative in March when I visited with an old English teacher who hated the laptops and was able to say so with impunity because he was retiring soon. Giving every student a laptop seems like such a bad idea and I can think of at least two reasons why the program should have never even left the gate.

Computers are a Distraction: One of the main reasons public education has even a slight resemblance to a successful venture is that the students are a captive audience. When you are forced to come to school every day, leaving your video games and puppies and collected works of Smetana at home, your distractions are really quite minimal: looking out the window, daydreaming, or the opposite sex. With so few other stimuli, it's much more likely that you'll learn something from class, even if you forcibly try to maintain your stubborn idiocy. Students will go to great lengths to avoid a productive class period and requiring them to have a laptop in the classroom is like a gift of the gods (LAPTOP OF THE GODS).

Even without the lure of the safe-filtered Internet (as if high school kids today don't know how to get around Net-Nanny), a laptop can provide hours of distraction in the classroom, from Minesweeper to sending instant messages to your cohorts. On a tangent, I recently overheard a manager tell someone, "I didn't know why he wasn't replying to my phone call, so I sent him an 'Instant Message'", and the tone of his voice clearly indicated that he was trying to be technical, to the point where you could hear the air-quotes and capital letters flying around the term like a blinking neon sign of Internet illiteracy. But, I digress.

When I was in eleventh grade, the big new requirement was to have a TI-85 graphing calculator for advanced algebra and calculus classes, because apparently it's vey hard to draw a parabola in longhand. One day, I noticed that a friend had somehow downloaded a little Pong game on his calculator, no doubt with his illicit connections to the geeks of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Magnets. This inspired me so much that I took it upon myself to learn TI-85 programming inside and out. Three months of industrious work culminated in Game-Calc by URI! which featured Break-Out!, Battleship, Connect Four, and Whack-a-Rat while simultaneously taking up all the available memory that would otherwise be wasted on integrals and derivatives. This made me very popular in class, especially with all the cute field hockey girls who hated Kokonis' class and wanted something to pass the time with. However, I didn't write a single line of it at home or in my free time. Instead, I zoned out in my French 3, American Civilization, and Pre-Calculus classes, learning absolutely nothing from the teacher, and telling them all I was working on Math homework whenever they asked questions. If I had been forced to carry around a laptop instead, I probably would have ended up being the creator of Quake, or the writer of the great American-Asian novel.

Some Topics Just Don't Need a Computer: Take, for example, math. For some people, math is very difficult. Difficult enough that learning anything besides the math itself results in student overload. Yet that's exactly what happens with programs like Mathematica -- you spend so many hours with a red cup on top of your Math Emporum computer waiting for the TA to show you how to use the computer program that you never actually get around to learning the math itself. Having a requirement that every course use the computer simply because "computer" is the current buzzword is just as bad as trying to tailor a curriculum into a standardized test (though luckily we don't do any of THAT).

I'm not saying that computers can't be used for the powers of good -- just that this is the wrong way to go about it. Require that every term paper be typed, and then provide library access or free laptops to low-income families that can't already get a computer on their own. Have students compare and contrast the use of Internet resources with encyclopedias. Teach students how to make a web page. There are easily fourteen million forty-seven better ways to merge education and technology than tossing laptops around like candy from a float in a Shriners' parade.

* 'wirelass' is a typo, but it's such a provocative one that I left it in.

Shoplifter had an overload in her pants
Worst holiday specials ever made
Manliness is next to godliness

tagged as newsday | permalink | 4 comments

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 on 12/12

5:33 AM: Up and at 'em, to the sounds of Booty turning on the printer in the next room (she's realized that simply knocking the clock off the end table is no longer sufficient to secure her breakfast).

5:46 AM: Obligatory bathroom shot.

6:07 AM: This is the ONE WAY sign originally featured in October's 12 of 12 . Apparently since then, it has become the victim of a drive-by uprooting.

7:18 AM: Watching the sun rise while I wait for my bagel to toast (Wednesday is Bagel Day).

8:04 AM: Earning the "big bucks".

12:42 PM: While leaving work, a massive police motorcade swarmed through an intersection, holding up traffic in all directions for two light cycles.

12:42 PM: Bonus Picture: I could not BELIEVE that the motorcade was for a silly toy charity. I was hoping for some celebrities.

1:27 PM: Unpacking the boxes after a quick trip to Costco to procure the staples (and Scotch tape) of life.

1:34 PM: There's nothing worse than raking leaves after a thick layer of snow has melted over top of them.

1:57 PM: My new Canon A650 has a 6x Optical Zoom and a 4x Digital Zoom, which in laymen's terms means I can spy on people in Secaucus. Today I just used it to capture this nature shot of a squirrel in a faraway tree.

2:45 PM: Booty and Amber fight over the makeshift bed next to "Squirrel Lookout Point".

4:16 PM: Wrapping presents for some, and deer poo for others. I hate wrapping non-rectangular objects, but didn't have any Christmas bags, so I had to improvise.

5:14 PM: Having an early dinner of wings (from Costco), and finishing off the last hour of Pirates of the Caribbean 3: Dead Men Died Because of Long Movies, which I started on Monday.

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

Also, no one has correctly guessed the song from Monday's Name-That-Tune contest, so here is your first hint: the song first appeared on a commercial album in 1990, and has five syllables in its title!

How to get really cheap gas
Young women drink, party, and post
5-year-old descendent of Davy Crockett kills him a bear

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 on 12/12

5:36 AM: Apparently I slept in this morning.

5:45 AM: A change of camera angle to spice it up in the bathroom.

5:56 AM: Excuse me, I was told there would be snow.

6:56 AM: Even at this early hour, there's a neverending chain of commuters making the thirty mile trip to DC.

8:14 AM: Apparently we were allowed to take the day off today. I did not receive the memo.

11:08 AM: Chocolate Satin Pie for tomorrow's Poker Night.

12:26 PM: Wings and liberal propaganda for lunch.

1:14 PM: Amber appreciates it when I come home because I turn a space heater on near her bed.

2:35 PM: Working on the final Museday composition of the year.

4:12 PM: On the laptop doing some web site management stuff with an unending spill of Friends playing in the background.

6:47 PM: Done wrapping presents for Christmas! I really should buy more than two colours of wrapping paper.

7:16 PM: Rebecca comes over to visit Booty!

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

Chef's award for lard sculptures
Company buys back Bush Library domain name
Man sprays TP teens with fox urine
Should I do 12 of 12 in 2009?

Indubitably. (11 votes, 78.6%)


Only if you get a more exciting life. (3 votes, 21.4%)


Let it die. (0 votes, 0.0%)

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


5:51 AM: The usual morning routine.

6:13 AM: The ice defrosting off of my back window.

6:28 AM: Breakfast on Mondays generally consists of whatever was left in the lunch room from Friday afternoon Happy Hour, except for the Sam Adams.

7:11 AM: The rising sun.

11:00 AM: Brunch, consisting of Chef Boyardee and football-shaped Oreos.

12:23 PM: Setting up for an afternoon meeting, overlooked by Bob Feeley, of the Feeley Awards.

5:48 PM: Arrive at work in the dark, leave work in the dark.

6:11 PM: Rebecca and Booty have been home and partying for hours.

6:16 PM: Chicken Fingers: Unappetizing, but only requiring 3 minutes.

6:34 PM: Booty is unusually feisty tonight.

7:00 PM: Posting my pictures.

8:18 PM: Watching Malcolm in the Middle with Booty while Rebecca studies.

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

Vocal Fry creeping into US speech
Prison psychologist accused of faking rape

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


5:29 AM: I've been trying to resume my old 5:30 wake-up time.

5:42 AM: Showered and ready for action.

5:59 AM: Breakfast with the paper.

6:40 AM: Booty helps me telecommute.

7:59 AM: Rebecca leaves for her last day at school this semester.

10:01 AM: Time to make cheese soup.

11:12 AM: Mixing in the cheese, otherwise it would just be "Soup".

12:08 PM: At the office for Steve Clifford's retirement party.

12:09 PM: The dessert table.

12:15 PM: Steve's retirement gift, of etched glassware.

6:15 PM: Chicken fingers and the last episode of Chuck for dinner.

7:42 PM: Closing out the day with video games.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


6:35 AM: Up before Booty.

6:47 AM: Ready for work.

6:52 AM: The new meighbours are 32% more Christmas-y than the old.

8:31 AM: Working in Reston.

12:47 PM: view out the window during lunch.

3:55 PM: Coming home to Christmas presents (raw, yet-to-be-wrapped).

4:15 PM: Random gift from my dad: A plastic "Tiger Trumpet".

4:43 PM: Exercising while watching That 70s Show.

5:37 PM: Relaxing on the couch with a Blue Mountain beer and a video game.

6:21 PM: Rebecca's home!

7:15 PM: Blackened Ahi Nachos at the V Eatery & Brewhouse.

7:31 PM: Fish n' Chips!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

5:06 AM: Showered, foggy, and ready for work.
5:38 AM: Arriving at my office. My officemate, T. Suh, left the company a few months back and was replaced by a new officemate, T. Hsu. Asians everywhere!
11:50 AM: Quick stop at Safeway on the way home. This portion of the strip mall has exactly 1 store in it right now, but I bet that Silver Line will be a catalyst for development and smart growth in 8 years.
12:01 PM: Amber looks up from licking the newspaper bag to welcome me home.
12:10 PM: Wings for lunch.
12:29 PM: Back to work for a little bit longer.
2:45 PM: Cleaning and laundry duties.
3:20 PM: Playing Rondo Cappriccioso, a Grade V solo that I always hated in high school because there are no rests in the last minute of a 4 minute song.
3:37 PM: Exercising and watching Lie to Me.
4:25 PM: Cleaning out my trumpet for the first time since I covered Mikado for Jason Mirick in 2005.
7:41 PM: Burgers at The Counter.
8:20 PM: Plenty leftover.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

6:01 AM: Showered and ready for work.
6:36 AM: Oozing down Brakelight Canal.
6:48 AM: Breakfast in style, with a Grand Slam Slugger.
7:17 AM: Arriving at the temporary office.
1:08 PM: Working lunch over my company-issued XPS 15.
3:55 PM: Leaving the quaintness of downtown Fairfax City.
4:42 PM: Deer in the yard!
5:00 PM: A little more work, in a standing position.
5:45 PM: Running on the treadmill and watching The Detectorists.
6:14 PM: Leftover Chuy's for dinner.
7:30 PM: Finally, time to unwind with Rise of the Tomb Raider.
8:29 PM: Rebecca comes home from teaching yoga.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

1:30 AM: Wrapping up Advent of Code Day Twelve.
5:28 AM: Showered and ready for work.
6:06 AM: Breakfast in the office.
10:45 AM: Arriving home to find Maia reading about bunnies.
10:49 AM: A bit more work from home.
12:07 PM: Classic lunch.
2:42 PM: Rebecca and Amber nap between baby duty and work duty.
4:45 PM: Stretching out the last few minutes of Maia's long nap with Fallout 4.
5:03 PM: Those who wake the baby must deign to kiss the bunny.
6:32 PM: Dinner time!
7:21 PM: Helping to load the groceries at Wegmans.
11:50 PM: Waiting for the next Advent of Code puzzle to unlock.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

 

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