Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 27 years ago, in 1990. The guy with the 80s hair was Jon, the Senior Patrol leader, and the middle guy was Eric, my Patrol Leader (I believe we were the Panther patrol).

Though I had only been in the Boy Scouts for 15 months, I was well on my way to overachieving through merit badges. At the time of this picture, I was in 7th grade (and still wearing British Knights). As the troop librarian, I carried a giant metal box (as big as I was) full of merit badge books to each meeting so people could borrow them. This lasted about a week before I subverted the natural order by indexing the collection, giving everyone a copy off the dot matrix printer, and telling them to call me on the phone if they wanted me to bring just one merit badge book to the next meeting. No one ever did.

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Friday, February 03, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Detectorists, Season Two:
The second season is just as charming as the first and over much too quickly. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Sneaky Pete, Season One:
The pilot of this Graham Yost show is easily the weakest of the bunch -- the two years it spent in production since then has definitely turned it into more than just the "case of the week" network show I worried it would become. It comes across as a blend of the storytelling from Justified with the wry appeal of Better Call Saul, (but is never so grim that it's Breaking Badly unwatchable). In spite of all of the twists and double crosses, the plot is easy to follow, and provides enough season closure to feel satisfied, while still looking forward to season two. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: A-

Jim Gaffigan: Cinco:
This is easily the funniest Gaffigan special since his earlier ones. The typical array of clean jokes about food, religion, and children are on display, and his live show timing is on point. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

I Am Not a Serial Killer (NR):
This is a weird little movie that morphs into a different kind of movie by its end, and (unusually enough) I enjoyed both sides of it. A small town Rust Belt teen who has been diagnosed as a sociopath thinks he can track down the local serial killer since they think so much alike. It's also good to see Christopher Lloyd still acting. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

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Monday, February 06, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

Hiking up Little Devil's Stairs near Washington, VA.

Enjoying the complimentary flight at Hopkins Ordinary B&B and Aleworks.

Eating "Eggs Hopkins" for breakfast.

Being hipsters at the new coffee shoppe, Before and After, in Sperryville.

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 24 years ago, in February 1992.

As an eighth grader at Hammond Junior High, I was wearing the uniform of the Hammond Admirals concert band, ready to do our one performance per year on the football field for an awful JV football team. My sister was wearing the uniform of the high school flag corps, and my mom was wearing the pink uniform of moms of the 1990s. The main thing I recall about the uniform I was wearing was that I had the smallest size of each piece because I was tiny for an eighth grader. Thus, I had hat #1, jacket #1, and pants #1. The braids were one-size-fits-all.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, February 10, 2017

Stuff in My Drawers Day

This letter was written over twenty one years, in September 1995, by my former band director and sometime-trumpet teacher, George Randall.

I had just returned from Governor's School interested in music composition and had two whole songs to my name, Scintillation and Glossalalia March. His thoughtful comments kept me enthused about writing more music and, unlike my undergraduate professor, he never asked me to "add some wrong notes to the score so it's more exciting".

We also used tape recorders back then, as those high-quality copper-based cassette tapes were the Minidisc of their era.

tagged as memories | permalink | 3 comments

Monday, February 13, 2017

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

5:38 AM: Up early to get some work done.
5:46 AM: In the home office.
10:04 AM: Cats waiting for me to finish working so they can eat.
11:00 AM: Early lunch of Safeway fried chicken.
11:24 AM: Trying to keep the faucet from slowly closing when we wash the dishes.
12:31 PM: Cat nap on the couch.
1:32 PM: Level 506 in Overwatch.
3:49 PM: We decide to go for a walk.
4:13 PM: Walking through Sugarland.
6:35 PM: Early dinner at Singh Thai with Michelle and Sara.
7:06 PM: Updating the grading policy of the Ormond Stone Middle School Band.
8:00 PM: Couch time with Booty and You're the Worst.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Recipe Day: Spinach-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms


  • 8 large Portobello caps, stems and gills removed
  • 2 tbsp. reduced-fat Italian salad dressing

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 20 oz fresh spinach, chopped then microwaved for 45 seconds to wilt
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush mushrooms with Italian dressing. Arrange on baking sheet, gills up.
  3. Bake until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain juice from inside mushrooms.
  4. Meanwhile, beat egg, garlic, salt, pepper in large bowl. Stir in spinach, Parmesan, mozzarella, breadcrumbs until evenly mixed.
  5. Fill mushrooms with mixture. Sprinkle tops with more mozzarella, breadcrumbs. Continue baking until topping is golden brown and cheese is melted (10 minutes).
  6. Serve immediately to weird people who don't eat meat.

tagged as recipes | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, February 17, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Travelers, Season One:
Like Colony before it, this is a sci-fi show with a lot of potential that immediately gets squandered when the plot goes nowhere fast. The characters remain relatively flat, and little sparks of great world-building ultimately end up showcasing just how little actually happens in the first season. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C-

Finding Dory (PG):
This is a fun revisit to the world of Finding Nemo although it never quite reaches the heights of the original movie. I enjoyed the ride, but I'm getting a little tired of the "bounce from one panicky set piece to the next" pattern of most recent animated movies. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Boogie Nights (R):
This epic about porn stars in the 1970s feels a little self-indulgent by the time it's all over (two and a half hours later). It follows the typical "rise to fame and brought down by drugs" plotline you see in all of these grandiose types of movies but ends on a quieter, redemptive note that keeps it from being too depressing. If you enjoy long, single-take shots, you'll appreciate the artistry, and the soundtrack is solid (in spite of the fact that Heatwave's "Boogie Nights" isn't played even once). Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Michael Bolton's Big Sexy Valentine's Day Special:
This is a collection of skits, parody songs, and cameos that works in spite of (or maybe because of) the fact that Michael Bolton is the most wooden presence in the show. Fun and over quickly, and not as bad as I worried it might be. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

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Monday, February 20, 2017

List Day: 20 Vetoed Baby Names

  • Brian Uri, Jr.

  • Lunchmeat Uri

  • Donald Uri

  • Papaya Uri

  • Creighton Barrel Uri

  • Popeye Uri

  • Bribecca Uri

  • Plinky Uri

  • Gonorrhea Uri

  • Stonewall Antietam Uri

  • Euwanimus Forsythia Uri

  • Michael Jackson Uri

  • Jedediah Ezekiel Uri

  • Virginia Tech Uri

  • Oedipus Uri

  • Garage Sale Uri

  • Null Uri

  • White Fang Uri

  • Axl Rose Uri

  • Genghis Grill Uri

  • tagged as lists, offspring | permalink | 8 comments

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Happy 222 Day!

    To celebrate 222 day, we went in for an ultrasound and now know the gender of our baby. Who wants to guess?

    tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 8 comments

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    Stuff In My Drawers Day

    I drew this picture thirty years ago at the age of 7.

    Excited about a planned trip to San Diego to visit relatives and go to Disneyland but not really knowing what California was actually like, I created this true-to-life representation of the life that Mike and Annie live on a daily basis. Also, there is only one beach stretching the entire length of the coast, called CALIFORNIA BEACH, and all of the houses have push bars on their doors like my elementary school did.

    tagged as media | permalink | 4 comments

    Monday, February 27, 2017

    End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

    A few photos have been added to the Life, 2017 album. Google Photos sucks.

    • Events
      • Got my first speeding ticket in about seven years driving down to work in Fairfax on T 1/31.

      • Had Sara over for grilled salmon and the Appalachian Trail game on F 2/3.

      • Spent a weekend in Sperryville, with a hike of Little Devil's Stairs, a visit to the Aleworks, and dinner at the Schoolhouse Pub on S 2/4.

      • Watched the first half of the Super Bowl then turned it off with cataclysmic effect on our assumptions on S 2/5. (Just like the election!)

      • Had dinner and an appalling sour beer that wasn't advertised as sour at Mellow Mushroom on T 2/7.

      • Met up with Michelle and Sara for comfort noodle food at Singh Thai on Lake Anne on S 2/12.

      • Had comfort American Chinese food (followed by Sweetfrog) on F 2/17.

      • Had Rebecca's parents over for lunch and played with Tom's new slingshot on an unseasonably warm S 2/18.

      • Met with our new doula at Cafein on S 2/19.

      • Had the 20 week ultrasound (2 weeks late) on W 2/22.

      • Went to my parent's house for an oil change and to celebrate my dad's birthday, and also to reveal that we're having a GIRL, on S 2/25.

      • Did our taxes and marveled at obscene savings on S 2/26.

    • Projects
      • Averaging 60 hours per week at work, but only driving the death commute to Fairfax once a week.

      • Fixed a deathtrap outlet that shorted out whenever Rebecca leaned against the wall, as well as bare spots where Booty destroyed the carpet trying to get into the bedroom when we kick her annoying ass out.

    • Consumerism
      • Got to level 528 in Overwatch, with 540 hours played and a 51.1% winrate.

      • May have purchased something wholly unnecessary but very cool after tax day reinforced how much we have in savings.

      • No new music to speak of this month, but still enjoying a Bliss n' ESO station on Pandora.

      • No amazing shows this month, but waded through yet another season of Game of Thrones.

    February's Final Grade: B, A mix of work any play, possibly with a little too much work. Rebecca's feeling better!

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment


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