July 26, 2016

Best Photos of 2005, marking the halfway point of this project, years-wise.

It's been kind of therapeutic going going through years past this way; it's been a nice way of reviewing the past and lengthening my sense of the chronological space without being stuck there.


Not quite see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, but along those lines.


I started dating Ksenia in late 2004, at some point she was helping friends and relatives arrange flowers, I liked this photo.


At one point most of her family went skiing, and I stayed with her and her grandfather. During a blizzard. Snow was above my car's windows...


Alex and Tonya's wedding. I always liked the intimacy shown in this one.


EB vs Sponge Bob Pinata.


Coworker Noor enjoying my office toy Hulk Hands.


Ksenia and I hiked Monadnock - April was a bit early for the path we were taking with friends. Andy is in this photo as well.


Ksenia joined me on a work trip to Chicago.


We got kind of lost in Chicago, and were tired.


The Lynn shore. The light was kind of amazing.


Coworker prank - they used my hoody to make a "virtual me" when I was out with a hurt back. "Works on my machine" is such a great catchphrase for the developer.


Another winter, more snow shoveling.


2005 Bonus Images!
Ksenia and Me in the Chicago's Cloud Gate sculpture.


Another shot from that sunset at the Lynn shore.


Ksenia - same shore, different day. I love how the clouds mirrored on the sands looks about the same as in the sky.


Erin over an Alien Bill birthday cake


Getting political fatigue to the point of burn out.

Whichever side wins, it's not the end of the world, or the republic. We'll get shitty judges, lives (especially for vulnerable classes) will be made worse, we'll continue banking on some future geo-engineering crap rather than actually thinking about climate change, we'll be more at risk for authoritarian crap, we'll be a few ticks closer to nuclear armageddon. Trump will be Putin's man in the white house, etc.

Most of us will still muddle through in conditions that are the envy of 99% of the history of humanity. We'll be that much farther from our potential as a species, and in general being on the wrong side of history.

We've survived LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, GWB, Newt Gingrich.

Life would go on.

We can do better, and knock wood will with Hillary. It's frustrating that it all comes down to a few swing states. Even more frustrating that we've so clustered around two very different narratives of what it means to be a good, smart American.
Dilbert on Corporate Slogans like Make the world a better place
From 15 Twitter Jokes Everyone Should Read:

Young children are like sponges. They are the filthiest thing in your house.
--@RockabillyJay

I told a joke about a mandatory meeting once, you had to be there
--@le_buns

Any dog can be a guide dog if you don't care where you're going
--@matt___nelson

July 25, 2016

Best Photos of 2004... Mo and I part ways, I sell the house, publish my Atari game, and spend a lot of time with EB and Jane.


The pier at the Ocean Grove NJ boardwalk. I think the fishing house at the end had been rebuilt after the Blizzard of '96, and then got destroyed again during Hurricane Sandy.


I guess the last photo of Mo in "Best of" is this one of her at Home Depot, as we got the house ready for sale.


I released JoustPong at Philly Classic that year (note the custom T-Shirt, a giveaway with the first batch of carts) and shared the AtariAge booth with Howard Scott Warshaw - creator of the Atari game Yar's Revenge and, more infamously, the rushed version of "E.T." that "caused" the Great Video Crash of 1983.


For some reason I had to stop by Mo's new apartment at Davis, and we took turns doing portraits with her new fancy Rebel camera. I feel like this is one of my best pre-beard portraits of me.


EB helping me patch the crumbling concrete of the front stairs of the house. (Actually it's funny how much time I'd spend waiting for him at Home Depot, as he enlisted me as unskilled labor getting his new place into shape.)


My favorite Professor at Tufts, Alva Couch, speaking at some department alumni thing.


EB and I went through a phase of playing darts at Flat Top Johnny's where we met this pair. Nothing more than goofy half-flirting happened, I just find this photo amusing. (Also I was amazed that one time when EB+I inadvertently skipped the check at FTJ's, the staff immediately told us when we came in next time. I think my face blindness would be a handicap in that kind of job.)


EB and I on a tandem ride of the "Skycoaster" at Six Flags.


Jane outside of work - we'd go toss a football in the parking lot sometimes.


And Jane at a restaurant, near work. She was a big supportive help that year, though her advice to get me out of the big jeans I would wear all the time kept me in nothing but khakis for the better part of a decade.


I visited Mike in Cleveland, and for his birthday his friends subjected him to a kind of prank mystery car ride.


Cousins in motion at the Family Reunion.


BONUS!

Slate on The Hillary Haters. Saturday at a party I was showing around some old Spy-magazine covers about Hillary from the 90s (I remember 'Hillary as dominatrix in particular.) The endless dislike of her has a lot of roots in sexism, without a doubt.
I just finished "Don Quixote" for a second time (living out some old maxim that just as a piece of architecture should be viewed in the morning, mid-day, and dusk, so should this book be read as a young person, a middle-aged guy, and an old man.)

I read Edith Grossman's 2003 translation. Some highlights I made to record here:

The one passage I remember from my first reading is from Marcella's defense, as she's being accused of a shepherd's death because of her failure to return his love:

Heaven made me, as all of you say, so beautiful that you cannot resist my beauty and are compelled to love me, and because of the love you show me, you claim that I am obliged to love you in return. I know, with the natural understanding that God has given me, that everything beautiful is lovable, but I cannot grasp why, simply because it is loved, the thing loved for its beauty is obliged to love the one who loves it.

(In the same way I sometimes dig the KJV version of the bible, this translation is nicely old school.)
---
Another idea I saw cited in Jack Kerouac's "Dharma Bums" was "Comparisons are Odious":

'Stop right there, Señor Don Montesinos,' I said then. 'Your grace should recount this history in the proper manner, for you know that all comparisons are odious, and there is no reason to compare anyone to anyone else. The peerless Dulcinea of Toboso is who she is, and Señora Belerma is who she is, and who she was, and no more should be said about it.'

While here "Comparisons are Odious" mostly applies to people, I find it critical in my understanding of "Amor Fati", the love of one's fate; we spend so much effort comparing this world to all these other, slightly more pleasant alternative universes (just like this one, but I'm not stuck in traffic!, for instance) that it makes us miserable with very little return.
---
Harold Bloom's Introduction to the work mentions: It remained for La Rochefoucauld to restate the other side of the paradox: some people would never have loved if they had not heard of love.
---
The book cites verses from other source, such as Commander Escrivá's
Come, death, so secret,
so still I do not hear your approach,
so that the pleasure of dying
does not bring me back to life.


and there was also a reference (Sancho watched everything, and not one thing caused him sorrow) to
"Nero, on Tarpeian Rock, / watched as Rome went up in flames; / crying ancients, screaming infants, / and not one thing caused him sorrow."
---
Of course, much of the joy of the book are the proverbs and quotes, famously by Sancho but also Don Quixote himself:
  • too much wine cannot keep either a secret or a promise.
  • The ox who's free can lick where he pleases.'" (Grossman explains "A proverb that extols the joys of liberty.")
  • stultorum infinitus est numerus: "The number of fools is infinite."
  • Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it's bad luck for the pitcher
  • "I have always heard, Sancho, that doing good to the lowborn is throwing water into the sea."
---
At one point the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance says "Now you will see, said Agrajes" which Grossman footnotes "Agrajes, a character in Amadís of Gaul [One of the most established tales about knight errantry] would say these words before doing battle; it became a proverbial expression used at the beginning of a fight."
---
Some passages still resonate today:
  • "Be quiet," said Don Quixote. "Where have you ever seen or read that a knight errant has been brought before the law no matter how many homicides he may have committed?"
  • "In short," said Don Quixote, "it seems clear, Sancho, that you are a peasant, the kind who shouts, 'Long live whoever wins!'"
  • "Even so, I want you to know, brother Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "that there is no memory that time does not erase, no pain not ended by death."
---
I was interested in a view of the year that seems to put the year into five seasons, not four:
spring pursues summer, summer pursues estío, 1 estío pursues autumn, autumn pursues winter, and winter pursues spring, and in this way time turns around a continuous wheel;
---
Finally, I loved this rant:
"Oh, base, lowborn, wretched, rude, ignorant, foul-mouthed, ill-spoken, slanderous, insolent varlet! You have dared to speak such words in my presence and in the presence of these distinguished ladies, dared to fill your befuddled imagination with such vileness and effrontery? Leave my presence, unholy monster, repository of lies, stronghold of falsehoods, storehouse of deceits, inventor of iniquities, promulgator of insolence, enemy of the decorum owed to these royal persons. Go, do not appear before me under pain of my wrath!"

July 24, 2016

My Dozen Best Photos of 2003:


There was a little park and playground right across from our house in Waltham.


Yi, at my job in Salem.


Mo and her dad. Folder information suggests this is around her brother Dan's thesis concert.


We travelled to Europe that spring, in part to attend Veronika and Volker's wedding in Germany. The German guests thought I was being charmingly euphemistic when I told them Veronika and I "dated" in high school. Also I learned, don't try and keep up with German guests when there's free red wine being poured.


The kid of one of V+V's friends. I learned two things playing Pictionary (in English) with Germans: one, the German's view of Aladdin's Lamp is more upright, like a vase. Two, in English (or at least the UK flavor?) technically, a frown is an expression of the brows, not of the mouth.


We visited my mom who was working in London those years. I've always liked this shot of Mo on the London Eye, Europe's tallest ferris wheel.


Jane and Julia. Sometimes Jane and I felt like the only liberals at that place, it was a bit square.


The family reunion was in Belmont that year, here's a little soccer action.


An in-progress shot of my project for that year, JoustPong for the Atari 2600. I don't want to mix up cause and effect, but sometimes I wonder about if I had put as much focus on Mo's project of getting a house as I had on my own technical endeavor.


I do enjoy this shot from EB's wedding.


Halloween Pac-Danger, at the "Paper Source" near Porter.


Flapper Jane dancing at a masquerade ball Mo and I threw. Sometimes that feels like the last hurrah for me and her and that place and that time; she had realized her interests lay elsewhere.



BONUS: A few months later I made this composite shot of the park, and called it "Ghost of a Snowman"
Clay Shirky speaks to why I'm so appalled about Trump.

July 23, 2016

My Dozen Best Photos of 2002.

Another Brooke Party shot from the stairway up from her kitchen, since kitchens are were all respectable parties end up.


A walkway light in the snow, in Burlington, outside of the offices of Gale.


2001 was the first year I renewed a lease on an apartment, but Mo and I bought a house this year. Househunting was more a project of her and her mom with me supporting them from the edges; probably a harbinger, in retrospect. Anyway, Mo in a this mighty chair she had brought into the relationship, on moving day.


I went to Philly Classic, a classic/retro video games convention. Here is a man in a homebrew Atari 2600 Pitfall Cartridge costume.


My Father-in-Law's birthday, in the dining room of the new house.


A one-year-anniversary trip to Ogunquit.


Our friends Lee and Michelle got married.


Cousin at a family reunion.


At this point I'm working in Salem (the dot com crash was the roughest patch for me job-wise, but wasn't too awful.) You get a nice view of the Canon PowerShot I was using then.


Mo recreating that famous James Dean look.


The year before we had adopted Denali as company for Murphy. This was one end of the "great room" in our new house, probably the house's single best feature.


View from inside a Jack-O-Lantern


"Don't get mad if you parents ask 'simple tech questions' because they taught you how to use a spoon."
--Thechangingboy

July 22, 2016

My Dozen Best Photos of 2001.

Camera-wise, I think this year I started my long relationship with Canon PowerShots. They were truly pocketable cameras that took nice shots, and I kept one with me all the time for years (PalmPilot, Camera, Wallet, Keys, Sunglasses) - in fact there's still usually one in my courier bag, but it doesn't get much action.


Though actually, I think this is the only "Best of" photo taken with the Kodak PalmPix, a clip-on camera for the PalmPilot. Not a good camera in general, but has an interesting winter wonderland effect here.


Again, Brooke threw some good parties, like this Angel/Devil themed one.


Angel from the Angel/Devil party.


I've always loved this picture of Greg's kid, the whole "stop fooling around with a camera and get me more to drink" of it.

One of the few photos here not taken with my equipment; our wedding was professionally photographed, but this shot of the dancing after was done with a plastic toy camera. Two young people who didn't know what they were doing, but were trying to look cool doing it, I guess. We had a giant framed print of this one on the wall for a while.


Honeymoon in Mexico. It was a photogenic place, but I had surprisingly few great shots.


Aunt Susan and Uncle Bill on the stoop at Wigglesworth.


Mo and I and the Tufts band lemmings went Apple Picking...


Goddess of Apples.


Jen the Juggler.


Apple Strongman.


My best highschool buddy Mike was fond of road trips, including this one to Boston with his pal Dave. I guess this was pre-Big Dig, when there was still an elevated highway there.


"The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon -- and I mean very soon -- come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored."
----Donald Trump. Besides the fact this is a spooky authoritarian tyrant kind of line, how the HELL could he promise this unless he was like, ordering the crime and violence himself?