kirk.is | archive | 2002 mar

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yer such a card!

(12 comments)
March 1, 2002
Business Cards of the Moment
For the networking I'll need to for my jobhunt, I thought I'd print up some personal business cards. This is the design I ended up with:
Dylan took the idea and ran with it. (and by chance, ended up with the Event Zero (my previous employer's) colors) I ended up worrying about how much orange potential was in my printer so I didn't print up any models, but it's an interesting idea:
Later, talking with Ranjit, I mentioned my idea of using my old ASCII self-portrait for a card, and he pointed out that Figlets (big ASCII-character based fonts, here's an interesting toy for 'em) are underused on business cards, and sent me the text for the below:
Hmm, maybe I should save that for my alter-ego, "Cap'n Old School".

Link of the Moment
Speaking of Old School, Nanoloop is a Gameboy ROM that lets you make techno on a Game Boy in realtime. Some interesting song samples here, maybe someday I should try my hand at it.

the farce is wit' ye, yiz bastads!

(1 comment)
March 2, 2002
At last, Radio Shack has a selection of radios with digital tuning. This is the 2000s! I'm sick of tuning radios with dials. They always drift...car stereos had 'em for years and years now, I was surprised at how long it has taken for them to be adopted for small radios at home.

Funny of the Moment
Have you ever wondered what Star Wars would be like in Scotland? The translations at the bottom were the best part.

Exclamation of the Moment
"Holy Pope with a Band Saw!"
--Bill the Splut, based on a dream he had. I'll try to remember to add it to my repertoire of outbursts.

twist shout and sauertkraut

(3 comments)
March 3, 2002
Link of the Moment
Ranjit pointed out SauerkrautRecipes.com as an example of "things you didn't think need their own domain name". Or their own Message Board or Club ("What other sauerkraut club would you join?") either, for that matter. The Health Info page is kind of funny...it's not actual nutrional information, just a solicitation for comments about the health benefits of sauerkraut. Ranjit considered chiming in with "My eyebrows were upside-down until I ate sauerkraut!", a concept that has been stuck in my head ever since he mentioned it...how would you tell if your eyebrows were upside-down anyway? Is there a chance that mine are and I just haven't realized it?

More Business Cards of the Moment
Sarah of the UK accent and great hair decided to get in on the act of making a business card for me. It looks a bit 70s to me, like the computer exhibits at Disney's Epcot...
Finally, I found this design I made for myself (but never really used) about 5 years ago. Funny how much I emphasized my websites, I guess back then it was a little rarer to have your own domain:

pay attention to meeeeeeeee

(2 comments)
March 4, 2002
Just a quick update today...life's getting a bit hectic with all this jobhunting and networking stuff!

Article of the Moment
"Graying Cyberpunk" Bruce Sterling on how Information Wants to Be Worthless (as opposed to the usual slogan of "wants to be free".) Interesting stuff especially for bloggers (mentions Boingboing.net which I may add to my regular reading schedule)...."Attention" really seems to be the most valid currency on the 'Net.

Link of the Moment
A VirusScanner for humans, find out your meme exposure...very cool. Supossedly doesn't work with IE4.

the truth is out there. way out there.

March 5, 2002
On alt.fan.cecil-adams one guy was talking about how he though it would be cool to some day in a sci-fi future to go out and grab the space probe Pioneer 10, currently headed out of the Solar System, and put it in a museum, maybe next to Neil Armstrong's first footprint on the moon. I thought it would be cooler to build a "flying" museum around the probe, never quite touching it or deflecting its course. (Might be tough, since the gravitational influence of such a museum might be significant way out there in space.)

I got to thinking about the Arecibo Message, the pictograph that we beamed into space as loud as we could. (Actually I was getting it confused with the plaque we stuck on Pioneer 10) I'm not sure I could make heads or tails of it if I were an alien, even if I could figure out how to put those bits into the form you see at right. Still, it's pretty neat thinking about how we can try to communicate with an intelligence so different from us that we can make few assumptions about what they would understand. (On the other hand, assuming Grfnxz the Alien is fluent in "Atari 2600" might not be the best course of action, but hey.)

One of the more amazing discoveries I made was that it seems like the aliens may have answered us using their favorite technique, crop circles! That link is a pretty detailed analysis, clearly a lot of thought went into the alien's reply.

Horoscope of the Moment
Pisces: (Feb. 19-March 20)
It's not true that all the good band names are taken. But if believing that keeps you from starting a band, great.
--from The Onion

comedy in tragedy

(2 comments)
March 6, 2002
Flash of the Moment
Mo's mom sent her this card. Weirdly charming in a dorky way, and I like the music. A testement of hope in these troubled times.

News of the Moment
Slashdot had this piece on a new crowd control system that makes an area extremely slippery...a "mobility denial system", but mostly I'm tickled by its nickname "banana peel in a can".

dance machine

(1 comment)
March 7, 2002
Palm Toy of the Moment
In the things that are cooler in idea than implementation department, it's Tap, a program for the Palm (they have a screen saver version as well.) It comes in male and female dancer varieties, and the webpage talks about some high falutin' ideas of public and private spaces, artificial intelligence, and data exchange, but in the end it ends up like a lame form of tamagotchi.

Quote of the Moment
"Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen."
--Edward V. Berard

News of the Moment
Wow...who would've thought Co-Ed Naked Bungee actually exists? (Some neat photos, none all that revealing.)

heart of glass, butt of stone

(2 comments)
March 8, 2002
Link of the Moment
Staute Molesters has been in my backlog since August...it's way more amusing than it has any right to be.

Clown of the Moment
And just to complete the theme of Things Gone Very Wrong, Ouchy the Clown (as previously mentioned) is in the news, along with his wife and co-guerrilla-porn-clown iKandi.

the color of office cubicles and the rest of the universe

(2 comments)
March 9, 2002

                     



My previous entry was incorrect, the universe, taken as a whole, is beige, not the minty green that was reported earlier. (The new color is #FEF9E5 for web developers...) The scientist who came up with the original finding as a sidenote to their paper made a mistake in translating their data into a single color. The new color is more intuitively obvious than the previous one. The article had a great quote from the astronomer Glazebrook:
"It is embarrassing. But this is science. We're not like politicians. If we make mistakes, we admit them. That's how science works."
And that's one of the main things I like about science.

Story of the Moment
     Going to bed the other night, I noticed people in my shed stealing things.
     I phoned the police but was told no one was in the area to help. They said they would send someone over as soon as possible.
     I hung up. A minute later I rang again. 'Hello,' I said, 'I called you a minute ago because there were people in my shed. You don't have to hurry now, because I've shot them.'
     Within minutes there were half a dozen police cars in the area, plus helicopters and an armed response unit. They caught the burglars red-handed.
     One of the officers said: 'I thought you said you'd shot them.'
     To which I replied: 'I thought you said there was no one available.'
--Tony Gladstone via Stile Project (R-rated link)

makes one wonder

(1 comment)
March 10, 2002
Bushism of the Moment
Here's a vignette we're dying to see on the ABC broadcast of Sunday's Ford's Theatre Presidential Gala: When Stevie Wonder sat down at the keyboard center stage, President Bush in the front row got very excited. He smiled and started waving at Wonder, who understandably did not respond. After a moment Bush realized his mistake and slowly dropped the errant hand back to his lap. "I know I shouldn't have," a witness told us yesterday, "but I started laughing."
--The Washington Post, via rec.humor.funny

Online Toy of the Moment
The Glass Engine is an index over 60 Phillip Glass works (I think more than that if you count different tracks seperately.) It has all the pieces organized by Work (Name), Year, Length, and then four other less tangible factors: Joy, Sorrow, Intensity, and Density. The interface takes a second to get used to (especially how you're working with the individual tracks of a single work if you grab the lines on top, or all tracks if you grab on bottom, and how it's all drag, not point and click) but after that it's very fun to explore.

six months after

(1 comment)
March 11, 2002

Six month anniversary of WTC. This morning I heard that "The Sphere", featured in my 1999.09.11 photo, was already recovered, and is going to be the centerpiece of a new memorial. Admittedly, I loved the fountain that was under it more than the sculpture itself, but it's great to know that the core is back. The artist is said to have mixed feelings about the new memorial.

Oddness of the Moment
There's a "typo-squatter" domin, goggle.com (as opposed to the deservedly famous google.) I know of three people who made this typo on Saturday (Leslee, my mother-in-law Janis, and my Aunt Susan) and then had to figure out when their favorite search engine got so garish, and why it wasn't returning any useful results. None of us had heard of this site before. Ranjit came up with term paraSites for this type of shenanigans-puller, which is a great phrase that works in at least two different ways...

Quote of the Moment
"Well, one day I was at the Institute of Advanced Study, and I went to Gödel's office, and there was Gödel. It was winter and Gödel had an electric heater and had his legs wrapped in a blanket. I said, 'Professor Gödel, what connection do you see between your incompleteness theorem and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle?' And Gödel got angry and threw me out of his office."
--Physicist John Wheeler. I guess the quote isn't that amusing outside of its context in this Slate.com article on Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which points out how often that principle is abused by the would-be literati.

republican madness

March 12, 2002
Quote of the Moment
"THE QUESTIONS MAY CHANGE--BUT BY GOD, OUR ANSWERS STAY THE SAME!"
--Vice President Dick Cheney from that Shadow Government HQ in this This Modern World cartoon. Man, with what I've been reading about how we're preparing to deal with Iraq, I believe this is the Republican slogan...we really seem convinced that we have the right to kick out Saddam. And damn the consequences!

Link of the Moment
Miserable Melodies has some of the wrongest music on the web. Has some classics like William Shatner covering "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and Richard Harris doing "MacArthur Park" (one my favorites from jazzband actually) as well as some lesser known performances. Go to the "All by Artist" page and be sure to check out the "Portsmouth Sinfonia"..."Sin" is about the right way to describe their cover of "Also Sprach Zarathustra"....

The Miserable Melodies site actually ties in to today's theme of "Republican Madness", because it features John Ashcroft singing this song he penned himself:
"Let the eagle soar,
Like she’s never soared before.
From rocky coast to golden shore,
Let the mighty eagle soar.
Soar with healing in her wings,
As the land beneath her sings:
'Only god, no other kings.'
This country’s far too young to die.
We’ve still got a lot of climbing to do,
And we can make it if we try.
Built by toils and struggles
God has led us through."
"This country's far too young to die"?? That's a reckless teenager line if I ever heard it. And this rendition gives him the benefit of the doubt, but I swear he thinks the the past tense of "soar" is "soarn". Did you know each time he has been sworn in to political office, he has himself anointed with cooking oil (in the manner of King David, as he points out in his memoirs).
(lyrics thanks to barking moose, thanks Bill for the oil link. And actually, you can see the CNN video that the music was lifted from.)

you're on a mission, kid

(1 comment)
March 13, 2002
I've been thinking lately about how aware we are these days of people's agendas. Suspicious, even. I think we're on the hunt for "well what's in it for you" in a way we weren't a few decades ago. For instance, I think management of a focus group must be a lot tougher, because people are less capable of giving you their "natural" responses; they're trying to think ahead to why you're asking about whether pictures of puppies or of playgrounds remind you more of childhood, if you're trying to sell them cereal or whatever, rather than giving a simple answer. Same with people who come up to you on the street smiling...if they start talking, asking how your day is going, you know they're after something, generally your precious attention.

Same thing happened during the "Clinton Scandals". His "Approval" rating was soaring during that time, since the pollsters weren't asking "do you think the impeachment is fair", and the Approval Rating was the main outlet the people had to send a message against the way the case was proceeding.

I got to thinking about this during a conversation about this "Insanity Test", where the way it's setup influenced the naturalness of my reaction, even before the thing started...

Link of the Moment
Would your day be better with a Bear That Poops Prime Numbers? Of course it would.

o'reilly oh really?

(2 comments)
March 14, 2002
Saw Tim O'Reilly (of everygeek's favorite computer book company) give a rambling talk on "Emerging Tech Trends" last night at local computer bookstore Softpro. Some thought provoking stuff. He mentioned that the Apple iPod is being used (or could be?) to carry around the information for people's Macintosh desktops...so you could go take your iPod to your buddy's Mac, and suddenly it looks like your computer. It made me think how far we are from the ultimate PDA/laptop combo...what if you had something that looked and acted like a typical PDA, but it had plugs for a monitor, keyboard, mouse, power, etc, so you could use it on the go, or as a reasonable desktop. It would have the standard dayplanner software, but you could still get to the desktop programs in PDA mode....it's an intriguing idea, and I suppose I'd have to admit Microsoft PocketPC's are closer than Palm to realizing that dream at this point, though they're still pretty far off.

News of the Moment
--Joseph Calzaretta and Govenor Ridge

seeing wtc

(1 comment)
March 15, 2002
This is the badge my mom, a major in The Salvation Army, was given when she got the VIP-ish tour of Ground Zero the other day. (I suppose it's a little odd that she's smiling for this particular badge photo, but I suppose that's just habit.) She's home from England for a week where she's been working since last summer. For six years, she was the supervisor for many of the Salvation Army employees who are now overseeing the support system for volunteers (she was in NYC during the WTC carbombing), plus she was "visiting from Salvation Army International Headquarters". It also seems like the people working there don't mind visitors so much; they understand that people want to pay respect and bear witness, and also the workers want to keep the message out that amazing work is still going on at the site.

And the work is amazing. She told us about the "Taj" (as in Mahal), the enormous tent that is the main meal center for the workers. It's pretty cool how the meals are supplied, actually: because they're trying to support the economy of the area, they pay the local restaurants to make their usual specialty (Chinese, Indian, Sushi, etc) and then volunteers go around and bring the food to the central areas. It's cool how the support structure is working on several fronts like that, and providing the site workers with some variety besides. Also there are the "hydration stations" that offer warmth and soup and beverages. (I hadn't thought about how cold it must be for people who are out there all the time.)

One thing she mentioned that when the project is finally over, there's probably going to be a secondary sense of loss by the people who have been working at Ground Zero (which now physically resembles one of those giant construction pits). There's a solid sense of community and camaraderie there, a justified sense of important, if unspeakably tragic, work being done.

Link of the Moment
Buggy as heck yet still very intriguing, thesquarerootof-1.com has some cool virtual toys. (For some reason I had better luck clicking on the "I have shockwave but no sound" button; I still got sound, but it didn't crash then.)

rainy housewarming

(1 comment)
March 16, 2002
Huh, I was getting over 100 unique users/day for a few days there, now it's back down...maybe more people were Google image searching on WTC because of the six month anninversary? Ah well, that's the danger when you start looking at the numbers on a daily basis...

Link of the Moment
Ah, at last there's Google News.

Game of the Moment
Ah, at last there's slime volleyball.
(Tough game, a little easier if you use the arrowkeys for left and right and w to jump.)

Quote of the Moment
"The Future is here. It is just not evenly distributed."
--William Gibson, who was quote by Tim O'Reilly the other day (except he rendered it as "widely" instead of "evenly") It's a great point though, and interesting to think how and where the future has its roots in the present. Though there's a downside to that as well, if you think of the WTC part of the present, and not the shiny cool computer gadget side.

the five stories

(3 comments)
March 17, 2002
Housewarming party went very well last night. There was dancing, conversation, pictionary, video games, and a pretty amazing assortment of cookies by Mo. These cookies to the right were the most extravagently decorated...people had trouble believing they were homemade, actually. It's a little frightening, come to think of it.

Quote of the Moment
"Right now, I'm working on trying to learn some new old songs. You know, there are so many tunes, but you tend to whittle yourself and your memories down as life goes by. You know how you kind of become the same five stories in the end? I've done that already, and I'm fuckin' 31 years old."
--Ani DiFranco in an Onion a.v.club interview. I think this journal is my way of trying to keep my other stories accessible, beyond those five. I also think I really need to get a cd from Drums & Tuba, one of the bands on her label.

Useful Link of the Moment
One of the most useful community sites on the web, experts-exchange.com (I remember the dash by realizing without it, the name could be read "expert sexchange") The theory is you get points for answering other people's technical questions, and you give points to people who answer yours. In practice, you spend the points they give you daily just for being a member, and your question is answered by some amazingly smart people who seem to have a lot of time to answer tough questions, because they get to it before other people have the chance. (Actually, a neat etiquette spontaneously emerged, where people started posing answers as "comments", so it wouldn't lock out other potential answers. Eventually the site added the feature "accept this comment as answer" to better support this natural behavior.) It amazes me how well this point system motivates some of these people, who amass huge fortunes of points that aren't good for anything except reputation within the community. It's a more reliable source of answers than Usenet, and you don't have to feel like a mooch using it, because of the point system.

"with 100% eyes"

(3 comments)
March 18, 2002
Saw my young cousin Ivan in Guys & Dolls yesterday; pretty dang good performance, his middle school production compared favorably in many ways to what my high school did. And today's title is a quote from the musical as well as a bridge to the next bit...

Images of the Moment
They finally found the girl (now woman) with the piercing gaze whose portrait was one of the most famous cover images for National Geographic. They made a positive ID via the pattern of her irises. It sounds kind of stupid to say, but you can tell she hasn't had an easy life of it.

Quote of the Moment
"Uncertainty is the normal state. You're nobody special."
--Player in Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead"

News of the Moment
Suddenly, I don't feel so bad for not having gone to an ivy-league school...

"every thang's going to be all white!"

March 19, 2002
News of the Moment
I just love the saga of the Fightin' Whities. I'm not sure if it's going to be effective as a point-making tactic...I think a lot of white guys will just think it's kind of a cool joke and not get that some Native Americans might be offended by certain team mascots.

Quote of the Moment
"There is a wonderful Hasidic story about a rabbi who was asked whether it is ever proper to act as if God did not exist. He responded, 'Yes, when you are asked to give to charity, you should give as if there were no God to help the object of the charity.'"
--Alan Dershowitz, from an article on morality not based on faith, via Bill the Splut.

Games of the Moment
From the makers of the highly addictive kickups, it's a cool little overhead shooter bughunt. (People looking for a more sedate time might want to stick with marble mayhem.)

an open letter to robert abbott

(2 comments)
March 20, 2002
A while back, an essay by Robert Abbott titled Video Games Are Incredibly Stupid! made the rounds. (Parts of today's entry won't make sense unless you have read his original essay.) It was a strident argument against modern video gaming. It provoked many responses including mine, which he reprinted under the "mixed responses" category. I've added a few screenshots just for fun.

mario kart, multiplayer fun
As I'm sure many people have pointed out, you paint with a very broad brush when it comes to videogames. I speak as a gamer who has collected "classic" games for a long while, but mostly enjoys modern multi-player games, with 4 people dueling on screen at once.

Classic Games are interesting to me in the way they had to create microcosms from scratch; thus, there was some more flexibility in the worlds they gave the player to interact with, along with fewer expectations about how good things needed to look (one programmer could do all the code, the sound effects, and the art). Some of this has been lost as games have grown in complexity, but I think your view of modern video games is very limited. You mistake some of the dominant trends for the whole thing. Yes, 90% of modern games are derivative crap, but that's been true through many eras of gaming. Do you know how many Space Invaders and Pac Man clones there were? No, because they've properly fallen into the historical dustbin, of interest only to fans of the history of the field. (Actually, it's probably more like 95% of games are derivative, and half of those are crap, and the other half provides decent experiences for fans of the genre.)

battle chess
Picking on Battle Chess seems a little silly. It wasn't very realistic at all (little in that era of games was); in fact, the little "piece takes piece" animations were modeled after some of those same "silent comedies" you later so freely praise! It was broad, physical comedy. At one point I went through and ran all 8x8 "Piece X takes Piece Y" combos to see them all, but still I don't think it was a "quest for realism" that brought this game to market.

As for the "In fact, to this day no one has made a movie as funny as the silent comedies," I don't know if I agree. I think the audience reactions you describe have as much to do with audiences of the era than with the content itself. I haven't watched many silent films, but it has been my experience that some of the comedies from the period right after in a similar physical style (Marx Brothers, Three Stooges) aren't laugh out loud funny for modern viewers.

robotron: too much for 3D?
I don't think striving for realism is as negative thing as you do. (Though I've read where Eugene Jarvis shares your opinion about 2D-ish overhead views vs more limited first person perspectives. Robotron would be a pretty tough game, or have far fewer enemies, if he had to give it the first person perspective.) For one thing, it's not pure realism people crave in general, but detail--they want to play a Space Marine or drive a car REALLY fast or Kung Fu Fight, not be a clerk or be stuck in a traffic jam or wander a mall. Having games get closer to what it might "really" look like, rather than depending on the iconic representations that were all the classics could muster, is an interesting and worthy goal for gaming in and of itself.

the new zelda, aka 'celda'
Also, the quest for realism isn't the only force in the industry, though it is an important current source of conflict. Notably, Nintendo is bucking the trend...and sometimes being mislabeled as a "kiddy game" company because of it. One of the most notable examples of this is the upcoming installment of "Legend of Zelda." The earliest samples showed a very realistic looking combat, but it seems Miyamato is looking to buck the trend, and later movies of the work in progress show a very cartoony look. Many fans were horrified (mostly the teenage boy brigade that you like to pick on) but--and this is my main point--there is more to modern videogameing than these boys and the games that cater to them.

You might think that Miyamato is the exception that proves the rule...after all, he's an old-schooler himself, having made games starting with Donkey Kong and moving into the future...but many game houses are experimenting with looks and styles other than "as realistic as possible." There's an interesting trend using "Cel Shading" that provides some very interesting new looks. Still 3D, but more animation-inspired. And even old school game style and variety is making a comeback in "party games" such as "Mario Party" or "Fuzion Frenzy," that bundle many small and unique classic style games in a single graphical and gaming context.

So in short, while I somewhat agree with some of your opinions about industry trends, I don't think you've looked deeply enough at the trends you disparage, or to see what else is going with video games.

--Kirk Israel

junior anti-sex league

(1 comment)
March 21, 2002
Headline of the Moment
Does abstinence make the church grow fondlers?
--from a Slate.com piece on Priests and Pedophilia

Quote of the Moment
"We are much more simply human than anything else."
--Harry Stack Sullivan, quoted in this thoughtful Salon piece by a former (celibate) priest, against the Roman Catholic church's stance on celibacy.

gimme some skin, bro!

(1 comment)
March 22, 2002
Been looking at my guestbook...Osmium, as far as I know quote 677 is original to me, and it and its inspiration quote 676 were illustrated in this kisrael.com entry from early 2001. (I had made up the graphics long before that actually, and had been thinking about using them as a splash page for alienbill.com.)

Who is Bozo 13? Thanks for the vote of confidence, and yeah, I do look a lot like my mom.

Quote of the Moment
"History may not repeat itself, but it rhymes."
--Mark Twain

News of the Moment
"Whole Body Gestalt
Plastinate with Skin"
This art exhibit has been getting a lot of attention lately, probably because the British government is considering stopping it from showing there. A scientist artist has developed a method of perfectly preserving corpses, plastination, which actually has a number of scientific uses as well. The exhibit is mostly skinless people, some further cut open to reveal internal organs (including a chess player with his brain exposed.) The channel4 coverage had the most representative online gallery I've found. I think it is brilliant, both as an educational tool (showing us anatomy in a way textbook illustrations only hint at) and as an artistic piece (inviting people to ponder their own mortality and "meatness").

mouse man kitten

March 23, 2002
Aww man, my mouse is on the fritz. One of those wireless ones, so things weren't so bad even when left-handed Mo moved it to the other side...one Windows trick I learned a long time ago is to turn on "MouseKeys" in Accessibility Option Control Panel that turns the keypad into a lame mouse touchpad. You have to fiddle with the settings to get it at all usable (the defaults are too slow) but it's good to know about in a pinch.

Cartoons of the Moment
Tales of Mere Existence are great little quicktime movies. The narrator talks over the drawing of a (non-animated) cartoon that also describes the scene. I could really identify with "Man" and "Procrastination". I think they're shot from behind some kind of semi-transparent paper, and then possibly mirror-imaged, but I'm not sure.

Exchange of the Moment
> Those [feral kittens] were bouncing off the walls and
> around the room without touching the floor, and when I
> eventually managed to catch one it gave me 4" scratches.
> I'd guess they were less than 4 months old.

Yup. Kittens: self-propelled barbed wire in a dewy-eyed mohair sweater.
--Charlie Stross on rec.arts.sf.fandom via alt.humor.best-of-usenet

buddy can you spare a carrot

March 24, 2002
Flash Toy of the Moment
A simple little Funky Greedy Rabbit, in fullscreen or windowed mode. Not quite as satisfying as Poke the Bunny but still cool.
--via Jesse (who recently started a blog allegedly inspired by this one, though different in approach.)

Afghanistan of the Moment
A little out of date but still making the rounds, French Intellectuals to be Deployed in Afghanistan to Convince Taliban of Non-Existence of God. Also, this music video is pretty amazing.

my trophy has a first name, it's o-s-c-a-r

(2 comments)
March 25, 2002
Went to a mild manner but fun Oscars party last night. They did a little "pick the winners" contest/game. Man, I'm lousy at that...I guess it's not too surprising, considering I couldn't even pick Russell Crowe out of a police lineup...

Heh, Wild Turkeys outside the office window! I'd take a picture but I don't think it would come out very well from 4 stories up.

Quote of the Moment
"Is this movie better than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?"
--Criteria of Movie Critic Gene Siskel's. I think it's a brilliant line and a decent idea.

Link of the Moment
Deface GWB at Texas Drawl! At first it seemed just goofy with a bad interface, but click on "Popular Defacements" for some pretty good stuff.

i scream she screams we all scream

March 26, 2002
Trivia Question of the Moment
I don't know how many classic video game fans read this site, but I'll send $10 to the first person who can tell me what video game this appears in:

This was an arcade game we had in the recroom at Euclid High School, I always loved the randomness of this billboard...maybe something about how the ice cream code doesn't identify itself until after the girl reacts.

Current Events of the Moment
John pointed out Salon.com's Oscars 2002: Somebody make it stop!, a pretty funny but hard-hitting look at the last Academy Awards.

Quote of the Moment
"This is the kind of movie that actors discuss in long, sad talks with their agents."
--Roger Ebert on Lake Placid. There was a copy of his I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, his reviews of the biggest turkeys out there. He's a pretty decent reviewer, actually.

do the mario

(8 comments)
March 27, 2002
Birthday Party of the Year
I already sent out an evite for my video-game-centric birthday party this weekend...if you didn't get one, think you qualify as a friend of Kirk and would like to come along, drop me a note...

Link of the Moment
Speaking of video games, I'm always a sucker for a well-illustrated Best Video Games Ever list (Ok, "Most Influential" in this case, and with a UK bend).

Advetising Cathphrase of the Moment
"No Reason"
--Coke Classic slogan in Japan...as the New York Times article I'd Like to Buy the World a Shelf-Stable Children's Lactic Drink says: "When Coke focus-grouped teenagers in Tokyo and asked why they drink Coke Classic, the response was often, 'No reason'". I think it's the most brilliant slogan I've heard this month. Another good line from the article: "it's not milk; it's 'milk'".

i wanna live a life of leisure

(2 comments)
March 28, 2002
Link of the Moment
Ranjit pointed me to Leisure Town [PG13 link]... pretty funny, twisted stuff. I like the little taglines that appear at various places throughout the site "BOSTON WAGES WAR AGAINST CANCER: BOSTON 0, CANCER 80,000,000,000,000" and "OKAY VERY FUNNY: WHO WROTE 'SEX BOAT' ON MY CAR WITH SOAP THAT DOESN'T COME OFF" If you're in a hurry or want to learn a brilliant magic trick, just check out The Chinese Sticks. I've never seen a better use for those plasticky bendy dolls.

Quote of the Moment
I'm just a O(n) person in a O(log n) world.
--heliocentric on slashdot. I guess it's a bit of a math geek joke.

bill the splutravaganza

March 29, 2002
Bill the Splut's The News had a terrific set of links yesterday, so I think I'll just blatantly mooch off of him today. Plenty of reading for the weekend!

Story of the Moment
Scott McCloud (author of "Understanding Comics") has made one of his Zot! stories especially for online viewing...Hearts and Minds is so good, I'm going to try to get some of the older series. The Zot! universe is one where the visions of the future from the 19th and 20th century came true. "Hearts and Minds" makes excellent use of some of the great thought experiments of the philosophy of consciousness, though it doesn't go quite so deeply as I would have like, dwelling more on ideas of mortality. Anyway, great stuff, and the entire 16 part series is available there.

Reference of the Moment
Speaking of comics, Don Markstein's Toonpedia is an amazingly wide ranging reference to Toons, both animated and from the printed page. It's incredible to try to read all the way through, seeing all the creativity (and lack thereof) that has gone on in this field. And I kind of like Markstein's refusal to be really negative about any Toon, even some of the easy targets. Anyway, I hadn't thought about Captain Caveman, shown here, for...well, at least a month.

Parody of the Moment (Good Friday Special)
"With You Always", a series of "outsider art" images showing Jesus watching over people as they act out their various professions has been making the rounds of the would be web-hipsters, but I think they're much funnier with these captions [marginally offensive link]. (You can also see the originals.)

not your father's volkswagen rabbit

(2 comments)
March 30, 2002
Have you seen this ad for the new Saturn SUV, the VUE? It has a VUE, apparently the size (and color) of one of the wild hares it's with in a winter wilderness, when suddenly a cougar attacks, singling out the SUV, but then gets caught on a log after trying to run the vehicle down. Well, the TV version adds the caption "Professional Driver, Closed Course". Well, thanks for that one! I guess I won't try this at home, escaping from a wild cougar 10 times the size of my vehicle.

AOL Chat of the Moment
kirk: what's for lunch?
john: whatever
kirk: a big steam plate of indifference it is then
john: sweet!
kirk: sweet, sweet indifference. Where would I be without you? Caring about every damn thing that's what
--Maybe you had to be there...oh, wait, John WAS there. Must be just me.

Link of the Moment
Where do you go for your half-baked ideas? Why, the halfbakery, of course. (Link via a Slashdot article about this NY Times piece with 9 interesting technology ideas.)

happy birthday to me

March 31, 2002
Happy bithday to me! I'm 28 today. Though I have this scheme where I always think of my age as a little more than it actually is, so I'm not rudely awakened and feeling old when the day finally hits. Now I have to decide if I should edge up my internal meter to 29, or say to heck with it and start mentally putting myself in my early 30s...

...and as I enjoy saying to all my friends on their birthdays, "remember, you're not just getting another year older, you're...well, let's just stick to the older."

Have You Played Atari Today?
Paul Slocum has recently released his synthcart for the Atari 2600. It's a way of using the Atari as a synthesizer/beatbox. The samples on the site are really impressive, especially the two that share the name "two ataris". (I guess this is a bit like I the Gameboy cart Nanoloop I wrote about on the first day of this month.)

Multimedia of the Moment
Khruschev's answer to "Itchy and Scratchy", it's "Worker and Parasite" (Slow Link)...the fine people on boingboing would like to make a t-shirt out of it. Maybe I should try to find out from a friend whether this is actual Russian or not...
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