kirk.is | archive | 2002 apr

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birthday one day late

(19 comments)
April 1, 2002
Aargh, I was saving this for my birthday, and then forgot about it! So rather than subject my audience to some lame April Fool's joke (or waiting another whole year) I'll post this today. (Which reminds me of how my dad used to torment me by saying had I been born one day later, they would have named be "Foolsbert". Or "Foolella", had I turned out to have been a girl.)


Late this winter my Aunt Ruth was cleaning out the house she and my grandmother had shared, and in the cabinet she found a collection of clippings about me that Grandma had saved...some old newspaper articles for the most part. The most interesting thing to me was the birth announcement my parents had sent them. It was in remarkably pristine condition 28 years later. It was really cool to see, and nice to have. My mom had this to say on it:

You may have already known, but just in case not, your dad made those birth announcements. He carved the rattle design in a block, and using a breyer, printed them all. He chose green and yellow, because this was in the days before the common use of pre-natal sonograms and we didn't know whether you'd be a boy or a girl ahead of time. He wanted them done before you were actually born. I can still see them spread out all over our office floor in our apartment at Ivy House in Philadelphia as the paint dried.
[Ivy House was a home for disadvantaged youth my parent's were in charge of for a while.]

You'll note we said you were "23 inches tall" - that's because Dad thought any newborn so close to two feet at birth deserved 'tall' rather than the traditional description of 'long'.


Actually, I hadn't realized that it wasn't professionally made. Oddly, the gene to make such neat handcrafted pieces has skipped me entirely, and made it to my wife, who made our wedding invitations, among other things.

one mother of invention

(3 comments)
April 2, 2002
Link of the Moment
Inventions that shouldexist, but don't...kind of a more sincere verion of the halfbakery I posted the other day.

Gaming Link of the Moment
Did you know the relative goodness of a First Person Shooter (a genre of videogames, the ones where you're running around a 3D environment, usually with a gun) can be scientifically determined? (An older article, but pretty funny anyway.)

Funny of the Moment
"A real woman could stop you from drinking."
"It'd have to be a real BIG woman."
--from Arthur, RIP Dudley Moore

this is god talking

(1 comment)
April 3, 2002
Political Quote of the Moment
"No. 7, I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. As I said a minute ago, look it up in the book of Genesis. It is right up there on the desk. In Genesis 13:14-17, the Bible says: The Lord said to Abram, 'Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever ... Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to thee.' That is God talking."
-- Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) accidentally providing an object lesson in Why Religion and Politics shouldn't mix, from this Salon piece. From the article: He's listing "seven reasons to support Israel and reject the Saudi peace plan, the plan proposed that Israel return the territories it occupied after the 1967 war in exchange for peace -- a position that, with the exception of the United States, Israel and one or two Arab rejectionist states, reflects the international consensus since 1967."

You know, it's things like this that make me start signing e-mail "Kirk I."...I don't want any association with the whole situation right now.


Quote of the Moment
[On the teams' 18-0 loss.]
"Come on, fellas. Rome wasn't built in a day."
"Yeah, it took several hundred years."
--from The Bad News Bears

snow angel, snow angel, won't you be mine

(3 comments)
April 4, 2002
Image of the Moment
This picture is of a small subset of almost 1800 people making snowangels all at once in Bismarck, North Dakota, trying to set the world's record. There's something really cool about snow angels. You can see even more people at the cellar.org article.

Geek Article of the Moment
An interesting and well thought-out (if a little rant-ish at times) piece: Object Oriented Programming Oversold! Like all things, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle, but it was interesting to think about how I'd taken OO as handed down by the programming gods. I thought The "Wearable" OO-example and conter-argument was especially good; if you're a geek in a hurry, do a text search for that word and read the next few paragraphs.

'Course, I'll probably keep any views along the lines of "Objected Oriented Programming sucks...way over-rated, just a fad" to myself during job interviews...

Funny Dialog of the Moment
"Rach, ya know, I can see you naked any time I want."
"What?"
"All I have to do is close my eyes. See? Woohoo!"
"Ross! Stop that!"
"Ah, I'm sorry."
"Come on! I don't want you thinking of me like that any more!"
"Uh, sorry. Nothing you can do about it. It's one of my, uh, rights as the ex-boyfriend. Oop... oh yeah!"
"Stop it, cut it out! Cut it out!"
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry, it will never happen... Uh-oh! Wait a minute! Wait... wait... now there are a hundred of you--and Iím the king."
--Ross and Rachel from Friends, John was quoting this the other day and I looked it up.

hello robotron

(3 comments)
April 5, 2002
How To Get Things Done...
...and stop procrastinating.
1. Think of something you want to get done. Call this task A.
2. Find another pressing task, preferably one with a deadline. Call this task B.
3. As the deadline for B looms, you may be just be able to jumpstart whatever the heck A is.
Note: or maybe you'll just end up cruising the same 3 or 4 websites, hoping something will magically appear there since the last time you checked 5 minutes ago, leaving both task A and task B sadly neglected.

Link of the Moment
Jam:Tokyo-London, a sample site of those city's arts-agentsia, has one of the most compelling interfaces I've seen, basically Robotron meets Hello Kitty. Not the most usable interface ever, but not that bad, and oh so cute! Click on one of the squares at top to have certain artist types do something (be it dance, or fly, or fart, or get naked) and then click on a critter. From there, click on the little bouncing numbers to see some samples of that person's work.

spew

(2 comments)
April 6, 2002
Funny of the Moment
Erin sent in the following:
The following is note my brother sent me. He lives in Atlanta and Spring is in full season down there, which means the forests, all pine trees, produce copious amounts of yellow dust:
Atlanta is nice and warm but very pollen-y right now. As one person put it, I understand the trees need to mate, but why do they have to try to mate with my car?

Link of the Moment
Ok, a bit late, but still pretty good, a collection of the Best April Fool's Pranks of all time. Some of the runners-up were really funny as well.

spring forward

(2 comments)
April 7, 2002
Spring forward! Finally. Though it seems odd to think that we're halfway to the longest days of the year already...

Funny of the Moment
We felt we ought to take at least one ride that has earned a yellow international warning triangle ("might be intense for children and some adults"), and that's how we chose The Haunted Mansion, in which people travel around in chairs through--you know, an upmarket haunted house. This, in fact, produced a moment of intensity, a holiday from confusion, in which I had the following clear thoughts: People die, sometimes suddenly. Suppose I did here. That would be such an irresistibly amusing anecdote for my survivors that what little dignity had accompanied this life would be gone forever. I was very glad to get out of The Haunted Mansion alive.
--Richard Todd, "Lost in the Magic Kingdom" from May's The Atlantic

Link of the Moment
Stressed out? Layoff rumors abounding? Then maybe you need a Moment of Simplicity...kind of goofy, and ultimately an advertisement, but kind of neat.

ice cream koan

(2 comments)
April 8, 2002
Extended Old Joke of the Moment
> The Buddha walks up to a hot dog stand and says,
> "Make me one with everything."
And after paying for it with a 20, gets no money back.
When he asks, he's told that 'Change comes from within.'
--Carl Fink and StarChaser_Tyger on alt.fan.cecil-adams

Art of the Moment
I've always appreciated the artwork of Guy Billout, frequently appearing in "The Atlantic Monthly". They're very playful in a formal kind of way, often with architectual or aquatic themes, demonstrating impossible things, or otherwise giving reality a bit of a twist. I was trying to find prints of his online (still looking, actually) when I found his own website with many examples of his work. Great stuff...makes me wish I had pursued art other than music and doodles.

slice and dice

(3 comments)
April 9, 2002
So Mo got laid off yesterday...the timing came as a bit of a surprise, we thought her company was all set 'til mid summer. Layoffs are so romantic, when you do them...together.

Also, the Blender Message Board was attacked by multiple postings of this hundred-line rant/posting of private correspondence. I had to take more severe security measures for the first time.

What a suck day!

Link of a Past Moment
An interesting Salon article from 1997, Sliced Off by the Cutting Edge, about a techworker who finally was falling behind the technological curve. I have small hopes but that my own independent interest will help keep me current, but you know. I already think anything can be done in 20 lines of Perl...

The Fun of Online Only Friends
ranjit: it's Spring Cleaning day! I need distraction from my imaginary internet friends so I don't actually have to clean.
kirk: I'm imaginary now?
kirk: I can live with that.
ranjit: Well, as far as I know.
ranjit: it's my new philosophy of e-solipsism.

more than ben franklin and cheesesteak

April 10, 2002
So Ranjit mentioned PhillyClassic, a video game convention (with a classic gamer bent, though not limited to the golden oldies) I think I'd like to go to that, but would prefer not to shell out $90 for a hotel...are there any Friends of Kirk in that general area who might be willing to put me up for a night? (Friday the 26th)

Kirk Trivia: I was born in Phildephia, but only lived there for 3 months.

Koook of a Past Moment
Cleaning out my harddrive (clean harddrive, clean life) I found this program Donald D. Woods sent me on floppy, when I was about to graduate from college. It was a DOS-based text viewer for his weird rants...I think he was trying to enlist my help on something, or hire me, it was never quite clear. Anyway, once I realized The Legend & Mythology of the Seventh Son was online, I felt free to discard this little bit of kookware.

congressional medal of deadly ninja throwing star

(4 comments)
April 11, 2002
Yeesh, kisrael.com has been on cruise control for a while, huh? One link, one quote a day. All well, guess I might be haunted by that whole unemployment spectre. (Boo.)

News of a Previous Moment
A February 24 commentary on an older gentleman who was kept at a security gate because of the suspicious, rather pointy pointy metal he had on his person. The catch? It was the guy's Congressional Medal of Honor. OK, not that I would recognize one at first sight either, but the thing has an explanation engraved on the back. Better watch out, though...those 86 year old retired generals would probably be able to turn that thing into an incredibly dangerous projectile.

FAQ of the Moment
Q: Is The Simpsons better than South Park?
A: According to Matt and Trey... yes
--From the South Park FAQ. Matt and Trey are the creators of the show. Recent big news there is that Kenny is dead, more or less for good this time. (Yeah yeah yeah, "They killed Kenny" "You bastards!", yada yada yada) Anyway, I appreciated this answer.

the wind at my back

(1 comment)
April 12, 2002
So, this is my last day at Gale...

Image of the Moment
Wild turkeys in the parking lot of my soon to be previous company. I'll pause a moment to let the metaphor sink in...
...err, or something.


AIM Exchange of the Moment
kirk: I was going to say something like "man, cleaning out your desk must be one of the most depressing activities in the world" but then I thought no, that would be "burying the members of your own family"
kirk: or some such
ranjit: worst is when it's both at the same time.

with friends like these

(2 comments)
April 13, 2002
Quote of the Moment
"The Taliban, the most friendly people in the world, possibly the universe"
--Quote from the "About" page from a special Islamic IRC Chat Client. According to Joey AccordionGuy deVilla who pointed this out, the main differences between this and a typical IRC client is the 5-times-a-day call to prayer, the way it's hardwired to certain IRC "channels", and "cute little factoids that you can cut-and-paste into heated arguments with infidel dogs".

Funny of the Moment
An informative alt.fan.cecil-adams article on DIY high end marital aids.

monkeyshins

(2 comments)
April 14, 2002


Insert your token and you'll see Adam and Eve who are about to be evolved into bananas by the angry monkey at the top. You must take quick action. You are a dedicated Christian Creationist at the bottom of the screen who must carefully climb the archaeological ladder and rescue the desperate couple up above. You must avoid secular humanists, textbooks, barrels of supposedly prehistoric fossils, evil paleontologists, and the entire United States Supreme Court. When the going gets tough, just press the "lawsuit" button which allows you to jump over obstacles and make it to the top. If after three tries you are unsuccessful, stop playing this game and move to game entitled "Christian School".
--From a 1982 "Wittenburg Door" feature, Christian Video Arcade. This magazine (now just The Door) is a Christian satire magazine that I've always respected. I finally webified this article from an issue I've been keeping around all these years, mostly because I liked the faked screenshots and font play.

Quote of the Moment
"Three years ago I took that HTML course and I was on top of the world--now look at me."
--Overhead conversation of a Burger King Manager. I guess the hope is that some of the people who were johnny-come-latelies to the tech world with the dotcom explosion have been pushed back to their preboom careers. I kind of console myself that think I'm doing what I'd be doing even there never had been an Internet boom, though obviously it's treated be better than nonboom years would have.

but is it art

(2 comments)
April 15, 2002

So I spent my first day of unemployment making art. (Or is it "art"? But maybe I shouldn't count this as unemployment, since Patriot's Day is a day off for so many companies in this state.) A few weeks ago on Ebay I bought an Etch A Sketch Animator, a toy I had in middle school. Today I spent a few too many hours laboriously copying in a ten-frame excerpt from a previous small gif cinema piece, "bob s. and i" and putting into this device.

For those not in the know, an Animator is a bit like a traditional Etch A Sketch in control scheme, but you can make up to 12 frames of 40x30 on-or-off pixels, and play them back in a sequence of up to 96 frames. By a happy coincidence, 40x30 was the size I had selected for the small gif cinema pieces when I converted them to GIF from a larger QuickCam format.

I've always loved obsolete video technology. I think I got a special kick out of trying to push photo realistic concepts through...a similar concept to what I did for pixeltime way back when. Alas, my lack of hardware hacking skills prevents me from repeating what this guy did, but I'm still pleased with the results.

thru zee power of zee mind

(2 comments)
April 16, 2002
Hey, would Bozo13 from my guestbook drop me a line?

Link of the Moment
In the mood for a brain teaser or two? Interesting attempt to build a little community around them.

Quote of the Moment
"If I could have a magic power, I'd choose to be able to read minds. That way I could differentiate between who's mentally undressing me and who's been stealing my chocolate bars."
--Jennifer Taylor, via Kim on alt.fan.cecil-adams.

buzz, ratatatat

(1 comment)
April 17, 2002
Image of the Moment
This was the image from a (now terribly beaten up) Mead "portfolio" folder I had (signed by "Gieseke") but want to get rid of. This helicopter/hornet hybrid was a big influence in some of my drawings back then.

Quote of the Moment
"The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them."
--T.A. Dolotta, via slashdot. Such a true statement! Also a good principle as I try to declutter my life, except I need to learn that "irreplacable" (in a literal sense) does not equal "worth keeping". It is those cases where I can make a digital record of the item and then discard it.

Link of the Moment
Speaking of Clutter Wired.com had an article about some neat websites of found objects.

work it

(2 comments)
April 18, 2002
Job interview today...actually, it's for the very same position Mo applied for yesterday! So we've set up something that can at best be Win/Lose and has a chance of being Lose/Lose... but the chance of being some kind of Win is important to us right now. Still, it's a little strange.

Quote of the Moment
"I've found that the best way to break up with a girl is to sit down with her, look deep into her eyes and say, 'Raise your hand if you're Nick Ehart's girlfriend.' When she does, I say, 'Slow down there, Champ.' The rest seems to take care of itself."
--Nick Ehart, via Kim on alt.fan.cecil-adams. A good retelling of an old line.

Link of the Moment
One of the best "Behind the Video Games" sites I've ever see, The Arcade Classics has a fair deal of history I'd never heard before...and I've seen a lot of the stuff that's out there.

in space, no can hear

(2 comments)
April 19, 2002
Quote of the Moment
"An astronaut with diarrhea would-- w--... You don't want an astronaut with diarrhea."
--Interviewee on a Frontline Documentary on the Meat Industry, via Ranjit.

Link of the Moment
Is this our Ranjit, of Wheatish Skin Color and Good Teeth Align? Mmmm, probably not. But if every visitor to this page today followed that link, its hit-counter will double!

420

(2 comments)
April 20, 2002
According to some, today is 4/20: time to smoke pot

Google Oddness of the Moment
In a similar vein, Ranjit pointed out this fun with Google, which kind of makes it look like the search engine is on drugs.

Link of the Moment
Brooke recently posted this amazing and scary Sad Story.

we aren't the champions

(2 comments)
April 21, 2002
So, today's entry is coming to you live from John Sawers' house. And from a Mac, which is probably a first as well. None of the little keyboard things in side a textbox (hop to the end of the line, etc) work right.

Quote of the Moment
"You make me sick, Homer. You're the one who told me I could do anything if I just put my mind to it!"
"Well, now that you're a little bit older, I can tell you that's a crock! No matter how good you are at something, there's always about a million people better than you."
"Gotcha. Can't win, don't try. "
--Bart and Homer from the Simpson's Episode ``Homer at the Bat''...and as Kurt Vonnegut points out in "Bluebeard", "A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications puts him or her into daily competition with nothing but the world's champions. "

Link of the Moment
The Oulipo Compendium has some really interesting examples of Oulipo, highly formal methods of restricting writing. (Like, not using the letter "e" throughout an entire large piece, or replacing every noun with the seventh following it in the dictionary.) Check out the Excerpts page for more examples.

glob is for hutts, not humans

(4 comments)
April 22, 2002
Office Toy of the Moment
I got this Jabba figure cheap at KayBee. I cut out the sign he's holding from the box he came in...it says "Jabba Glob" and then "Jabba the Hutt is Oozing with Fun!" He came with green goo with plastic frogs in it that you can put in the main body and then have him drool out of his mouth. I like the implied history in this paragraph from the back of the box:
HE'S ONE HUNGRY HUTT!
Please the might Hutt by feeding him
his favorite snack--Jabba Glob! This
dripping, frog-filled delicacy is found
only on Jabba's home planet of Tatooine.
Be sure not to eat any yourself--Glob
is for Hutts, not humans!

Link of a Past Moment
Sitting around the backlog since a few days before WTC, a music video with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. You can see some of the source material here. You know, it kind of looks like he's been into the Glob himself. In any event, this much corporate enthusiasm is not a good thing.

it ain't rocket science

(3 comments)
April 23, 2002
Funny of the Moment
I know I shouldn't be talking about my problems on this show, but frankly, it's depressing to get to my age and realize that probably this is about as smart as I'm ever going to be. Probably I'll just go on doing what I do now, which is brain surgery. I've always been interested in the brain, and the recent changes in health care aimed at controlling costs have opened up the field of brain surgery to people outside of medicine, and what can I say? I've been the low bidder on a number of operations.
GK: How're we doing here? He looks asleep, doesn't he?
Tim: Looks asleep to me.
GK: Well I guess we'll know in a moment. Say, when it says "right side of the brain," does it mean his right or our right?
Tim: His right, I think.
GK: I think you're right. (FX:POWER DRILL REVS UP, DRILLING)
--A Prairie Home Commonplace Book

Link of the Moment
Huh, the links haven't been too stellar lately...I think the quotes have been pretty decent, but I've been finding fewer cool sites.

Anyway, cool but in a math-geek way, Cut-The-Knot "Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles".

'Course, this I haven't really checked out that link for a while, and right now my 'net connection is really really lousy. But it has some cool java and javscript bits.

my god, it's full of stars... ...or not

April 24, 2002
Windows Toy of the Moment
I've already posted some of the work (great virtual art toys) of an instructor of mine from Tufts, Jeffrey Ventrella. Somehow I missed this little Windows app: Fluid Dynamics, "A 2D Fluid Dynamics Model for Animation Based on Intuitive Physics". The Windows simulation only 167K, though it seems to be a bit of a resource hog when it's running. Still, it's a really great visual effect. Something about the choice of visual representation reminds me of stirring stars around in a 3D Galaxy, I'm not sure if the depth effect is on purpose or not.

Movie Quote of the Moment
"We pass the time of day to forget how time passes."
--Hipolito in Amelie. Mo and I walked down to the Waltham cinema to see it again last Sunday. Great flick, too bad it didn't get any Oscars.

soul stuff

(3 comments)
April 25, 2002
Image of the Moment
Through my dirty windshield, it's the worst license plate in Massachusetts! ...at least for people who get the news from the radio so they can't spell "Geoghan". And to be fair, it is out of state, from California.

Inspirational Thought of the Moment
"What are you waiting for?"
--I printed this out on our little label maker and attached to my monitor...I think it's helping me not procrastinate, make me think if putting things off will help or hurt the situation. It's amazing how official one of those little label makers makes things look.

Funny of the Moment
Thanks to Bill the Splut for pointing out the triumphant (or at least dang funny) Return of Seanbaby. The dancing in this instructional video isn't just "dirty"...it's downright squalid and might even leave a mark on your very soul!

the good ship lollipop

(1 comment)
April 26, 2002
On my way to Philly, not much time to write!

(PS: Snow?? On the ground?)

Image of a Previous Moment
This is me with my Mom and Dad singing "On The Good Ship Lollipop" for a talent show, way back when. I think we were a big hit.

My mom is doing a 20 minute presentation about her life, but she doesn't have most of her photos there with her in England, so she asked if I had any photos that would help tell our family story. (Also, if I had a better scan of this War Cry / Seneca picture, which I don't, alas.)

So I thought this would be as good a time as any to post the scans I made of my photo album, 427 images in 9 sections. They possibly aren't of terribly large interest to anyone outside my immediate family and friends, and maybe not even them... if you're in a hurry, you can see the 26 photos I picked out for my mom, in case she didn't have time to go through the huge batch. (Those 26 include 2 not in the album, one of her being dedicated (The Salvation Army's version of a baptism) and one of my mom as a young Salvation Army officer or cadet.)

phillyclassic philler day 1

(1 comment)
April 27, 2002
I'm outta town for a few days at PhillyClassic but kisrael.com rolls on thanks to my programming wizardy. (Anyone wanna have such genius emplyed at their company? Let me know!)

Anyway, some philler for philly; (Interesting to compare this work to Dialogue of Soul & Stone, day 3 of my Honeymoon Filler (which is what led me to make this system in the first place...)

ANY OLD STONE
Don't knock a stone: don't say things like "stone dead."
A stone always knows what it's about.
It holds itself together better than you do,
better than I do. A stone is comfortable
with its battery of cunning smithereens
milling around, bouncing off one another
exactly right in their tight little compound.

Any old stone--you think it can't talk?
Dumb old stone? Ho! Every atom in it talks,
every part of every atom talks. Just listen.

Trust your eyes and ears to recognize your
grandmother. A stone doesn't need eyes and
ears to know what's coming down the pike.

A stone knows what it wants, and gets it,
pressing up tight against the fluffy surrounds,
all that space made of the same stuff as the stone stuff.
Don't knock a stone: it'll show you up,
put you down, cover you up, forget you.
--Paul Lawson

phillyclassic philler day 2

(3 comments)
April 28, 2002
Pulp Philosophy (PG13)
        Just a little story about what happens to Socrates after he speaks to Thrasymachus in Plato's Republic...
        Thrasymachus had Socrates' arm pressed up against his back, and forced him into the center of the Agora. Thrasymachus threw him down, and tied him to the chair, which, oddly enough, had been waiting for them. From his toga, Thrasymachus withdrew his 9mm.
        Socrates' eyes widened. "Fuck! Don't do it, man!"
        Thrasymachus remained unaffected by the plea for mercy. "Are you finished, fucker?" Placing the gun an inch from Socrates' forehead, he knelt down beside him.
        "Look, man, you can have my ten yoke of oxen. You can have my virgin daughters. My pomegranate orchard. Anything. Just let me go, and I won't tell a fuckin' soul about this."
        Thrasymachus looked at him awkwardly. "You like pomegranates? Shit, motherfucker, I hear they got a fuckin' all you can eat special going on pomegranates where you're headed." He smiled.
        "Don't do it, man. Thrasymachus, be fair."
        This struck a nerve with Thrasymachus. He said, contemplatively, "Fair?"
        "Yeah. Fair. Think about my wife and kids, man."
        He removed the gun from Socrates' face, and sat next to him, frowning. "Would you say that to be fair is the same thing as to be just?"
        "What?"
        "Well, I'm just a dull, wandering street philosopher, so I don't quite understand where you're headed with your line of reasoning. Perhaps," he began, as he motioned with the gun, "you could further elucidate your theory of justice."
        Socrates cocked his head to the side. "My theory? Of justice?"
        "Yes. You do have a theory on it, don't you?"
        "Well..." At the present time, he did not.
        Thrasymachus shrugged his shoulders. "Perhaps, then, you'd like to hear my theory."
        Socrates' eyes brightened. "Oh, yes! Of course. You have a theory?"
        Thrasymachus sighed as he spoke. "Well, yes, I have been thinking a little about justice. Not, of course, so deeply as could a wise sage like yourself," he said. "But I've had a little idea, an insignificant, but troubling, idea. It's been bothering me a bit, and I thought that maybe someone as smart as yourself could help convince me that it is wrong."
        "Of course. Anything I can do to help," replied Socrates, not really picking up on Thrasymachus' sarcasm.
        "So you'd like to hear my theory?"
        "I'd be honored," he said.
        "My humble little idea goes something like this." Thrasymachus roared, "Justice is only the will of the stronger! What do you think about that, you sophist fuck?" Caught in the rage, he punched Socrates in the face, consequently breaking his nose and knocking him out of the chair.
        Socrates replied only with a few burbled sounds, as his face bled profusely, his toga undergoing a crimson transformation.
        "Come on!" he screamed. "Come on, motherfucker, you wanna try to disprove my theory, you weak little fuck? Yeah? Yeah?" Thrasymachus shook violently. "Shit, I think I feel a proof coming on!" He raised the pistol to meet the cowering Socrates, and emptied the clip into his body. "Why, thank you, Socrates. You've certainly opened my eyes!"
--SHADESHIFTER, Cult of the Dead Cow. I once embarassed myself rather severly giving a dramatic reading of this at one of Brooke's parties, I think because someone mentioned they were a philosophy major.

the pitfalls of videogaming

(2 comments)
April 29, 2002
So I went to the video game conference, and it was pretty good. Christian, the guy I drove down with, turned out to be very good company. (He's much more of a collector than I am, with an astounding gameroom, and he's also a chef, which is a bit unusual for this hobby.)

The convention was...well, mostly it was a great big room, with many tables of video game goodness for sale, trade, and display, and very few "Don't Touch" signs. Many console game setups, but the highlight was the far corner with a few dozen fullsize Arcade machines rigged for free play...a great little stroll down memory lane.

It's interesting to be so close to people who are really into this hobby...I felt like a piker. Like this guy, Alan Hewston. He's dressed up as Pitfall Harry (the cartoon version). And as a Pitfall cartridge. It's a bit of a mixed metaphor really, but wow: that's dedication. I didn't buy much there: a Dreamcast game that was a bit cheaper than usual, and two videogame books, both purchased directly from the author there.

Quote of the Moment
Q: What would you say to people today who may not know who you are?
A: I would just say that they're really lucky to be able to play some of the neat stuff they have now, instead of the cheap stuff we had then.
--Nolan Bushnell in the book Arcade Fever. Bushnell was the founder of Atari, the maker of the first Pong arcade machine. Or as he says in the same interview, "I think I was the guy who started it two years earlier than it would have been started without me".

Link of the Moment
Guess this is as good a time as any (and better than most) to post this older link, The Church of the Burgertime. It's difficult to judge how seriously it's taking itself, actually.

karmaclysm

(2 comments)
April 30, 2002
So, the "Word Fugitives" column in the June Atlantic has the neologism for what I'm going through now: a karmaclysm. From unemployment against the backdrop of the stock market swooning, to relatives breaking limbs, to various minor medical maladies, to a series of cold gray rainy days..ugh!

News of the Moment
Jeez. I've been hearing a bit about how the administration is hellbent on an Iraq Attack. What bugs me most is how this is barely making a ripple in the public news, how even NPR is reporting it not in terms of "is this a good idea" but "when's the best time", and whether we can muster up enough regional support.

I started a thread on this in alt.fan.cecil-adams. It's been coming up with a few interesting opinions.

Also, you should check out a well-researched article on Saddam Hussein from The Atlantic. The entire text is there online, though I don't know for how long. It's both oddly sympathetic while not backing down from looking at his incredibly brutal methods; basically, he's a smalltown, hometown-boy thug made good. (A decent summary plus an interview with the author is available from Antlantic Unbound.)

Quote of the Moment
"Radio Shack: You've got questions. We've got cellphone plans."
--Christian Scott, my travelling companion to Philly, on that blighted store. On the other hand, they did have the little doohickey I need to hook up my Atari 2600 to a coax-only television...
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