kirk.is | archive | 2005 nov

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what's the buzz

(3 comments)
November 1, 2005
Article of the Moment
This guy makes beekeeping sound pretty dang cool.

Definitions of the Moment
SCIENCE: A way of finding things out and then making them work. Science explains what is happening around us the whole time. So does RELIGION, but science is better because it comes up with more understandable excuses when it's wrong. There is a lot more Science than you think.
from A Scientific Encyclopedia
for the Inquiring Young Nome
by Angalo de Haberdasheri

--Terry Pratchett, "Wings", third of the Bromeliad Trilogy. Geared as children's literature but a very good read, especially the first one "Truckers".

um, well, guns do kill people, actually

(16 comments)
November 2, 2005
Quote of the Moment
"I don't know. I can't answer that yet. I'm too busy. I'll have to talk to you later."
--Howard Unruh, America's First Single Episode Mass Murderer, in response to "why are you killing people?". James Glieck mentioned his phone response to a newspaper editor who tried calling him where he was holed up...Glieck was pointing out how the phone just demands attention, even when we're engaged in a standoff with guns and teargas, though after reading that description of Unruh, I don't think he's representative. (He's also still alive and in an institution...he's one of the first really known cases of post-traumatic stress disorder.)

Doodle of the Moment
--Venus Flytrap. I've been playing around with a new cartoon digital art technique, drawing the outline with a thick brush and then using the same tool to "paint" in the color manually. (I made up the "style" while using this Palm Pilot app that didn't have "fill".) I keep thinking I should go back to early kisrael's use of random cartoons...I guess I kind of stopped when I started putting up those dumb t-shirt pix.


Observation of the Moment
Looking at today's retrospect...man, one year ago today was the presidential election. Seems like longer than that somehow.

S'funny that only now are a lot of people waking up to how bad so much of our national policy has been for the last 5 years. Who knows, maybe if Kerry hadn't been such a limp dishrag.

Essay of the Moment
Slashdot linked to a Slate essay on Star Wars as Postmodern, self-referential art. The central idea is that the Force is a stand-in for the artistic drive; the light side is the more free, muse-driven style, the dark side is the more cold and calculating approach. Interesting idea. (Hmm, though someone on the slashdot discussion points out the argument is severely weakended by how the Jedis are always instructing each other to control their emotions, and the Sith are all about tearing up the place with anger.)

crazy as a rocket, nothin' in my pocket, i keep it at the rainbow's end

(5 comments)
November 3, 2005
Novelty News of the Moment
I saw this on CNN before it got boingboing'd: Bush's pockets are darn near empty. Nothing but a handkerchief, 'cause he has underlings to take care of all that stuff. Now, I have no idea if that's pretty much par for the course for man in his role or not, but it highlights the difference between "them" and "us", much like when his father expressed wonderment at a supermarket scanner back in the early '90s. (Though that may have been greatly exagerated.)

Grassroots Action of the Moment
So I guess this guy sued Netflix because the "unlimited rentals" they advertise are actually capped in the fine print...so they have this bogus upgrade program, where everyone who was a member gets bumped up one simultaneous rental. But it seems like the bump (which people have to pay for after the first month if they forget to put it back) is mostly to help Netflix pay for the outrageous $2.5-frickin'-million the lawyers are getting from this. Two and a half million!

I guess if enough people opt-out, like 5%, the thing is cancelled, which is what NetflixSettlementSucks is trying to promote. I'd suggest eligible people opt-out, it seems like a deal that stinks like diseased whale carcass.

FoSO pointed out the non-automatic cancel would be pretty evil, but I think it's Netflix just disseminating the evil of the lawyers who set this up. Burn in hell, scumbags, you're what makes the system break down.

it's almost christmas!

(14 comments)
November 4, 2005
I'll be joining my mom at a Salvation Army Officers' Family Christmas shindig this weekend. Trivia: Christmas events for Salvation Army Officers (the ministers/leaders) are scheduled fairly early because of the traditional Christmas Red Kettle drives, which can be serious logistical by themselves, not to mentioned the increased amount of special holiday programs.

So, depending on WiFi at the hotel, might be a weak weekend for updates.

Advice of the Moment
"Make sure to use good grammar. It will cause good feelings too and get you mad hyped. For help, see http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/"
--from a previous version of wikiHow's How to Write a Rap Song. (See also How to Survive a Freestyle Rap Battle)

seperated at birth

(8 comments)
November 5, 2005

--Beau's a sidebar regular, I attended the Cleveland Temple Corps (the Salvation Army church in Cleveland Heights) with him and his younger brother Lin. Just a little teasing of Lin's "new" look (though I think he's been doing that for a while now.

(I tweaked the photos to make them look as similar as I could, but I didn't do that great of a job of it...)


Article of the Moment
A Good Essay Against Clutter. My issue is...but what about all these books? Getting rid of so many en masse always seems like a sacrilege.

quack

(8 comments)
November 6, 2005

SCREAM REAL LOUD OKAY!!!

(2 comments)
November 7, 2005
Best Moment of the Moment
Anyway, Pee-wee loves fruit salad and says so. Miss Yvonne, obviously thinking with her enormous pair of brain, laughs and tells Pee-wee to marry fruit salad if he loves it so much. Pee-wee was always offering up marriage to the others. Love that sandwich? WHY DON'T YOU MARRY IT? Love using the telephone? WHY DON'T YOU MARRY IT? Pee-wee is just like my fucking family. I'M NOT READY FOR THAT KIND OF COMMITMENT AUNT PAM JUST LET ME HAVE SEX WITH MY FRUIT SALAD ON A REGULAR BASIS COMFORTABLY PLEASE. I MEAN EAT IT.
--Pee-wee's Playhouse: The 25 Best Moments. I liked the early essay...especially the rant against people saying "thye must have been on drugs"... "Pee-wee and the people who helped him write the show were not on drugs, you know why? Because people on drugs aren't clever or creative. They say things like DAVE'S NOT HERE MAN and it is JOKES and JOKES and JOKES and JOKES." (thanks Bill)

there are also political differences in iraq that have puzzled diplomats and statesman. you won't help matters any by getting mixed up in them.

(1 comment)
November 8, 2005
Pamphlet of the Moment
A WW2-era Short Guide to Iraq by the US War and Navy Departments (ah, those heady days before the euphemism of "The Defense Department".) For some reason I really appreciate rough etiquette like this...even worth putting up with the UI-crapness of PDF.

Photo of the Moment

--Llara sent me this fwd last April, with the caption "Husband must have come home". Teehee!

Quote of the Moment
"It's either mean or it's arbitrary, and either way I've got the heebie-jeebies."
--Calvin of "Calvin and Hobbes" on the death of a baby raccoon -- reprinted in a nice feature on the strip in Slate.com. I was thinking of this quote just the other day, it really is mortality in a nutshell.

Politics of the Moment
Also on Slate--How Cheney calls the shots in the White House. I guess that's what happens whene Realpolitik meets the idea that "the more handsome one wins the presidential election" and once again the nation gets the repesentation it deserves.

5! = 1·2·3·4·5

(6 comments)
November 9, 2005
Geek Snarkery of the Moment
A friend gave me a photocopy of a worksheet from a programmer job interview, the contents of which I'm transcribing here. I've tried to be reasonably fair; arguably I should could be generous and use * in place of ·, since this was handwritten, but given all the absolute conceptual failures and mental disconnects, I'm leaving it as is.

So the interview "challenge" was to write a factorial function. Now, I don't know exactly how well or poorly the problem was described by the interviewer, but given the first line, probably copied from a whiteboard, I'm assuming it was pretty straightforward. Here's what the sheet had on it...most of the strikes are circular scribble-outs:
5! = 1·2·3·4·5

public string access(string 5! a)
{
  string
    string b = a.substring(0,1);
   string
    Int int c = b String.getValue(b);
    if(c < 2){
      System.System.err.println("1");
    } else if (c < 3){
      System.err.println("1·2");
    } else if (c < 4){
      System.err.println("1·2·3");
    }
I know that won't mean anything to non-geeks, but the layer on top of layer of sheer "Not Getting It" is a real jawdropper. (I went ahead and placed an attempt to list all (or at least most of) the problems as the first comment) For someone aspiring to a Java development position, and who must've sounded at least possibly decent on the phonescreen...supposedly the person has multiple masters degrees in science-y and computer-science-y fields, both from good local Universities.

In case you think I'm being unfair, here is a link to the actual handwritten response.

Dialog of the Moment
"Wait, wait. Time, a landing field. Death needs time like a junkie needs junk."
"And what does Death need time for?"
"The answer is so simple. Death needs time for what it kills to grow in..."

--William S. Burroughs, via this Katrina-related BoingBoing piece.

Politics of the Moment
Fun if rude-n-crude rant about Bedtime for BonzoBush...he blew off a 2-hour lunch meeting because the night before the Argenentinian schedule pushed events past his bedtime. Poor pumpkin! What a loser we have for president, and I don't just mean the popular vote in 2000. Maybe it's a good thing Cheney's really the guy in charge, then.

the game game

(10 comments)
November 10, 2005
Pointless Minutiae from Kirk's Life of the Moment
I've been redoing how I store my games. For a few years I've been putting "jewelboxed" games in a big folder, and last year I started doing the same for "DVD-cased". I kept the DVD-style cases and the CD booklets, though not the plasticky jewel cases. But then the other week I got an urge to put the PS2 and Xbox games back on the shelf. For some reason the ease in shelf-browsing really makes up for the lack of portability... (Ksenia thinks it's a form of showing off.) GC is my main "travel" system, so I compromised and put its cases on the shelf but kept its games in small travel folders.

Finally yesterday I wisened up and rearranged my new PS1/DC folder so it used the CD booklets to make a very nice browsable book. It's much easier to locate a game when you can see the well-designed cover rather than trying to read the CD imprint. And the trick is to put the booklets on the outsides of the 2x2 pages and the CDs on the inside, then you can flip through more easily.

For the record, gamecount-wise I'm in the low 20s for Xbox and PSone games, mid-20s for PS2, and low to mid 30s for Dreamcast and Gamecube. That's a lot of games over the years! There's also a N64 kicking around, which was THE system for me of the 90s, and an SNES, which was generally a retro thing for me.

It's striking how much nicer DVD cases look on a book shelf than CD jewelboxes. Hmm...come to think of it, maybe some of that's because they look like books! Duh. That never occured to me before. I think the grey plastic is less chintzy than the see-through stuff CDs usually use.

Link of the Moment
The very worst of audiophile excess. Boingboing was mostly amused by the $500-ish wooden volume control knob, but I think $30,000 for speaker cables just takes the cake. (Sort of like that cartoon where the kid is selling lemonade for a thousand dollars a glass or something..."but I only have to sell one!")

Quote of the Moment
"We are alone, absolutely alone on this chance planet: and, amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog, has made an alliance with us."
--Maurice Maeterlinck, yes, via Google's custom homepage and its Quotations Page link

except for cough drops

(9 comments)
November 11, 2005
Quote of the Moment
I really do think that love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops. But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpth time, that life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.
--William Goldman, "The Princess Bride"...watched the movie with Ksenia last night. The book is only maybe 10-20% better, but it does have some great quotes like that, and a somewhat more realistic epilogue after the romantic rescue and ending.

Thought of the Moment
The other night the On Point was talking with Ingrid Newkirk, founder of PETA on that organization's 25th Anniversary. It seems that the mission's mandate is to raise animals to the level of humans, in terms of respect for their feelings and general karma (or, if your cynical, lower humans 'til they seem like just another animal.) It started to make me wonder, in this circle of life, how do we feel about other animals that are pure carnivores? Do we try to get them to change their ways? (It's kind of a take on the old liberal "what's our tolerance of intolerant belief systems" bugaboo.) There's a PETA vegetarian FAQ that says "Most animals who kill for food could not survive if they didnít, but that is not the case for humans."

Also, I know it's a nitpick, but I hate how they keep saying that the alternative to a vegetarian lifestyle is being an carnivore...carnivore is not the same thing as omnivore, it just sounds more menacing.

tarawa 1943

(6 comments)
November 12, 2005
Veterans Day Thought of the Moment

A while back I took this photo of a car in Salem...the sign says Tarawa 1943, "We Kicked Their Ass"...the license plate had a similar theme. I admit my first reaction was kind of snarky...the bellicose tone about a very old battle, the use of "there" for "their" in one instance.

But, it was enough to make me wonder about "Tarawa", and do a little web research. To say it was a terrible battle is an understatement...it was truly hellish, a brutal, chaotic amphibous landing by the Second Marine Division after a huge amount of naval bombardment over razor-like coral and heavy defences. (The bombardment proved to be less effective than it looked.) The Marines lost 3,0001,000 men. The Japanese lost almost 5,000, and the fact that their were only 17 Japanese survivors showed their willingness to fight to the last man.

Yesterday, Veterans Day, the Vet was standing on the same corner as this photo, holding a poster about Tarawa (complete with the ass-kicking slogan) with some people honking their support and thanks. I decided I'd like to double back and talk with him, and I'm glad I did. Oddly, I neglected to ask his name, but he was happy to chat a bit. He mentioned that he fought with Eddie Albert of "Green Acres" fame (who was awarded a Bronze Star for his actions there.) He noted (with a hint of bitterness, I thought) that despite the huge cost in securing the island the U.S. Military never did followup with the plan to use its airstrip during the war. He also said he'd been back to the beach, and you can see grenade pins on the ground to this day.

I expressed my thanks for chatting, and he thanked me as well.

Oddly enough, I kind of purposefully parked a bit over because I wasn't sure if he would object to my Japanese car, though going back to this photo I see he drives a Hyundai...not a Japanese brand, but still.

He reminded a bit of the Vonnegut novel, how some people can get "stuck in time"...he was only 17 when it happened, but maybe in someways its been a centerpoint of the rest of his life. In any event, his dedication to his fallen comrades is remarkable...I was grateful for the chance to learn more about Tarawa, as well as grateful for his willingness to put his life on the line when his country asked.

heir jordan

(6 comments)
November 13, 2005
Politics of the Moment
Taher Masri, a former Jordanian prime minister, told the Los Angeles Times that the attacks demonstrated that the U.S. invasion of Iraq had begun to seriously destabilize the Middle East. "Iraq was not the source of terrorism [before the invasion]," Masri said, "but now it has become exactly that."
--Slate on the Bombings in Jordan, and how jihadists who got experience in Iraq are now moving on to fight the bad fight in other places. Yay Bush and your goddamn war. You guys were so F'-in' smart.

Dirty-ish Political Joke of the Moment
George Bush has started an ill-timed and disastrous war under false pretenses by lying to the American people and to the Congress; he has run a budget surplus into a severe deficit; he has consistently and unconscionably favored the wealthy and corporations over the rights and needs of the population; he has destroyed trust and confidence in, and good will toward, the United States around the globe; he has ignored global warming, to the world's detriment; he has wantonly broken our treaty obligations; he has condoned torture of prisoners; he has attempted to create a theocracy in the United States; he has appointed incompetent cronies to positions of vital national importance.

Now, would someone please give him a blow job so we can impeach him?

--Making the rounds, according to rec.humor.funny.

meat in toto

(8 comments)
November 14, 2005
Literary Bit of the Moment
[After tussling with the Tin Woodsman and the stuffed Scarecrow]
"What is that little animal you are so tender with?"
"He is my dog, Toto," answered Dorothy.
"Is he made of tin, or stuffed?" asked the Lion.
"Neither. He's a--a meat dog," said the girl.
--L. Frank Baum, "The Wizard of Oz". I finally read the book though I'm worried it might just be a condensed or slightly modernized version. (In the Gutenberg text the lion says "tender of" and Dorothy stammers more.) Overall, probably not as good as the movie.

I was startled and delighted by the reminder that we're made out of meat.


Quoute of the Moment
In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.
--Mortimer J. Adler. That's a very good point, and nice way of looking at true literacy. (Thanks Lex!)

Crush of the Moment
Wow. I think I have a giant pop-crush on Sarah Silverman 90% from this Slate article alone.

Comedy in a Moment
5 seconds of funny from Lore at his Slumbering Lungfish blog.

Weird News of the Moment
Irish Nursing Home starts own pub. It seems to make sense on a number of levels; I think just the different karma of a pub vs. a typical nursing home is a huge improvement.

trade ya!

(9 comments)
November 15, 2005
I was watching that show "Wife Swap". Whew. They really find the extremes of American families, and then throw 'em together...the huntin' hillbillies with the Confederate flags paired with the PETA, vegan, raw-food, maybe-we-can-even-just-live-on-sunlight hippy... pretty compelling. Of course, they don't show anything about the "traditional" meaning of wife-swapping, which would be whole new levels of weirdness.

After that shows was Monday Night Football, which is actually why the TV was on. Musta been like the fourth or fifth episode of MNF I've seen this year, and I just realized that the whole "auto-assembly" theme to the intro might have something to do with the Superbowl being in Detroit this year.

Duhr.

Only been to Detroit once, and my observation about the city is this: it hosts the most grueling Thanksgiving Parade I've ever marched in.

Comic and Link of the Moment

--Yet another set of Stupid Comics from back in the day. If you're in a hurry, just check out this page, especially the bit at the end about the haikus.

Politics of the Moment
Slate.com had some articles about the changing landscape in DC: Bush's new line about I Was Wrong, but So Were You replacing his "We're always right" approach, and a Christopher Hitchens about gullibility. The final paragraph of that article is the most relevant, because it's the first to pose the question, usually begged, was invasion was the best and/or only way to keeping Saddam and his desire for WMD in check? I still hold that cranking up the inspections and giving them military teeth would have made for a safer regional and global situation. We're now obligated to stand guard at a house of cards that we ourselves made. There was human suffering under Saddam, there's human suffering with the war and terrorist incidents after Saddam.

Marketing of the Moment
Piece on name letter branding...people respond positively to brand names that share letters with their own. Seems likely enough to me..."K"s and "R"s have always seemed like the "coolest" (or is that "koolest") letters to me, I love how sharp and angular Ks can be.

well hungover

(3 comments)
November 16, 2005
Bad Literary Bit of the Moment
Lydia sat in the diner. Her eggs^and coffee suddenlyno longer looked unappealing. She Usually a good dose of caffeine and grease was just the thing for hangovers, but today she this morning she couldn't stomach it.

She asked Well, the bacon was pretty good, two ^dark unbending strips. She finished her bacon while catching the waitress' attention for the check.

The sun outside pounded into her head.

--Cleaning out myh office before our relocation, I found this story start in curisive on a "Rational University" sheet of lined paper.

Celebrity Fitness of the Moment
He told me he didn't count reps, instead just doing four sets until exhaustion. "I don't want to get too big. I'm a comedian," he said. Joe Piscopo, he explained, is a warning sign to weightlifting comedians. Piscopo, really, is a warning sign for non-weightlifting comedians too. In fact, you can replace the animal in any of Aesop's Fables with "Joe Piscopo" and it still works.
--Joel Stein writing about Carrot Top and that comedian's ungodly massive arms.

Acronym of the Moment
--via The Sexy Name Decoder...you can get your name done and order T-shirts and other schwag. I'm completely stunned by the cleverness of their name generation algorithm.


en-suck-lopedia

(9 comments)
November 17, 2005
Damn. It turns out my ebay'd Samsung i500 phone didn't work out. The refurbished model I bought had some hardware problems, caveat ebayer, but really it was the software integration that just wasn't ready for primetime. There might be solutions for all those things, like a seperate app for text messaging, but when the usually rock-solid Palm "ToDo" app starts crashing, the karma just plunges through the floor. Pity that.

So I'm going back to my old Samsung video phone, the VM-A680. I was compiling a big snarky list of faults with it, I was going to start a feature called "the En-suck-lopedia", but then I found workarounds for what I thought were the more egregious UI crimes, so what was left sounded kind of petty, and the star-based "suckage" rating system was total overkill.

But no sense letting all the ranting go totally to waste, so here are the faults as I sees them:
  • Because of the probably battery-draining color outer screen, you have to press a button to see the time. So it's less good of a pocketwatch than the ancient Samsung I used before. Minor point.
  • I don't know how many damn pictures I took of the inside of my pocket before unearthing the "Camera Key Guard" feature. (Because it's clamshell, key guard isn't an issue otherwise.)
  • Exact same icon for "VIBRATE" (ringer off) and "VIBE/HIGH" (ringer as loud as possible). These are the two settings I tend to bounce between, so the icon is useless.
  • As I've previously grumbled about, 8 levels of volume is just too much fine grain control. (Must be a Samsung tradition, the i500 had the same deal.)
  • Battery charging icon is the animation of 3 levels of charged-ness, you have to watch for a while to tell if it's charging or just at one one of those levels.
  • You can't change the "Flip Sound" like you can the ringers, just on/off. I'm just so jonesing to get the same beeps Captain Kirk got when he flipped open his communicator, instead I'm stuck with the same "magical pixiedust" SFX that every other Samsung user has. Bleh.
  • For the longest time I thought you couldn't edit the "name" associated with a phonebook entry. It turns out you can, it just looks like you can't.
  • Voice Memo seems capped at 10 memos. Why? This is a phone that can store lots and lots of video (with sound) and picture.
  • The photo and video management is odd. There's this distinction between "saved to camera" and "saved to phone" that makes no sense to me, and there's no "select all" or "invert selection" option, just an "erase all" when you go to delete. Also you can only select 10 items at once, I have no idea why. (Update...it seems things are "saved to phone" if you ever tag them for any use on the phone, either as background or to flash on screen when you get a call.)
  • The ToDo list display is just dumb. Every ToDo has an associated priority and date, and on the main display these are displayed first, hogging up the whole line, and only when you move the cursor to that ToDo does the actual task name scroll into view.
That said, it is a decent phone. The hardware is excellent, I like some of its features like "video wallpaper" (I recorded some fireworks in Euclid, OH that I get to see whenever I open the phone), clamshell with flip-to-talk is great (you can see who it is on the outside screen), you can configure the arrowkeys to quicklaunch different features (though not every feature of the phone, pity) and it's a much more reliable alarm clock than my Palm.

I've been thinking that the only PDA functions I need these days are a decent datebook, a ToDo with categories (not priorities) and something I can put a few light memos in. My beloved Palm is overkill these days, but the phones aren't good enough yet. I guess you can download apps for this thing, but they all seem to be in Java. As much as I like Java, I'm not sure if it's really the greatest thing for small devices...no handheld gizmo should subject you to notice-able "Loading Please Wait" screens.

Feh.

Quote of the Moment
"There is a coherent plan in the universe, though I don't know what it's a plan for."
--Fred Hoyle. I think that's one thing that most "Intelligent Design" people gloss over...they not trying to say "this could have a purpose" but also "and I'm confident I know what this purpose is"

Link of the Moment
Physician, heal thyself: an extremely cluttered site about decluttering...and advice like
Since you can access the Web and send and receive your own email without owning a computer (and for free when using access at a public library), think carefully if you need to get your own computer and Internet account.
should tell me it's a "same planet, different worlds" kind of thing for me anyway.

public opinion

(4 comments)
November 18, 2005
Quote of the Moment
"We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a boon. Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverance. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God."
--Mark Twain

Ad Line of the Moment
I don't know how much this has hit the mainstream media, but News about Sony's DRM "rootkit" has been all over the blogsphere... BoingBoing has a good summary or two. The short of it is some Sony CDs include some pretty hardcore hacker software to try to ensure you can't copy the songs willy-nilly (Digital Rights Management, or DRM). Theoretically they shouldn't affect you if you play the CDs on a standalone player, but if you put them on a PC you are suddenly exposed to a number of attacks, and the program Sony initially offered to remove the software left even more gaping holes.

Which makes the new Tweeter radio spot's opening that much more funny: "Been waiting for the next big thing from Sony?" Heheh, yeah, kind of in the same way I'm waiting for the next big flu pandemic.

Political Snarkery of the Moment
--Worst. President. Ever. Given competition like Nixon, that's really saying something.


unslacky

(11 comments)
November 19, 2005
Man. I need to have a very unslacky weekend.

Videos of the Moment
Big-Boys.com is now Break.com... it's still a site with many funny videos and a bit of HAWT GIRLS, but much less raunchy overall than other sites in the genre. This video they captioned Hot. But Not Smooth is the funniest thing I've seen all week. The Thousand-hand Bodhisattva dance is amazing in a different way...

Financial Question of the Moment
I see more and more poeple using debit cards at stores. For some reason I always use credit card. Actually, and I have very little idea where this bias came from, using ATM cards in stores always seemed vageuly low-class to me. (Maybe it's some weird side effct of the En Vogue "Free Your Mind" lyrics "So I'm a sistah / Buy things with cash / That really doesn't mean that all my credit's bad".)

Do you use credit or debit for most purchases, and why?

Doodle of the Moment
"The Romance Between
A Canary and A Goldfish"
--Someone mentioned this line at the September meeting of my UU "Science and Spirituality" group...

cityscape

(13 comments)
November 20, 2005


--A crude attempt by me to emulate this really cool series of sketches by my cousin River. The thing is, River is like 8 years old...quite a prodigy! He used a very fine pen (and this is a reduced scan from the one I made, making it look more detailed than it is) and the level of detail and texture was *amazing*.

the old phedinkus

(15 comments)
November 21, 2005
Literary Bit of the Moment
If I have all the tears that are shed on Broadway by guys in love, I will have enough salt water to start an opposition ocean to the Atlantic and Pacific, with enough left over to run the Great Salt Lake out of business. But I wish to say I never shed any of these tears personally, because I am never in love, and furthermore, barring a bad break, I never expect to be in love, for the way I look at it love is strictly the old phedinkus, and I tell the little guy as much.
--Damon Runyon, "Tobias the Terrible"

Literary Bit of the Moment
"Today is the day that the world will know my anger. Today the world will feel my pain. Today is the day I will be heard!"
--Txt msg from (alleged?)Tacoma mall gunmen Dominick Maldonado to his ex-girlfriend minutes before the shooting.

The cellphone txt interface renders this faintly ridiculous, however. It strikes me that there is some comic pathos in this guy frantically tapping "8 - T! 6,6,6 - O! 3 - D! 2 - A! 9,9,9 - Y!" before picking up an asasult rifle to vent his rage. (Only one of his 6 victims was seriously hurt, thankfully.)


glub glub

(1 comment)
November 22, 2005
Image of the Moment

--from Life Inside a Water Bottle, one of those 360 (actually, more than that because you can look up and down) Quicktime VR views

Paraphrase of the Moment
[On having to cook for his son's new vegetarian diet] "I mean, how hard could it be to cook vegetables? What's the recipe for Broccoli? Oh yeah, right...'Broccoli'!"
--"The War At Home", a so-so new comedy on Fox. Makes me wish I had a Tivo to get exact quotes for stuff like that.

ch-ch-ch-changes

(9 comments)
November 23, 2005
So, yesterday I handed in my resignation at dear ol' Taxware. I really am grateful for the time I spent there...besides all the opportunites to learn new stuff and work on interesting projects, it was also a nice "safe harbor" after a pair of dotcom-ish layoffs a year apart. The first year (when there were a few problems at Taxware) I was just hoping not to have two layoffs in one calendar year; the second year I was all about having employment that straddled a calendar year on my résumé, the next year was the breakup with Mo, and lately it's been about coasting. I'm still young enough in my career that I think it makes sense to try new things; my position at Refresh Software has elements of travel and teaching, and also I think the small group feel of it will be good. Historically I do better work in high-visibility situations. It can be kind of a character flaw at that, the urge for recognition, but still I yam what I yam...

Over my time there, I interviewed elsewhere every once in a while, 1-3 times a year. (Usually at the end of the half year, not sure if that's significant.) Since the dot com crash, I've landed 3 jobs out of 14 or so interviews. I guess that's not too bad of a record, given the hightech landscape for most of that time. Still, it's a bit humbling. I remember those heady days of 1996, where I was a hot thang out of a good college, cheap, and eager, and landed about 8 or 9 offers.

I also have mixed feelings how 4 out of my 6 jobs have been through personal contacts. On the one hand, it's positive that coworkers want to work with me again. On the other hand, it makes me worry I'm attached too much to this geographical area, and that a significant shift would be that much harder.

as it happens

(2 comments)
November 24, 2005
Sophomoric Philisophical Bull Session of the Moment
"Somewhere inside the digits of pi is a representation for all of us -- the atomic coordinates of all our atoms, our genetic code, all our thoughts, all our memories. Given this fact, all of us are alive, and hopefully happy, in pi. Pi makes us live forever. We all lead virtual lives in pi. We are immortal."
--Cliff Pickover

The quote comes from the page We are in Digits of Pi and Live Forever. It's an intriguing idea, but I liked the note of caution attributed to a "retired physicist": "People will believe in anything if it promises immortality."

It reminds me of a thought I had a for poem, or at least a prose piece, but haven't been able to bring together. There's this idea floating about that you can inscribe the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica onto a pin...simply encode the book into a series of digits, then use that series as a single measurement and place a mark exactly at the point along the side of the pin. I suspect that Quantum effects would too soon raise their ugly heads and hamper the process, but still, it seemed an interesting complement to this thought from a poem by a friend of mine:
At that moment he met her eyes and it occured to him that we live only in moments, arranged as it happens. Someday we shall live entirely in nothing but a single kiss.
--Kyle Parris, from As It Happens
Maybe an entire romance, maybe an entire life, is inscribed in the nuance of each kiss, if only we could measure accurately enough.

p-p-p-powerbook!

(3 comments)
November 25, 2005
Oops, looks like I'm a bit lax in updating...I'm blaming a slow recovery from a Turkey OD yesterday; Ksenia and I actually hit three different dinners before the day was done.

Link of the Moment
P-P-P-Powerbook.com, a funny tale of scamming a would-be Ebay scammr. The photos on the front page are half the fun, but the story is pretty good to.

The main link is a PDF document. Man, Apple "Preview" makes viewing PDFs an absolute joy...well, a relative joy, relative to the slow as molasses, always-checking-for-updates, user-hostile-UI, loader-of-a-1,000-sub-modules piece-of-crap that Adobe puts out for Windows. I thought it was something intrinsic with the PDF format, which is admittedly geared at proper printout rather than fast screen display, but no...it's just Acrobat Reader that's a steaming pile of cyberturds.

mein gott, madonna is packin'!

November 26, 2005
Photo Phunnies of the Moment
Besides her amazing wire-y biceps, the current issue of Rolling Stone indicates that Madonna is More Man Than I'll Ever Be:



Ahem:


Watch those shadows, boys. (It's even more blatant in the magazine.)

wifiefdom

(10 comments)
November 27, 2005
Aside of the Moment
You know, it used to seem really cool to be building houses with Cat5 cables running in the walls, but now that wifi is cheap and easy, it doesn't seems that important any more.

For that matter, phone jacks don't mean much to be any more. I don't even know where (or if, though I assume) they are present in my current apartment.

Tricks of the Moment
cute little body hacks from Men's Health, though I'm not sure how much stock I'd put in some of them...

the river of no return

(9 comments)
November 28, 2005
--B. Watson is working to implement an idea I've had for a while, The River Raid Mapping Project.

A long while back on the Usenet group rec.games.video.classic I asked if River Raid "ends", and how...in response Erik Mooney posted a hack of River Raid where the plane won't die and you can just let it run...I ran it overnight and came back to a game that was still running, but with a kind of messed up world. So ever since then, I've thought about trying to assemble big "Nintendo Power"-style combined stitched-together "maps" so that we can see exactly when things start to go awry...

Expect more of this project later, I hope to give an even more complete map a permanent home, in collaboration with B. Watson.


playful work

(20 comments)
November 29, 2005
Observation of the Moment
Luckily, renaissances celebrate immaturity and idealism. The growing field of "neotany" looks at the extended childhoods of species as a sign of their development. The longer an infant is helpless, the more advanced the species to which it belongs. Fish are fully developed from birth, dogs depend on their mothers for a few months, and human beings are helpless for several years. Likewise, the extended time for youth and exploration our society now offers (a full 90 percent of American residents now graduate high school, and more than a third make it through college) means more time for practice, development, and play. Growing up should not mean an end to this freedom to expand and innovate. It can be its rebirth in an entirely new context: that of playful work.
--Douglas Rushkoff, from Get Back in the Box Thought Virus #4: Follow the Fun. I've also heard how, evolutionary wise speaking, having a cultural infrastructure that could support a prolonged infancy meant we could have a shorter pregnancy, which meant woman's hips didn't have to be so wide to give birth, which meant we could have a better time walking upright and using our hands for tools and what not. I know this is probably not a healthy view, but sometimes it seems like C-sections are the "evolutionary" next step.

Heh...relevant quote from Bill Cosby on the Quotations Page Quote of the Day: "Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home."


Research of the Moment
From the "I could have told you that" department, Activity Levels may be an intrinsic genetic property. In other woulds, once a couch potato, always a couch potato, bar some heroic efforts to become otherwise.

News of the Moment
Bush readying the ol' "Declare Victory and Pull Out" strategy.

Is post-war Iraq better for the majority of Iraqis than during the Saddam era?

Saddam really messed up with Kuwait. If it wasn't for that, I'm 80% sure he'd be our staunch semi-secular ally in the region, that we'd hold our nose and look for his help as a stabilizing force...not to mention a rallying point for Jihadists to detest.

san andreas, no fault

(14 comments)
November 30, 2005
Map of the Moment

--This is a shrunk-down version Ian Albert's map of the entire layout of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. For a video game it's a huge amount of continuous area, and Ian Albert's map is 6,000 pixels on a side. From Ian Albert's San Andreas page (which includes other useful views), plus he has mapped some other games as well. It's kind of a cool little hobby. The DOOM I + II maps, in 3/4 perspective, are brilliant...so many of those levels I learned by "feel" (turn left, run straight, left again, right) that seeing them, with all the graphical detail that the in-game overhead maps lack, really lets me "see" them for the first time. (Thanks LAN3 who IM'd me with the first map, and then put the link in the comments the other day.)

Embarrasing Admission of the Moment
"I'm the total package: all the lurp, none of the unpleasant smell."
(presenting myself as a lurpy but good smelling guy)
99-11-29
<filter type="eww" severity="mild" instructions="highlight with mouse to read"> --Something I wrote down 6 years ago yesterday. Lurpy in the sense of a little big and ungainly...but generally free of offensive B.O. For a while I thought it was because I'm not particularly hairy as far as guys go (well, besides the fact I'm generally under-exercised) but lately I realized it might be because of my tendency to sweat from my head; my mom says even when I was a baby she couldn't put a hat on me because my head would get so hot. So, while headsweat isn't particularly attractive, at least it's not associated with unpleasant smells.</filter>

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