kisrael.com | archive | 2006 jan

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(12) what kirk saw in 2005
2006.01.01
Well, every year I post the media I consumed the previous year, so I might as well get it out of the way and stop apologizing for it...

this year it seems like I read a bit more than the year previous, and watch a lot more videos (probably the influence of having a steady girlfriend, and then getting Netflix) so I'm happy about that. (And I continue to hardly ever watch movies on TV, probably because I no longer have the movie stations, and that was kind of Mo's thing anyway.) As the last few years, "strong recommends" are in italics, and you can go and see 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.

I'm getting enough data that it might be interesting to plot it all on some kind of time chart, see if I can find annual patterns, or just crossreference peaks and valleys with different times in my life.

Without further ado:

Movies at the Cinema: (14)
Finding Neverland, Sin City, Fever Pitch, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Wizard, Revenge of the Sith, Robots, Revenge of the Sith, War of the Worlds, Wedding Crashers, Howl's Flying Castle, 40 Year Old Virgin, Serenity, MirrorMask
Movies on Video/DVD (81)
Better Than Chocolate, Labyrinth, The Watcher in the Woods, Shrek 2, Tommy Boy, Napolean Dynamite, Run Lola Run, Pushing Tin, O Brother Where Are Thou?, Shaun of the Dead, Garden State, Men with Brooms, Secretary, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Cannonball Run, Six Flishman Superman Cartoons, Backbeat, Voices of a Distant Star, What the bleep do we know?, Harold and Khumar go to White Castle, Closer, Clone Wars, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Carrie, Cryptz, Vampiyaz, Ali G Indahouse, Sideways, Street Fighter, Secrets du Kama Sutra, C.I.A. Codename Alexa, Easy Rider, Waking Life, Demolition Man, Shall We Dance?, Better Than Sex, Mallrats, Bound, Body Count, Red Sonja, Mystery Men, Bloody Birthday, Happy Birthday to Me, Sex and the City Season 3, Napolean Dynamite, Sex And The City Seasion 4, Sex and the City Season 5, Y tu mama tambien, Sex and the City Season 6, Road Trip, Miss Congeality 2, Team America World Please, Last Tango in Paris, Muppet Movie, Fisher King, Spiderman, Yojimbo, The Cell, Tales of the Kama Sutra, L.A. Story, Himatsuri, The New Devil In Miss Jones, Chasing Amy, Princess Mononoke, Throne of Blood, The Princess Bride, Ai no corrida (In the Realm of the Senses), Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, Infinity, The Dreamers, Blazing Saddles, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Ugetsu, Suicide Girls: The First Tour, Bad(der) Santa, Made, Anastasia, Clone Wars Volume 1, Clone Wars Volume 2, The Jerk, The Princess and the Warrior
Movies on TV (2)
Matrix: Reloaded, Diamonds Are Forever
Video Games (10)
Mario vs Donkey Kong, Star Fox: Assault, Bangai-O, Star Wars Lego, WarioWare Twisted, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Halo 2, Ico, Timesplitters: Future Imperfect, Mercenaries
Books (44)
Trigger Happy, Gig, Homegrown Democrat, Entering a New Culture, Stoned, Naked, and Looking in my Neighbor's Windows, Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Greatest Physicists, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, My Grandfather's Blessing, half of "The Varities of Religous Experience", Painters and Hackers, Getting Things Done -- The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, The Book of Ratings, What It Feels Like, Vox, Joel on Software, The Da Vinci Code, Kevin Smith Speaks, Pilgrim at TInker Creek, War of the Worlds, Notes from a Big Country, Mother Tongue, Pattern Recognition, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Ultimate Cyberpunk, An American Childhood, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Feel This Book, Prince Caspian, The Saga of Baby Divine, Power+Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, Wigfield : The Can-Do Town That Just May Not, Memoirs of a Mangy Lover, Word of Mouth, Hunted, A Theory of Fun For Game Design, Truckers, Jump The Shark, Diggers, Wings, The Wizard of Oz, A Box of Matches, Holidays on Ice, Thousand Cranes, The Ultimate Visual Guide to Star Wars
Comics/Graphic Novels (24)
JLA: American Dreams, Star Wars Tales Vol. 2, Clumsy: A Novel, Unlikely, Diesel Sweeties Vol 1, I Never Liked You, Best of American Splendor, Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Tales Vol 3, Star Wars Tales Vol 1, The Art of Discworld, Star Wars Tales 5, Egg Story, Star Wars Tales Vol. 4, Transformers: All Fall Down, Transformers: End of the Road, American Splendour: Our Movie Year, How To Be Happy, Empire Vol. 2: Darklighter, True Porn 2, Rising Stars : Born In Fire, Quitter, The Courtyard

(2) blah blah laptops blah blah
2006.01.02
A few months ago I bought back the ebay'd iBook I bought from EB, but it was upgraded in the meanwhile. Assisting Ksenia with her Powerbook helped me get used to some of the paradigm shifts that chased me a way last time. (EB has a theory that the timing of the original purchase, right after Mo moved out, might have contributed to it, that it was just a time of too much change to begin with.)

And then recently I got a new job, and I have an ugly but powerful laptop that I sometimes bring home. It's bigger than I like laptops to be (though I'm starting to appreciate "widescreen" format screens...you can see longer lines of code and logfile dumps without linewrapping) and has that ugly shiny black plastic that partially led me to reject a Kenwood stereo system in 1996, but it's undoubtedly the most powerful PC in my day to day life.

So there's kind of an embarassment of riches, 'cause if I'm heading out to Ksenia's or similar I have to figure out which ones to bring. My trusty old small PC laptop, Sliver, has all my files, I know how to get web tasks done on it easily, but it runs hot and can't run on battery. The iBook I actively enjoy using...OSX has a certain minimalistic feel (and encourages me to not have a huge plethora of windows open), it runs cool, has great battery life...but it can't play DVDs, and there are some tasks (especially image manipulation) that I haven't learned how to do on it. Then there's always the work PC...powerful, big, good battery life...but it's not my PC and it doesn't have my personal files. It can burn DVDs, which came in useful recently.

And of course Ksenia has her Powerbook around a lot...probably the rough equivalent of my work PC in terms of power, but it's a Mac. Having all four machines in the same room is kind of weird.

Cheap(ish) laptops have kind of changed my computing life, especially when combined with wireless networks at home, work, and Ksenia's family's place. Oh, and doubley so this winter, when I'm turning down the thermostat and using space heaters...I usually want to huddle someplace warm rather than setting up at my cold desk.

Geek Existentialism of the Moment
--image from Geek on Stun's Marios. 64.
"Life is a lot like the Minus World.

It's all the same, it just keeps repeating itself, until you run out of time."
--Nick B. The Minus World is a "secret" level in Super Mario Brothers, an underwater, endlessly repeating loop. But you know...given how hard that level is to get to, and also how wildly improbably our own existences are, maybe we should be happy and grateful to get there/here.


(7) pixels into cash
2006.01.03
Money Meme of the Moment
So some more-clever-than-me guy figured out a ridiculous way to get a million bucks from the Internet... he's selling advertising space at a buck a pixel, in 10x10 lots. The idea is so attracting enough attention that it's a good deal for him (obviously) as well as the people buying spaces, at least for now. In fact, on a (expensive) whim I bought two locations, one for kisrael.com and one for loveblender. Go to The Million Dollar Homepage, look for the dollar sign on an orange background near the bottom left corner... I put the heart there, and my portrait underneath.

The funny thing is, it's working a bit, I'm probably get 1.5 to 2 times the normal number of unique visitors on this site.

I think I bought in both with some weird voodoo that maybe I'll come up with something remotely as profitably clever, and also because working with 10x10 pixels was such an interesting challenge. It reminded me strongly of good ol' pixeltime.

Of course, the really sad thing is all the people trying to set up slight variations on the theme. "Page 2" is a prominent link above where I set up, and is trying to just do more of the same at 90 cents a block. I've seen one aimed at women, one that allowed animated GIFs (what a nightmare) and one metasite that lets you setup your own service. (Actually, something similar might not be a bad fundraiser if done correctly, a kind of shared graffiti wall, maybe with bigger squares and a built-in editor.)

Oddness of the Moment
At Harvard Square I saw some bumpersticker graffiti for Lick My Jesus, a very odd comics-from-pictures-of-ourselves-with-speech-balloons kind of site.

Historical Footnote of the Moment
Wow. The web is letting me down....last night I caught some of a documentary about Operation Archery, an early British Commando/combined forces action against Germans in Norway. They mentioned that one part of the assault was led by "Mad" Jack Churchill (no relation to Winston, though some places claim otherwise)... they say he was quite the character, leading he charge in kilt, with a claymore sword, and maybe even bagpipes, but the web really doesn't have much to say about him.


(4) kick!
2006.01.04
So Boston sports guys love to praise things and love to complain things, so Doug Flutie's first NFL dropkick "point after" in 60 years has generated a lot of heat and noise... I think the people who say that it made a "mockery" of the game miss the core idea that it was just a really, really cool thing to do, and was a great cap to a meaningless game, a hard fought season, and maybe even a football career, if it comes to that. (UPDATE: huh, I only now realized that a dropkick has the player dropping the ball so it hits the ground, not like a punter who kicks it away directly...for years and years my picture of what it was (like that "Drop Kick Me Jesus Though The Goalposts Of Life" song) was wrong, but I think that's true for a lot of people.

Quote of the Moment
"You live and learn. At any rate, you live."
--Douglas Adams

Year End Wrap Ups of the Moment
From the BBC, 100 things we didn't know this time last year... though I knew a few of 'em. From New Scientist 13 Things That Scientists Still Don't Know. And finally, Candi's Second Annual Best Covno Pieces... damn it, I used to be funnier on AIM, I swear. But her friends are funny, and I admire that, and her diligence in recording the funny.


(1) you'll not only be hip
2006.01.05
How To of the Moment
"Be cool, start a new trend! Start eating fruits and vegetables for lunch and as a snack. Donít forget to bring an extra helping for a friend. Before you know it, you will have started a trend. And guess what? You'll not only be hip, but you and your friends will be healthy, too!"
--The 5 A Day program (servings of fruits and vegetables displays a certain lack of understanding about the psychology of kids.

Image Searching of the Moment
A while back I posted KrazyDad's flickr-based color pickrs...the bottom of the page has more specific searches. Today BoingBoing linked to another cool search, retrievr, where you can make a sketch and it will try and find things that look like that sketch. Technically more impressive but somehow less aatisfying than the pickrs. (Incidentally, the KrazyDad site has a lot more cool toys and a blog and what not...I really need to learn Flash one of these days...)


(2) wet places on warm nights
2006.01.06
Quote of a Previous Moment
"I like frogs, and their outlook, and the way they get together in wet places on warm nights and sing about sex."
--"overheard at the New England Aquarium"...I think I grabbed that quote years ago from the back page of Tufts' conservative paper "The Primary Source"...it was my .signature file for a while. It's a great quote (that I redsicovered searching my sight for "outlook" for very different reasons) so I thought I'd bring it to the front.


damn fat frog fingers!

Lists of the Moment
Top 10 Web Moments of 2005. A few memes, a little of this, a little of that.

BoingBoing pointed out that LA Weekly has the set of lists to end all year-end lists..if you're in a hurry, just check out the year in Monkey news. I think primates are closer to us in ability and outlook then we'd care to admit... they like to gripe about the food, have accents, find yawns to be contagious, can understand and use money and will independently invent prostitution, use ad hoc water depth testers and bridges, have boys that prefer toy cars and girls that prefer dolls, have celebrities that they like to look at, and even dig on porn.


(6) all the illusions of grandeur you have about me are wrong
2006.01.07
Quote of the Moment
"All the illusions of grandeur you have about me are wrong. We're going to sit and talk, but first of all you must disengage your fingers from my thighs."
--Leonardo DiCaprio, to an obsessed fan at the airport

Aside of the Moment
Ksenia has re-discoverd the old trick of using coffee grounds as a kind of scrub substance in the shower. It's not such a bad idea I guess, though you can find coffee grounds in odd places from time to time afterwards. Is it the caffeine that might make it feel energizing, or is that more of a placebo effect?


(3) speak and spell
2006.01.08
I was over at Miller's last night for a birthday party with an element of boardgaming. We played the new "Turbo" edition of Cranium...didn't seem quite as good as the original despite the addition of a little electronic timer doodad and "dice roll" combo.

My "shadow dyslexia" came into play, though, with this one puzzle of "Team Gnilleps", where teammaters had to spell words backwards, alternating letters. I was weirdly terrible at it...there'd be a word like astrophysics, and all I had to say was "a" to finish it off, and I came up with "r"...and I made a similar mistake, again throwing in an "r" where it didn't belong. It's so odd...I'm ok with spelling, I have a decent head for detail...it was a little disconcerting, actually.

Truism of the Moment
"I know... I hear what I want to hear."
"And then you say it."
--Me and FoSOSO...he's right on, I do have this comedy bit where if I hear something incorrectly, realize it, but find what I originally heard funny, I will try to milk that for a laugh.


(8) no grounds for divorce
2006.01.09
Speaking of coffee ground (well, I was a few days ago anyway)...I keep thinking back to this weird 50s ad for a (presumably grounds-free) coffeemaker pitched at housewives...the big bold headline was "NO GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE!" and it still sticks in my head to this day as a particularly gruesome bit of threatening misogyny. "C'mon ladies...make that cofee RIGHT so he doesn't dump your sorry ass!"

Quote of the Moment
"There aren't evil guys and innocent guys. It's just... It's just... It's just a bunch of guys."
--Steve Arlo in "Zero Effect". I first saw it paraphrased as "You realize... there aren't any 'good guys' and 'bad guys'... there are just... just a bunch of guys?" which reads a bit better.

It's about shades of grey in videogames (I hear you see a lot of that in "Shadow Of The Colossus"...) Also, it kind of makes you wonder, if AI gets really detailed. and you start getting AIs that have learned from their environment past experience, so you can't just clone an exact karmic duplicate...will it ever be enough to give the moral gamer pause, not because of the "real world" victim it represents, but because of what it is by itself?


Dirty Rotten Spammers of the Moment
Sigh, the bastards are still at it, trying to fill up the old comments on this site with tons of retarded SPAM links...luckily the fairly simplistic filters I made still work pretty well...there were some posts that might have been "testing the waters" and didn't have links and then it's only comments with links that need any scrutiny. I've had to add
online slot
caisno
betting site
to the list of words that are considered SPAM if the post includes a link, and then
Just to say hellow!
Nice blog!
Realy good site!
Thank you for the info!
Thank you very much!
Very interesting blog!
Very nice blog.
Your site is realy very interesting.
are the forbidden phrases..forbidden if they're the only content of the post.

The Spammers are grabbing text from somewhere to look less suspicious to a script...sometimes with amusing results:
the destruction of all out natural resources We can already see the caisno somewhat curious They ignored him He reached the cafe and went .
--Allan Jaleel
First safety released! betting site away The buttons at the top of her dress were undone and her bra was .
--Khalil Irving
W00T, hot stuff.

(1) when iris eyes are smilin'
2006.01.10
Quote of the Moment
"I really do believe I can accomplish a great deal with a big grin. I know some people find that disconcerting, but that doesn't matter."
--Beverly Sills

Creepy Image of the Moment
After this Google Homepage Ask Yahoo about Babies and Blue Eyes, I got to trying to research more about eyes changing color...I've had some dramatic swings, though the jury seems mixed about whether eyes gradually change color in healthy adults, or only for certain pathologies...

So I found this image from healty-option, which I find really disturbing.



If it's too much for you, maybe take a quick hop over to Cute Overload...


(6) the real message: life is insufficiently filled with delicious pudding
2006.01.11
Quotes of the Moment
"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth."
--Umberto Eco (via Candi and Max)

"This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous - indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose."
--Richard Dawkins


(6) mac and cheese and god
2006.01.12
Quote of the Moment
"Macaroni and cheese is good, the manna that God gave to the Christian people in the wilderness, which is where we are still living."
--Garrison Keillor

Link of the Moment
Killer Robots from Space is a good little comic with a lot of neat quirky ideas. It's still pretty easy to read through the whole thing, but if you're in a hurry, my favorite was the culinary and moral dilemnas from On the advertisement of foodstuffs, followed by Please, "journal", and The Outer Space Manual of Style, Pt. II (this clip is from Pt. I) The trend seems to be gradually improving for the comic, so that's good. (via Lore's site The Slumbering Lungfish)


(7) that'sa my grandpa!
2006.01.13
Raunchy Joke of the Moment
A small girl was lost at a large shopping mall.
She approached a uniformed policeman and said, "I've lost my grandpa!"
The cop asked, "What's he like?"
The little girl replied, "Crown Royal whisky and women with big tits."
--rec.humor.funny

Q/A of the Moment
In the US, laptops have started outselling desktops. That's kind of interesting...for myself, I've realized that having my own cheap laptops around has changed my relationship to "computing", freeing me from the desk. And I can imagine that in 10-20 years, desktop PCs will seem a bit like relics...the possibility of having more power than in a portable package just won't outweight the convenience, except in a few specialty applications.

Loveblender of the Moment
--Cartoon for this month's Love Blender digest ramble, which is actually this kisrael entry. Still a good month for the Blender. I like the Atomic Heart but I get a funny feeling like I've doodled it before...


Mac of the Moment
Unsanity is not too impressed by the new Intel-based Apple MacBook Pro. They make a lot of good points, but
Another change is, of course, the name. Which is horrible. It doesn't roll off the tongue at all and is just too confusing. It actually sounds like some child created it. Well, some PC using child. It's uninspired. The PowerBooks were not named for the chip they used (unlike the PowerMac) as they used a 68k processor and were called PowerBooks long before the PowerPC chip was in them.
Are you kidding me? They're defending the name "PowerBook"? The only reason it's good is because people are used to it! Otherwise "PowerBook" would sound like a concept that escaped from a children's Sunday School Animated Series as a more radical term for "The Bible". Seriously.


the squad
2006.01.14
Funny of the Moment
Permafrost will keep the vault below freezing point and the seeds will further be protected by metre-thick walls of reinforced concrete, two airlocks and high security blast- proof doors.
Sounds like a challenge!

I'm forming a high skills mercenary team to go in and get those seeds.

I'll need an Olympic level biathlete , a demolitions expert, a Harrier pilot, a (preferably beautiful) horticulturist, an eskimo, a fence, and possibly an astronaut and/or a Mason.

Equal Opportunity Employer

--Ugmoe in response to this Slashdot story about a "Doomsday" seedbank in the Arctic Permafrost that Norway is planning to build.


(3) travellin' man day 1
2006.01.15
I'm in Dallas for work this week...can't guarantee what my online access will be, and don't actually have time to do a full "backlog flush" so bear with me as I try to cobble up something interesting for these days...

How misguided is it that one of the big things attracting me to a job with travel, besides scouting out various regions, and having the experience of more client-facing work, is that I think I might get in some solid extra time to read? I just assembled a "remember to pack this list" on my Palm and while "swimming suit", "GPS" and even "laptop" had question marks after them, "books" did not.

And by the way: Merry Christmas, Broncos. Pats, five turnovers do not a returning champion make.


Music of the Moment
So years I got this CD Cra-a-zy Hits, a collection of 60s novelty songs. I think I wanted "Wipeout" for our new CD player, but far and away my favorite song on it now is Pigmeat Markham's "Here Comes The Judge"...

It's a very odd song. For one thing, it has a terrific funk groove that sill sounds good these days. But beyond that..it predates the mainstream appearance of Rap by like two decades but still has the exact cadence of early Hip Hop. And the whole thing carries an anti-Vietnam message, to go along side the bragadoccio, now-racist-sounding black types and corny knock-knock jokes....that Amazon link has a clip from it, it's worth checking out. But here's a big chunk of the lyrics:
Hear ye, hear ye!
This court is now in session!
His Honor, Judge Pigmeat Markham presidin'

Hear ye, hear ye, the court of swing
It's just about ready to do that thing
I don't want no tears, I don't want no lies
Above all, I don't want no alibis!
This Judge is hip, and that ain't all,
He'll give you time if you're big or small
All in line for this court is neat...Peace brother,

Here comes the Judge! Here comes the Judge!
Everybody knows that he is the judge!


Everybody near or far!
I'm goin' to Paris to stop this war!
All those kids gotta listen to me,
Because I am the judge and you can plainly see
I wanna big 'round table when I get there.
I won't sit down to one that's square
I wanna lay down the law, it better not budge,
I'll bust some head because I am the judge!

Here comes the Judge! Here comes the Judge!
Everybody knows that he is the judge!


[then the song breaks for some knock knock jokes...]

*knock knock* Judge: "Who's there?"
Guy: "Eyes"
Judge: "Eyes who?"
Guy:"Eyes yo' next door neighbor!
[wild laughter]
Judge: "Order in this courtroom! Order in this courtroom!"
Gal: "Judge, your Honorship, High sir...Did I hear you say order in the court?"
Judge: "Yes...I said order!"
Gal: "Well, I'll take two cans of beer, please."

He is the judge, he is the judge!
Everybody knows that he is the judge!

So final bit of Kirk trivia: Pigmeat Markham is probably most well known for the "Judge" routine on "Laugh-In", along with his catch phrase "You can look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls."...and my family had a set of Funk and Wagalls encyclopedias when I was growing up, so I will always have a soft place in my heart for that line...


(10) travellin' man day 2
2006.01.16
So this is Texas...I think it may well be the first time I've been west of the Mississippi, except maybe in an airport en route to Mexico.

At the airport I saw a few cowboy hats. It got me wondering, and I mean this sincerly; how does a guy wearing a hat decide to wear a dark hat or a light hat? Do they pick one shade and stick with it? Does a dark hat reflect an inner dangerous streak?


Kid Games of the Moment
OICURMT!


O I C U 8 1 2


A B C D goldfish
L M N O goldfish!
O S A R...S M P N?


F U M?
    S, E F M.
F U X?
    S, E F X
O K L F M N X
--I learned these when I was a kid...I admit that now the goldfish thing doesn't make a lot of sense.

UPDATE: In today's comments Catherine described what this other site calls the Cockney Alphabet...



(1) travellin' man day 3
2006.01.17
Mortality Quotes of the Moment
"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval."
--George Santayana

"After the game, the king and pawn go into the same box."
--Italian Proverb

"As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death."
--Leonardo da Vinci

"I am not dying, not anymore than any of us are at any moment. We run, hopefully as fast as we can, and then everyone must stop. We can only choose how we handle the race."
--Hugh Elliott

"Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome."
--Isaac Asimov

Birthday of the Moment
Happy 300th Ben Franklin! What a guy. If we have to have mostly presidents on our money, he makes one hell of a good idea for an exception.


(2) travellin' man day 4
2006.01.18
Poem of a Past Moment
Don't you know
how kisses can lie?
That taste of milk
and salt
That can be a matter of artifice
Carefully constructed
put together like a fine..
like a good story

But sometimes...
it can be nuthin' but truth

--Oct 11 2004. Not my finest poetic moement, but hey.

Boom and Bust of an Upcoming Moment
So a guy who they says totally called the 90s boom and the 2000s bust sees the same cycle happening again, but with a higher high and then in 2010 or so, a lower low, something between the US economic funk in the 70s and Japan's 90s and the actual Great Depression. "Maybe we'll see unemployment at 15 percent, give or take" -- ack, plus he thinks the worst part is deflation, as a result of the shrinking workforce. This kind of mirrors that one Atlantic article "a view from 2012" or whatever it was, that says some of the same thing though without the boom, especially with our insane amount of debt....

Wonder what I should do to brace myself, assuming this is roughly accurate... go crazy trying to get money now, but don't speculate too much investment-wise I guess....


(1) travellin' man day 5
2006.01.19
I don't know if it's Texas, the Dallas area, or just Addison, the town I'm in, but I don't like the tapwater. It's...murky tasting, I guess I'd say.

One of the guys I'm travelling with suggest: get a suit. Not that I'm dressed inappropriately, but he says clients always listen to him and he tends to win arguments when he's wearing a damn suit.


Quotes of the Moment
"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong."

"The main things which seem to me important on their own account, and not merely as means to other things, are knowledge, art, instinctive happiness, and relations of friendship or affection."

"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."

"The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation."

"The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours."

--All quotes from Bertrand Russell. I love that guy!


(11) travellin' man day 6
2006.01.20
Heading back to Boston tonight.

Yesterday was a real Worst of Times, Best of Times kind of affair. The day of work was really emotionally gruelling, with me feeling a bit like a duck out of water at times, and bearing some of the brunt of a mismatch between what a person at the client's was expecting and what we had prepared to do. But then after I had the greatest time...Aparajita from the Loveblender heard I was in Dallas, where she was working for a week, and so last night we met and went out for a drink. And cheese. Actually it's funny, I felt like a bit more of a local knowing where there was a good Tapas place..."De Tapas", not as deliberately funky as Dali's but good. And, most importantly...Sangria. I really needed some after today.

But the company was really great...it's only the second time I've met "IRL" with a Blender (or kisrael.com) fan. Internet nano-(not even micro-)celebritydom is so funny... fans of sites are amazed that the creators would deign to meet with the "common folk", while the site makers are just so flattered by the attention... and often attenion is why they do it in the first place.

But even beyond comparing notes on the Blender and what not, it was a genuinely fun and relaxing time. Thanks Aparajita! (I found out her name is borrowed from India, "woman with indomitable spirit", which is a lot better than the "uhhh, I dunno, Spanish maybe?" I had categorized under all these years.)


Lyrics of the Moment
It's the wrong time, and the wrong place
Though your face is charming, it's the wrong face
It's not her face, but such a charming face
That it's all right with me

It's the wrong song, in the wrong style
Though your smile is lovely, it's the wrong smile
It's not her smile, but such a lovely smile
That it's all right with me

You can't know how happy I am that we met
I'm strangely attracted to you
There's someone I'm trying so hard to forget
Don't you want to forget someone, too?

It's the wrong game, with the wrong chips
Though your lips are tempting, they're the wrong lips
They're not her lips, but they're such tempting lips
That, if some night, you are free
Then it's all right, yes, it's all right with me

--Cole Porter, "It's Alright With Me". What a lyric! Melancholy yet with a hint of lust.

Oh, and FWIW, I picked this poem as the closer for my week away a week ago, not as some weird coded message about some strange sordid affair with Aparajita... our time was filled with a cheese plate, rounded out by Sangria and laughs, and was totally innocent.



(4) wubbeda
2006.01.21
Back from Dallas, safe and relatively sound...

Vague Sexiness of the Moment
"The report found that each breast moves independently of the body by an average of nine centimetres during each step taken on a treadmill."
--Quoted in Candi's LJ. I found it weirdly sexy, in a "10 year old looking at African women in National Geographics" kind of way. It goes on to say that during a metric mile (I looked it up-- 1500 meters, 93% of a normal mile) a woman's "breasts bounce up to 135 metres under their own steam". Yowza! Unfortunately the original article goes on after to talk about the pain, discomfort, and ultimate sag associated with this, but still. I kind of like the "found sexiness" angle of that.)

Web Digression of the Moment
So today's title comes from Unwrap Party, a decently written piece of indecency that I remember from back in the day, where it's mentioned that "Wubbeda" is "the sound of jostling breasts". I remembered the term well enough to Google for it and find the story, along with the sad tale of Mark Wubbeda, no longer allowed to witness for Jesus while answering the phone at work. That site led to this article about short-lived, post-9/11 religious symbol Lucky Charms... "red crosses, yellow menorahs and blue minarets". I think the site is just a big deadpan hoax, but I just love the revision of the old jingle I thought of... "Frosted Lucky Charms, They're Magically Sacrilegious!"

Site Update of the Moment
So, I've upgraded the Comments Spam feature once again... there's this one linkfarmer who loves to have a script praise a site in a effusive but non-specific kind of way, and then have a link to a random theme site (like for certain medications), a blatant ploy to make up their rankings on the Search Engines. Luckily, they're not sure if their potential spamhosts support putting HTML in comments or not, so they tend to have the bare URL followed by the URL in HTML, so I now weed that pattern out.

For some reason this one is very fond of this day's entry. I don't know if that's a particularly Google-juiced page or what.

Farkin' spammers. Repent your wicked ways or die slowly and painfully.


(1) be a man
2006.01.22
Exchange of the Moment
"You left something here"
"What?"
"Your underwear."
"Oh... hee hee"
"Yeah, it's disappointing. I gave you a pair of boxers, and you can wear them around...
...anything I do with your underwear ends up being weird."
--Jeffrey Brown, from his short comic novel Any Easy Intimacy. I also recently bought his Be A Man, a hilarious parody of his own work Clumsy and the people who told him to stand up for himself more after that... he decides to play "what-if" in full-bore testosterone, and the results are laugh out loud funny.


(8) v2-ti frutti
2006.01.23
Link of the Moment

--I just like the retro-future feel of this German prototype rocket from Strange Stuff--from WW2 mostly... including Pykrete, that ice/woodpulp mix I kisrael'd a few years ago that they were thinking about using to make armored boats when raw materials were scarce in WW2.


(2) snakes on a plane!!
2006.01.24
A bit of the mundane life of Kirk; I'm not sure if it's my increased use of OSX and some of the paradigm shift it required, but I now don't have the immediate dislike of XP's "Group Similar Task Bar Buttons" option. I started using duing some stress-y times last week, when having a giant plethora of task bar buttons started to create a stress response.

Part of it is a kind of "letting go". In my old way of thinking, each task was some bit of activity context that I might want to return to...now I just try to take care of things before leaving that window, and most windows should be utterly disposable. There is a certain pleasure in right clicking on a taskbar group and clicking "Close Group" to remove a huge swath of windows.

It's kind of weird to even be thinking about this quite so much. And I'm not sure what to make of my own conservatism about changing my personal mental models to fit the technology I'm using....I guess it's like admitting my old models were inferior for the task at hand, or that ultimately computers aren't as flexible as we might like.

UPDATE: (yes, I'm still thinking about this. Damn, this is terrible blogging, just a step above "what I had for lunch today"...) Come to think of it, using more computers on a regular basis might also be part of this. It used to be I had two computers in my daily life, home and work. Now with a few laptops to choose from... you don't want to get too hung up on what windows you had hanging open on some other machine.

Oddness of the Moment
--On the plane to Dallas, Wired's coverage of the upcoming movie once called "Snakes on a Plane" had me laughing out loud. Mostly this "poster" and the wigu cartoon they included.


Quote of the Moment
"Humor is just another defense against the universe."
--Mel Brooks


(18) do what you do. love what you love.
2006.01.25
Article of the Moment
Here's some food for thought...the ever-wise Paul Graham on How To Do What You Love.

I'm having a hard time with that kind of stuff now. Right now, job-stress is really twisting up my life; cranky and extraordininarily demanding clients, a technology base that's always a moving target, never having time to sit and learn... there are parts of it I do love, but the other parts seem really dangerous. Combined with this other, independent project I've been contacted with to work on during my freetime....something with huge memesphere potential, but would probably require me mastering a few new technologies...ugh.

I so should have taken a few months of hiatus.

I kind of feel like I'm biding my time before I finally get around to moving to some place where I don't feel so swamped by the seasons, but then again, I think I need some kind of stronger kick in the seat of the pants than that to do anything about.


(8) you've lost that lovin' filling...
2006.01.26
Went to the dentist this morning. Things went well...despite a number of fillings from back in the day, my teeth seem strong. So like I said to the dentist, that must mean I'm lucky to have gotten my dad's teeth (my mom has had a number of problems.) He responded with "well, is he going to want them back?" I like my dentist, so I decided not to kick a hoary old chestnut while it's down by saying "Hmm, I don't think so, he died when I was a teenager, guess he won't be needing them so very much."

Snipes of the Moment
Technically there are 55 Republicans in the Senate, but that's not counting their favorite shill Joe Lieberman. He's a Democrat because...well...he's from Connecticut. And he's Jewish. But Lieberman has spent his time since "losing" to Bush/Cheney in 2000 spooning the White House and attempting to inoculate their increasingly insane policies from legitimate criticism. Resembles Tex Avery cartoon character Droopy Dog in voice, demeanor, and spinelessness.
--The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005. Heh, Droopy Dog...THAT'S who I've been thinking of. I thought he was a terrible choice of a running mate in 2000. (Link via Bill the Splut.)

Cartoons of the Moment

--Gipper, the Talking Points Duck. (Also via Bill) Man, Mallard Fillmore is so bad. And it looks like the Globe added another conservative political shill comic, Prickly City. Clinton jokes, how fresh!


(18) you don't go to war with regular laws, which are made outta red tape and bureaucracy and neville chamberlain
2006.01.27
Political Funnies of the Moment
A. If the law outranked the president we'd never get anything done! The president would go toss Osama bin Laden through a plate glass window and the law would call him into his office an go "Dammit president, you're outta control!"
Q. And then the president'd be all "You're outta control, chief! The whole freakin system's outta control!"
A. And then the president would totally turn in his badge and quit the force to fight crime!
Q. Fight crime... with mind-powers.
--from Q & A: Our Omnipotent President. I also liked "You don't go to war with regular laws, which are made outta red tape and bureaucracy and Neville Chamberlain. You go to war with great big strapping War Laws made outta tanks and cold hard steel and the American Fightin Man and WAR, KABOOOOOOM!"

But, and maybe I'm kind of naive, but I'm not all that fired up against the wiretapping as I might've expected myself to be. Maybe it's kind of a sort of dumb trust in the system, or just general anxiety about terrorism, and/or the idea that "well it won't likely bother ME...", but I I'm guess more flexible about the balance between seurity measure and personal freedoms.


Birthday of the Day
Happy Birthday Mozart! For some reason it's kind of odd to put his birthday up againt Ben Franklin's, 50 years and 10 days earlier. Mozart, and I guess classical music in general, just feels like part of the cultural cosmos, versus my knowledge of the founding of my country, so that the "World Before Mozart" seems like it should be older than the "World Before Benjamin Franklin".

Doing some googling...the two men died within a year of each other, reflecting Ben's longevity and Mozart's young death. Plus, Ben made a new instrument (inspired by the classic "running fingers along the rims of wet glass goblets" trick) called the Armonica for which Mozart wrote some pieces. I found one site with a virtual Armonica... though judging by the movie of "Ben" playing a real one, it sustains the notes a bit too much.


(10) yippy ki yay
2006.01.28
I ended up having fewer interesting photos from Texas than I expected.

Here's one oddity....the room had a note waiting for me that said, in part:
Please let us know what you think of our new bedding package. At this time, we are still waiting on two items that will complete this initiative; bed skirts and bed scarves. We have been waiting on these items for the last several weeks and could not, in good conscience, wait any longer to let you feel the new bedding.
What amuses me is the "in good conscience" bit. I never thought bedding would carry such a moral imperative... Here's a photo of the bed once they got to adding the "bed scarf":



I have to admit, the scarf didn't seem that great to me. It was there just for my final night, and actually had fallen on the floor by the next morning. The rest of the bedding was excellent, and I don't see that a decorative scratchy throw adds to it that much.

Anyway...one other bit of Texas ephemera...



Beek jerky in convenient (?) "chewing tobacco" shredded form. Pretty gross. It was pretty finely shredded, I was expecting something more like "big league chew".

So, the only shots I really like are of these flocks of birds in Addison...




Umm, don't park your car under the trees in that area. But full size versions of the images are on my desktop backgrounds page.

Finally, the ugliest self-portrait I've ever taken...



Tada.

(11) this is the end
2006.01.29
Geekness of the Moment
Slashdot linked to a collection of classic game endings...mostly from the 16-bit SNES/Genesisera. Some good stuff in there. I always liked the Super Mario Brothers 2 ending, even if it has that element of "it was all just a dream". Actually, endings that displayed the cast of bad guys and their names, like Star Fox, are pretty cool. I kind of wish the movies showed more of the final boss fights though...

Quote of the Moment
"Turn the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles."
--Frank Lloyd Wright. I wonder if some people suspect that this has already happened.


(3) you fill up five senses
2006.01.30
Quote of the Moment
"Five senses; an incurably abstract intellect; a haphazardly selective memory; a set of preconceptions and assumptions so numerous that I can never examine more than minority of them - never become conscious of them all. How much of total reality can such an apparatus let through?"
--C S Lewis

Geekness of the Moment
--This is a Remote Control Steam-Powered Walking Centipede Engine! Steampunk come to life, nice....


Math Geekness of the Moment
So there's a weird bit of math that BoingBoing covered where "1" shows up as the most significant digit (i.e. the leftmost non-zero digit) much more often than you might expect, at least when you're actually using a process to make numbers rather than just picking digits at random. I love how this idea was discovered by a guy who noticed that a book of logarithms at GE was much more worn for numbers that began with one... (Actually, that "page wear and tear" is an interesting type of metadata that most electronic systems are hard-pressed to replicate, though they're trying. I've heard about that at other places, like the most important pages in a parts book at an autoshop show the most grease and wear, and so stuff gets easier to find as time goes on.) Anyway, today boingboing linked to a cool Flash Toy that shows the principle in action. Take a number, keep multiplying it by another number, and you get 1... something more more often than any other digit.

I think I get the idea behind the math, but I'm not 100% sure. (Look! Another "1"!)


(7) dead theory sketch
2006.01.31
Making the Rounds of the Moment
Customer: Hello. I wish to complain about this so-called 'scientific theory' what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very establishment.

Salesman: Oh yes, 'Intelligent Design'. What, uh... what's wrong with it?

Customer: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. Its vacuous, that's what's wrong with it!

Salesman: No, no, uh... what we need now is to 'teach the controversy'...

Customer: Look matey, I know an empty 'argument from incredulity' when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Salesman: No, no, it's not empty: it's just being elaborated. Remarkable theory, 'Intelligent Design', innit, eh? I mean, just look at all these books and articles: millions and millions of words...!

Customer: The verbiage don't enter into it, my lad. It's stone dead. It's a non-starter. Empirically untestable, it belongs in metaphysics. This 'theory' makes no predictions; has no contribution to make beyond extended polemics; and can't even be honest about who it thinks the 'Designer' was. Bereft of all logical and epistemological credibility, it has no scientific status! If certain right-wing and fundamentalist pressure-groups hadn't hit upon it as a way of opposing decades of uncomfortable scientific and social progress, it'd be pushing up daisies! It's off the table. It's kicked the waste-paper bucket. THIS IS A NON-THEORY!

Salesman: Well, I'd better replace it then. [takes a quick peek around] Sorry, squire: looks like that's all we've got...

Customer: I see, I see. I get the picture.

Salesman: I've got a piece of coal that looks quite a bit like a human tibia, if you squint at it...

Customer: Pray, is it part of a theory that unifies the paleontological and biological sciences and leads to a powerful understanding of observed homologies and the nested hierarchy of life?

Salesman: Not really.

Customer: WELL IT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT FOR DARWINISM THEN, IS IT?

--Saw this on Usenet, seems to be making the rounds. Sometimes it seems like Monty Python really is the Alpha and Omega of geek humor, or at least a definate shibboleth.

Actually I don't know if this is even funny if you don't know the original source.


Politics of a Past Moment
"I must say to you that the state of the Union is not good."
--Gerald Ford in his 1975 State of the Union Address... Slate points out that they don't HAVE to be the big cheerleading, rah-rah sessions that they've become...and I agree, the applause and posturing is just silly.

In other news, Sayonara Greenspan! Hope the next guy does as well, and that we manage to get this whole "massive crushing debt" thing back under control.



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