As I predicted my commute change led to a decrease in books read, though I didn't know that was a trend. I'm surprised to see that I haven't, in fact, been playing as far fewer video games through as I had thought. I think the early 2000s amount of movies-on-tv was from having a tv in my home office and the mid-2000s spike in videos was the discovery of Netflix.
I always feel he need to apologize for this, and I'm not sure if anyone reads my recommendations all that closely. Still, if nothing else these are notes to my future self, who I hope will always be at least a little bit interested.
Movies at the Cinema (18)
Xmen Origins: Wolverine,
Angels and Demons,
Where the Wild Things Are,
Watchmen was a solid translation of the comic, and I liked the change they made to the ending.
I was delighted to see the return of Kirk as the pre-eminent Captain with Star Trek.
Up was beautiful and touching.
IMAX Transformers 2 made it just a terrific spectacle, and if you take it for what it was it was pretty great.
Funny People and Whatever Works were both kind of sweet-nature comedies.
I love the way Where the Wild Things Are didn' try to prefectly map the realm with the monsters to their parallels in the "real world".
Finally Avatar was stupendous, especially in IMAX 3D.
Movies on DVD (37)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona,
Ali G Indahouse,
Shaun of the Dead,
Better than Chocolate,
Burn After Reading,
Zack and Miri Make a Porno,
The Day the Earth Stood Still,
Repo: the generic opera,
The Big Lebowski,
Rosencrantz + Guldernstern are Dead,
Henry and June,
Bender's Big Score,
The Butterfly Effect,
(500) Days of Summer,
The Station Agent,
Better Than Chocolate,
Across the Universe,
I got the chance to revisit a lot of favorite videos with JZ and Amber.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona was new to me, but, you know, it's still Woody Allen.
Shaun of the Dead is still my favorite Zombie flick.
Better than Chocolate is still a great and sexy without being tawdry young lesbians in love flick.
Everyone needs to see Blues Brothers.
I watched Burn After Reading and In Bruges with cmg, and both were funny but dark.
The Big Lebowski, American Beauty, Rosencrantz + Guldernstern are Dead are all classics.
As is Henry and June, and I'm still irritated NC-17 isn't a legitimate film category or movie makers.
Pushing Tin is fun. Ponyo had a Disney release but we caught it on bootleg.
I'm not sure how I missed The Butterfly Effect - maybe I was scared of Ashton Kutcher, but it's really a thoughtful sci-fi piece.
(500) Days of Summer was romantic and lovely.
Stick It and Drumline are two great teens-over-adversary montge flicks with great visual moments.
Robocop is Robocop.
Chasing Amy is Chasing Amy - a bit awkward but still nifty.
Across the Universe is a lovely rework of so many Beatles pieces, and
Backbeat is their story in Hamburg - very sweet and romantic.
Finally Kama Sutra is not as sex-crazed as you might hope, but it's a simple story well-told.
Things on Television
Resident Evil: Extinction,
VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs,
Wizard of Oz
Wizard of Oz is great, if sleepy. Amber and I watched through all five hours of
VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs and it was pretty cool, even if some of the choices are
baffling, and man... does TV really need that many reality shows with washed up hiphop performers?
Books (40) The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid,
Like You'd Understand, Anyway,
Magic for Beginners,
The Shangri-La Diet,
Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives,
Racing the Beam,
Holy Cow: an Indian Adveture,
The 10,000 Year Explosion,
Diary of Indignities,
The Great Fires,
The Book of Totally Useless Information,
Old Age Comes at a Bad Time,
(book of George Washington selected letters),
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal,
The Love Poems of James Laughlin,
Amerika: Russian Writers view the United States,
Me and You,
His Excellency George Washington,
A Home at the End of the World,
Everything is Illuminated,
The Adventure Capitalist,
He's Just Not That Into You,
Interpreter of Maladies,
The Photograph as Contemporary Art,
And Another Thing*,
A Catalogue of Unfindable Objects,
The Case for God*,
You Better Not Cry*,
1,001 Things They Won't Tell You,
Nothing to be Frightened Of,
Ounce, Dice, Trice,
Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes,
Franny and Zooey
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - nostalgic but not sickly sweet look back to the 50s.
Uniforms was a surprisingly cool read, though the author was a bit of an elitest.
Like You'd Understand, Anyway were some brilliant and well-searched short pieces on people surviving extremely difficult circumstances.
The Shangri-La Diet has an awesome idea thouh I'm not proof positive it works.
Effective Java should be read by every Java programmers.
Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives was like "Einstein Dreams" but about various incarnations of the afterlife and God.
Racing the Beam was a cool in-depth look into programming for the Atari 2600.
Holy Cow: an Indian Adveture showed me just what amazing diversity India sports.
The Great Fires is the best book of romantic poetry ever.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal was like a funny and pop-culture remake of the Last Temptation of Christ.
Me and You is a superbly sensual story I first read in college.
His Excellency George Washington pointed out what a toweing figure this guy was.
A Home at the End of the World made me wonder why all books can't be this sensual.
Everything is Illuminated is also good as a movie.
And Another Thing was a worthy Hitchhiker's Guide sequel.
A Catalogue of Unfindable Objects was referenced in "The Design of Everyday Things" and is a brilliant bit of design fantasy and social commentary, though a bit French.
The Case for God was a profound survey of religion, and makes me wonder if people really were that good at seperating the "mythos" from the "logos".
You Better Not Cry was classic Augusten Burroughs but hearing him read his own stuff was terrible until I listened to it at double speed.
Nothing to be Frightened Of is an interesting musing on mortality.
Ounce, Dice, Trice is a fun kid-friendly book about words, meant to be read aloud.
Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes had some neat thoughts about the attempt to capture humor in writing.
Franny and Zooey told me that I was wrong to dislike Salinger so immensly after "Catcher in the Rye".
The Boys Vol 1,
The Boys Vol 2,
The Boys Vol 3,
Help is on the Way,
Astonishing X-men: Dangerous,
Astonishing X-men: Gifted,
All-Star Superman #2,
Funny Misshapen Body,
Star Trek: Countdown,
The Man Who Loved Breasts,
Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed?,
What it Feels Like to be a Building
Secret Identity started kind of corny but turned into a decent Superman tale.
I loved the insanity of Emperor JokerHelp is on the Way is a compilation of the web comic "Basic Instructions".
I reread The Watchmen in preperation for the movie, and I thought the movie held up.
Funny Misshapen Body might be Jeffrey Brown's most informative work.
Blankets is a great graphic novel, sweet, romantic, a great study into growing up among bible thumpers - Amber's first
Pekar remains strong in Another Dollar,
32 Stories is Optic Nerve.
The Man Who Loved Breasts is funny, and
Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed? is the sweetest thing ever.
Empowered 1-5 are these really weird mashups of superhero and B+D comics - light hearted and not TOO too porny for all of that.
What it Feels Like to be a Building is just a neat book about the pressures walls and ceilings face every day.
Video Games (11) EDF 2017,
GTA4: Thoe Lost + Damned,
Gears of War,
Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen,
GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Guess I still love me some EDF 2017, maybe the best B-movie game ever, and hecka fun for two people.
Gears of War is still a definitive classic.
Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen is a competent little reward-driven shooter.
Portal is of course brilliant.
Flower is poetic and beautiful, and
GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony is probably the ulitmate little GTA4 game, with mission select, a tank, and skydiving.
Overall I'm a little sad I'm not playing more games. I got into but didn't finish Retro Challenge, Scribblenauts, and
GTA: Chinatown Wars. on DS -- I guess I don't find it the most compelling system.
I also saw the stage show "The Buddha In His Own Words" which was pretty decent.
Interesting conversation with Amber, brought Daoism into idea of coping with seasons; probably of the dao to adapt your life to slower pace of dark winter, but a mistake to let it dominate your life and totally hibernate.
I love lime and lemon juice in those plastic containers shaped like the fruit; if, say, they were only available in Japan, I would've bought dozens of them.
The great Renaissance essayist Montaigne loved sleep; his only frustration was that when you are asleep, you are not conscious of its pleasures. He therefore instructed his servant to wake him in the middle of the night so that he could come into semi-consciousness in order to savor the feeling of sleepiness, and then enjoy the pleasure of going back to sleep. --Tom Hodgkinson, "How To Be Idle", a decent little read, if a bit elitist.In coding in a new environment, a really tight change/see change loop (ala Perl or JSP/ASP w/o really compiling) makes up for a lot.
Right side pocket: keys, wallet, camera. Left side pockets: iPhone, sunglasses, earbuds. Easier to count 3 items twice than 6 items once.
"You're crazy! You're actually crazy!" "They called Einstein crazy." "That's not true; no one ever called Einstein crazy!" "Well, they would have if he'd carried on like this..." --Casino Royale (1967) Man, aluminum foil is so cool. Like, whole rolls of thinly pressed metal you can just buy in the local market- crazy!
Realize I really get bugged by people and programs who say "those are inch marks, not proper quotation marks!" Who cares? If it were so important, keyboards should be set up to type them without relying on "Auto-Correct"... (and yeah "proper" quotes always break things in programming-land)
I keep forgetting how useful my "psyched" playlist of energetic music (so familiar to me that it's absolutely not distracting) can be.
Many of these books were written before 2000... this is just a subjective list based on me first encountering them at some point over the last decade. But I'd heartily recommend any of them to nearly anyone.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig. The way this book tries to reconcile the Engineer's View (detailed, analytic) and the Romantic View (general, emotional) and come up with a sense of Quality that is really the heart of Daoism is astounding. It's also a nice and very human and readable story.
Consciousness Explained, Daniel Dennett. This book I cited again and again. It's a tough read, but I'm still amazed at the solid Western, academic structure it uses to get around to an idea that's fundamentally Buddhist; that there's not as much of a "there there" when it comes to consciousness as we think. (Jeff Hawkins' On Intelligence is similarly thought provoking, and it's idea that the core idea of the mind is "predict and test" is actually more relevant to AI than this, but hey, I can only put ten books on this list... while I'm cheating like this I'd point out that The Mind's I remains the best easy introduction to this kind of thinking.)
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. I admit that in high school I ducked reading this book and Cliff Noted my way through it. I came back to it, thanks in part to reading about Charles Schulz' love of it. Now I'm convinced that it might not make sense until you've had a big unrequited love.
The Mezzanine, Nicholson Baker. One of my favorite books of the previous decade was Tom Robbins' Still Life with Woodpecker, which taught me to stop disrespecting objects just because they're inanimate. This book combines some of that feeling with the thoughtful analysis of Donald Norman's The Design of Everyday Things, and maybe just a hint of "Rainman". Famously it takes place entirely during one man's journey across a mezzanine and up an escalator, but mostly in flashback over the few days prior.
Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About, Mil Millington. In some ways not quite as pointed as the website that started it all, this is still one of the funniest books I've ever read. Admittedly men seem to dig this book more than women (even though some of the joy is the male unreliable narrator) and it is that "comedy of embarrassment" that some people don't dig.
Feet of Clay, Terry Pratchett. This book is a stand-in for all the Pratchett I discovered and devoured over this decade. In many ways Pratchett is a more thoughtful and emotionally in-tune Douglas Adams. And I think this book is one of the best of the "City Watch" novels; the scene of Vimes defending the Golem was heroism at its most beautiful.
How Can I Get Through to You?, Terrence Real. Recommended by the couples therapist Mo and I went to after the die had already been cast. What I most took away from it is the pattern that happens over and over, where a woman is unhappy with the growth of a relationship but doesn't want to nag, so doesn't say much, and the man is blissfully unaware and satiated, and the woman's discontent build and builds until it explodes, leaving the man stunned and bewildered.
The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac. I guess a small theme on this list is Westerners discovering some of the ideas of the spirituality of the East; and this book has that in spades. It introduced me to the concept that "Comparisons are Odious" - a thought that sounds profoundly unsustainable until you think about it, and realize that it does represent a positive thought, and points to a different way of being in the world.
Jar of Fools, Jason Lutes. I read a lot of Graphic Novels this past decade, and this is quite likely the finest; a very human and warm story, written with a compassionate eye and illustrated with a nicely restrained and clean, formal style.
A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge. The lone sci-fi book to make the list...
I actually prefer the same series'
A Fire Upon the Deep and how it stretched my mind about possible idea for alien consciousness, but I guess I read that last decade.
(Similarly Permutation City is a decent story that plays with the "what ifs" of putting consciousnesses into VR worlds, but I guess I read it farther back than I thought.)
Hmm- I'm surprised at how much less involved I felt with this list than yesterday's list of books. Anyway, the best ten movies I discovered over the last decade...
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - this movie never fails to knock me over. Such a great fantasy/sci-fi exploration that poses some really important questions about loss and heartbreak.
Vanilla Sky This movie plays with some of the same themes of broken romance and untrustworthy memory and alternate realities as does Eternal Sunshine... not quite as satisfying,
and the Spanish original might be a tad better, but this is the one I saw first.
Amélie - I might just be rewatching this tonight, or at least soon. Such a visually rich movie, and such a pretty idea...
The Cell - another super-saturated, visually stunning work of art, and I'm not just talking J-Lo's backside in a weird muscle-y bodysuit.
True Romance - I admit from here on in, my choices get more uncertain and arbitrary. This film had a lot of sweetness and swagger. My Blender review mentioned how "You're so cool" may just be the modern substitute for "I love you".
Secretary - another romantic film, albeit with some kink thrown in. There's a real tenderness here though.
Voices of a Distant Star an amazing but little-known piece of anime, written, directed and produced entirely by one person. Full of that peculiary Japanese sense of empty space and desolation - despite, or because of, the giant robots.
Juno - alright, I'm running out of truly great films here, but Juno was sweet, quirky, and a lot of fun, with the highschool girlfriend everyone wishes they had had.
Matrix Reloaded and
Matrix Revolutions - alright, I'm cheating and putting in two, but they were basically one movie, and not as crappy as everyone says. Once upon a time there was a great piece "Matrix: Resolutions" that pointed out how unworkable most of the fan boy preferred explanations were (like, "the Matrix is actually in another Matrix, and so on and so on") but all I can find is this site that takes it all too seriously.
Caffeine is the healthiest substance on Earth. Not only will it not kill you, it'll make ME not kill you. --http://twitter.com/rstevensCool, hip editors (Notepad++, IntelliJ IDEA) prefer "ctrl-w" to "ctrl-f4" to close windows. Is it more a multiplatform or browser thing?
"Hello, Samaritans ... I've had enough, I'm going to end it all ... I'm going to overdose on these homeopathic painkillers ... I'm going to take one fiftieth of the recommended dose." -- thefuckestuppest on http://b3ta.com
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - the series is getting a little repetitive, but I think for sheer hours of enjoyment, these games top the list. GTA4 is in most ways a better game, but Vice City was my first, plus it had helicopters, and captured that 80s "Miami Vice" feel in spades. Man, I love any game with a helicopter. Anyway, the way this series put fun missions over something very like a "living breathing world" that was fun just to tool around in, playing with cars, cycles, and guns... it's hardly topped in all of game-dom. (Also neat how your character is basically the same at the end of the game- it's the player that knows where all the guns and cool things are.)
Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader - I've always been a huge Star Wars fan boy, and honestly it's mostly because of the space ship stuff. This game that came out with the GameCube put you inside an X-wing... and that's all it had to do. The "Battle for Endor" level finale was the first time I saw anything of that scale, with just swarms of TIEs - the classic "There's too many of them!" line came home for the first time.
Earth Defense Force 2017 - best B-movie game ever, and probably the one I've beaten the most often, usually pairing up with JZ to take on the vast hoards of supersized ants, giant leaping spiders, and walkers straight out of War of the Worlds. I don't know what was more awesome - taking on this absolutely vast AT-AT behemoth (you come to about its little tow) or just destroying one of the more "normal" humanoid (but huge) walkers, only to see its brother trudging through the fiery smoke, guns blazing.
Bangai-O - one of the last hurrahs for the Dreamcast, a game I wrote a full Walkthrough FAQ for, and the pinnacle of what can be done with many, many, many tiny sprites. Plus the whole "wait 'til you're on the verge of lazery death, THEN bust out the massive devastating-offense-is-the-best-defense superweapon" mechanic is superb.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts - the most recent game on this list. The format is pretty typical, Mario-64 hub world challenges, but the ability to build your own car, copter, boat, plane, hovercraft, jet, bulldozer... and have the mechanics of what you put together really matter, in a cartoon-physics-y kind of way... honestly, it kind of blows LEGO out of the water.
Spybotics: The Nightfall Incident - an online LEGO tie-in, actually, by the sadly shut-down Gamelab. Lego seems to be dropping the game, but it still lives on, like at that link. Another one I made a Walkthrough for - (Junkbot is another great gamelab/LLEGOteamup, that arguably as a lot more to do with actual building, but it didn't grab me quite as much as the SNAFU-meets-turn based strategy of this one)
Fantastic Contraption - another Flash game, this one with a great clever building and physics element. Challenging puzzles, plus the way they made it community based, allowing people to see how others took on the challenges, was great.
WarioWare: Twisted! - the original game introduced the world to microgames, the tiniest bits of gameplay pleasure imaginable, wrapped into continuous trail of challenging fun. Twisted kept up the tradition, with a unique gyro-sensor used in all kinds of imaginative ways - plus the toys and minigames they gave you to unlock were a serious inspiration for my Java Advent Calendar
Jet Set Radio Future - some people still prefer the ground-breaking Dreamcast that basically showed the gaming world what Cel-shading could be. The xbox version raised the bar, making it more kinetic, and (IMO) wisely dumped the fiddly graffiti minigame. The soundtrack was also fantastic, probably more songs from here made it into my iPod than even DDR.
Two categories of honorable mentoins: also-rans, and multiplayer...
Multiplayer games provide me with many hours of bonding fun with my buds and family - Dr. Mario has risen to prominence, though it's pretty old at this point- but in terms of play this weekend, it plus "Puzzle League" were the go-to games.. Super Monkey Ball 2's Monkey Target is brilliant, the Dogfight is fantastic, Monkey Punch is just pure mayhem, and even the race was a good holdover 'til Mario Kart came out. (Mario Kart being another series not to be sneezed at.) Finally Super Smash Bros Melee took the brilliant middle-school "What if X fought Y" of the orignal and made it kinetic.
Mercenaries 2 may be the only game to really let me enjoy driving a tank around this generation - lots of little tactical "figure out how to get through this" options with lots of weapons, vehicles, and huge explosions.
Crimson Skies was a good prelude to Rogue Squadron, flying an old combat fighter around in an stylish alternate history, where the time between the World Wars was quite different... Super Mario Galaxies was just plain cool
Gears of War and Halo both get props for their Co-op modes, one of my favorite forms of gaming.
Finally, how can I forget my own labor of love , JoustPong for the Atari 2600???
All joking - and fears that it cost me my marriage (though that might be mixing cause and effect) aside - this is a great little head-to-head game, as we demonstrated at the New England Classic Gamers tourney we had.
Last week I saw a commercial that reminded me... I always kind of wanted to see a Monster Truck rally thing. It is a testament to Amber that she was willing to go along. (Actually she ended up kind of liking it as well.)
It was a small arena as these things go... so it was LOUD. People who knew what they were doing were packing earplugs. (It was a small arena, though also not such a packed house, not sure if today's show will have better attendance.)
Here are the trucks in their usual "ready to go" formation.
The first part was the races.
It's... I dunno, kind of like Pro-Wrestling? This kind of weird, powerful, over-macho event with moments of surprising balletic grace... each race is over in a flash, though.
Besides Grave Digger in that last one (who seems to be a bit of an institution in and of itself), "Monster Mutt Dalmatian" was the big crowd favorite, in part because of its wagging tongue, which was way cute.
Dalmatian was driven by Candice Jolly, so it was kind of neat to see women getting on this.
So, Megasaurus was this funny squarish vehicle on tank treads that trundled out...(while a surprisingly detailed backstory is laid out)
*erp* (the flamethrower was a nice touch throughout.)
Coming over to say hi to the crowd...
Here I started thinking about what kind of insurance these guys must have, and hoping that the "flame thrower" button was, like, very well marked.
You know, I thought it was more of a dragon than a dinosaur, but I wasn't about to press the issue...
OK, adolescent humor footnote -- there was a woman who was kind of the ringmaster for the thing, who would emcee and also a rodeo clown-type fella (no makeup, though a Mike Meyers mask at one point) who was a very good dancer, rode a weird modified chopper bike, and could throw a rolled up T-shirt WAY up into the high seats) They would try to keep the crowd engaged during down times. Anyway, it was hard to make out what she was saying sometimes, except the phrase "UTI" kept jumping out at us...
(you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means, but I might be wrong)
So there were 4 main events: the races, doing donuts, megasaurus, and then a fresstyle. Eradicator dominated the donuts, and there were a lot of those in his freestyle bit:
Anyway, a fun event in all. Our sectionmates were some interesting folks (though, jeez, some people really shouldn't be wearing thong undiess... but I liked the biker-lookin' fella with beard next to me, especially when he put on one of those grave digger hats that's a model of the famous truck) and it was just neat to see big loud machines do their thing.
"Don't worry about avoiding temptation—as you grow older, it starts avoiding you." --http://twitter.com/siwisdomSucking it up and reading the damn XSL book. Man, structured data wonks are such lousy salesmen, it makes me argumentative and wanting to point out the straw men.
Mostly, it's the ivory tower negatavism about pragmatic technologies; I hate screeds that ignore positives or influencing factors of things they don't like.
All these tax prep software sellers "FREE! (Federal Edition)" - talk about giving away the razors (except for maybe those 8 states w/o tax)
Felisdemens writing on her beloved J in her LiveJournal:
My love is the kind of love that wants to destroy his enemies and bring their severed, dripping heads to lay at his feet. But he doesn’t have any enemies. And if I brought him any severed heads he would look at me with benign puzzlement and say "I actually think I’d rather have a latte." And I’d get him one.
My love is the kind of love that rises from tar-black waters, all lashing tentacles and snapping jaws and insatiable hunger, primed to devour and subsume. But he leans out to put a warm palm between its mad yellow eyes, and it settles back under the surface burbling happily and does not eat either him or Tokyo.
My love is the kind of love that stands on top of the mountain with a fistful of lightning, prepared to bend the universe to my will and carve his name across the face of the sky. But he calls up to ask if I know where the checkbook is and if I want to get sushi tonight, and I let the lightning go, turn off the Doomsday machine and come down to discuss dinner plans.
I’ve been domesticated. But not constrained, not pressured to change. It's just that I walk beside a gentler man, and I want to keep his pace. Which is not to say that I don't have the Doomsday machine hidden behind the Triscuits in the pantry.
J, aka Mr.Ibis, is an incredibly good natured and jovial guide. Such a nice little tribute!
I wonder how many unconscious, or semi-conscious, thoughts might have be conscious, or semi-conscious, but forgotten...
Looking at a few little bookmark DBs I've started and generally abandoned over the years. It's hard not to be a packrat with this stuff - it's not like it takes up physical room - just mental space - and I hate the idea of "missing something" cool. It's hard to accept how much of the world I won't be able to bear witness to, give it the attention it deserves -- to accept that my life is complete as-is, that the "number of interesting things seen" is more of a quantitative than qualitative thing at this point.
"All energy is borrowed, and someday you have to give it back." --Avatar. I quoted that before, but man, it's a terrific thought.I was browsing laptops yesterday, thinking maybe one with a big screen might be an actual desktop replacement for me. It's funny though, they give the diagonal measurement, but you get less surface area if it's "widescreen" - I've always thought Megapixels were a poor way of judging the quality of a camera, but they're more honest than the '17 inch!" measurement of widescreen laptops and monitors.
Can you be energized by fear, rather than ducking it? Like the mad scientist/adventurer standing up to the alien light "Ain't it great? I'm petrified!" Maybe that's a more useful thing that being blasé about it all...
How many songs do you have in iTunes? How many do you actually carry? ~7500, ~1800 for me. (Not meant to be a contest, just wondering)
http://www.retrosabotage.com/mario/jumping.html - deconstruction of the italian plumber
"I'm, like, the black Greg Louganis of ice skating." --Curtis, via http://joshreads.com/?p=5326Ugh, Haiti.
"I had the flu yesterday, and I feel all wonky." "You own a giant chocolate factory staffed by pygmies?" --Cashan Stine and Danny SichelI used to think learners were either "memorizers" or "learners" - i.e. people who were better at memorizing factsvs those who learned basic concepts and applied them as needed. But maybe it's more like... "nouns" vs "verbs".
Spelling is nouns but English (literature) is verbs. Foreign language, "nouns". Physics is verbs, Chemistry nouns, which is why I think I was so much better at the former. Math was delightfully verby for me 'til Calc, then I started having to memorize more formulas that were too complex to figure out in real time.
Programming for me is verbs. When you understand the verbs, how things interrelate, you can easily google for the "nouns" that you expect to be there. Of course this is why I'm not a fan of big toolkits that promise to do everything for you once you set them up correctly - you get all the nouns setup and configured, but if the verbs don't end up being what you want, figuring out what went wrong and how is much, much harder.
"[dismissive hand] Dems cwums. No eat cwums." --me, circa-1979-or-so, explaining why I left the PB+J crusts behind.
Old Abe Lincoln
God damn your god damned old Hellfired god damned soul to
hell god damn you and goddam your god damned family's god
damned hellfired god damned soul to hell and god damnation god
damn them and god damn your god damn friend to hell god damn
their god damned souls to damnation god damn them and god dam
their god damn families to eternal god damnation god damn souls to
hell god damn them and God Almighty God damn Old Hamlin to
to hell God damn his God damned soul all over eveywhere double
damn his God damned soul to hell
Now you God damned old Abolition son of a bitch God damn
you I want you to send me God damn you about one dozen good
offices Good God Almighty God damn your God damned soul and
three or four pretty Gals God damn you
And by doing God damn you you
--letter to Abraham Lincoln, referenced in Bill Bryon's "Made in America" about how America contributed to the English language.
Fruits, in descending order of how soon I'll get to them: bananas, clementine, pear, orange, apple -a mix of tastiness, ease, & durability
Man, "OK" is such a great Americanism, our linguistic gift to the world. Just a nice understated expression of positive sentiment.
"The American was good natured, generous, hospitable and social, and he reversed the whole history of language to make the term 'stranger' one of welcome." --Henry Steele Commagerhttp://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/phd_students/backus/girlfriend - the author uses the Extra Terrestrial Life Drake Equation to explain why he doesn't have a girlfriend - real life XKCD!
Where do people go to poke at and then buy laptops? Micro Center has a decent selection, Bust Buy is meh, where else?
http://firstpersontetris.com/ - making the rounds. Dizzying!
http://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/437 - WHAT'S EXCITING? WRITING 371 GAMES IN THE LAST WEEKEND OF FEB THAT'S EXCITING - JOIN IN!!!!!!!
Did that "txt HAITI to 90999 to donate $10" thing - man, that is a damn convenient way of doing charity...
http://www.leftasanexercise.com/ -my MIT Mystery Hunt Team... ohboyohboyohboy -- hard core makin' me feel so stupid! There goes the weekend-
"In what are they created equal? Is it in size, strength, understanding, figure, moral or civil accomplishments, or situation of life? Every plough-man knows that they are not created equal in any of these. All men, it is true, are equally created, but what is this to the purpose? It certainly is no reason why the Americans should turn rebels." --The Gentleman's Magazine (A British Publication) on the Declaration of Independence, via Bill Bryson's "Made in America"
--"Left as an Exercise for the Reader's" cover of "Donnie Darko", for the 2010 MIT Mystery Hunt (30300 Anniversary Edition!)
Given that A. Compared to say, "Indiana Jones", "Donnie Darko" is a pretty tough cinematic nut to crack and B. half the people involved hadn't even seen the film (myself included) and C. The ambition the director/cinematographer had for this despite the 4 minute time limit and having hours and not days to work on it, it's pretty ok. Fun, anyway!
So yesterday I got a new laptop (Toshiba P505) with a 18.4" screen. "Laptop" might be the wrong word, I've had standalone monitors smaller than this.
The Toshiba P505 is good, but the "zero pressure media buttons" just to left of keyboard are WAY too easy to accidentally hit, plus they're hardwired to make a super-obnoxious BEEP?? What a dumb design decision - luckily you can just turn them off in BIOS.
Unsure if I dig "Aero's" translucent window borders, but long for a CSS virtual color "translucent" that showed the windows beneath.
This is one of those entries I always feel the need to apologize for... there's nothing geekier and sadder than a nerd listing out hardware he has or had.
But still, I realize I'm on the verge of forgetting some of this, and my future self might be interested, especially now as I might switching from a desktop to a laptop as my "main machine", the one that has the "official" copy of C:\data\ ...
Atari 800XL, ~1984-1988
Around the time of the Great Crash, some dealers were liquidating Atari stuff to give to the Salvation Army so I got this system. You know, this was a great computer for a kid geek to start with - it played games about as well as a C=64, but its BASIC had a lot more zip to it, in terms of graphics and sounds. (Only the Apple II seemed to be a better hacker maker.) Plus I loved its version of Logo...
Commodore 64, ~1988-1991
But this is the computer I really wanted, mostly because more games seemed to be made for it (at least it had more piracy going on at school.) This was a terrific Christmas hand-me-down for my uncle when he switched to PCs.
My first PC, senior year of high school. I begged my mom for it, justified by college, but really I saw Wing Commander in a magazine and NEEDED to play it.
"Lworks", this odd thing by Lotus, was my main word processor on it. Its design was a cool kind of "pizza box" that fit right under the monitor.
"Monk 2", ~1994-1997
A 486 in a giant tower and with a giant monitor. Mostly I wanted it for games... and it was great for that, at least 'til the dorms got networked and freshmen started kicking my butt with their much faster Pentiums.
"Monk 3", ~1997-1999
An ok "PCs for Everyone"-built Machine. I think Dylan figured out his sexuality thanks to the availability of sites and porn via modem when he was subletting from me.
"Monk 4", ~1999-2002
Toshiba desktop, another "pizzabox" style - man, I forgot this machine was problematic, its USB was never quite up to snuff. Foisted it off on some cousins.
"Monk 5", ~2002-2006
Monk 5 and Monk 6
HP tower. I still like the stickers I put on this one.
"Monk 6", ~2006-2009
An HP microtower. Cute, not a bad machine
"Monk 7", ~2009-now
Pretty much a direct replacement for Monk 6. Both are two small for their own good... Monk 7 every once in a while starts shutting itself off for no reason, and I fix it by dropping it a few inches.
Tandy 1100FD, ~1992-1995
Oh man, I loved this. No hard drive, gameboy-type (but somewhat larger) CGA 4-shades-of-spinach screen, but a good keyboard and a hard-wired text editor that was ready to go in seconds. I think this was $500-ish when I persuaded my mom to help me get it for college- I was an early adopter for taking notes in class with this thing, and it did its job well.
Tufts Connect Logo
Amazing slim laptop made my Mitac, 486- greyscale screen - ran Windows 3.1 like a champ. I shelled out for it (in the $800-1200 range) because I needed to take down diagrams in class- ASCII art on the Tandy wasn't always cutting it. With its trakball I doodled the logo they adapted for the Tufts dorm wiring project. After college I gave it to my mom but stupidly slapped Windows 95 on it, making it well-nigh useless.
Gateway 2000 Handbook, ~1996-2000
I didn't use this much, but for $50 I bought this adorable DOS machine off of Paul - it's kind of the form factor I had wished the Tandy had had. Never thoguht of a use for it though- even though it had a harddrive, I didn't have a way of getting stuff off and on it except maybe a serial cable.
A great little iBook I got an ebay. It kind of taught me that Mac didn't really work for me, alas. I gave it to Peterman when he helped me get the house ready for sale. The name comes from its egg-color and a devil BSD sticker he put on it. I think I got it back from him at some point, but then it got soda spilled in it.
I still have this Averatec laptop - nice moderate size. The power adapter on it got too wonky, despite my Uncle Bill taking a soldering iron to it... pretty good for DVDs in bed.
Ugh, this was meant to be a straight on replacement for Eggdevil but I cheaped it on Ebay, and got this stinky-ish Franenstein machine (the lid seems to be of a different material than the bottom). I keep getting Macs 'cause I want to get into Garageband music making software but never get around to it. I think this guy doesn't have enough memory to be actually useful, so it sits on a shelf.
Fujitsu Lifebook (x2), 2006-, 2009-
I can't say enough good things about this laptop! Touch screen, netbook-size before "netbook" was a concept, durable... been with me to Japan and Portugal. I actually have two of these now, I bought a spare when I realize I could get a refurbished backup for $250 on Ebay.
OLPC laptop, 2007-...
More of a toy, at least the way I use it, a One Laptop Per Child laptop I bought for the heck (and charity of it)
Bought a kind of cheap but big Acer laptop as an experiment (I think this was just before laptop prices started getting dragged down.) "24" is named after the Jeff Gordon sticker I had JZ get for me at NASCAR. Currently on loan, not holding up all that well.
A heavy duty Macbook Pro I bought off of JZ... served me well by running WinXP under VMware as a developer machine. Currently on long term loan to a cousin. Named after a redneck car detail I got at the Topsfield fair for it.
Oh boy. This is one of those HP touch ones that I had, and kind of have, high hopes for, but it's never felt 100% reliable and robust- had a bit of virus issue, the power plug seems a bit wonky like it was for "Sliver"... named for a "Yoooouk!" bumper sticker it wears that I got at a Red Sox game.
My new purchase, 18.4 behemoth of a machine, meant to let my "main machine" be a laptop, and make living at Amber's make more sense - so it could mark the end of the "Monk" era
TI flat thing, 1995-1997
Man, I wish I could find some record of this! It was a cool, flat PDA I bought off someone at Tufts - rubberized grey and maroon, it had holes so it could be placed in a 3 ring binder. I first started jotting down quotes in this thing, but I couldn't connect it to anything.
the decorated IIIc
Its hard to explain how cool this was. When I first heard about graffiti, and humans having to learn a new way to write, I was skeptical, but man, having a powerful notebook/calendar/todo in my pocket was just astounding.
Like the Pro, but slim and trim and awesome.
Heh, the laptop PCMCIA card-sized wonder was a bit too limited for recording notes and quotes, otherwise mighta been an ok PDA.
Palm IIIc, 2001-2003
Like the Pro but color... I kind of liked the minimalism of b+w but the text was so much more readable.
Sony Clié SJ22, 2003-2006
A nice little machine running PalmOS but with a double resolution screen. Nice soft flip case it came with.
PocketPC phone, 2006-2007
Oh dear. What a piece of crap this was. The slide out keyboard was nice but the OS was junk, despite kind of almost delivering on the promise of "an app where I can both doodle and write text" - in other words, why I bought a trackball laptop in 1995. It didn't just "butt-dial", it "sitting on the shelf by itself" dialed.
Palm Z22, 2007
I had forgotten about how much I loved this last gasp of
Palm PDAs - it was so comfortable to hold, and cheap and cheerful. It deserved a better fate than to be drowned while kayaking.
I didn't mean to be an early adopter of this, but I was, and haven't regretted it. Even when it didn't have things I took for granted on the Palm, like "add programs" and "copy and paste", from its home screen on down this felt like the Palm, plus music, plus a great browser.
iPhone 3G, 2008-
What can I say - I needed more than 8 Gb for the music I wanted with me.
I remember how annoyed and nervous I was at the old "PDAs are dead, here comes smartphones", before I realized how PDA-ish the smartphones would be. Heck, an iPod touch is a tremendous PDA, and that's just an iPhone minus the phone and camera...
Is driving a car out of where it's stuck in the slush and slow Taoist? You have to follow the natural path of where the car wants to go...
"Everyone who had a talent for it lived happily ever after" --Baron Munchausen. Oh for the days when you could have just a hint of Uma nipple and still get a PG rating...Rex is going to the vets to get snipped today. I feel a little bad but I guess it's just part of the deal cats and humans made on the species level.
MA FOLKS- don't vote for Republican filibuster today... we don't need a tyranny of the minority party!
"How are you all enjoying your new lives as biological robots? If the process went smoothly you should not have felt a thing." --http://twitter.com/rstevens
Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vaccuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1.5 tons. --unknown, Popular Mechanics, March 1949
"I kissed a girl and I think I didn't like it. Seriously, they're all mushy and smell like dryer sheets. What's the point?" --http://twitter.com/SteveDelfinoThe "Cosi" at my building has an iced coffee that tastes oddly of tea. I kind of like it.
Aw jeez, that pretty boy, filibustering Scott Brown is from Tufts? At least he was at BC when he was posing naked in Cosmo.
Tried out "Wii Fit Plus" last night. The "flap your arms to fly, lean in to steer" minigame is kind of magical/dreamy... still kind of skeptical about the game as a workout though, they don't chain exercises very well I think.
George Lakoff, a linguist, memorably described a noun class of Dyirbal (spoken in north-eastern Australia) as including "women, fire and dangerous things" --http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15108609 on the difficulties of various languages"The world is my piñata. I don't hit it with a stick; I grab that fucker and shake it for all it's worth.
Sometimes I get candy, sometimes I get bees. But I always get something!" --felisdemens
Amber noticed the NY Times is "VOL. CLIX" (volume 159) - CLIX is a nice Roman Numeral.
Funny how my Giant Laptop and little iPhone have the same black glossy rounded styling, it's like one is a shrunk down version of the other.
"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers." --James Thurber
--Body Parts as mentioned in Jazz songs, via
Fleshmap: Listen: Music project. (Warning, mildly NSFW)
Other genres have different featured parts. (Hiphop has by far the most diversity. Also the most Ass.)
Some of the other Fleshmap projects like Touch and Look are truly great and beautiful - and, duh, there is nudity, but just enough to make things make sense.
Driving with the window down- man I've missed that!
"I have a friend who's an artist and he's sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say, "Look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree, I think. And he says - "you see, I as an artist can see how beautiful this is, but you as a scientist, oh, take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing." And I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me, too, I believe, although I might not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is; but I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time I see much more about the flower than he sees. I can imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just of beauty at this dimension of one centimetre, there is also beauty at a smaller dimension, the inner structure. Also the processes, the fact that the colours in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pllinate it is interesting - it means that insects can see the colour. It adds a question: Does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which shows that science knowledge only adds to the excitement and mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds; I don't understand how it subtracts." --Richard Feynmanhttp://www.cracked.com/article_18386_7-mind-blowing-easter-eggs-hidden-in-famous-works-art.html - Cracked on Easter Eggs in famous art (NSFW)
Googled some of the folks in my UU "Science and Spirituality" group - there are some hard core MIT comp sci veterans (Jack Dennis, Edward Lowry) in that, kinda humbling!
Can't wait to find out if the Apple-Tablet-as-big-iPhone mockups are roughly on target or as silly as the 'iPhone-with-iPod-dial" ones were.
Rode in the front of the first car of the Red Line this morning. Always fun to be able to look down the tunnel, see the island of light each stop becomes.
http://tiltshiftmaker.com/ - if you have some nice urban landscape or otherwise photos about, tiltshiftmaker is pretty awesome.
http://daringfireball.net/2010/01/the_original_tablet - on the verge of The Tablet, pondering the hubristic glory of the Apple New Newton (and why Palm ate its lunch)
Thinking of the value of the Newton makes me try to remember - what'd I like PCs for, pre-'Net? Games, Word Processing, Mouse Doodling...
I wonder if the inventor of the Snuggie uses one, or was just great at thinking up a niche, possibly full of cynicism about couch-potatoes.
http://obliquelyreferential.blogspot.com/2010/01/braid-contemptuous-hair.html - about the bad writing of the brilliant game BRAID. I see what he means about the writing itself, but some of the images presented, the theme of romantic regret, were lovely, and I love the line:
Off in the distance, Tim saw a castle where the flags flutter even when the wind has expired, and the bread in the kitchen is always warm. A little bit of magic.
Possibly I'm guilty of wanting it to be better than it actually is.
Anyone get that feeling of reading something they wrote long ago - old email, old Usenet posts, old letters - and having no memory of having written it whatsoever? Like, you have to take something else's word for it that it was by you! How do you know that was really you? In some non-trivial sense, maybe it's not?
A knack at living in the moment can sometimes bring with it a feeling of disconnection from your future and past self...
Wow, water and sewer, the networks that really connect us all. How daunting it must've been to set that up in a frontier America town...
Wow, Apple Tablet AND State of the Union ON THE SAME DAY??
AUTO-BEATNIK POEM NO. 41: INSECTS ALL CHILDREN ARE SMALL AND CRUSTY. AN IRON CAN SAW ALL DRAGONS, AND ALL PALE, BLIND, HUMBLE WATERS ARE CLEANING. AND FLYING WOEFULLY IS LIKE CLOSING SWEETLY, A INSECT, DUMB AND TORRID, COMES OF THE DADDYO, HOW IS A INSECT INTO THIS FUR? --Anonymous Computer, Glendale, California, from this March 3, 1961 issue of LIFE Magazine. Weirdly, Bill Bryson and others quote it with lines 2 and 4 missing."Our safeguard is that, no matter how intelligent we are able to make computers, we can always reach down and pull out the wall plug. Of course, we will have to make sure we don't supply the computer with an arm that could keep us from unplugging it." --Frank Matthews (same LIFE article)"I feel bad for all the furries looking for Avatar movie porn who have to wade through the Avatar: The Last Airbender porn." --http://twitter.com/loresjobergYesterday, watching through the front window of the MBTA train, I saw emergency exits every few hundred yards. Where do they exit to?
http://www.boingboing.net/2010/01/27/cuddle-class-couches.html - man, that is the most appealing vision of commercial air travel I've seen
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/1/22/ - mildly NSFW take on today's Apple Madness. FROTH.
Following live gdgt feed . Remember when they called it "the Jesusphone"? (PS is this stuff taking down Twitter?)
iPad: "so much more intimate than a laptop" -Jobs "this just proves to me that everybody in the focus group... ...is a dude" -KjWow, MadTV called it first.... RT @cobiegoesboom wait wait wait.. ipad? you mean like.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTzhXMbOWHE ?
All this iPad 3Ging makes me wanna go over my iPhone bills, both in terms of MB used and that damn SMS thing. (Hahaha, welcome to AT+T, iPad. Suckers.)
$500 Price point ain't bad! I was kinda skeptical about "better than netbook" but now I at least need to see if it makes a good doodle pad.
Heh, and of course, now the iPhone feels slightly less cool- still, Palm bested Newton with "inferior" tech; pocketability is a sweet thing.
Hmm - does the AppStore let you put iPhone software on iPad or do you have to fork out again?
I wish Apple and not Microsoft used placenames for project codenames, because I want to think of people working up the iDaho. Or maybe the iOwa.
It's dumb enough that my XP install pretends the Dell's touchpad is a PS2 mouse; dumber that it's stuck with f'in "tap to click" set to "on". Tap to click is such a terrible idea anyway. Really, any "gesture" that is trivial to replicate on accident is terrible, terrible UI. Same with "drag on side of trackpad to scroll" - unless the trackpad has physically demarcated "scrollzones".
Can't believe how much I'm tweeting/kisraeling today.
"So, Steve Jobs has done what he tried to do in the 80s: he's created a closed Mac. http://ow.ly/115jc " --http://twitter.com/peterkirn
--the other night cmg and I happened upon this tableau of deconstruction in Malden... it was so theatrically lit, it was kind of spooky. A reasonably friendly security cop guy mentioned there had been some looting, so hence the light and security detail...
"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places – and there are so many – where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." --Howard Zinn, 1922-2010http://axecop.com/ -- "a completely amazing comic strip written by a 5-year-old" (via http://twitter.com/SpindleyQ)Sigh, snowflakes. I can't be the only one who gets lulled by the 50 degree weather into thinking "maybe winter's done early..."
Google how is twitter making money - two Wired articles, "Twitter to Get Down to Business in 2009" and "Twitter To Make Money In 2010"
"Similes are like metaphors." --http://twitter.com/SarahKSilvermanhttp://www.theonion.com/content/news/bunch_of_phonies_mourn_j_d - the onion nails the death of J.D. Salinger.
dream: cafeteria w/ "soup too hot" insurance. They had a service w/ everything from "guy blowing on it" to fridge equipment to liquid nitrogen.
http://www.xkcd.com/695/ - touching XKCD tribute to Spirit rover, no longer roving but still fighting the good fight.
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1525368&cid=30913324 - summary of the Spirit Rover's plight.
Geek note: man, writing webpages via XSL transforms sucks. It's all nouns. For me programming is verbs.
Going to Northeastern for the Global Game Jam. Last year my team at the MIT/Gambit site made Fling: http://alienbill.com/fling/
And later, as I stare blearily at the clock from my position on the living-room couch, it also occurs to me that I can pass the night by buying some whiskey from the 24-hour drive-thru liquor store and then firing a gun right outside my bedroom window. I think I'm going to like it here after all. --Tim Cameron, A Day in America According to a (Baffled) Foreigner"Oatmeal is some sticky, STICKY stuff. They could make brick walls out of oatmeal." --Amber"Sneezing is like wet Tourette's." --http://twitter.com/SarahKSilverman