kirk.is | archive | 2011 sep

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an american modernist

(3 comments)
September 1, 2011
kottke.org excerpted this bit of a David Galbraith piece on Steve Jobs... a brisk read (with pictures!) and worthwhile:
Perfecting the model of selling design that is compatible with big business, Foster simultaneously grew one of the largest architecture practices in the world while still winning awards for design excellence. The secret was to design buildings like the limited edition, invite only Porsches that Foster drove and fellow Porsche drivers would commission them. Jobs went further, however, he managed to create products that were designed like Porsches and made them available to everyone, via High Tech that transcended stylistic elements. An Apple product really was high technology and its form followed function, it went beyond the Porsche analogy by being truly fit for purpose in a way that a Porsche couldn't, being a car designed for a speed that you weren't allowed to drive. Silicon Valley capitalism had arguably delivered what the Soviets had dreamed of and failed, modernism for the masses. An iPhone really is the best phone you can buy at any price. To paraphrase Andy Warhol: Lady Gaga uses an iPhone, and just think, you can have an iPhone too. An iPhone is an iPhone and no amount of money can get you a better phone. This was what American modernism was about.

One downside to achieving "Inbox Zero" on gmail is that its always pimping out Google Reader, like "not enough to read" is the problem.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_sofa_problem - sometimes I just love geometry.
French are great soldiers (seriously.) But now they have a new war: THE WAR OF THE POST-ITS http://www.postitwar.com/

eastendiers

(1 comment)
September 2, 2011
via BoingBoing..."To announce the grand opening of Westfield Stratford City, which will soon be 'the largest urban shopping centre in Europe'" It kind of reminds me I'd be a bit out of fashion in any era...

i smell flowers

(1 comment)
September 3, 2011

--I was looking at some of the random art and sketch programs I have on my iPad (before I realized Art Studio was hands down the best) and I found this-- err-- retouching of a photo I had taken of Amber, near Niagara Falls. I assume I made it, but have no recollection of what I might be on about, but it makes me kind of laugh...

first look at the uncanny valley...

(2 comments)
September 4, 2011

40 Year Old 3D Computer Graphics (Pixar, 1972) from Robby Ingebretsen on Vimeo.

via kottke, maybe the first 3D film render ever, from 1972. I liked the font they used for the titles-- not the first one they rotate, but the other one.
I have the weirdest issue where chrome won't display youtube iframe content on my blog's preview page, but it's fine on my site. Ideas?

i swear

September 5, 2011

--via 22words

pete and repeat were walkin' down the street

(1 comment)
September 6, 2011

--via 22words
http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/voices-in-time/kurt-vonnegut-at-the-blackboard.php?page=all I like high level thought and analysis like this, in part because I'm so bad at it.
Facts About Time. You live 80 milliseconds in the past. Earth hearts (all species) have about a billion and a half heartbeats in them..
Though, sigh, "You and I wonít live forever. But as for our grandkids, Iím not placing any bets." Stupid grandkids.
http://mortals.be/ - coping with mortality has been a bugaboo, but I think I got it licked, hence that site. Still, more years would be nice
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/opinion/sunday/jobs-will-follow-a-strengthening-of-the-middle-class.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all Why trickle-down economics is exactly wrong: having productivity gains go only to the rich, not salaries, strangles economies, especially our own.
"Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very well together."
--George Santayana

so what so what

September 7, 2011

--via kottke. Such a neat way of seeing music happen, especially if you know a little music reading yourself- I can read music, but often don't hear rhythms and chords correctly in my head...
"God responded to Rick Perry's prayers for rain by setting his ENTIRE STATE ON FIRE. This sends a clearer message than hurricanes in New York"
--http://twitter.com/whatdoiknow
"Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune."
--Kin Hubbard
"Joining a club that meets just once a month produces the same happiness gain as doubling your income."
--David Brooks, Brandeis Commencement Address. Interesting!
The heart wants what the heart wants. So does the stomach, it turns out, so I had lunch at 11:15.

world of hats

(8 comments)
September 8, 2011

--by MicaŽl Reynaud who wrote "Guest in this motion : Van Gogh, Renoir, Cťzanne, Segal, Henriquez, Desrosier, Macke, Sorolla, Von Motesiczky, Merritt Chase, Van Doesburg, Matisse, Van Dongen, Camoin."
"Rick Perry's Free Market Paradise vs. My Socialist Hellhole of Massachusetts http://t.co/NguqTRW "
--http://twitter.com/carsonblume

a day in the neighborhood

September 9, 2011

--Mr. Roger's lifetime achievement Emmy sppech. You might want to skip to 1:25 or so. Via kottke that has more info including a link to an Esquire article.
Man, Rodney's Bookstore at Central Square in Boston is a real gem; good cheap used books, nice supply of graphic novels upstairs...
Just cashed in my mason jar full of change. I took a survey, and everyone except myself badly underestimated how much it held-- I put it at $50, the total was $45.37, other guesses ranged from $13-$27. (If the jar had been full up, I would have been right on.) I think people are generally bad at volumetric -> linear conversions.
Awesome Atlantic Piece: What People Don't Get About My Job: From A(rmy Soldier) to Z(ookeeper)

photos

(2 comments)
September 10, 2011
Karaoke farewell to alleyoop interns...


Amber and I went to see the (ignoble!) final Patriots preseason game. Here's Brady!


For halftime, they had 2 Pop Warner minigames going on. It was kind of charming seeing all the little guys out there, though I think football is kind of a tough sport for the growing lad.

Finally today we visit EB and co up in Rockport, and we stopped at Top Dog, and Amber got us some condiments that I made into a traffic light.

playlist: season_2011 2 summer

(2 comments)
September 11, 2011
Another new season, another overview of the music I added to my regular rotation over the last 3 months...

Starting off with a few four star songs: My friend Kjersten made me a big mix of music for my birthday called "tilkirke", here were the 4 I thought were 4 stars...
  • Like A G6 Far East Movement. I kind of resisted liking this song, 'cause singing in praise of a private jet seemed a bit rich, but it's super-catchy, and kind of cool that they're about the first Asian-American group to get a top 10 hit on the mainstream charts.
  • Knockin' Luminescent Orchestrii. This song is a sultry wonder. (This isn't quite the version I have, but closer than the live video.)
  • Stay Don't Go Spoon. Dig the mild beat box beat of this.
  • Cakewalk Into Town Taj Mahal. I don't always like tuba, but this song is a ton of fun.
Other songs from tilkirke I decided to keep in my regular rotation: Finally, some more decent songs I picked up various places:
  • If Your Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough Roger Alan Wade. Heard this lovely bit of honky tonk outside the "Texas Roadhouse" restaurant. Love the Homer Simpson montage with this.
  • Spooky Dusty Springfield. "Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels" had this-- I don't think the gender flipped lyrics make as much sense, but I love Dusty's voice.
  • Peace Frog ( LP Version ) The Doors. Quite possibly Amber's favorite Doors song.
  • Pac Man Fever Buckner & Garcia. I had this kind of awful novelty album growing up. For some reason I had the lyrics to "Mousetrap" stuck in my head, but I decided to stick with the one that made them (in)famous.
  • We Used To Wait Arcade Fire. The song is a little apocalyptic for my taste, but if you haven't played with the AMAZING interactive music video that might literally be able to bring you back to your hometown, you should.
  • Dirty Water (Live) Dropkick Murphys. Got to talking about this with Amber's folks... And man, I just love the band name "Dropkick Murphys".
  • Remember (Walking In The Sand) The Shangri-Las. Playing at Za, a local restaurant. I had it on a 50s mixtape from McDonalds growing up. I like the emotion in the singer's voice.
  • What I Like About You Lillix. I like high energy girlband covers of songs, Amber introduced me to this one.
  • Louder Than A Bomb Public Enemy. SOundtrack to "Hot Tub Time Machine".
  • No Sex Chris Rock. TV Tropes mentioned the "smudge your puma" line on their Disproportionate Retribution page.
  • Johnny Got A Boom Boom Imelda May. Heard this on the soundtrack for "Wild Target", nice gogo sound.
  • What Was I Thinkin' Dierks Bentley. Another honky tonk song from outside Texas Roadhouse. Like the line about "little white tank top".
  • Muppet Show Theme Song OK Go. SO MUCH FUN.

The Washington Post on the women pilots willing to sacrifice their lives to knock down any more hijacked planes...
http://loveblender.com/2011september/ - new Blender of Love Digest, a tribute to an old stalwart Blenderite...
Man, that commercial with the Budweiser Clydesdale's doing that horse show bowing thing to NYC is just kind of creepy/weird.

desiderata

(2 comments)
September 12, 2011
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

--Max Ehrmann. You know, the parody deteriorata did such a fine job of mockery that it's easy to forget the elegance of the original.

This work was brought to my attention as I put together the recent Blender of Love Digest-- the issue was a tribute to a recently deceased stalwart Blenderite, Rennie Lorca, and her "Captain" mentioned this was a favorite of hers.

banzai appetit!

(1 comment)
September 13, 2011

--via 22 words
Inbox Zero AND Todo List Zero. Been a while!
DHL was handing out free Thunder Sticks noisemakers. Besides the noise when hit together, they're fun drumsticks. The sticks are the drum!

not baad

(2 comments)
September 14, 2011

--via horkulated. I really believe cyriak is the unheralded genius of the youtube age.
""I'm making their backsides wiggle and bringing us all together in funky communion."
As they stare at the singer who has abandoned the melody in favor of melismatically emoting, or the guitar player who has put his foot on the monitor and thrown his hair back to squintily wee a mishmash of pentatonic drivel, people don't understand that I'm making their backsides wiggle and bringing us all together in funky communion. "
--"Bass Player" in That Atlantic "What People Don't Know" Piece
Hey Tim Wakefield got his 200th win, FINALLY, nice to see some good news from the Red Sox.
"Phantom sensations reveal something fundamental about body awareness: it is not that phantom limbs are an illusion, rather it is the feeling of our actual limbs that is an illusion."
--Dean Buonomano, "Brain Bugs"
http://www.wbur.org/2011/08/31/middlesex-jail Cambridge shows how to manage powderkeg jails: simple humanity. Specifically, popsicles and fans.

advanced vs overt

September 15, 2011
From Jason Hartley's "The Advanced Genius Theory":
Once you have achieved the Advanced state of mind, something amazing happens: you start to like everything. Not only will you appreciate Advanced Artists' most challenging works, but you'll also experience with an open mind the parts of pop culture that otherwise might have tormented you, such as "We Built This City," movies based on TV show, TV shows based on movies, radio commercials featuring two people pretending to have a casual conversation about a product, and Fox News.

What's more, though you will like everything, you won't necessarily lose the ability to discern between levels of quality. You can still have "good taste". It's just that the question becomes how much you like a work of art rather than whether you like it. This is by far superior to traditional good taste, which is predicated on what one rejects. The Advanced accept everything, including everything the Overt enjoy-acid jazz, abstract expressionism, French New Wave, NPR--but they won't ruin your party by insisting on playing music no one's ever heard of. So not only will Advancement give you back your favorite artists, help you enjoy the things you've always hated, and put you in touch with your true self, it will get you invited to more parties.
This book is one of the most enjoyable quick reads I've had this year. Hartley has a theory of Advancement (that he claims is 15 years in the making) arguing that great artists who appear to just lose it in their latter years may just be going Advanced... a form of genius that often looks a bit like selling out, and that stands in contrast to "Overt", art that's a bit too aware of what it's trying to do.

It's sometimes tough, though... one example given is this experiment with rap by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys:

The book doesn't really argue that this is a good sign, just that Wilson was at least on the right side of history at a time when many old rockers wouldn't consider rap actual music.

If nothing else, I'm all for the unironic enjoyment of things.
"See the happy moron, He doesn't give a damn. I wish I were a moron, My God! Perhaps I am!"
--Dorothy Parker
"What's funnier than a miffed boyfriend? A boyfriend that says that he's 'miffed'."
--Amber

have a popsicle

(2 comments)
September 16, 2011

--I <3 Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal...
"JavaScript is not the Assembly of the Web. Itís the C of the web. The to-JS languages are lining up to become the C++ of the web."
--http://blog.izs.me/post/10213512387/javascript-is-not-web-assembly
MANDATORY HPV VACCINATION TAKES AWAY PARENTS' RIGHTS TO PUT THEIR FINGERS IN THEIR EARS AND GO "NEENER NEENER CAN'T HEAR YOU MY KIDS NOT GONNA HAVE SEX NUH-UH NEVER"

lol ur doing it wrong

September 17, 2011

--via kottke

stick a wilfork

(8 comments)
September 18, 2011
So I watched a fun Patriots vs San Diego Chargers game Sunday (Pats are 10-0 for season openers in their current stadium). One of the most entertaining parts was an interception by big fat lineman Vince Wilfork... watching his belly jiggle in the slomo was kind of hypnotic, and joyous...





--via NESN You can maybe see some video here

a weekend trip to ogunquit with amber's folks

(3 comments)
September 19, 2011





"So are you saying we're related to monkeys?"
"Iím saying you're related to yeast."
--Throwback Parent and High School Biology Teacher
I'm not sure if Netflix's streaming selection is strong enough to stand alone. Not having "ok, physical delivery" as a fallback will hurt. I think Netflix will now mostly be good for watching seasons of TV shows- otherwise might as well buy things a la carte with Vudu or whatevs.
"I refuse to believe that corporations are people until Texas executes one."
--making the rounds
Do people know the expression "net-net"? As in the bottom line, getting to the point AFTER weighing pros/cons? Realizing it might be obscure
At my UU Science and Spirituality group, the idea that Evil isn't "choosing bad" per se, it's choosing bad BECAUSE it's bad. Which goes along with my idea that deliberate, subjectively recognized evil is rareish; but people might be prioritizing an "ungood" good...
1. Something must be done
2. This is something
3. Therefore, this must be done.
--Bryan Caplan

around the world

September 20, 2011

Making the rounds (so to speak), footage from the ISS... must be what superman feels like! They say it's worth clicking on HD and fullscreen for... love the lightning. And can't believe how bright we light up our cities!

From the youtube description:
A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line), a satellite (55sec) and the stars of our galaxy.

"At her age, Quincy thought, he had nothing but spare time. It was all extra, uncommitted. There was a freedom to it and that was good. Then it was gone and that was good, too. Too much being free, someone once said, leads to unreasonableness later in life."
--G.K.Wuori, "Nude in Tub". Kind of a consoling thought but I wonder if that's just sour grapes!
"He was happy, he told people. This caused a certain amount of worry since northern people distrust happiness. Its curse is that of a fine possession that can only be lost, whereas misery presents nothing but endless opportunity."
--G.K.Wuori, "Nude in Tub"
"Sometimes you just grab life by the horns only to realize you're standing in a farmer's field, and that life weighs 2000 lbs."
--http://twitter.com/marcmack
10 Things Apple is Worth More Than - Crazy money.
Any editor who puts the author and book title on the tops of all the pages and not the chapter names should probably be fired.

here be dragons

(1 comment)
September 21, 2011

--from Slate's "A History of Map Monsters"
If I time travelled and had a laser pointer, could I terrify/impress? Or would I just say "BEHOLD MY POWER! TO... distract small cats."
"The nail that rises up gets the hammer. It also accurately indicates structural deficiencies."
--http://twitter.com/unclesamkent
"My latest ice cream triumph: Margarita. Ice cream base plus lime juice, lime zest, tequila, triple sec, and a surprising amount of salt"
--http://twitter.com/loresjoberg
"Revenue sharing, arguably the most successful form of socialism in U.S. history. The reason the NFL is so dominant is because the NFL is basically Marxist."
--Chuck Klosterman. I'm grateful he references Chuck Palahniuk in "Eating the Dinosaur" because now I realize they're not the same guy
"Between #REM and #NewFacebook, make sure you hug the nearest white person you see. It's a tough day for them."
--http://twitter.com/joshacagan

super mbta world

(4 comments)
September 22, 2011

click for fullsize


by Adam Summerville -- prints available there

http://www.slate.com/id/2304311/ -- Rick Perry, aiming to turn the War on Terror into a War of Religions.
"Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin."
--John von Neumann

on football

September 23, 2011
I don't know what I see when I watch football. It must be something insane, because I should not enjoy it as much as I do. I must be seeing something so personal and universal that understanding this question would tell me everything I need to know about who I am, and maybe I don't want that to happen. But perhaps it is simply this: Football allows the intellectual part of my brain to evolve, but it allows the emotional part to remain unchanged. It has a liberal cerebellum and a reactionary heart. And this is all I want from everything, all the time, always.
--Chuck Klosterman. Besides pointing out the inherit Marxism of the NFL (with its profit sharing and salary caps), his essay goes on about how football is a weird bit of extreme liberalism (in how quickly teams copycat and try to things) that considers itself extremely conservative.

much mario madness

(6 comments)
September 24, 2011

--Astounding Mario Tribute. So many songs and scenes from so many games... I can't even tell you how high the "oh yeah THAT song" factor is for me... and the production values are through the roof, it's a real tour de force...
"100 billion people have died on this planet. We're walking on a world of bones. †Good night."
--http://twitter.com/warrenellis

the world don't move to the beat of just one drum

(1 comment)
September 25, 2011
I spent a big part of Saturday looking at Google Book's complete collection of Spy Magazine. (Weirdly I ended up finding the "Party Poop" photo I was looking for after I had skimmed through every magazine in the index by doing a text search on the half-remembered caption-- Amber confirms Google Book's indexing is often half-assed) It's astonishing how fresh late-80s Spy looks today.

It got me thinking about other magazines I wish I had access to an archive of, and one was Dynamite, a scholastic kids magazine of the 70s and 80s. I remember being stragely fascinated by this cover with Gary Coleman:

Mostly, I was kind of amazed by the prominence of the layer at the edge of his cheek and the area under his nose...


So, you know. Mostly I want old issues of "Dynamite" because I distinctly remember certain issues were specials about video games... or rather, you'd flip the magazine over and upside down and there would another video game themed magazine there... unfortunately I can't find mention of this second magazine anywhere, even on the complete-looking and nerdishly footnoted Wikipedia Entry.

Man, also I really liked the show "Diff'rent Strokes"

Followup in 2014: looks the flipped bonus magazine was called Arcade...

something beyond dancing

(1 comment)
September 26, 2011

I swear this guy moves like he's blue screened on the background, and then...
Weird, scary dreams of a family manor haunted by ghosts, but mostly the just moved my shoes, and I couldn't be sure it wasn't just me.
Lately I've become a little obsessed with that hairless patch in front of the ear, behind the sideburn. Guess it keeps hearing unmuffled, an evolutionary advantage...
Wolfram Alpha: it's like Wikipedia for all the crap you don't actually care about.

bertrand russell's liberal decalogue

(9 comments)
September 27, 2011
The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:
  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a foolís paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

--via MetaFilter. At MF they point out a few small problems with this thinking: 5 and 7 are certainly helpful for the "Vaccines cause Autism" and other ideas that stick around even after opposing evidence is in, and the original source of the thought is extremely suspect.
"My hips lie"
--http://twitter.com/SarahKSilverman

by dali's mustache!

(2 comments)
September 28, 2011

--from BoingBong's new "B-side" miniblog
LOL states always pushing up the primary calendar...

a cold rainy day in beantown

(2 comments)
September 29, 2011

Red Sox had a choke for the ages yesterday. The graph source points out that it wasn't just the month of September-- into the late innings, things were looking "ok"...
  • The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3.
  • The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play.
  • The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike.
  • The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike.
Such a set of statistical craziness ("Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way.") is making people question ideas that streaks and chokes are semi-mythological. (Personall, I think it started when bad hitting made Tim Wakefield have to play like 8 or 9 games before he got his 200th win. That got the pitching thinking. And choking.

For bitter fun, check out ESPN's picks at the start of the season.

Ah well, it's not losing a series after being ahead 3 games to none or anything, but still.

(And Patriots' last game... and the NBA strike...Bruins anyone?)
"Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter because nobody listens."
--Nick Diamos
Man. Yesterday: Amazon intros cheap tablet, but that "silk" web thing scares me; Microsoft starts getting money from android, and Sox choke
BoA to charge $5/mo for using debit cards at stores. Might be time to look for alternatives...
"Anything's a toy if you play with it."
--Andy on "Parks + Recreation"

won't you be

September 30, 2011

--via 22words
"That's not even the tragedy of the commons anymore. That's the tragedy of you're a dick."
--http://xkcd.com/958/
Life is full of second guessing. But life is full.
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