kirk.is | archive | 2014 jul

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July 1, 2014

One Second Everyday. Visual highlights include parasailing in NJ on the 8th, a turtle laying eggs near the Alewife biketrail on the 12th, and Jane on a ride at Old Orchard Beach on the 22nd.

Aww, my car is 10 years old today. Happy Birthday Scion xA!


Oh god, ISIS now what's to be called just "IS" for Islamic State. The TLD (that I use for my website http://kirk.is/ ) is Iceland, but if they get their acts together and actually look like a place someone might want to Internet to, it might be annoying.
Reading that Galaga book-- not as good as the other titles in the "Boss Fight" series. It reminds me of two things that were lost when we transitioned from arcades: the idea that the better you were, the longer your quarter gave you, and the community aspect of the high score table...

July 2, 2014

"They may call me a 'rube' and a 'hick,' but I'd a lot rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it."
--Will Rogers
"Discontent comes in proportion to knowledge. The more you know the more you realize you don't know."
--Will Rogers
Why the hell would they move the firework to Thursday instead of Saturday? Isn't that just obvious?

July 3, 2014

I was trying to remember the URL http://doodle.com/ - it's a convenient website for finding mutually agreeable dates for special events. (I had the same idea I was going to make for a friend, something called whenworks4u)
I wanna go see Transformers now...

This video does a pretty good job of explaining his work. He's kind of the Thomas Kinkade of what he does -- but there's more craft to it than it might seem.
"All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, you and me is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ainít got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time however he likes, so long as he donít interfere with nobody else."
--from H.L. Mencken's The Declaration of Independence in American, this bit is the translation of "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

July 4, 2014


http://dontmindthemess.com/2014/07/fireworks-memories/ Jessica blogs about almost drowning with me in the post-fireworks deluge on the Charles. The screaming that started when the storm swept will stick with me...
"Who the hell decided to call them 'facial tattoos' and not 'everlasting jobstoppers'?"
--http://twitter.com/juliakite

July 5, 2014

Observing my own behavior, I think there's going to be a trend where people will use multitasking to avoid pre-video video ads. Unskippable 30 Second Sears Ad? Ok, I'm gonna go do something else, then hop back in a bit. (Of course they still have my ear, and also that might lead to an escalation where videos autopause when they lose the focus.)

I know some folk use AdBlock, but I think that does too much. I enjoy a lot of content for free, and don't mind being some part of what keeps that going -- it's a question of where the line should be drawn, and how.

june 2014 playlist

July 6, 2014
Last month was pretty good for music... listed here in descending "you should really listen to this" order...
  • The Writing's On the Wall (OK Go) The optical-illusion-rich video has made the rounds, but the wistful sentiment of the lyrics grabs me as well.
  • I've Got My Mind Set On You (James Ray) A lot of people didn't realize that George Harrison's song was a cover - but the original has brass and choir and is generally terrific.
  • Empire (Shakira) A few people were surprised that "this is Shakira?" An interesting range of moods, from the Indie to the Epic.
  • Iko Iko (The Dixie Cups) A band I joined for a 4th parade covers this... simple but so so catchy.
  • Love Me Again (John Newman) A good Alex Clare / Too Close vibe.
  • Mash Machine (FAROFF) I love a great mashup. James Brown vs Gorillaz vs The Doors vs Queen vs Aerosmith vs Led Zeppelin vs Pink Panther vs Stevie Wonder vs AC/DC vs Torpedo Boyz.
  • A Drum Beatin (Atticus Avenue) SO CUTE... a dude bumps out a little beat on (his son's?) back, and the boy's delighted squeaky giggles become part of the rhythm.
  • Mercedes Benz (Janis Joplin) A classic. Some people have tried to mix/techno up but the original just works too well.
  • Work B**ch (Britney Spears) Stupid song, but I like its concept as a motivator. (First verse kind of works as a counter to "Mercedes Benz")
  • Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea) (Ariana Grande) Not a bad pop song... I like that they seem to sample the original Star Trek "Red Alert" whoop.
  • WHEN WILL THE BASS DROP (The Lonely Island) I love how this comedy short plays with the life of a DJ...
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force Theme (Schooly D) The animation opening...
  • World Music Day - Dont Worry Be Happy (Culture Machines/ Various Artists) A nice cover featuring lots of artists from India.
  • The Vatican Rag (Tom Lehrer) The classic.
  • Flys (P.I.D.) Christian Hiphop from my youth.
  • Give a Man Enough Rope (Will Roger's Follies) I saw this musical in NYC way back when. I remember the sentiment of "Give a Man Enough Rope" was kind of moving, but maybe in the reprise.
  • Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (Allan Sherman) An ok song sort of ruined by a laugh track.
  • Make It (Coco Brown). Oh dear. This is one of the raunchiest songs I've heard in a long, long while. I kind of like the request to "arch my back" but maybe I'm just into backs.

The conservative Supreme Court justices are sneaky, misogynist liars.
Sometimes on a freelance or independent project I get chuffed at how many esoteric little geek tricks I rely on. (Like using Perl, Processing, phantom.js, and general CSS mojo to get stuff prepped for a cool turn page effect library turn.js) Then I get worried that you know - this tool shouldn't be this hard, maybe I'm just doing it wrong. And then impostor syndrome slash general anxiety kicks on, and I think yeah, I can solve THIS set of challenges, but without a lot of wiggle room, what if the next ones aren't so amenable?

You know?

Ah well. Like Bogost says, "The solution to impostor syndrome is to accept that you are in fact a fraud and just get on with it."

July 7, 2014

"I am the color red in a world of black and white."
--Some Wrestler on WWE Friday Night SmackDown
"The other reality is that every wildland fire put out is a fire put off."
--From a Slate piece on US Wildfire Policy

July 8, 2014

"If you think fertilized eggs are people but refugee kids aren't, you're going to have to stop pretending your concerns are religious."
--http://twitter.com/LOLGOP
"Programming is secretly about people and not computers"
--http://twitter.com/steveklabnik
So, iPhones will buzz me about random "flood warnings" but not a peep about tornadoes?
"Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes". And Enterprise frameworks requiring new syntax. Lookin' at you, Angular.
These toolkits that want you to make your own tags remind me of COBOL... "why now we can program without programming!" Unfortunately, the code to support programming without programming is immense, and difficult to mentally model.

July 9, 2014

"What did the doctor say?"
"That I'm healthy, and that I should come in for a physical every year from now on."
"He just wants your money."
"That's fine! I don't mind my doctor having a profit motive to keep me alive."
--Basic Instructions, How to Take a Proactive Approach to your Health. A Consistently good comic, that.

July 10, 2014

Funny little vignettes in the form of Lego tributes to the 50 states
This year I've had notable more allergies than in previous years (when I was a teenager I used to get shots for the few grasses etc I react to, but mostly it was my mom being aghast at my ability to phlegm things up at will than any real discomfort.) Suddenly I'm wondering if I might have been making things worse by having a window fan constantly blowing on warm nights... previous years I've had various forms of A/C. In general my bedroom's windows are shaded enough that it stays comfortable through the day and evening, but now I'm tempted to get a small air conditioner in part because of this new allergy theory. (Even though I know it's been a bad year for allergies in general.)

handpickedhappiness:

thevoxbox:

charlesoberonn:

giftvvrap:

will you marry me = a marriage proposal
will, you, Mary, me = a foursome proposal

Will you, Mary me = Cavewoman Mary helps Will recover from his Amnesia

Will, you marry me. = Willís time-traveling partner

And people keep trying to tell me that punctuation isnít important

July 11, 2014

"We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing."
--Charles Bukowski
"What's in a gin fizz again? Citrus, cream, egg white, sugar... it sounds like someone started a cake, gave up, and put gin in it."
--http://twitter.com/jay_beans

July 12, 2014

While my guitar imitates your not so gentle weeping!

July 13, 2014

"I'd like to think that had I known the truth, I might have been a kinder, more loving person. If only we knew the Truth, mightn't we all?"
--Tom Robbins in his memoir "Tibetan Peach Pie"
"[The great spirits of the modern age] were like inventors who, having discovered electricity, knew nothing about insulation."
--Henry Miller on Rimbaud
New idea for next World Cup: if still scoreless after the extra two quarter hours, match decided by foozpong.

love blender

July 14, 2014

The best from If Pixar Made Star Trek:

July 15, 2014

I saw this on the "New Girl" episode (the two are excited about meeting Prince) but without the caption i didn't realize what a rich dramatic metaphor it was! (via)

July 16, 2014

I'm a pretty crappy environmentalist, but why is 4 the baseline number of napkins some people grab at dunkies? Two I can almost understand but just how messy are people planning to be?
JP Porchfest in the Boston Metro... that's the event I've been making the website for as of late

July 17, 2014

Angular.js is less of a framework and more of a language. Like JSTL had sex with Perl on top of a browser.
From my UI blog: chewing the Intern's ear off about Angular and jQuery and the like

July 18, 2014

I'm seeing women in denim overall shorts with only one strap again. That puts the fashion cycle for that at, what, about a quarter century?
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/ - I'm pleased with my recent set of devblog entries. I showed my coworker the blog and she was impressed with the longevity of it. Mine isn't setting the world on fire hits-wise but I appreciate it's not one of those things the blogger puts 3 entries on and then lets drop. A Foolish Consistency should be my online handle.

July 19, 2014

Sitting in the backyard, enjoying the twilight and my hammock. Dictating texts and emails to old romantic flings, and irritated by the iPhone always hearing hammock as Hamic...

July 20, 2014

Staten Island man dies after NYPD cop puts him in chokehold Well thank heavens the cops are there to protect the vulnerable citizenry from untaxed cigarettes
O fer cryin' out loud -- when Titanfall for Xbox 360 came out, I found out I had to get an HD for my Xbox Slim. So I ordered one, but the video for installing it intimidated me... I had to get special screwdrivers, and I put off the whole business for a few months.

Turns out the installation was A. open door on case B. push in HD 'til it clicks C. close door.

Yeesh. But, I guess I should be grateful. How many things end up being much much simpler than they first appeared?
The weirdest thing about this optical illusion video for me has little (I think) to do with the main illusion; it is that when I'm distracted by the visual pattern and realize that the letters for reading out loud (I think mostly meant to keep your eye in place on the center) spell words, I don't read the letter names but the phonemes they're making. The f of of I read as "of", the "a" I read as "uh" as in phonetically saying "uh good idea", when I see that p, e, r, c, e is there I read the "p" as "cep", since my mind has jumped to what it has spelled. That phonetic jumping is so fundamental to how I process information, it takes a great act of will to restrain it.

tuba, front and off-center

July 21, 2014
Me at Saturday's JP Porchfest... I have to say the day was a smashing success! Awesome turn out for a first-year event and great enthusiasm and fun all around. As far as I could tell my lil' website for it (http://jpporchfest.org/) held up fine - in fact I've heard rumors some of the Somerville Porchfest Organizers (who were the (freely admitted!) inspiration for this event) might like to pinch some of our ideas to punch up their own site.



I swear I should consider moving to JP one of these years.

Also, later, I grabbed Leigh's percussion wearable, and my cousin Bill took a shot:

I love things that recast pop culture mythos and show how the lens we're given to watch and read this stuff as children isn't the only one: "LotR DVD Commentry" by Zinn and Chomsky http://kottke.org/14/07/lotr-dvd-commentary-from-zinn-and-chomsky and even better: https://storify.com/tcarmody/the-people-s-history-of-tattooine A People's History of Tattooine, where Luke Skywalker group up.

July 22, 2014

from Quora What are concepts in other languages for which there is no English word/phrase

Dinesh Jayaraman, Language enthusiast
Votes by Gautam Ganesh, John R Bryan, Mark Harrison, Daniel Walker, (more)
This is a very simple concept, and I was quite surprised when I realized that English has no word for it (or even a simple way to phrase it). The word எத்தனாவது (roughly etthanaavadhu) in Tamil is hard to translate into English. The closest you could get, if you took some liberties with English is "which-th".

This is a "question word" like "what", "who", "where", "how" etc. Let me illustrate its usage with an example. Suppose A is B's son. The information you want to get from A is:
If A is B's n'th son, what is the value of n?

That isn't really English, of course, and there is really no direct and concise way of asking A a question in English that would elicit the information you want. You'd have to get this information in some roundabout way. Maybe you could ask: How many older brothers do you have, (who were also born to B?)? or How many sons did B have before you? and then add one to whatever answer you got.

If English had this "which-th" word, you could phrase the question thus:
Which-th son of B are you?

July 23, 2014

Fireworks from A. on Vimeo.

July 24, 2014

As so many of us commute this fine summer morning, take a moment to appreciate the ground lively and verdant and not buried in snow.
Two smart articles:
The War Nerd on ISIS. His analysis always seems very straight forward and pull-no-punches. In short: ISIS isn't really a threat for further domination, but they may represent a defacto partisan trifurcation of Iraq.

Slate on Putin. I didn't realize how insular Russia was becoming. That story is so sad, really.
Lately I'm wondering if "UI Engineer" is not a good description of what I want to do as a career. There's this legion of engineers who seem to dig build systems and complex frameworks more than, you know, building cool interactions and powerful UX. (And I know I can build robust, maintainable systems with simpler, fewer layers of indirection, more-native-browser tools.) But what is the term for this kind of role?

July 25, 2014

Another great song and video by my favorite German group...

July 26, 2014

Today we played at the Haley House Community Table, in Roxbury! The local, pay-what-you-want/can food was so good, as was the DJing after, and this panoramic glitch photo of the Honk Band is so awesome...

July 27, 2014

PROTIP: If you have an expired PC laptop and want its harddrive (either for retrieving files or for cheap disk space) you can get a USB enclosure for small money. This one runs about $7 and comes with everything you need, even the USB cable and tiny screwdriver.

July 28, 2014


from Contra: Hard Corps via http://pixelclash.net/ ....
"Every day is a parade if you lower your standards a little."
--Man in lawn chair watching local street traffic in Tony Carrillo's F Minus, http://www.gocomics.com/fminus/2014/07/20 -- I think this is a good principle in life in general.

July 29, 2014

from http://ohscience.tumblr.com/post/91376654885/nevver-x-ray-specs-carrie-witherell



"3D printing is the macrame of the 2010s."
--http://twitter.com/sugarfreak
"It could be said that, in many ways, the trombone is the Village People of musical instruments."
--http://twitter.com/DanielNester
"'Obama thinks he's king. He's so arrogant. Everything is about him. Please subscribe to the TV channel I named after myself' - Sarah Palin"
--http://twitter.com/a_girl_irl

July 30, 2014

Satanists protest Abortion Restrictions on religious grounds. Man, I didn't realize informed consent laws were so obnoxious. Between those and that Florida law where a doctor CAN'T talk about gun safety -- The New Conservatives. We'll force the medical profession to reflect our make believe reality.
Doodles from a 15th century Manuscript:

Sometimes I'm a little startled at how bad iTunes search is. It can't get to K-OS' Superstarr from "k-os superstar".

July 31, 2014

"girl your body is a temple. but itís the water temple from Zelda so once Iím in there I have no idea what to do"
--http://twitter.com/lawblob
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