kirk.is | archive | 2014 nov

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November 1, 2014


"[In a halloween straightjacket] I think I fell asleep- this thing is like a Temple Grandin hug!"
--Luke Dunphy, "Modern Family". For a show that is so corny and occasionally problematic in other ways, sometimes it really tickles me.
On the one hand, I kind of like the
THANK YOU
TOM MENINO
message on the DoT electronic billboards. On the other hand, All five I've seen were over heavy, slow traffic areas, which give them a kind of sarcastic "Thanks, Obama" feel.

october 2014 new song playlist

November 2, 2014
In terms of important music videos this month, I think an honorable mention goes to Bootsy's Basic Funk Formula tutorial, it cemented and affirmed ideas I had been stirring up about what music appeals to me, and what just won't, no matter how much I think I "should" like it:
ONE two three four...

and you hit on the one ya know? ONE -- -- -- ONE.

And then you would try to fit your different notes, what you felt, in between that-- And that's the funk.

And you can change that! It's however you feel, but you just have to fit it between that little space that you got, which is ONE, two three four -- ONE two three four... ONE, two three four. And then you go back to your funk!

Here you go! And then you want to break it down. You got your basic funk formula there. You can do anything you want to do with it! Ya know?

--Bootsy Collins
OK, on to the list, in super-rough descending order of awesomeness.
  • Bang Bang (Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj) This month's singular 4-star. Has a great sound (and no shortage of bigness on the ONE)
  • Scoreboard (Apollos Hester) I love how the Songifiers remixed and plumped the message. It's seriously uplifting.
  • Safe and Sound (Capital Cities) This one took a while to grow on me, but as JP Honk played it with the kids from the Conservatory Lab School (getting ready for the Honk parade) I realized it's terrific.
  • FUNKNROLL (Prince) It doesn't have a proper video, but that still of Prince with custom sunglasses that also shield his third eye captivates me.
  • Lemme Freak (Lil Dicky) Kind of raunchy, and goofy. I adore how he puts super-realistic dialog into hiphop form. Also the little Mario turtle kick SFX.
  • 99 Problems (Hugo) It's interesting that he only steals the chorus, but puts his own verses in.
  • Cellophane (Sara Jackson-Holman) Sweet little song I heard on "Orange is the New Black".
  • Push It (Rude Mechanical Orchestra) Just a great honk-style cover. I wish JP Honk had as much brass and big percussion. (Original MP3 here)
  • Thriller (2003 Edit) (Michael Jackson) I think I underestimate Michael Jackson, because he was so popular when I was a kid. JP Honk does a fun cover of this one every hear for Dunster Rd Halloween.
  • Creep (Diego Luna & Gustavo Santaolalla) Nice mini-cover from Dia los Muertes-themed "Book of Life"
  • Rattlin' Bones (Preservation Hall Jazz Band) A candidate that didn't make it into our Halloween playlist... hope it gets in next year.
  • Watermelon Man (Jon Hendricks) A listener said that JP Honk's version of "Watermelon Man" was the first one she liked... and many don't interest me that much, but this one with lyrics caught my fancy. Wish I knew why "Save the rind for cucumbers" got such a chuckle from the audience.
  • Pencil Neck Geek (Freddie Blassie) A Dr. Demento staple from my childhood. This particular video adds in some weird, framebreaking playacting at the end where Blassie realizes the engineer is also a Pencil Neck Geek. Violence ensues!
  • Game of Thrones Theme - WesteOrn Cover (Bendan) It makes good cowboy music.
  • Look-Ka Py Py (The Meters) My lack of excitement about these guys (even more so on their Cissy Strut) is what got me thinking about how important the downbeat is for me digging any particular song... these guys are funky, but they ain't rooted on the One.
  • Hola (Snow tha Product) Dumb-ish hiphop, but fun. (On the playlist this one trainer who runs a weekly exercise class at my work uses)
  • I Don't Give a Fuck (Boss) "Orange is the New Black" uses this to punctuate spurned "Crazy Eyes" peeing on the main character's cell floor.
  • Funny Walk in Old Fashion - Mori no Blend Mix (Fuzita Blender ) Odd song I got from tumblr or twitter or something. EB says it causes him physical pain.

Jeez, was wondering why I am up at six. Having devices that are better at remembering the time change than I am is weird. Wish we had daylight savings all year long- Boston is too easterly to have Standard Time make sense.
100 Pumpkins vs a Snowblower At first I thought this was, like, a horror film for pumpkins. But then I remembered what macabre things are done to them, by individuals but on a semi-industrial scale, to make Jack-O-Lanterns-- every fall is a horror movie for them!
If the election goes as badly for the democrats as some fear, I'm kind of hoping to draw a metaphor with climate change; this winter's gonna suck, but that doesn't mean the climate isn't getting warmer. (I realize I just compared the democrats to global warming, but I mean in a good way)

November 3, 2014

"It's amazing how much 'mature wisdom' resembles being too tired."
--Robert Heinlein
I want to take another look at the ocean, behold the vastness of tears from half a lifetime
I want to climb another mountain, try to call back the soul that I’ve lost
I want to touch the sky, feel that blueness so light
But I can’t do any of this, so I’m leaving this world
Everyone who’s heard of me
Shouldn’t be surprised at my leaving
Even less should you sigh or grieve
I was fine when I came, and fine when I left.
-- Xu Lizhi, “On My Deathbed”. Xu Lizhi was a poet and worker at Foxconn, this poem was written on the day he took his own life. More poems here. I really love that final line, which reminds me of Kozan Ichikyo "Two simple happenings" line.
Also, reading some of his biography on that page told me about facets of the rural/urban divide, and the appeal the city holds for some people from the country.
Aww, RIP Tom Magliozzi Not sure if he was Click or Clack, per se, but still, he and his laugh will be missed.

November 4, 2014

So, Republicans can make hay for their congressional candidates by saying "this Democrat is like Obama", even though Obama's approval rating is above 40% and Congress' is below 15%.

I love Politics.
I just voted. I think I should get involved in local politics, to the extent that I can work to get the Town of Arlington to start giving out little smug "I voted" stickers. Remember: think stupidly, act locally!

ultimate mix tape

November 5, 2014
My favorite personal tech site Lost in Mobile is running a Ultimate Mix Tape competition. Here's what I sent in to Shaun, webmaster, and music judge:

My ultimate mix has two sides,
attack side and regroup side
the final song on each kind of leads to the other group

Plus a bonus song, the titular kirk's best song in the world,
the one he's obligated to dance to each time he hears it,
if only for a little head snake.

attack side
  1. Chameleon - Maynard Ferguson
  2. All The Rowboats - Regina Spektor
  3. Might Like You Better - Amanda Blank
  4. Super Holla Tricka - Beastie Boys vs Gwen Stefani vs aSkillz Krafty Kuts
  5. Cool As I Am - Dar Williams
regroup side
  1. Buildings & Bridges - Ani Difranco
  2. As It Comes - The Exploding Voids
  3. Concrete Wall - Zee Avi
  4. Tenderness - Paul Simon
  5. It's Your Thing - Isley Brothers
bonus track
  1. Groove is in the Heart - Deee-Lite
It's pretty eclectic, but maybe you'll hear something you dig.
25 of the best photos of Mohammed Ali. I like that the commentary talks about what works and doesn't for each photo.

November 6, 2014

Detail from a drawing of Kowloon Walled City, via. More info here

http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/violence-is-currency-a-pacifists-guide-to-prison-weapo-1643807529/+megneal - yikes

November 7, 2014

Slate on Demographics and our likely future of cycles gridlock. So, Democrats have demographics on their side, Republicans have more adamant (and old) voters who refuse any idea of compromise. So we'll get Democratic presidents and Republican Congress, and more flipflopping Senta-wise, with that wonky 6 year cycle.

Personally I think Republicans need to grow up. You already see some signs of this, like how many have had to shift on former bedrock issues like gay rights. The article suggests they could use a leader to water down the more radical part and widely unpalatable parts of the conservatism, just like Clinton watered down the liberalism.
Hunter took this photo of me pontificating, or maybe doing a vampire impression of some sort, at last night's TechHub Boston Demo night (at Harpoon Brewery)

The Sixth Stage of Grief Is Retro-computing - a beautiful treatise on old computers and listening to people. "Avuncular" is a lovely thing to be, and I should work to be better at it, especially as some kids important to me grow to ages where I can share bits of creative geekery with them.

November 8, 2014

I was thinking about how I'm "left-eyed" and that made me realize it's odd that we aren't more bilaterally symmetrical. I mean, we are for the most part, but not our organs.

Or- we could less symmetrical. I guess it's convenient to look roughly the same in a mirror, but still a little weird.
I was just trying to figure out what was so creepy about this ad introducing the Amazon Echo. Then I realized it's kind of eerily similar to the first few pages of Marshall Brain's story Manna, a weirdly plausible slope to technological dystopia and then a hopeful twist to post-scarcity utopia.

November 9, 2014

"There are no soul mates. Not in the traditional sense, at least. In my 20s someone told me that each person has not one but 30 soul mates walking the earth. ("Yes," said a colleague, when I informed him of this, "and I'm trying to sleep with all of them.") In fact, "soul mate" isn't a pre-existing condition. It's an earned title. They're made over time.

You will miss out on some near soul mates. This goes for friendships, too. There will be unforgettable people with whom you have shared an excellent evening or a few days. Now they live in Hong Kong, and you will never see them again. That's just how life is.

[...]

Forgive your exes, even the awful ones. They were just winging it, too."
--Pamela Druckerman, What You Learn in Your 40s (via NY Times)

November 10, 2014

Cora @ 4 months + 6 months; Great Baby, or Greatest Baby?












November 11, 2014

"And if these pictures have anything important to say to future generations, it's this: I was here. I existed. I was young, I was happy, and someone cared enough about me in this world to take my picture."
--Robin William's character in "One Hour Photo". I think about this quote as I read Internet K-Hole, now a tumblr; photos from the 70s, 80s, 90s. (Occasionally women flashing their boobs, or people otherwise not dressed, so a little NSFW.) I really dig the reminder of there was goofy fun life way back when, even if we didn't make records of it quite as often as we do now...

November 12, 2014

Oh man, Morning Edition is talking about this medical worker going off to fight Ebola, and keeping an audio diary. Hasn't he played, like, Bioshock? Having an audio diary for the player to come across later is a kiss of death!
But imagine if marriage didn't exist- and you're a guy, and you ask a woman to get married. Imagine what that conversation would be like. You'd be like:
'Hey, so, y'know, we been hanging out together, spending a lot of time together and everything--"
'Ya ya, I know!'
'I wanna keep doin' that 'til your DEAD.'
'...whhat?'
'I wanna keep hangin' out with you 'til one of use DIES. Put this ring on your finger so people know we have an arrangement.'
'Wha- Wha--- Who's that guy?'
'It's a priest. I want you to swear to God you won't back out of this deal.'
'Wha- What's he wheeling in?'
'It's a cake with two tiny dolls that look like us. EAT A SLICE... now feed a little bit to me [CHOMP]'
'Uh-h-uh this is really strange, why are we doing this?'
'TAX PURPOSES.'
-Aziz Ansari, from his special "Buried Alive" (I posted it last year.)
Sometimes I think I'm weirdly boolean in my thinking. A friend posts about a week being "frustratingly annoying" (and yet only Monday) and you know, rather than assuming a reasonable "sub-optimal, but readily survivable and there will be better weeks ahead" somehow I go 0-100 and figure things are gloom and doom and terrible. It's hard to grasp how many shades of gray (we need to not give up that phrase despite unfortunate literary reference) there are just in what things ARE.

Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right. And every Designed Thing is a compromise in competing priorities - I mean, it's not all relative, some designs and ideas are better on so many important fronts that it would be silly to not think of them as objectively "better overall", but sometimes - not so much.

This comes up in programming. Its sometimes difficult for me to have enough faith in a given toolkit to accept not knowing it 100%, just enough to get by. It's a knack. There are some lousy programmers who are always content with the 10% knowledge, but the quest for knowing ALL about something before you can use it is hopeless.

I imagine parenting would have some of the same pitfalls, at even greater stakes.

November 13, 2014

busy busy busy

November 14, 2014

https://soundcloud.com/koosha/comet-bumblebee - The song of the comet fits Flight of the Bumbleebee... (though to be picky, just like the lander, I'm not quite sure it sticks the landing)
Not sure if this photo montage captures it, but sometimes I really love the clouds around the seaport district.

What the heck 7. Everything else under 11 is cool with just being one syllable. Go over there and stand with W.

November 15, 2014

http://store.iam8bit.com/collections/sequel - awesome posters for never made sequels. I love how this one lets a terrible artist like me really think about what signifies male and female in sketch forms, without resorting to my usual "boobs and eyelashes" style of doodling women. (I have a plastic Iron Giant on my desk at work, actually, despite only barely having seen the film, I just dig the design.)

November 16, 2014

So, a few weeks late, here's what the costume for me and my tuba looked like on Dunster Rd Halloween night... I'm not sure if my makeup actually looked "skull-like" as was its intention, but overall it kind of added to the effect. Or maybe the affect.

Even though it was reviled as being inconsistent and unpredictable, I preferred the old OSX "zoom" button behavior, where it (kinda sorta) maximized the window within the context of the current set of windows over the new "take over the whole screen world" pattern it has in Yosemite. I often want a bit more real estate for a given window, and rarely am I thinking "boy I wish I was looking at this window AND NOTHING ELSE MATTERS IN MY COMPUTER'S WORLD".

Besides predictability (especially when resizing browsers; some people found it odd that it didn't always try to be as wide as possible) I suppose Apple is trying to catch an iOS-like sense of "focus on this one thing" monotasking, and so they hide the dock and title bar. Personally, I think this is a UX misthink; a flavor of multitasking (or at least quick task switching) is fundamental to many people's use of a laptop or desktop.

(I like how Windows 7 did it; the window still takes up the full screen, but then you can reposition it)

Anyway, you can hold "option" when you click the green circle, and then gets the old zoom behavior; I just wish there was a way to switch which one was the default.
http://loveblender.com/

November Blender of Love!

So, New Orleans changed its basketball team name to "Pelicans"?
They're bitter about Utah hogging the name "Jazz", but somehow passed on the name "Krewe" or "Brass". Too bad!
Ah, Inbox + Todo List Zero! It has been a while.

November 17, 2014


--from 30 Hilariously Terrifying Animal Hybrids That You Can Be Glad Don't Exist

CYMATICS: Science Vs. Music - Nigel Stanford from Nigel Stanford on Vimeo.


"It's cool how our pinky finger evolved into a cell phone stand."
--http://twitter.com/JhonRules

November 18, 2014

November 19, 2014

"If my life wasn't funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable."
--Carrie Fisher
The fact of the matter is, Greg was a lot of fun-- especially for a Republican, and he had great stories. I mean, this is a guy who had shared an office with Bush. But a long time ago. When Dubya was just George Sr.'s son. So they shared this little office and Greg once told me, "You know what Bush has as one of his many gifts? He can fart on command (in keeping with his jolly-college-good-old-frat-boy persona.)" And Greg said that what Bush used to do -- when Greg would be expecting people for a meeting -- W. would come in and fart in the office and then run, leaving Greg in the midst of it. Like someone in a cloud of marijuana smoke. And then the people Greg was meeting with would come in and, of course, they would find Greg surrounded by this awful smell. It's not dissimilar to what President Bush has done to the country.
--Carrie Fisher, "Wishful Drinking"
The snow in Buffalo is kind of making me nervous.

November 20, 2014

"And compare 'this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but whimper'--incidentally, one of the least likely scientific prophecies ever made--"
--C.P.Snow, "The Two Cultures and The Scientific Revolution"
"But there is more to passwords than their annoyance. In our authorship of them, in the fact that we construct them so that we (and only we) will remember them, they take on secret lives. Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories. A motivational mantra, a swipe at the boss, a hidden shrine to a lost love, an inside joke with ourselves, a defining emotional scar -- these keepsake passwords, as I came to call them, are like tchotchkes of our inner lives. They derive from anything: Scripture, horoscopes, nicknames, lyrics, book passages. Like a tattoo on a private part of the body, they tend to be intimate, compact and expressive."
--Ian Urbina, The Secret Life of Passwords. My go-to "less secure" passwords have a highschool tinge, and my "more secure" is based on a typing test.

November 21, 2014

Reza Aslan vs Biblical Literalism. Last night at my UU Science and Spirtuality I went on kind of a minirant, about how Literalism and Fundamentalism is just one of the most self-centered, unempathetic, pig-headed ways of being; you're so convinced of your truth/Truth that you totally dismiss (at best! Too often you get violent or at least condescending) the equally fervently held truth/Truth of all the other religions and doctrines. And not only that, according to Aslan, not even your own church's founders were so intent and insisting Truth = truth.

I was counseled to try and be less harshly judgemental, that Us vs Them Rah-Rahism is such a human and historically recurrent thing, but it's tough. I still think Fundamentalism, whether Christian, Moslem, Atheist, Communist, Anarcho-Capitalist, whatever, when you grab onto ideas with such ferocity that the humanity and empathy and kindness is scrunched out, is the biggest block to human progress. It's why I want to be such an Extremist Moderate. (And I am not unaware of the rhetorical risks of contradiction of this stance.)
I enjoyed the wheelbarrow full of air.

iPhone 6 finally arrived! I think as a an object of design, it's probably the most boring iPhone yet; just a big video billboard with rounded edges. The good part is that it's thinness makes a case less unpleasant, so on a whim months ago I had a custom case made with my old James Harvey Alien Bill commission. (This is only the plain 6; it might look larger so close to the mirror...)

"i put the ':/' in 'http://'."
--http://twitter.com/xanmurai

November 22, 2014


--via http://www.horkulated.com/

It's a shame they end this with a kid looking so dazed and skeptical, because some of these seniors are dancing great and having a blast. People need to get over the "old people aren't really people and shouldn't do things."

November 23, 2014

Sometimes, it seems so weird that Waze loves to get me from my place to 93 via my alma mater Tufts University... Curtis Street ahoy!

GENESIS

God: All right, you two, don't do the one thing. Other than that, have fun.

Adam & Eve: Okay.

Satan: You should do the thing.

Adam & Eve: Okay.

God: What happened!?

Adam & Eve: We did the thing.

God: Guys

THE REST OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

God: You are my people, and you should not do the things.

People: We won't do the things.

God: Good.

People: We did the things.

God: Guys

THE GOSPELS

Jesus: I am the Son of God, and even though you have done the things, the Father and I still love you and want you to live. Don't do the things anymore.

Healed people: Okay! Thank you!

Other people: We've never seen him do the things, but he probably does the things when no one is looking.

Jesus: I have never done the things.

Other people: We're going to put you on trial for doing the things.

Pilate: Did you do the things?

Jesus: No.

Pilate: He didn't do the things.

Other people: Kill him anyway.

Pilate: Okay.

Jesus: Guys

PAUL'S LETTERS

People: We did the things.

Paul: Jesus still loves you, and because you love Him, you have to stop doing the things.

People: Okay.

PAUL'S LETTERS PART II

People: We did the things again.

Paul: Guys

REVELATION

John: When Jesus comes back, there will be no more people who do the things. In the meantime, stop doing the things.

THE END


--Cabbagetroll on reddit

November 24, 2014

Somehow, 18-odd years (!) of amateur digital photography has netted me northwards of 40,000 (!!!) photos. Mixed feelings watching a duplicate-removing program scan through thumbnails of them all... such a lot of of life! But so much of it so poorly remembered.
We saw the most amazing catch in the Giants / Cowboys game last night... real glue on his gloves type stuff!

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/group-rules-web - awesome piece on the slow contentious slog to html5.
http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/tweet-game-strong - funny tweets

November 25, 2014

My favorite details from the unsealed Ferguson grand just: the cop didn't have a taser because the department had just one and the officer found wearing one to be "uncomfortable". and the coroner didn't take photos of the victim because "the camera battery was dead".

Uhh...
http://www.vox.com/2014/11/25/7281165/darren-wilsons-story-side Yeah, there was not probable cause to have a trial.
This smells.
Oh, plus our camera battery died so the coroner was out of luck :-( :-(

November 26, 2014

"I have written sentences about how the first time we made love felt like dropping my keys on the table after a long trip."

"I've always had a talent for recognizing when I am in a moment worth being nostalgic for."

"This is what camp is all about! I thought. Meeting other, slightly different white girls."

--Lena Dunham, my favorite sentences from her autobiographical "Not That Kind of Girl".

November 27, 2014

Ocean Grove Thanksgiving 2014 -- one of the few times I've experimented with a camera timer!

Dinner was Thanksgiving in a Box from Wegman's. Highly recommended!

November 28, 2014

star wars star wars STAR WARS

November 29, 2014

Cautionary note in my avuncular roles..

more...
My family's derived preferences, in pie chart form.

Eulogy for Radio Shack. For a long time, they were small town America's connection to technology, and their catalogs were great.

November 30, 2014

"The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent. But if we can come to terms with this indifference, then out existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light."
--Stanley Kubrick
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