kirk.is | archive | 2015 jun

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June 1, 2015

Highlights include the squirrel it leads off with, Mike vs the Bubble on the 17th, and then first person Go-Karts on the 19th...

http://kottke.org/15/05/the-man-who-loved-only-marbles both videos on this are kind of amazing
http://www.asofterworld.com/ - Softer World is wrapping up, sigh.

may 2015 new music playlist

June 2, 2015
In decreasing order of "you should hear this!":
  • Do You Swear To Tell The Truth The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth So Help Your Black Ass (Amanda Palmer) NSFW, quite, and with an unfortunate title/refrain - but I love the tale of the artist figuring out her life and sex life on her own terms, it's very sweet in its own way.
  • Feel Right (feat. Mystikal) (Mark Ronson) I thought this was a 5-star but I think I ended up liking the video version more than the bare song. But the song is pretty good.
  • Hold Heart (EmilĂ­ana Torrini) Almost syrupy in its sorrow, there's an amazing amount of nuance in its delivery.
  • Bulldozer (Goldishack Guerrillas) Political piece, uses a kind of Bro outlook in an amazingly catchy protest work.
  • How Naked Are We Going to Get? (The Blow) This vido is a train-station a cappella version of a thoughtful little song.
  • Common People (Full Length Version) (Pulp) I think it's good for me to get back to the original from the William Shatner / Joe Jackson cover
  • J.Rabbit - Tequila Remix v5 (J.Rabbit) Tweak of a classic. I love the movie clip (?) it samples, "Just drive over to my place, kick back, get some tequila..." - the way she pronounces te-Qui-la...
  • The Full Retard (EL-P) An aggresively stupid and NSFW song... the perfect club music for "Hot Tub Time Machine 2"'s future scene.
  • Spiders and Snakes (Jim Stafford) Dig the shadow of youthful sexiness in this one.
  • Alfie (Lily Allen) What's hilarious about this is that it's about the actor who plays Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones.
  • That's Life (Frank Sinatra) For a while I mirrored my dads anti-mafia-based dislike for Sinatra, but given his strikingly progressive views, I've been digging him more.
  • The Thrill Is Gone (1969) [Single] (B.B. King) RIP, B.B. King... I like the haunting orchestral strings in this.
  • Where Your Eyes Don't Go (They Might Be Giants) Hmm, I like this version a lot better than the one I got, but I love the line "Every jumbled pile of person has a thinking part that wonders / What the part that isn't thinking isn't thinking of"
  • Star Wars Imperial March (Dubstep Remix) (Lduk) I like remixes that don't pad their idea into 8 minute jams.
  • I Learned the Hard Way (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings) I'd like this song more except for this weirdly off-pitch flute that toots in on the chorus - is it supposed to be like a train whistle?
  • Partition (BeyoncĂ©) Is this just half the song? Anyway, some good sexy pop.
  • Breaking Bad Remix (Seasons 3-5) (Chris Lohr) A goofy exercise in sampling (in a show I never watched) but I like the percussive elements of it.

day late, dollar short

June 3, 2015
Time wakens a longing more poignant than all the longings caused by the division of lovers in space, for there is no road back into its country. Our bodies were not made for that journey; only the imagination can venture upon it; and the setting out, the road, and the arrival: all is imagination.

Our memories of a place, no matter how fond we were of it, are little more than a confusion of lights on a ground of darkness.

--Edwin Muir from 'An Autobiography'

June 4, 2015

It's amazing how many of these are so poetic... like to us, they're just cliches, but when you think about using them for the first time, so many are really beautiful.

June 5, 2015

"The reason for this is not so much an inherent American goodness--although I would argue that our motives in world affairs are generally more altruistic than those of most other large nations--but because of our unique position as a liberal democratic superpower that embraces an aspirational, rather than ethnic or confessional, national identity."
--James Kirchick, writing in Slate on the FIFA takedown and in defense of American hegemony and exceptionalism.
"In that 2005 University of Maryland at Baltimore study, groups of black and white children were shown images from Sesame Street. In the crucial picture, a sick Cookie Monster languished in bed without any cookies, while Elmo stood nearby eating a cookie. "Who is eating cookies?" Jackson asked her test subjects, and all of them indicated Elmo. "Who be eating cookies?" Jackson then asked. The white kids replied that it was Elmo, while the black kids pointed to Cookie Monster. After all, it is the existential state of Cookie Monster to be eating cookies, while Elmo just happened to be earing a cookie at that moment. Cookie Monster, to those conversant in AAE, be eating cookies, whether he is eating cookies or not. "
--Slate on African-American English and the Habitual Be. If you've been thinking "Ebonics" is just broken English, you're wrong; it has forms that concisely convey states of being that other dialects lack.

on albert ellis and not being miserable

June 6, 2015
Lately I've been on a "self-help" book kick. I started with Albert Ellis' "How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything-- Yes, Anything!" (The title just rolls right off the tongue!) Ellis draws our attention to a pattern of irrational thinking that I recognize in my own life--a habit of exaggerating the impact of a dreaded event, or of parlaying a small setback into general feelings of self-worthlessness. He's worried about the anxiety and dwelling on thoughts of "must" :
"If I lost my job, as I must not, I could never get a good one again, and that would show what a wholly incompetent person I am!" "I must have a guarantee that my mate must not die, for if he or she did, I couldn't stand being alone and would always be miserable." "It's absolutely necessary that I not lose my sight, for if I did, my life would be awful and horrible, and I could never enjoy anything again!"
Ellis has a pretty heavy hand with the italics! But he argues that for much of the time, our FEELINGS of anxiety and misery have their often hidden roots in (often irrational) THOUGHTS about situations present and future, and that by practicing thinking more realistic thoughts we can prevent these misery and anxiety causing emotions ... for example, a person feeling shame for not being able to stop smoking:
"In no way am I, a total person, stupid and worthless because I keep doing a stupid act like smoking. My act is foolish but that hardly makes me a worthless fool, only a person who is now acting foolishly, who may act less foolishly in the future, and who does many other intelligent things"
But- like all changing habits, switching thought patterns and recognizing unhelpful and irrational thoughts takes a lot of practice. I know one irrationally exaggerated fear I have is "being incorrect" (Or as Ellis would probably have me think: "now, it's hardly desirable to be incorrect, but if I'm wrong or don't see the other side of a given situation, that doesn't make me a horrible person, and I will certainly be able to have a more empathetic view in other situations!") though compared to a lot of other problems I and others will get through, it has a bit of a first world problem feel.
A real tour de force about the numbers lost in WW2, vs before and after.

(Ironic that the thumbnail uses an American flag, because it's not hard to see how lightly the USA got off, relatively speaking.)

But the infographics elements and use of sound and motion are subtle and great in this.

June 7, 2015


heh

June 8, 2015

A detailed analysis of clickbait: The Internet Chumbox. Didn't realize quite how visceral it was, and how simple the formula.

"Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours."
--The ALA's The Freedom to Read Statement. GO LIBRARIANS!

June 9, 2015


via pleatedjeans

June 10, 2015

Ha, I will be bringing my Sousaphone and helping out the "Brass Republic Band" from Western MA in Boston's Pride Parade on Saturday.

I guess by now I've earned my "Staunch Ally" card...
India does not have the knee-jerk "Thank You" that the USA has. Sort of like "Have a Good Day", I didn't realize this kind of Thank You is not universal. On the one hand, of course the American "Thank You" can run a little shallow, but I also think it is reasonably heartfelt. An Indian coworker accepts my armchair culture analysis that India emphasizes roles and structure and what you "should do", while the USA has that "rugged individualism" tradition, so the "Thank You"s are a recognition that "I recognize you didn't have to do that, so thanks".

I do so dig thinking about cultural differences use of language and gestures can imply, even if it's too easy to do it a bit sophomorica Just-So-Story-wise.

Love Blender

With appropriate disclaimers in how it can be an overwrought song, I'm a little bummed that with the multitude variants of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, most leave out the original's final verse:

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

This was played at Cora's baptism and I'll be honest, it got me a little misty.

June 11, 2015

"Code is inert. How do you make it ert? You run software that transforms it into machine language."
--Paul Ford in What Is Code - a whirlwind from start to finish
"We sing because life is beautiful, and even when it isn't, we're gonna sing anyway, 'cause it's all we got."
--Quote or paraphrase, about dixieland, from an old old love letter

June 12, 2015

My friend Sarah who is great with 3D printing and the like helped me make the Problems are Inevitable / Problems are Soluble thing I modeled up ( http://kirk.is/2015/03/19/ ) into a tangible object



It's a bit lighter than I had in mind, and I think I want to adjust the font of the B, but overall it's a great prototype!

June 13, 2015

"If pigs could fly, imagine how the wings would taste."
--karmaalien, http://reddit.com/r/showerthoughts
Moleskin: it's like a blister for your blister!
"I'm impressed you have a tattoo... well, impressed isn't the right word. "
--Melissa

June 14, 2015

Oh, hush.

June 15, 2015

I kind of resent how much I wanted to go to Disney World when I was a teenager. (Hey Kid! You just lost your father to a long illness! What are you gonna do now? We're going to Disneyworld!)
New Drink: "The Rosy Palmer" (half red wine, half zero calorie arnold palmer (iced tea/lemonad)). I was trying to make "Diet Jesus Juice" but grabbed the wrong can. It's not bad!

June 16, 2015

I was thinking about this snippet some African-American kids would sing around my high school gym class: "I don't care what the White Man say, Santa Claus is a Black Man"

I'm realizing now for the first time that that line may have influenced my fall from faith a few years after I first heard it: the socially-constructed aspect of religion felt incompatible with the sense of supernatural cause-and-effect that I felt was necessary for it being The Truth, and having my attention drawn to the assumptions I had been fed about Santa later had an echo in how I felt about a world that had so many mutually incompatible religions in it.

Anyway, I've had only mixed results in finding the source of what the kids in my high school were singing. By far, the closest match in sound is this clip of Freddy "Boom Boom" Washington sounding calypso on Welcome Back Kotter. If there's a source the character is quoting... I don't think it's this parody of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. It might be this song, but what my schoolmates were singing was definitely closer to the Kotter version.

atlantic city

June 17, 2015
Went with my Aunt and her friend to Atlantic City. I don't really get gaming, so I puttered off on my own.

I checked out the Ripley's Believe It Or Not place, that led off with this 13-foot-high Hulk statue (they had an Optimus Prime as well):


The interior had a touch orientalism and maybe racism, but also some true moments of surprise and delight... a Tibetan Skull bowl split the difference.


I had a wicked classy T-shirt custom pressed:


Steel Pier is pretty cool...

I went on this thing:


Finally, the trip home was well-timed:
"I have yet to come across anyone who admires virtue as much as sexual attractiveness."
--Confucius
Just found out about "Preterism", the idea that the stuff in Revelation happened along with the destruction of the Temple in 70CE.

It's kind of a weird idea, and possibly a twist of a plain reading of the books, but I've heard weirder and twistier.

June 18, 2015

Ah, vacation, when a glance at the bedside clock displaying "7:47" says "heh an airplane" and not "crap gotta get moving"
Why There's No Conservative Jon Stewart Some of the theories aren't so satisfying, but I think the ones near the end are true; at the heart of good liberalism is a willingness to second guess that's friendlier with more sophisticated comedy.
"If you follow every dream you might get lost."
--Neil Young, "The Painter"
I like this poem (Acceptance Speech by David Yezzi. I also like the name David Yezzi.)

June 19, 2015

They used to make Mario levels on graph paper.... love this stuff.


June 20, 2015

what's that story? the lumberjack walks into the forest, the trees reassure each other "the axe handle is one of us!"
apropos of nothing except my mom repurposing a just thrown out plastic bag as the wastebin liner

June 21, 2015

http://oglaf.com/acrophobia/ - man, the first 4 panels are a good stand-in for a host of prejudices.
"I don't think Osama bin Laden sent those planes to attack us because he hated our freedom. I think he did it because of our support for Israel, our ties with the Saudi family and our military bases in Saudi Arabia.
You know why I think that? Because that's what he f***ing said!
Are we a nation of 6-year-olds?"
--David Cross in 2004.

By similar reasoning, the Charleston shooting was not hating "Christianity", it was about hating black people.

You really can take some forms of hate at face value. Similarly, it's often not "utterly irrational", but a dumb kind of logic starting with horrific, wrong, and evil beginning assumptions.

Of course, the follow up logic is often lacking. "Uh, this is going to start a big race war! Hooray!" Hint to all future massacre planners: so very, very few people will find your murder of innocents inspiring, and the ones who do, you really don't want on your side.

Of course, the fact that the Treyvon Martin case was an inspiration as well. "Hey maybe I can get on this too" seems to be the pragmatic takeaway.

June 22, 2015

tbh I sort of forgot Mitt Romney had been our governor, despite how much I used to think about Romneycare....

When Image Recognition Algorithms Dream...

June 23, 2015

Sigh. I just noticed the FAA still bans stuff like tiny swiss army knives. I thought they had rescinded the ban, but they reinstated it 3 months laters. At the time of the lifting of the ban, the Association of Flight Attendants - CWA rep said " It's not just about the ability to take down an airplane or use the airplane as a weapon of mass destruction as happened on 9-11. It's about the ability to protect the entire airplane including the aircraft cabin and all the passengers on board. It's our job to be focused on everybody" but any damn thing can be used as a weapon. It's ridiculous.

June 24, 2015

So Every state flag is bad
Women's World Cup Matches I like that these matches seem to dig up some old and new rivalness... US v China, Germany v France, Austrail v Japan, Canada v. England. Ok, maybe less so that last one but you get the idea.
"The blues isn't about feeling better. It's about making other people feel worse."
--Bleeding Gums Murphy (Simpson S1E6 Moaning Lisa) I think I've been known to write mopey emails with this same aesthetic.

June 25, 2015

On my devblog, economics, culture, and electronic communication preference - Some takeaways from an article about how WhatsApp voice memos are becoming the predominant electronic communication format in Buenos Aires, and the parallels with the long standing Flilpino texting culture.

June 26, 2015

Marriage is so gay.
And straight, for that matter!

June 27, 2015

Where was all this "five unelected judges" chatter when they handed down Citizens United? Yeesh, Scalia.
making the rounds...

I'm delighted with the healthcare and the gay marriage push by Obama. I'm trying to figure out what to think about his other push on the trade deal. Why is it so secretive?
"It's so exhausting trying not to judge... I gave it up. "
--MELAS

June 28, 2015

"I will never know what MY earlobes taste like"
--slycoopar, https://www.reddit.com/r/Showerthoughts/
"I want to leave a living will saying that if I am in a coma, you should use that time to do hilarious makeovers of me for at least six months before considering switching off life support. (It just seems such a waste that I'll be out of it and nobody will draw a moustache on me or make me up like a clown.)"
--BabyBringMeToast, http://www.reddit.com/r/Showerthoughts/
https://www.eecs.tufts.edu/~cgregg/typewriter/ a guy at Tufts actually executes on an idea I had myself, using solenoids to be able to use a typewriter as a computer printer.

June 29, 2015

Ice Man was the decent one, Tom Cruise was the dork in Top Gun.
So I'm probably 7 or 8 pounds above my recent low so that means like 12-18 above a dream goal. Need to hunker down on Way-of-Eating, but- should I be grateful for my "fat shorts"? These cargo shorts I got that, without a belt, can just drop off my butt on their even when buttoned.

During my week vacation I was going over and weeding out a lot of old pictures. I guess I can see the difference when I was 20-30 pounds more than I am now, but it's so hard to quantify I'm not sure if I REALLY see it.

June 30, 2015

"If you think about it, your family tree is an upside down tournament bracket of surnames competing for your last name"
--Triton95, http://www.reddit.com/r/Showerthoughts/ (but given Western Culture that's pretty sexist!)
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
--Ferdinand Foch. I find that an evocative and scary and kind of hilarious image. I guess part of growing up with a (partially self-inflicted, I guess) fear of endless hellfire, one that still gives me a perpetual sense of being judged by some ineffable Other that might mete unknown but possibly terrible punishment if I get out of line with what I Should Be. Which I guess has kept me on a generally more secure path in life, but it seems like there should be gentler ways to get there.

Also, I dunno, just a weird visual of a dude running around, hands flapping furiously, "MY SOUL'S ON FIRE MAN!!! GAAAAH!"

What a rainbow-ish celebration! Headphones and full screen recommended:

http://www.theverge.com/2015/6/29/8860737/casio-watches-smartwatch-features-photos-exhibition Casio has been doing intriguing things with watches for a while!
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