kirk.is | archive | 2016 jul

<<prev
next >>

July 1, 2016

As a Scot and a Presbyterian, my father believed that man by nature was a mess and had fallen from an original state of grace. Somehow, I early developed the notion that he had done this by falling from a tree. As for my father, I never knew whether he believed God was a mathematician but he certainly believed God could count and that only by picking up God's rhythms were we able to regain power and beauty. Unlike many Presbyterians, he often used the word "beautiful."
[...]
He was about the only man I ever knew who used the word "beautiful" as a natural form of speech, and I guess I picked up the habit from hanging around him when I was little.
--Norman Maclean, "A River Runs Through It". I read it a while back, but this concept stuck with me.
Apple forces a password change and then my iPhone and other devices asks me for the new one about a thousand times.
Overall a quiet month for One Second Everyday - Visually I liked the shot of Alewife on the 10th, followed by Pride. I could have done even more bugs like on the 18th. And looking into the San Pellegrino on the 29th was kind of fun.

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast and the fork we use to eat the strategy is execution."
--Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL

July 2, 2016

FWIW, which I hope is "Not Much", Newt Gingrich would be a scary pick for Trump's VP. The guy is a masterful propagandist; "Contract with America" was a very evocative piece of wrapping. (About its only fault is you could spin it as "Contract ON America".) And apparently Newt is willing to change any opinion to get the nod. ("Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." --Groucho Marx)
This is the last Prairie Home Companion???

July 3, 2016

"I simply mean to emphasize that politics and political differences are much less important in reality for most Americans than they appear on the Internet, cable news, or in other forms of media."
--Michael Lee in this Quora How do liberals survive in highly conservative states like Texas, or conservatives/libertarians survive in highly liberal states like Vermont?. I think it's an important thing to remember. (I don't want to down play that ultimately policies do have consequences, but right now as I sit on a porch with my Aunt surrounded by neighbors we certainly disagree with on most things political, it's nice to remember basic politeness and general neighborliness can see us through.)

July 4, 2016

I just reread Tom Robbins' "Still Life with Woodpecker". I admit for a book I often put in my "Top 5 All Time Best" list, it didn't hold up as quite as well as I'd hoped, and as a treatise on our clear and often unthimking bias towards the animate over the inanimate, of things that can move and think over things that can just be, it's a bit sparse (maybe "The Mezzanine" by Nicholson Baker does a better job of that, somehow) but still, some it had some great thoughts and quotes:

In hot climates, A provides a shady arch, O is a siphon through which to suck liquids, U a cool cave or tub to slide into; A stands like a surfer with its legs apart, O hangs like a citrus from a bough, U rolls its hula hips-- and I and E mimic the cries of monkeys and jungle birds from which they were derived. Consonants, like fair-skinned men, do not thrive in torrid zones. Vowels are built for southern comfort, consonants for northern speed. But O how the natives do bOOgIE-wOOgIE while the planters WaLTZ.
---
Ideas are made by masters, dogma by disciples, and the Buddha is always killed on the road.
---
"Dynamite didn't come here to teach. It came to awaken."
---
"Those who shun the whimsy of things will experience rigor mortis before death."
---
Briefly, they discussed seeking professional help for the Princess, but King Max was one of those who believed that psychology was at that point in its development that surgery was at when it was practiced by barbers, so the idea was abandoned.
---
Morality depends on culture. Culture depends on climate. Climate depends on geography.

How and Why Donald Trump is Putin's favorite candidate.
I really liked Sunday's Sally Forth, from the Memento-like chronology to the middle three panels especially "JUST RUN TO YOUR BUNKER, TOM! EVERYONE RUN TO THE BUNKERS THEY PERHAPS SHOULD HAVE BUILT!"

July 5, 2016

iamthedukeofurl writes:
This relates to a theory I have, which is that the archetypal Western Male Hero is James Bond, to the degree that people (Mainly straight white men) start to see every Western Male Hero as James Bond.

Which is to say an aggressively masculine, quip-spitting, hyper violent womanizer. The ultimate Male Power Fantasy. A new supermodel love interest (or two) every film, a gun in his hand, and no consequences for his actions.

Consider:

Captain Kirk: Painted as a headstrong idiot who spends all his time banging green skinned alien queens. In reality, a pretty firmly Feminist character.

Han Solo: Pictured as a suave too-cool-for-school scoundrel. Actually kind of a mess with a ship that's falling apart. He constantly has people after him, not because he's some sort of superscoundrel that makes powerful enemies, but because he makes deals with dangerous people, and then fails to live up to his end of the bargain. From what I recall, it's not even that he double-crosses them or anything, he just screws up.

Mad Max: To quote that one hilariously stupid review that helped make the movie so popular, "In the post-apocalyptic future, it's going to be MEN LIKE MAX THAT ARE IN CHARGE!" Max just wants to drive his car around the desert and be sad. He doesn't want any of this.

It's like, the Male Power Fantasy (as exemplified by James Bond) is so strong that we feel a need to cast everybody we can in that same mold.
--from this tumblr thread, mostly about misunderstanding Mad Max
And here it comes again, that brittle frontier spirit, that lone lean guy in our heads, with a gun and a fear of encroachment. But he's picked up a few tricks along the way, has learned to come at us in a form we know and have forgotten to be suspicious of, from TV: famous, likably cranky, a fan of winning by any means necessary, exploiting our recent dullness and our aversion to calling stupidity stupidity, lest we seem too precious.
--George Saunders on Trump Rallies. The tie-in with anti-"Political Correctness" is telling.

Here's the un-PC truth, Trump fans: he's kind of a con artist, and you've been conned. There's no shame in being conned unless you refuse to admit you are - this country has its problems, but none so bad that Trump is a good answer.

Minor first-world-problem ‪#‎nerdrage‬ news: looks like last month, Samsung Smart TVs and Skype parted ways. Not that we used it much, but it was amusing to give the living room something feeling like the main screen on the Enterprise on Christmas Day.

Trying to figure out if there's ANY use for this camera now - and it was expensive-ish custom hardware, of course, heaven forfend they have let use a cheap usb webcam.

All-in-One Smart TVs always felt like kind of a poor idea to me - violating the old unix "do one job, do it well" principle, and tying in the simple utility of a nice big screen with wonky UIs and vendor lock-in.

July 6, 2016

Nice little bit of New Yorker Shouts + Murmurs Mini-fiction, "The Wedding Announcement".
Parasailing with Belmar Parasail over Ocean Grove...


(Not actually us, just to show what's going on)






"I want to YouTube about my life. I'll call my channel Happy Is Always The Answer."
--A young Human of New York

July 7, 2016

Just back from a lovely vacation with Melissa at my Mom+Aunt's in Ocean Grove.... the one downside to the trip was missing her cat, but here was a photo taken by her neighbor who stepped in for the feeding and light petting duties...

Oh Great God Gun, you sacred scamp.

The circular wheel of "justifications", where Dallas somehow can "justify" Falcon Heights and Baton Rouge, and vice versa, is going to grind us for a while.

Long hot summer.

July 8, 2016

Don Burrows is a swell guy about to retire as maintenance supervisor the Glens Falls Salvation Army. He was there when my family was there in the mid-80s, I remember him helping me with a pinewood derby car and his little side electronics business that let my family buy our first color TV.
The Second Amendment's Second-Class Citizens Right now FB is in a weird place where you still see a lot of content post-Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, MN but before Dallas.

In a weird and ugly way, the Dallas incident may seem like a 2nd Amendment, a more-well-organized-than-"usual" militia fighting back against what they see as government persecution and targeted abuse. There's no defense for what the shooters did (besides my general opposition to eye-for-an-eye, Dallas was supposedly pretty advanced with their Police Department) and it makes the situation much worse for every one except the gun manufacturers and sellers, but it is hard not to see it as part of the gun landscape.
Police used an bombsquad robot as an unmanned, treaded drone to kill the Dallas attacker?

July 9, 2016

Last year for my Commodore 64 Gazette Galore! project I did a line-by-line analysis of Geza Lucz's type-in game Flood. Jim Gerrie ported it to the TRS-80 Micro Color Computer:

Oh yeah, see you at JP Porchfest! I'm playing with School of Honk, JP Honk, and Porch-i-Oke
Hopefully my website will once again withstand the onslaught! I actually made it so band photos are handled more efficiently. Also the mobile version of the website shows a locator where you are.
"Spent the first two days home kind of free-falling from the meds / lack of meds and the paralyzing realization that nothing matters. Luckily that was followed by the motivating revelation that nothing matters."
--Sarah Silverman, after a recent scary hospitilization/brush-with-death

July 10, 2016

Donald and Hobbes, a set of old C+H with Donald playing Calvin:

I thought that one was the deepest one, but in general these work so well it kind of makes Calvin look worse in comparison.
"Maybe you should put some shorts on or something, if you want to keep fighting evil today."
--The Bowler, "Mystery Men"

July 11, 2016

Friends on FB see something tuba-related, they think of me...

LOL Tea Partiers, pretending they are running for election and not re-election. I guess "incumbent advantage" name recognition reversal is the logical sequel to "this sucks, tear it all down!" (an idea echoed with both Trump and Bernie hardcore supporters this year, I'd say) that's followed by general ineptness, party-line-think, and preferring being the monkey wrench in the gears to understanding politics is about acknowledging that about half of the country disagrees with you, whichever side you're on.

Republicans. You told us government was the problem, and then set it out to make it so.

July 12, 2016


--via
A Ghostbusters Gaiden, Directed by James Harvey:

june 2016 new music playlist

July 13, 2016
So-so month for new music last month.
  • Our Glorious Leader (Japanese Trump Commercial Theme) (Mike Diva) MUST SEE VIDEO.... Trump as the cutest, most anime apocalyptic force ever! You'll be glad it's the end of the world.
  • Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid) (Fall Out Boy / feat. Missy Elliott) Somewhat gratuitous remake, but I like the Missy Elliott break, and the drums ain't bad. (Also a song School of Honk does)
  • Motherf***er Got F***ed Up (Folk Uke) via "Orange is the New Black" - coasts on the juxtaposition of street talk and sweet ukes, but good in both.
  • Froggy Went a Courtin' (Informal Rehearsal) (Elvis Presley) Elvis really cracks himself up on this...
  • Your Feet's Too Big (Fats Waller) "Say, up in Harlem, at a table for two- There were four of us - me, your big feet, and you -- from your ankle up, I'll say you sure are sweet...from that down there's just too much feet - Yasss, your feets too big..."
  • Bauchtanz (Beckmann, Djorkaeff & Beatzarre) / Macho Man (Santipe) Ok- so "New Girl" had a cheesy middle eastern themed wedding with groomsmen doing a 'hoverboard' choreographed number to a song called "Magic Carpet" that from an obscure German/Turkish movie "Macho Men", and I had to buy the whole soundtrack. "Bauchtanz" (local copy) was cooler than the song I was hunting for, and "Macho Men" is swagger stupid but fun - I like the second guy coming in with a calm "clickety click BOOM"
  • i (Kendrick Lamar) (song starts around 0:44) Heard this at Liberty Hotel lounge, nice beat and sonic space, decent message.
  • Mexican Hat Dance (Allan Sherman) Cornball! I guess potentially racist, but not really.
  • Stadium Pow Wow (feat. Black Bear) (A Tribe Called Red) Native American blend.
  • So Beautiful or So What (Paul Simon) I've missed the last few Paul Simon albums. I like the message embedded in the title / refrain - two ways of looking at the world
  • Do Watcha Wanna (Extra Crispy Brass Band) A piece I play in School of Honk that I wanted to hear more of.
  • Changes (Langhorne Slim & The Law) Sweet song.

61 glimpses of the future, starting in the Far East.
I'm not a very privacy-minded guy, but Waze kind of freaked me out the other day - I was used to it "helpfully" asking "Are you on your way [Home]?" (after I registered more or less my home address with it") at random times I thought maybe there was some heuristic about home and realizing I wasn't near there. The other day it asked me "Are you on your way to [Stony Brook]?" - where we have our regular band practice at that time... Now, I entered Stony Brook as a favorite just for that purpose, but man... that moves Waze from "take a guess" heuristics to low-key stalker.

July 14, 2016

We used to tell our phones where we wanted to go, and the phone would tell us how to get there. With Pokemon Go it's the other way around.
LOL Republicans - During the Republican Convention, Toy Guns Banned, Real Guns Allowed - though I guess it makes a kind of logical sense for a city that gave us the Tamir Rice shooting. Toy Guns: know the real danger.
Gingrich broke congressional politics by turning into a get-reelected-at-any-co$t game. The idea of him as a Cheney-like VP is scary as hell.

July 15, 2016

Ugh, this truck attack. A different feel than an attack relying on guns or explosives, because big vehicles are everywhere, yet the casualty count was so astounding.

How any human can see this as being the 'good guys' is beyond me, but that's the power of fundamentalism; for the benefit of never having to question your belief, you have the cost of not being able to question your beliefs.

Not all faiths are as egregious as this, of course, at least right now, but the story of God testing Abraham Faith vs Basic Humanity by seeing if he was willing to go up and murder his own son? With a last minute "Nah, just playin,"? Not a good start to Abrahamic religions.
I think I need to check out these Favorite 5 TED talks picked by TED founder...

July 16, 2016

A while back James Harvey posted a link to Prince on the piano riffing on "So High" - at 18 minutes it's longer than I'd put in my music collection, but it's good.
Accept the things you cannot change:
the bleating clock,
the nightly go
--dog leash in tow--
around the block,

neural chemistry,
patchy hair,
a longing stare
and X-ray eye,

and the niggling fact
that things will stay
roughly this way,
to be exact.

Forgive the things you cannot have:
the supple bod,
taut undergrads,
a nicer pad,
long chats with God,

an older name,
your peers' respect,
the oll korrect,
unbridled fame,

a sense of ease
in your own skin,
a lighter burden
by degrees.

The life you'd swap for on the train
(sight unseen)
is much like yours
though it appears
more green.

So, why this pain
that shorts the breath
and spoils your health?
You grow serene--

not yet, but after
your will resigns
a few more times
with heavy laughter.

--David Yezzi, "Acceptance Speech" published in The Atlantic
LOL Trump. Why is public radio playing his VP like its news not propaganda? Also I love how he says he's going back over the years to look at the Middle East, starting with Clinton, and some how skips 2000-2008? LOLOLOL, Republicans.
"Pokemon Go is also terrific if you enjoy having your workday constantly interrupted by imaginary bats, like Hunter S. Thompson."
--Washington Post
So I've been noticing more music missing from iTunes :-( Luckily I have both some old archives and even the mojo to parse out what old stuff might be missing, but it's a super-pain. My devblog: parsing itunes Library.xml into json

July 17, 2016

I've decided to go through all the digital photos I (or sometimes a friend on my camera, or my comission) taken over the past 20 years, and pick out the dozen best photos of each year. Starting with 1996 - but I was only taking photos for like half the year, so it's just a half dozen.

1996 marked my graduation from college, and my first apartment - in Waltham, where Dylan subletted from me for a while.

My first camera was the Kodak DC20. It had a beautiful minimalism; no screen, no flash, just a cut-out viewfinder. Like getting good old film developed at the drug store, you couldn't see what picture you had taken 'til later.

So, the best of 1996:

I think Dylan took this one. Hey, remember giant racks of CDs? And that Papasan chair saw me through college... it was kind of a big draw.


Dylan's self-portrait... you can see the DC20 in question.


I still have this golem, named Fish for reasons unclear to me now. He doesn't have the cyberpunk shades any more, but wears the glasses with clip-ons I was wearing at this time.


Dan Lipton!


Rebekah!


Lily, beloved kitty of R.


Bonus: a very early "Photoshop" I did.

July 18, 2016

My dozen best photos of 1997. Even though I had graduated, I sang with Tufts' sQ! as an alum. And I'm still working my first real, non-summer job. I moved to Cambridge's Inman Square that fall, splitting an apartment with my cousin Llara.


Dylan and Sarah, in the kitchen at Waltham.


sQ's Stacy on the piano.


This was one of my first "man I really like how this photo came out" - Daddy-O's red lighting and Rebekah's expression.


R again.


Austin at an sQ rehearsal.


Me at sQ. I may have been doing my "senior solo" of Cake's "The Distance".


I sometimes get to go with Dylan to his family's cabin on Lake George. Beefcake, anyone?


I reconnected with Mo, my college drinking buddy, who also happened to have moved to Inman Square... we ran into each other at the S+S. Dylan said she seemed really happy to see me - I think this photo is from a small dinner party she threw in the fall.


I hosted a holiday party that year, apparently semi-fancy-dress.


Mo gesturing in the kitchen. (Overall I wasn't taking many photos these years, and so sometimes there's less variety in subject...)


The day after the party, E. hung out. With a dinosaur on her head. Just because.


Mo again, the days after the party.


On a Hulu ad I first saw how Panera is really hammering "clean" as the primary descriptor for their salads. At first I thought it was a dig against Chipotle, though I guess it's kind of a trendy food movement, ish? But kind of a diffuse one as far as I can tell?

Anyway, can't say the ad was entirely ineffective, got me into the store where I took a shot of the poster.

Salads from Sweetgreen, Cosi, Chipotle, and Panera really are a boon to dieters who are willing to sacrifice some $$$ to save time.
A Brief History of Celebrities Using the Notes App to Share Their Thoughts With the World "...the street finds its own uses for things"

July 19, 2016

My dozen best photos of 1998...

Some of these were taken with the Kodak DC25, which took about identical shots to its minimalist sibling but had a flash and a screen (for reviewing shots after they were taken, still a regular viewfinder for composing them.)

Looking at the photos... as I can see in the "Rainbow Warrior Carla" photo halfway through the year I moved into the "Big Yellow House" with about 6 or 7 people including Mo (who loved the woodwork... we technically had separate bedrooms but that didn't last for long.) Despite having to share bathrooms and showers, it was terrific always having a N64 and people around for a game of Mario Kart or Smash Brothers.

Apparently I was going through a "tucking in my shirt" phase. Also, I changed jobs and started working near the Cambridge Galleria.


Mo at Inman's 1369 coffee house. It was nice living across the street from there.


My mom had an apartment in NYC these years (my technical residence during college was my own micro-studio apartment that overlooked Broadway! I wasn't down in the city nearly enough), here we are at the Guggenheim during an NYC trip.


The first of what is to be many photos of the shore of Ocean Grove, NJ. Here are shadows including Lena and Bjorn.


My hot dog has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R. For some reason I remember this photo was taken by my Aunt Ruth and Grandma.


Dylan, Mandy, and me kayaking the Charles. Afterwards we went to Friendly's where Dylan sketched out my "I WANT TO DIE" adventure kayaking across the path of an oncoming boat.


Sarah at Lake George. One is truly never alone with a wacky noodle.


Rainbow warrior Carla, prepping for Pride. Interesting (I hadn't noticed that "Equality" sticker before. I remember being slow to identify it as a pro-gay symbol, years later.)


From my dad's side of the family... cousins John, me, Scott, Chip, Brian, and then Grandma.


My old boss Diane looks fierce in this one.


For many years this photo of me leading a pep band cheer, and its inverted version, was my "go to" photo. I like it's propaganda feel.


From that same outing (we were at Tufts' Homecoming game), Mo.


Someone made a "meme" version of this that's the first Google Image match for "MOAR MOAR MOAR". I was surprised when I ran across that online.


1998 Bonus... years later I turned that one headshot into this:

And this is the inverse version I liked so much, for its sci-fi vibe.
1998 Extra Bonus: When selecting the dozen, I shied away from having too much Sarah, lest I seem like some confused stalker, but damn if she isn't one photogenic selfie-pioneer here:

How Tennis Balls get made is visually compelling. By coincidence just the other day I saw a destroyed, chewed up tennis ball on the curb, thought about its construction and how people in a "Mad Max" society might miss having them.
The would-be-first-lady speech plagiarism as deliberate sabotage. Plus, Rick Roll.

Good lord.
For some reason I liked Quora's What's the Most Overrated Pleasure. Some I disagree with, but I'm getting to the point where it's worth analyzing the real benefit of things assumed to be pleasurable. (Oo oo another chance for me to analyze!)

July 20, 2016

My Dozen Best Photos of 1999...

At some point I got an Olympus C-900 Zoom, so there's a notable improvement in image resolution and clarity. I think the colors tended to be a little flat, though, but I loved how well-protected its lens was when you closed it up - great design.

Anyway, another year, another new apartment - a tiny, tiny 1 BR with Mo, with her figuring it was time for us to grow up and have our own space... I think the size (and relative cheapness) of it kind of represented training wheels.


Mo with Murphy, in that new apartment, which she decided to paint herself, in order to more deeply claim it.


Bjorn with a camera-shy Lena at Walden Pond.


Kyle Parrish, a friend from Tufts, and a much better poet than I. Me. I.


Fake knuckle tattoos.

Sarah at Lake George, again with Wacky Noodles.

Sarah at Lake George, but in a more contemplative mood.


A photo from the fountain at NYC's World Trade Center, taken 9/11/1999 - two years before, to the day. (That fountain had a great optical illusion only viewable from up the towers, with a circular edge that seemed to be eternally contracting, because of the "wake" of the water flowing over it.)


The WTC photo was during a trip to NYC to meet up with Veronika and some of her friends, as they travelled from Germany. This is Mo, Veronika, and a "B2"


Veronika had a way of melting with guys she really liked, here with her boyfriend on top of the Empire State Building.


Karla Goo, a fellow alum of sQ!, here after a concert of the group.


Lisa, a fellow Tufts Band Lemming, had a halloween party. Besides this dance move she and I would re-enact the Blues Brothers dance at odd intervals.


Back at the shore, I think again with Lena and Bjorn, one of whom took this shot. That might be the first in a series of green hoodies I've enjoyed over the years.


1999 Bonus: Two images (Dylan and his mom Linda, and Mo on a fence at Tufts) that came close but didn't quite make the cut...



1999 Extra Bonus: years later I got into "flat color pix" - basically single-image rotoscoping, aka "tracing".

Interesting! I had no idea you're much more likely tofall into an eccentric orbit than to actually hit the sun. (I guess satellites around the earth have just enough resistance from the upper atmosphere to not enjoy a similar free ride?)
30 Years of Saying Government is the Problem means you're going to be bad at government.
Mad Magazine released their Trump issue online. Trump vs The Bible is great. Christians: Trump is not one of you.
This is terrible

July 21, 2016

My Dozen Best Photos of The Year -- *2000*!

Clearly we survived Y2K without much hassle. I was kind of uptight about in 1997-8 or so, but then calmed down a bit as systems failed to collapse, even ones that had to look ahead.


My friend (and former coworker from my first job) Habib, from Morocco.


Mo and I got engaged on Valentine's Day. (She had been a little frustrated that I hadn't punctuated a promise made early in dating that I wouldn't propose before 2000 by popping the question on the stroke of Y2K.)


This photo here as a reminder for me of my biggest "dot com" play, "Event Zero".


For an only child, I have a lot of cousins-once-removed or whatever it is.


Beloved English Teacher Judith McLaughlin, who died a year or two ago. I would call on her every visit back to Cleveland - it's a hoot to do some day drinking with your funny and gracious high school teacher.


After the wedding of Wendy, with Mike Witczak--


We visited Veronika in Germany that fall... here we are at Uni-Marburg... and I thought Tufts had a big hill, it ain't a patch on Uni-Marburg.


Me in Wurzburg.


Back at work - Giant Spider! Lowering from the Monster.com blimp. (A bit of office tom-foolery)


Another year, another new apartment. And a little peck from Dylan.


Brooke threw a lot of fun parties these years.


Mo's friend and then-(uh)-future-maid-of-honor Lee. For some reason I think I remember she's around to help Mo try on wedding dresses (We had a year and a half engagement.)


2000 BONUS

Video Shows Unarmed Black Man Pleading With Arms Raised Before Getting Shot by Police - Hands up, don't shoot. Mercifully, not a death, and maybe "just" an error from an itchy trigger finger? Still... Racist, Barney Fife BS.
The Centipede is especially good...


How Republicans went from the party of Lincoln to the party of Trump, in 13 maps - want to keep this around in for when the old "Us? Racist? But we're the Party of Lincoln!" comes around.
Jimminy Frickin Crickets, Republicans.

Extra bonus: Trump and Putin see eye to eye on NATO (even as Pence tries to say we WOULD stand with the alliance that kept us through the cold war.)
The ultimate Tell Me Again Why Trump is a Fascist.

July 22, 2016

My Dozen Best Photos of 2001.

Camera-wise, I think this year I started my long relationship with Canon PowerShots. They were truly pocketable cameras that took nice shots, and I kept one with me all the time for years (PalmPilot, Camera, Wallet, Keys, Sunglasses) - in fact there's still usually one in my courier bag, but it doesn't get much action.


Though actually, I think this is the only "Best of" photo taken with the Kodak PalmPix, a clip-on camera for the PalmPilot. Not a good camera in general, but has an interesting winter wonderland effect here.


Again, Brooke threw some good parties, like this Angel/Devil themed one.


Angel from the Angel/Devil party.


I've always loved this picture of Greg's kid, the whole "stop fooling around with a camera and get me more to drink" of it.

One of the few photos here not taken with my equipment; our wedding was professionally photographed, but this shot of the dancing after was done with a plastic toy camera. Two young people who didn't know what they were doing, but were trying to look cool doing it, I guess. We had a giant framed print of this one on the wall for a while.


Honeymoon in Mexico. It was a photogenic place, but I had surprisingly few great shots.


Aunt Susan and Uncle Bill on the stoop at Wigglesworth.


Mo and I and the Tufts band lemmings went Apple Picking...


Goddess of Apples.


Jen the Juggler.


Apple Strongman.


My best highschool buddy Mike was fond of road trips, including this one to Boston with his pal Dave. I guess this was pre-Big Dig, when there was still an elevated highway there.


"The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon -- and I mean very soon -- come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored."
----Donald Trump. Besides the fact this is a spooky authoritarian tyrant kind of line, how the HELL could he promise this unless he was like, ordering the crime and violence himself?

July 23, 2016

My Dozen Best Photos of 2002.

Another Brooke Party shot from the stairway up from her kitchen, since kitchens are were all respectable parties end up.


A walkway light in the snow, in Burlington, outside of the offices of Gale.


2001 was the first year I renewed a lease on an apartment, but Mo and I bought a house this year. Househunting was more a project of her and her mom with me supporting them from the edges; probably a harbinger, in retrospect. Anyway, Mo in a this mighty chair she had brought into the relationship, on moving day.


I went to Philly Classic, a classic/retro video games convention. Here is a man in a homebrew Atari 2600 Pitfall Cartridge costume.


My Father-in-Law's birthday, in the dining room of the new house.


A one-year-anniversary trip to Ogunquit.


Our friends Lee and Michelle got married.


Cousin at a family reunion.


At this point I'm working in Salem (the dot com crash was the roughest patch for me job-wise, but wasn't too awful.) You get a nice view of the Canon PowerShot I was using then.


Mo recreating that famous James Dean look.


The year before we had adopted Denali as company for Murphy. This was one end of the "great room" in our new house, probably the house's single best feature.


View from inside a Jack-O-Lantern


"Don't get mad if you parents ask 'simple tech questions' because they taught you how to use a spoon."
--Thechangingboy

July 24, 2016

My Dozen Best Photos of 2003:


There was a little park and playground right across from our house in Waltham.


Yi, at my job in Salem.


Mo and her dad. Folder information suggests this is around her brother Dan's thesis concert.


We travelled to Europe that spring, in part to attend Veronika and Volker's wedding in Germany. The German guests thought I was being charmingly euphemistic when I told them Veronika and I "dated" in high school. Also I learned, don't try and keep up with German guests when there's free red wine being poured.


The kid of one of V+V's friends. I learned two things playing Pictionary (in English) with Germans: one, the German's view of Aladdin's Lamp is more upright, like a vase. Two, in English (or at least the UK flavor?) technically, a frown is an expression of the brows, not of the mouth.


We visited my mom who was working in London those years. I've always liked this shot of Mo on the London Eye, Europe's tallest ferris wheel.


Jane and Julia. Sometimes Jane and I felt like the only liberals at that place, it was a bit square.


The family reunion was in Belmont that year, here's a little soccer action.


An in-progress shot of my project for that year, JoustPong for the Atari 2600. I don't want to mix up cause and effect, but sometimes I wonder about if I had put as much focus on Mo's project of getting a house as I had on my own technical endeavor.


I do enjoy this shot from EB's wedding.


Halloween Pac-Danger, at the "Paper Source" near Porter.


Flapper Jane dancing at a masquerade ball Mo and I threw. Sometimes that feels like the last hurrah for me and her and that place and that time; she had realized her interests lay elsewhere.



BONUS: A few months later I made this composite shot of the park, and called it "Ghost of a Snowman"
Clay Shirky speaks to why I'm so appalled about Trump.

July 25, 2016

Best Photos of 2004... Mo and I part ways, I sell the house, publish my Atari game, and spend a lot of time with EB and Jane.


The pier at the Ocean Grove NJ boardwalk. I think the fishing house at the end had been rebuilt after the Blizzard of '96, and then got destroyed again during Hurricane Sandy.


I guess the last photo of Mo in "Best of" is this one of her at Home Depot, as we got the house ready for sale.


I released JoustPong at Philly Classic that year (note the custom T-Shirt, a giveaway with the first batch of carts) and shared the AtariAge booth with Howard Scott Warshaw - creator of the Atari game Yar's Revenge and, more infamously, the rushed version of "E.T." that "caused" the Great Video Crash of 1983.


For some reason I had to stop by Mo's new apartment at Davis, and we took turns doing portraits with her new fancy Rebel camera. I feel like this is one of my best pre-beard portraits of me.


EB helping me patch the crumbling concrete of the front stairs of the house. (Actually it's funny how much time I'd spend waiting for him at Home Depot, as he enlisted me as unskilled labor getting his new place into shape.)


My favorite Professor at Tufts, Alva Couch, speaking at some department alumni thing.


EB and I went through a phase of playing darts at Flat Top Johnny's where we met this pair. Nothing more than goofy half-flirting happened, I just find this photo amusing. (Also I was amazed that one time when EB+I inadvertently skipped the check at FTJ's, the staff immediately told us when we came in next time. I think my face blindness would be a handicap in that kind of job.)


EB and I on a tandem ride of the "Skycoaster" at Six Flags.


Jane outside of work - we'd go toss a football in the parking lot sometimes.


And Jane at a restaurant, near work. She was a big supportive help that year, though her advice to get me out of the big jeans I would wear all the time kept me in nothing but khakis for the better part of a decade.


I visited Mike in Cleveland, and for his birthday his friends subjected him to a kind of prank mystery car ride.


Cousins in motion at the Family Reunion.


BONUS!

BONUS BONUS! Months after assembling the photos, I couldn't remember why this one didn't make the cut.


Slate on The Hillary Haters. Saturday at a party I was showing around some old Spy-magazine covers about Hillary from the 90s (I remember 'Hillary as dominatrix in particular.) The endless dislike of her has a lot of roots in sexism, without a doubt.
I just finished "Don Quixote" for a second time (living out some old maxim that just as a piece of architecture should be viewed in the morning, mid-day, and dusk, so should this book be read as a young person, a middle-aged guy, and an old man.)

I read Edith Grossman's 2003 translation. Some highlights I made to record here:

The one passage I remember from my first reading is from Marcella's defense, as she's being accused of a shepherd's death because of her failure to return his love:

Heaven made me, as all of you say, so beautiful that you cannot resist my beauty and are compelled to love me, and because of the love you show me, you claim that I am obliged to love you in return. I know, with the natural understanding that God has given me, that everything beautiful is lovable, but I cannot grasp why, simply because it is loved, the thing loved for its beauty is obliged to love the one who loves it.

(In the same way I sometimes dig the KJV version of the bible, this translation is nicely old school.)
---
Another idea I saw cited in Jack Kerouac's "Dharma Bums" was "Comparisons are Odious":

'Stop right there, Señor Don Montesinos,' I said then. 'Your grace should recount this history in the proper manner, for you know that all comparisons are odious, and there is no reason to compare anyone to anyone else. The peerless Dulcinea of Toboso is who she is, and Señora Belerma is who she is, and who she was, and no more should be said about it.'

While here "Comparisons are Odious" mostly applies to people, I find it critical in my understanding of "Amor Fati", the love of one's fate; we spend so much effort comparing this world to all these other, slightly more pleasant alternative universes (just like this one, but I'm not stuck in traffic!, for instance) that it makes us miserable with very little return.
---
Harold Bloom's Introduction to the work mentions: It remained for La Rochefoucauld to restate the other side of the paradox: some people would never have loved if they had not heard of love.
---
The book cites verses from other source, such as Commander Escrivá's
Come, death, so secret,
so still I do not hear your approach,
so that the pleasure of dying
does not bring me back to life.


and there was also a reference (Sancho watched everything, and not one thing caused him sorrow) to
"Nero, on Tarpeian Rock, / watched as Rome went up in flames; / crying ancients, screaming infants, / and not one thing caused him sorrow."
---
Of course, much of the joy of the book are the proverbs and quotes, famously by Sancho but also Don Quixote himself:
  • too much wine cannot keep either a secret or a promise.
  • The ox who's free can lick where he pleases.'" (Grossman explains "A proverb that extols the joys of liberty.")
  • stultorum infinitus est numerus: "The number of fools is infinite."
  • Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it's bad luck for the pitcher
  • "I have always heard, Sancho, that doing good to the lowborn is throwing water into the sea."
---
At one point the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance says "Now you will see, said Agrajes" which Grossman footnotes "Agrajes, a character in Amadís of Gaul [One of the most established tales about knight errantry] would say these words before doing battle; it became a proverbial expression used at the beginning of a fight."
---
Some passages still resonate today:
  • "Be quiet," said Don Quixote. "Where have you ever seen or read that a knight errant has been brought before the law no matter how many homicides he may have committed?"
  • "In short," said Don Quixote, "it seems clear, Sancho, that you are a peasant, the kind who shouts, 'Long live whoever wins!'"
  • "Even so, I want you to know, brother Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "that there is no memory that time does not erase, no pain not ended by death."
---
I was interested in a view of the year that seems to put the year into five seasons, not four:
spring pursues summer, summer pursues estío, 1 estío pursues autumn, autumn pursues winter, and winter pursues spring, and in this way time turns around a continuous wheel;
---
Finally, I loved this rant:
"Oh, base, lowborn, wretched, rude, ignorant, foul-mouthed, ill-spoken, slanderous, insolent varlet! You have dared to speak such words in my presence and in the presence of these distinguished ladies, dared to fill your befuddled imagination with such vileness and effrontery? Leave my presence, unholy monster, repository of lies, stronghold of falsehoods, storehouse of deceits, inventor of iniquities, promulgator of insolence, enemy of the decorum owed to these royal persons. Go, do not appear before me under pain of my wrath!"

July 26, 2016

Best Photos of 2005, marking the halfway point of this project, years-wise.

It's been kind of therapeutic going going through years past this way; it's been a nice way of reviewing the past and lengthening my sense of the chronological space without being stuck there.


Not quite see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, but along those lines.


I started dating Ksenia in late 2004, at some point she was helping friends and relatives arrange flowers, I liked this photo.


At one point most of her family went skiing, and I stayed with her and her grandfather. During a blizzard. Snow was above my car's windows...


Alex and Tonya's wedding. I always liked the intimacy shown in this one.


EB vs Sponge Bob Pinata.


Coworker Noor enjoying my office toy Hulk Hands.


Ksenia and I hiked Monadnock - April was a bit early for the path we were taking with friends. Andy is in this photo as well.


Ksenia joined me on a work trip to Chicago.


We got kind of lost in Chicago, and were tired.


The Lynn shore. The light was kind of amazing.


Coworker prank - they used my hoody to make a "virtual me" when I was out with a hurt back. "Works on my machine" is such a great catchphrase for the developer.


Another winter, more snow shoveling.


2005 Bonus Images!
Ksenia and Me in the Chicago's Cloud Gate sculpture.


Another shot from that sunset at the Lynn shore.


Ksenia - same shore, different day. I love how the clouds mirrored on the sands looks about the same as in the sky.


Erin over an Alien Bill birthday cake


Getting political fatigue to the point of burn out.

Whichever side wins, it's not the end of the world, or the republic. We'll get shitty judges, lives (especially for vulnerable classes) will be made worse, we'll continue banking on some future geo-engineering crap rather than actually thinking about climate change, we'll be more at risk for authoritarian crap, we'll be a few ticks closer to nuclear armageddon. Trump will be Putin's man in the white house, etc.

Most of us will still muddle through in conditions that are the envy of 99% of the history of humanity. We'll be that much farther from our potential as a species, and in general being on the wrong side of history.

We've survived LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, GWB, Newt Gingrich.

Life would go on.

We can do better, and knock wood will with Hillary. It's frustrating that it all comes down to a few swing states. Even more frustrating that we've so clustered around two very different narratives of what it means to be a good, smart American.
Dilbert on Corporate Slogans like Make the world a better place
From 15 Twitter Jokes Everyone Should Read:

Young children are like sponges. They are the filthiest thing in your house.
--@RockabillyJay

I told a joke about a mandatory meeting once, you had to be there
--@le_buns

Any dog can be a guide dog if you don't care where you're going
--@matt___nelson

July 27, 2016

Best Photos of 2006. Surprising jump in the ratio of things and places to portraits of people...

At the end of 2005 I took a new job with a small company called "Refresh Software" that had me travelling quite a bit - this photo is from Addison, TX. (I'll remember the name because the town's street signs proclaimed "Addison!", like it was a musical.)


I think this photo is from Georgetown, on another business trip, this one to DC.


Took a minibreak to NYC; here's the Guggenheim interior.


Ksenia at the Boston Museum of Science


Rainy day at work.


I think this is the first year I discovered going Kayaking on the Charles to see the fireworks... to this day I'm sort of bummed when a kayaking trip doesn't have a big spectacle at the end.


Beetle at work. Canons had good macro functions!


Flower in the garden of the Deerhill in Vermont


Went to the Aquarium before doing some whale watching... they had a great jellyfish exhibit (if scary, as these brainless geniuses are poised to take over the oceans as they warm up.)


I was a somewhat early adopter of car GPS; this photo is because this GPS model had a high-score like "Max Speed" feature - 2492 mph! Not bad for a little Scion xA... probably bad mileage though.


As the story went: My coworker Rob's son James sold this original art to his dad. The original asking price had been a dollar and ten cents. During the negotiations, dismayed at his dad's lowball offer of a quarter, young James pointed out "but look at all that action!". (The final agreed upon price was a dollar.) It is a lot of action!


With Jane in Portland Maine... amazing year-end long shadows there.


Mexican illustrator Mona Robles Reinvents Pokemons as 'Pokemayans':

Trump: Release the Tax Returns or Get Out of the Race

July 28, 2016

Best Photos of 2007. Took a photography class this year, and had trips to Florida and Chicago.

Ksenia and I broke up at the end of the previous year, but we were still in each other's life a little bit.
From the Florida trip to visit John and Cordelia. Here he is doing a Hamlet with a coconut, I think.


EB enlisted me as cheap unskilled labor in refurbing a house. He was a big fan of coveralls. We enjoy the oddly "Beastie Boys" nature of this shot.


EB's baby (EBB)


I was on my belly at the Boston Public Garden for this shot. My buddy JZ said "I envy you". I thought he was being sarcastic, but know, he kind of admired having a hobby like that, with the Canon PowerShot always in my pocket.


At Six Flags. Love the soaring nature of this.


I was back in Chicago, for Michi and Jesse's wedding... pretty town!


Pretty Ariana, at the wedding. She's not usually quite so Nixon-ish.


EBB in the air.


https://blog.xkcd.com/2007/10/01/the-meetup/ - there was an xkcd meetup, inspired by the details of a specific comic, I attended with Rebekah and Derek. A beautiful gathering of nerdly types!


Ksenia modeled for me for a photography class I was taking, and we used a video projector to put images on her. She is an artist, and had an experience as an assitant at the Russian edition of Cosmo, so some cool images resulted.


Also for the class, self-portrait in security mirror at Alewife Station.

.
My Mom, Uncle, and Aunt at Thanksgiving at our cousins'



Amazing demos of how different camera lenses make the subject look much, much fatter.

I'm trying to figure out if there was any way college or something could have gotten me to my current awareness of how frickin' different people are.

I think a lot of people, as a short hand, kind of assume everyone is more or less like them. It's a bit of a working hypothesis we need for empathy?

But then... I dunno. Even apart from all the crazy amounts of partisan tribal bickering. Sometimes when I read about how badly people do on basic science questions, or fractions, say, it's just weird. Negative, sure - but just strange, too.

And I'm aware of how thinking about "basic science and math questions" as a rubric is kind of intensely OF my particular demographic.

And all this is just in my country, a culture I kind of sort of more or less understand. (Actually I should probably limit my claims to intra-culture, FWIW) That there are all these other nations and cultures, each presumably with their own intra-culture diversity, is even harder to wrap my head around.

July 29, 2016

Best of 2008... highlight was a 2-week trip Japan

Josh took me to see the Kamakura Daibutsu, "The Giant Buddha of Kamakura". It's a bit reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty, albeit not quite as tall - but you can go inside of it and look around.


This image is my current Desktop wallpaper. Originally oddly cropped in order to get the moon and a hawk in the frame at once, I call it "Peek-a-Buddha"


Weekends were stuff close to Tokyo with Josh, but during the week days I would travel on my own. This is the "A-Bomb Dome" in Hiroshima; originally "The Product Exhibition Hall building" and one of the few structures not to be flattened by the blast and ensuing fires.


Back in Tokyo; Shinjuku district, I believe.


View from the bullet train. (There's a great national rail pass that only tourists can get, and the adherence to the posted arrival times was remarkable. Also remarkable was the weather variation you could see as you travelled; most of time it was very Spring-like March, but then I caught this scene out of the window.) I like it's soft focus and happenstance composition.


Back in Boston; my friend JZ. We met at Enpocket/Nokia (the Refresh job only lasted a year because of budgetary reasons.) These were enjoyable "bachelor boy" days, spending a lot of time walking around and playing video games.


I had dinner at Legal Seafoods with my Uncle Bill and a server was walking around showing this behemoth.


Family reunion in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.


The cousins did some boogie boarding at the shore.


Sarah throws an annual Jack-O-Lantern making party. Mine is the Astronaut helmet one, fifth from the left... maybe a little too abstract?


Miller threw a halloween party, here's Ariana doing her best "Wicked" pose.


Nice family shot of EB and his family as I helped them select a Christmas tree.


"Nothing in the world is as old as what was futuristic in the past."
--Ben Lerner (in his 2014 novel 10:04)
The Freewright is a uni-tasking, distraction free, mechanical keyboard, don't go back and edit just keep writing word processor that also synchs up to the cloud. Very cool concept, it appeals to me in the same way scratching out things on the original Palm Pilot I bought a few months ago does.
Commercials on the Bar TV- one for this HP Spectre laptop, one for VistaPrint business cards, both with a lot of crappy faux-classy Shiny Gold on Black-- I'm worried we have Trump to blame for this? I mean who but sports channel watching business dudes are out for a super pricey Windows laptop and tacky business cards?
Susan Kare, pioneer in Mac Pixels and still a big player in the industry. So cool. The cross-stitch/pixel connection is great; sometimes I think about how my work on the old Etch-A-Sketch Animator connected me to my dad's Counter Cross-stitch work. (Kare points to this 1760 sampler by Elizabeth Laidman )
OPEN LETTER ON DONALD TRUMP FROM GOP NATIONAL SECURITY LEADERS I think this might be my new go-to summary for why Trump would be a horrible, horrible president.
Republican VP Pence chastises Obama for calling Trump "a demagogue" - says that "name calling" has no "place in public life."

July 30, 2016

2008 Photo Bonus: Scenes from Japan! (Decided that some years I had a cool enough trip to warrant a secondary album for the year.)
I'm grabbing place names from the much more detailed day by day travel log I did then (starting @ http://kirk.is/2008/03/14/)

Detail from a temple in Kamakura - besides the lovely color I liked that it used the "triforce" symbol I knew from Legend of Zelda.


View from Yokohama's Landmark Tower, Japan's tallest building (at 69 stories, because of earthquakes, but it has the world's fastest elevator.)


An enjoyable billboard on the walk to Hiroshima Station.


The imperial palace at Kyoto.


Statue behind protective fencing at the gate of Todai-ji in Nara.


Th Great Buddha hall at Todai-ji - look at the scale relative to the people! One detail is a "peekaboo" door the Buddha can peek out of.


Delicious calamari on a stick from a street vendor, in Osaka, known for its cuisine


I was a gray day and I really enjoyed how this girl's raincoat visually popped.


Josh is good at raising his daughter.


Shinjuku district.


My final side trip was to Kanazawa, a town with an emphasis on the arts. This was a statue on a street corner


The 21st Century Contemporary Art Museum had an installation of Argentinian Leandro Erlich's "Swimming Pool", a facsimile of a small courtyard swimming pool... except there are fellow tourists moving around down there...
Is It Just Me, Or Is the World Going Crazy? Great article - maybe a little privileged, but like Jesus said, "the poor you will have with you always", so while we should always fight for economic justice we shouldn't think it's newly awful.

There's so much demonization going on. Our fellow citizen republicans are still people. Maybe misguided, maybe drinking way too deeply from this fountain of fearmongering, but people. And not even idiotic people, always.
"No one stays home and watches TV on Sunday - everyone's out playing polo!"
--Wealthy Potential Ad Buyer in Blake Snyder's guide to filmwriting "Save The Cat!" (The title refers to putting in a scene early that makes the audience like the main character, for example saving a cat.)

After JP Honk played Figment, I got myself framed by artist Franklin Marval
Protestant Minster: "God loves everyone!"
Catholic Priest: "God is love."
Eastern Orthodox Presbyter: "God is who is."
Rabbi: "This is special? Who isn't who is?"
--Hail Caesar

July 31, 2016

Best of 2009. Including a trip to Portugal, I think it makes its case for "best of the year galleries"

The woman JZ was dating worked high up in an office overlooking the Boston Common. New Years 2009 was brutally cold and windy and so they launched the fireworks from there surprisingly low - for many we were looking down on them.


Took a train to DC with my Aunt and Uncle, this is NYC along the way.


Spotlight on a Slug on my mom's patio in Mount Vernon.


Mount Vernon the estate had some livestock. I like this attendant's casualness with her charge.


I started dating Amber, shown here at Spy Pond. There's something poignant in her expression here, but she says mostly she just had a cold.


Karen and Chas got married!


A boy and his dog.


Portugal - The Lisbon Oceanarium (where my gracious host Johnny had worked) I had forgotten this shot, but man, now I REALLY love it.

Two riders of the Lisbon subway. I just saw something so friendly, gracious, and relaxed in their mirrored body language that this shot has stuck with me for a long time.


"Elevador da Bica", where the nightlife spills into the steep street - at midnight my old AFS brother Marcos and I went to see his friends who were having a meal at home, then we hit the bars. At like 2 or 3 it's generally time to look for another bar. At 4 you stumble home via the bakeries that are just putting out the freshest greatest stuff.


Uncle Bill and Aunt Susan at the Union Oyster House.


Fire with Michi, outside Ariana's Steampunk Ball.


How and Why Trump Will Try to Ditch the Debates If Trump won't stand up to 1:1 debates, and he won't release his tax documents, he is a coward unworthy of your vote.
This week I finished Robert P. Jones' "The End of White Christian America", a left-leaning (I think) study in how White Protestantism (North and South, unlike the WASP term) has been on the decline in terms of power for decades. One sign of that: "The current [pre-2016] U.S. Supreme Court is comprised of six Catholics and three Jews." - in 225 years there have only been 6 other Catholics, and 5 other Jews sitting there.

Also, I didn't realize Southern Baptists forked away from the main Baptist body when the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society started disqualifying slave holders as missionaries.

The book puts a lot of weight into how the young generation is generally for gay rights, particularly marriage, and that's tied into how the older generation is losing clout trying to hold that line. (What's cause and what's effect is not always clear, I'd say.)

I like this quote from author and Baptist minister David Gushee: Jones says he takes the Christian Right to task for being less motivated by the gospel and more by "nostalgia for a less-religiously and morally pluralistic age, when specifically Christian practices dominated American public life in a way that is now impossible and *should* be impossible under our constitutional system."

(The book also mentioned the case of lesbian mayor of Houston Annise Parker, where in a messy controversy about a equal rights (maybe centering on Transgender bathroom access?) she subpoenaed the sermons of five area pastors, which on the face of it seems a bit too far.)
<<prev
next >>