kirk.is | archive | 2017 mar

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March 1, 2017

"The Zen master says that we are adrift in a river of forgetfulness, which still, some days, doesn't sound like the worst place to be."
--Nick Flynn, "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City"
"In making the documentary I find one of my mother's ex-boyfriends in a retirement community in Florida--acre upon acre of identical attached houses, seemingly held together by golf."
--Nick Flynn, "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City"
"Clink/Clank/Clunk
I think that I am drunk
Clunk/Clank/Clink
I really need a drink."
--Nick Flynn's father Jonathan Flynn, from his unpublished works

March 2, 2017

Experimenting with posting every season / 3 months vs every month...
Is it just me or does the concept of judges running for election feel really weird? Straightup Democracy for everything seems kind of odd. (Albeit, better than the neither-fish-nor-fowl (tho a bit foul) electoral college...)
"Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded. "
--Robert Francis, "Summons". The final line was rattling around my head this morning.
"Necessity is the mother of invention. Boredom is the Father. Laziness is the shifty uncle. Laziness might be the illegitimate father; as in one day Necessity was bored of Boredom and noticed Laziness was much more fun."
--S. Chan

March 3, 2017

A great page of Super Antics by Kerry Callen. Dig the old-time art style...

Fascinating infographics, 'What Do You Think Is the Most Important Problem Facing This Country Today? over the years...

february 2017 new music playlist

March 4, 2017
4-star songs in read, listing things in rough descending order of "you gotta hear this"ness.
  • You Can't Catch Me (Chuck Berry) I REALLY like magical realism of his airplane car. Also interesting is how Lennon borrowed/stole "Here comes Flat-top Comin' up Slowly" for "Come Together".
  • Good as Hell (Lizzo) Super happy hiphop. Some really nice beats in parts.
  • Let's Go Get 'Em (Rebirth Brass Band) My favorite of the School of Honk "easy" songs.
  • Behind Closed Doors (Otis McDonald) Funky modern piece.
  • Are We All Hardwired? (Christine Lavin) - great mini political quiz, but at over 7 minutes, I skip it now.
  • Can't Help Falling in Love (Haley Reinhart) Beautiful cover. Almost but not quite over the line of schmaltz.
  • The Sound of Silence (Nouela) The other "gentle female vocalist cover". Video here is black and white-ified clips of people crying from a wide range of movies.
  • Pretend (Seinabo Sey) Background from a trailer for "Girls"
  • Barefootin' (Wilson Pickett) Straight forward R+B
  • You Haven't Done Nothin' (Stevie Wonder) Read an article that some 70s Stevie Wonder is really political and smart
  • Stacy’s Mom (feat. Casey Abrams) (Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox) Goofy retro cover (Kind of amazed that the original of this is from 2003 - like The Killer's, Fountains of Wayne nailed that 80s vibe)
  • Toothbrush and My Table (Grace Potter & The Nocturnals) - This shuffle was on a playlist from Melissa, good little groove
  • One (Harry Nilsson) Didn't realize the 3 Dog Night version was a cover. This one has a smoother, almost Beach Boys aspect.
  • Down With the Sickness (Disturbed) Amused that you can just google "Ooh was ah ah ah" to get this song.
  • Wiggle Wop (feat. Keno) (Party Favor) Is this booty music? I think this is booty music.

I made a tutorial page about the blues scale and the 12 bar blues.

March 5, 2017

Huh, CRTs may be going extinct - wouldn't have picked that as a dying art form.
Heard about a phenomenon: the "shower beer". Had a lazy morning so since it was 1 or so decided to try it. It is an interesting form of low rent decadence... hot water on the outside, cold beverage on the inside. Not bad, but hard to figure out when to brush your teeth.

March 6, 2017

New diet mandate, posted her for accountability reasons... "CAW-1". 1 meal a day (usually the catered lunch my job tends to bring in), Coffee, Apples, Water. (And Gum. But "CAWG" looks a little weird.)
Mardi Gras celebration the other week by School of Honk - "We Got That Fire!"

SNAKISMS - lil' playable philosophical jokes, fun to explore til you get the idea.

March 7, 2017

On the second day of my goofy diet "plan", CAW -- one somwhat unrestricted meal (lunch, usually) combined with a more spartan array of apples (and other handfruit, I've decided) and zero or low calorie beverages, and sugarless gum, is meant to limit my body's perception of available tasty snacks. The body is kind of your frenemy when it comes to dieting, right? It really wants to keep you nice and round as a hedge against and presumption of future scarcity. Some bodies respond to a lack of diversity by sulking and making the person miserable, mine seems able to accept it as discipline and doesn't play a lot of games with cravings.

For me, any diet plan not based on my current food availability environment (meaning both a plan for declining the glorious abundance of tasty snacks at work as well as my total laziness in getting or preparing food) is at extreme risk and will likely fail. Conversely, a customized "way of eating" CAN leverage the way I'm not super hungry in the morning (but will otherwise gladly cram my gullet with tasty, carby entries from DD) or, oddly, in the evening, where sometimes just a few bites of something here and there will suffice 'til I go to bed.

Overall CAW-1 is probably not as good as what worked so well last year, a Sweetgreen salad for lunch and rigid calorie counting, and if there was a great salad place near the Galleria (some place that featured premade mixes (so I don't have to decide so much) of known calorie counts (so I don't have to weigh and guestimate and add so much) I might even disregard the catered lunch at work. But I don't think I have that, so CAW-1 feels like the most realistic workable option for now. "Trying to be good" in my new food environment alone has had me gain about eight pounds in three months, and I don't want to consider that acceptable.
Whoa.

March 8, 2017

From the defunct Davidjohnson.net, circa 1998:

Scott told me
he never wrote anything
he wouldn't want
everyone to read.

What a good idea,
and that was way
before there was a web.

(Also I like the countdown to Y2K meter, now over 6000 days negative.) A later quote on the site: "'Bringing the beast stumbling to its feet' -the way John said not build Catalyst", Catalyst being a project I had worked on with him at IDD.

March 9, 2017

A Day in the Life of a PalmPilot circa 2000... was looking for a shot of a game I dug, a version of Milles Bourne called Rally 1000

March 10, 2017

"There is a natural order in which to write an interactive graphics program. My habit is to write the display routines first, since their behavior can be tested by watching the screen. Second, I write input routines and use input from the joystick or computer keyboard to drive the display routines. From this early stage onward, the programmer can test much of his new code in the role of a player of the game, manipulating the joystick and checking that the response on the display is as expected. This is much faster and more satisfying than traditional debugging methods which involve peering at columns of numbers. Computer game programs have a nice property: all bugs are visible. If you can't see, it's not important."
--Warren Robinett, developer of 2600 "Adventure" and the Apple II education game "Rocky's Boots" in the unpublished manuscript Inventing Adventure. He touches on topics such as VR, procedurally generated content, and MMORPGs - not bad for 1983! Good reading before heading to Pax East and planning to see a panel on educational games.
EB, I find this piece on a new, gentler authoritarianism and the idea "Daddy understands what Junior thinks and feels: namely slighted." with the 5-question-quiz questions "is it more important to teach a kid kindness or respect" and "could you--with his permission--slap your dad in the face for a comedy skit"
Mind blown. Poured hot water sounds different than cold. The world is more complex than my physics high school class led me to believe. My question for you is- did you guess correctly, and was it easy? I overthunk it and got it wrong.

I think that this is the kind of nuance my mind is not well attuned to (which then feeds into my face blindness (or at least myopia))

My mind skim wants to skim everything, and go back to the bits that are difficult. It means I'm a rather uneven learner, capable of taking in vast quantities but being oblivious to some of the detail.

(But even that isn't consistent. According to some folks sometimes I do get hung up on word selection and nuance. I'd like to think I pay attention to how things interact (and all a word is is an interaction) and not what they statically and intrinsically are, but I'm not sure if that's a good assessment.)

March 11, 2017

"You don't need to leave your room.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Don't even listen, simply wait.
Don't even wait. Be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you.
To be unmasked, it has no choice.
It will roll in ecstasy at your feet."
--Franz Kafka


Blender of Love

March 12, 2017

A few panoramic shots I might (or might not have?) missed from the Malaysia trip Melissa and I took last November.
All 3 are from KL, the first two from the KL, the last from my cousin's apartment building.





Somehow it bums me out that I can't just watch TV and make good progress against my todo list.
Also: any advice for apartment hunting? Melissa and I are thinking about moving in this summer. I figure Craigs List has kind of degenerated a bit... I feel like I've had better luck with independent agencies but I don't have all that much experience with it.

March 13, 2017

Selections from Neil Gaiman's "Norse Mythology":

Loki makes the world more interesting but less safe.
---
Thor said nothing. He strapped on his belt of power, Megingjord, which doubled his enormous strength.
"Loki," he said. "Loki has done this."
"Why do you say that ?" said Sif, touching her bald head frantically, as if the fluttering touch of her fingers would make her hair return.
"Because," said Thor, "when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki's fault. It saves a lot of time."
---
In their huge bedroom that night, Tyr said to Thor, "I hope you know what you are doing."
"Of course I do," said Thor. But he didn't. He was just doing whatever he felt like doing. That was what Thor did best.
---
Nothing there is that does not love the sun.
---
"I can see further than you can, Loki. I can see all the way to the world - tree," Heimdall will tell him with his last breath. "Surtr's fire cannot touch the world - tree, and two people have hidden themselves safely in the trunk of Yggdrasil. The woman is called Life, the man is called Life's Yearning. Their descendants will populate the earth. It is not the end. There is no end. It is simply the end of the old times, Loki, and the beginning of the new times. Rebirth always follows death. You have failed."

March 14, 2017

"ELECTRONICS IS O-CHEM FOR ROBOT / ROBOT BIOLOGY"
--"Sticky" note I typed out at about 2 or 3 AM this morning. I was having some kind of dream about making robots. I remember lying awake a few minutes trying to figure out if electronics was organic chemistry, and programming neurobiology, or what. (I think "O-Chem" the midwestern term, vs "Orgo" which is what they called it at my school. Like with "Pop" vs "Soda", the midwest has the objectively better word.)

"Mario has a thick stache (Groucho), speaks with an outrageous Italian accent (Chico), but actually doesn't speak (Harpo) because he's just a blank slate for the audience (Zeppo)."
--Nick Bensema

March 15, 2017

From the NY Historical Society blog piece about a trend to get one's SSN tattoo'd-

what a look this guy has! And that long-limbed gal behind...

March 16, 2017

I have such ambivalence about video games.

This article might exaggerate the scale of people, especially young ones, switching to a virtual world for comfort, but maybe not.

It's crazy at how coddling single player games have become. They really want you to succeed, but feel you've accomplished something. You used to maybe need a map (heh, I think about how I never would have gotten through Metroid on NES without that player's guide map, and guidebooks were a mainstay for me in big N64 and GC games) but now that's all baked into the game. Any mission failure is immediately handled another chance, it's barely a setback, and maybe they'll quietly knock the difficulty down a few notches for you. It used to be you'd think you could get good at something, gaining skills 'til you could "beat the mission", but now it's so quick to retry and retry that sometimes you're just playing the odds.

I suppose that's less true for the online multiplayer stuff. I've always shunned that, but maybe mostly it's too bruising for my ego to get my butt handed to me by "that 12 year old who can spend all his time playing the damn thing". I guess I'm kind of amazed multiplayer avoids that, or succeeds despite that effect... I guess it's through careful tourneying, group you with like-skilled opponents?

It's such an odd blending of factors for me: fixed mindset, the desire to see a new microcosm, empowerment fantasies, fun visceral physics engines... what hardware I've favored, disliking sheer "make the number go higher" games, dabbling in creating my own tiny games, really missing having 4 or 5 people over for a round of "couch" nintendo games...

At one point I was sure that games were a good path to creating in digital media for kids, now I have my doubts. For one thing, the triple-A titles you can play are so far beyond what you can generally make. (I should keep my eyes open for tools that allow playfulness in 3D, for a start) For another, they seem to have evolved into a human-attention sucking rabbit hole - I mean they always kind of have been, but the evolution has made them that much more potent.

March 17, 2017

From Barking Up The Wrong Tree (very good weekly email newsletter) 5 Questions That Will Make You Emotionally Strong:

"Can a bat still be brave if he's afraid?" "That is the only time a bat can be brave."
"Today is the 17th day of the third month of the 17th year of the third Millenium"
--/r/showerthoughts

March 18, 2017

On my Devblog: i want my own website! now what? a guide for friends of kirk and others
RIP Chuck Berry.

(Great song I discovered for myself last month below- bits of it will sound familiar to Beatles fans where Lennon borrowed)

Related: Melissa thinks it's odd that I don't know of a difference in pronounciation of "Berry" "Barry" or even "Bury"... how distinct are they for you?

March 19, 2017

I felt stressed this morning, juggling thoughts and preparation about moving together with Melissa (things are actually going well there, knock wood we are signing the lease on a terrific place Tuesday or Wednesday but of course planning a move is a walk through a forest of a thousand trees of things that could go wrong and might even be my fault for not being smarter about moving) and a BABAM band gig I was running, our traditional under-rehearsed ad hoc selves playing indoors for change, which somehow feels like it should raise the expectations.

A lot of situations will come up that we find stressful. Some of our emotional responses to those can be so stupid -- to quote Natalie Goldberg, "Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important."

Now, *existentially* she's right (John Maynard Keynes: "But this 'long run' is a misleading guide to current affairs. 'In the long run' we are all dead.") -- but there is a subset of these issues that A we wouldn't have control over even if we were our best selves and B ARE pretty damn important, relative to the group of all concerns we have in this life.

And yet; our stress-tastic emotional responses (at least for the stuff that has now snowballed into a life of its own) are only useful in very small ways, just to the extent they can make us more thoughtful and attentive to preventing those situations, whether we're talking fundamentally life-altering things, such as a break-up, where maybe we can be wiser in how we love, or for the merely transient and infuriating, where maybe an alternate route or departure time would avoid this damn traffic.

But in general, we can rely on the higher, more rational part of our brains for that kind of bad-situation-pre-emption, and the stress just makes us miserable, and often dumber. Like I said at the end of February, whether I'm furious about it and making myself angry or accepting of it, the traffic is still there. So why be furious?

There's a menacing line from some belligerent military group "Don't Run, You'll Only Die Tired". The problems I'm facing now aren't gonna kill me... but even if they are, why should I die tired?

I have this version of my best self walking around, taking situations in hand. Hell, recognizing in a lot of ways I'm doing super well, healthy, sweet girl friend, well-paying job I dig, good friends, meaningful camaraderie and ego-gratifying work in my band music making. Sure I could switch scales and compare to some out there "best case of every scenario" version of life where, I dunno, I'm like a mix of Obama, Steve Jobs, Grace Hopper, Isaac Asimov, and Mr. Rogers, but that life doesn't exist, but the one that does has a lot to say for it.
Quote I was reminded of while writing that: "One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!"
--Winston Churchill

March 20, 2017

Arab atheists, tough road to hoe. A part near the end, saying that for a while Islam didn't have as much of a the science / religion conflict as the Christian West did, reminded me of what I read in Karen Armstrong's works about how Christianity kind of hitched its wagon to science in the 1700s Enlightenment, assumed it would withstand the harshness of skeptical experimental review rather than just being poetically true in broad strokes, but as science moved into different places, some parts of the religion could never get over the need to be factually true, so if you can gin up a reason the Earth is only around 6000 years old, you have to start figuring out why God is burying so many fossils, or permitting the devil to construct such a rich and consistent and wonderfully weird tapestry of the geological and biological history of Earth. (Or, and this is the one that threw me off from my simplistic faith, why a monolithic God lets there be so many other religions around, so many good people so misled.)

March 21, 2017

"Think about it: Trump hasn't properly executed a handshake with any visiting foreign leaders. Before Trump, none of us had any idea that not being able to do the handshakes was even a thing."
--Dave Pell, This is 37%. I really hope Trump realizes how low his "ratings" are. Sad!

March 24, 2017

The American White Middle Class Dying Faster Explained. It's not happening in other developed countries. We're also further to the right politically than almost all of them. This is not a coincidence.
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