kirk.is | < retrospect: 26 apr >

2014.04.26

  ...of the moment  
"[Henry Ford's] ignorance was a frequent source of wonder. He believed that the earth could not support the weight placed on it by skyscrapers and that eventually cities would collapse in on themselves, as in some kind of biblical apocalypse. Engineers explained to him that a large skyscraper typically weighed about sixty thousand tons while the rock and earth excavated for the foundations would weight more like a hundred thousand tons, so that skyscrapers actually reduced the burden on the earth beneath them, but Ford was unpersuaded. He seldom let facts or logic challenge the certainty of his instincts."
--Bill Bryson, "One Summer: America, 1927"

2013.04.26

  ...of the moment  
"Kindness covers all of my political beliefs, no need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."
--Roger Ebert
"Leaving is not enough. You must stay gone. Train your heart like a dog. Change the locks even on the house he's never visited. You lucky, lucky girl. You have an apartment just your size. A bathtub full of tea. A heart the size of Arizona, but not nearly so arid. Don't wish away your cracked past, your crooked toes, your problems are papier mache puppets you made or bought because the vendor at the market was so compelling you just had to have them. You had to have him. And you did. And now you pull down the bridge between your houses, you make him call before he visits, you take a lover for granted, you take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic. Make the first bottle you consume in this place a relic. Place it on whatever altar you fashion with a knife and five cranberries. Don't lose too much weight. Stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge. And you are not stupid. You loved a man with more hands than a parade of beggars, and here you stand. Heart like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas. Heart leaking something so strong they can smell it in the street."
--Frida Kahlo

SPOILERS!
2012.04.26

--via 22 words

  ...of the moment  
http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/tech-tip-really-simple-http-server-python I kinda love this one liner that gives you a static http server on any machine running Python (like Macs...)
My company is doing "Take Your Child to Work Day". For me then it has to be "Take Your Inner Child to Work Day". Which kinda is every day.

(12) ok i'll play your silly little game
2011.04.26
Three random snarks my dad would play with me from time to time:
  • A typical response to me asking "Have you seen my shoes?" was "Well, the last time I wore them..." At one point I thought I would out clever him and ask "Yes? Yes? What did you do with them?" but he was disarmingly quick to respond with a "Well I put them right back where I found them."
  • Another favorite to almost any semi-rhetorial query like "Where's my book?" was (in a certain sing-songy voice) "Ok, I'll play your silly little game, where is your book?"
  • Finally, this exchange:
    Him: "Lets do a knock-knock joke!"
    Me: "Ok!"
    Him: "Great, you start!"
    Me: "Knock knock!"
    Him: "Who's there?"
    Me: "..."
I'll be playing some of these games with the kids of my friends, having already instructed my (now college aged) cousins in the fine art of video game trash talking.

  ...of the moment  
"The dangerous man is the one who has only one idea, because then he'll fight and die for it. The way real science goes is that you come up with lots of ideas, and most of them will be wrong."
--Francis Crick in this amazing New Yorker piece on the Mind and the perception of Time
"'We’re stuck in time like fish in water,' Eagleman said, oblivious of its currents until a bubble floats by."
--Same Work

(2) to the q
2010.04.26

--(Very mildly NSFW). See this if you have no idea what it's on about.)

  ...of the moment  
Some Sony employee designed these folding studio-ish headphones so the hinge in the back grabs your neck hair when they're around your neck- boo.
Latest anti-pedant gripe: nowadays Decimate means, roughly, leave 10% standing, not destroy 1-in-10. Language evolves, and we're not the Roman military. (OED backs this, a bit)
I need a better word for my anti-pedantic gripes. (e.g. "ATM machine" and "PIN number" actually make sense-redundancy can strengthen language)
I tend to identify people by their hair. Also, when I doodle, I start with the hair (covers and frames head) Related?

(3) kitesurfin usa
2009.04.26

My bud cmg and I walked the Revere shore yesterday, the first summerish day of the year. We saw this guy doing some kind of surfing with a giant kite... though a minute of googling implies the sport is, err kitesurfing. He seemed really excellent at it, keeping his kite out of the water, and getting a nice long cruise with and against the wind, without having to stop and paddle back out very much. It seemed like the most technical surfing fun you could have with such limited waves.

Afterwards we met up with JZ at Picante at Central Square, and ate at some tables outside. It felt kind of cool and european to sit and eat and banter a bit... the food is a few notches above the more typical Qdoba or Anna's Taqueria - bummer their license for beer etc doesn't extend to those tables...



  ...of the moment  
JZ really digs on Micro Center, stops by like weekly or so. I think this area REALLY needs a Fry's Electronics, just for diversity. Listening to him chat with the employees in the PC building section is interesting... it's such a hobbyist approach to PCs, like it wouldn't be very different if they were talking model rockets or railroads or those high end RC cars or something. The fact that its computers is almost secondary to it being guys focused on a technically detailed building hobby.
"A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with."
—Tennessee Williams, via">http://twitter.com/siwisdom">via
You know, I might have a bit of hoarding syndrome for information. I'm loathe to give up URLs that might be worth returning to.
3 game sweep of the Yankees, 2 meals of outdoor patio dining, 2 trips to the beach, 1 cookout... not such a bad weekend.

(3) i'm stuck on band-aid brand adhesive bandages, because band-aid brand adhesive bandages are stuck on me
2008.04.26
Had some stitches on my leg that are coming out Monday.

One lesson learned from that: do NOT bother with CVS store-brand band-aids, they just don't stick for crap.

For a while I bought into the idea that store brands were around as good, that whole "maybe it's actually manufactured by the same folks and just rebadged" but no... at least sometimes it's truly inferior.

In these times when people are thinking a bit more frugally, any other thoughts on store-brands?

Snark of the Moment
"Crayons can teach us a good lesson... ...they're different colors, have strange names, but all learn to live together in the same box."
--Grandmother on Family Circus
"Also, powerful forces beyond your control will use you for their own ends, constantly rubbing you down until you’re a worn-out nub, and then will throw you in the trash. So, what I’m trying to say is, somebody go get grandma some more gin."
--The Comics Curmudgeon

Design of the Moment
--Weird, I thought I posted this yesterday... making the rounds it's a big old logo design FAIL from the UK's Office of Government Commerce...

(5) xkc-wanna-b
2007.04.26






--I decided to paraphrase a dreamish thought I had this morning in the form of an xkcd ripoff homage. It came out well enough, but I'm not sure if it's going to be all that funny to anyone else... and for the record I do clean my apartment more often than that.


(16) aged
2006.04.26
It hits me that I'm generally overdue for deciding about how I feel about having kids. Historically, my thinking has been that having kids is this weirdly cosmic thing that you can't really grok 'til it happens to you, and that's what possibly made it worth the price of admission of your old life, your old life with its relative abundance of free time and free cash. This was countered by my general sense of anxiety, worried about being so completely responsible for another being, and also uncertainty about the World As We Know It continuing on its merry way.

Lately, though, as the generation just ahead of me begins to have major issues with aging parents, I'm begining to wonder if kids are becoming de facto retirement policies (especially given uncertainties with Social Security and what not.) I've heard so many stories about families dealing with older members who are experiencing alzheimers and other conditions that I wonder what's happening to the old folks who don't have that kind of support system, and what the odds are that I'll end up one of them if I stay on my current course...

Hmmm.

Quote of the Moment
"The way to have good ideas is to have lots of ideas."
--Linus Pauling, discoverer of how atoms bond with other atoms, later know for his peace activism, and they say second only to Einstein in terms of scientist public recognition...I'm reading Alan "Einstein's Dreams" Lightman's "The Discoveries". The author was supposed to be at my last United Universalist Science and Spirituality discussion group meeting, but couldn't make it at the last minute.

Video of the Moment
I kisrael'd some of Paul Robertsons art, which turns out was all prep work for this most amazing Video Game that never was, Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006. 112 megs, but so worth it for anyone who has ever played that old "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Arcade game.


(3) IgSmBf
2005.04.26
A month or so ago someone from this one band asked if they could use my old Young Astronauts in Love cartoon on a shirt. The musician's comment that he was having trouble making a good cartoony astronaut me realize that I'd been drawing the basic form since high school, and reminded me of one particular time I used it: the victory screen for my Windows game InterGalactic SpaceMan BlastFest:

Space Man Red is the
InterGalactic Champion!
All Hail SpaceMan Red!


You can download it from my Alien Bill Productions page. It still runs on modern versions of Windows, though you probably need to download the "vbrun300.dll" file linked at the bottom of that page. But I thought I'd share that victory screen as well as the custom sound effects I recorded for the death screams of the little jetpack wearing astronauts:

scream: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 / victory!


One of the voices is actually Dylan of Sidebar "Fame" (who was subletting from me in Waltham at the time)...bonus kudos for the first person on the comments section to say which one. Also, the "victory" sfx is clearly not me.

Anyway, I've toyed with the idea of a port of InterGalactic SpaceMan BlastFest to the Atari 2600, but it's still a long way off, if ever.


(7) scanners live in vain
2004.04.26
Link of the Moment
Check Your Head.

Screensaver of the Moment
Coolest idea for a screensaver that I've seen in a while: Holding Pattern is the view out of a passenger jet window...

Screensavers...what a sad little lost artform. The fact is usually screens don't need that much saving, burn-in is relatively rare, and then there's the way it's much more power effecient to suspend both the CPU and the monitor...sigh. But it was such a nice idea: when you're not using the computer, it should show you something cool 'til you want to use it again. Ah well.

At one point I kind of wished the phrase "about as useful as a screensaver on a PalmPilot" would come into vogue, but I was younger and maybe even geekier then.

Summary of the Moment
A John Shirley blog entry on a recent Scientific American article about how we're being drowned in options. It also touches upon how there are two basic chooser types: Maximizers, who tend to become obsessed about looking for the "best" option, and Satisficers, who have less stress in general by following a "good enough is best" philosophy, but even that path is becoming more problematic.

That's one truth I'm coming to terms with: there's too much cool and interesting stuff out there. You can't read all the worthwhile books in the world, or even a tiny fraction of them. It's not easy to know the ratio of cool stuff I'll see over the cool stuff out there is closing in on zero.

In another related note...it's only been a few days, but I feel like the discipline needed to keep my house ready for unexpected drop-ins is good for me and my dreams of decluttering. I know it's a fantasy to think that I'll be able to keep up this level of neatness once the real need to do so passes, but still, it's a nice fantasy.

Update of the Moment
"How do you know I'd be afraid?" Lloyd said, "How do you know that would be the last thing I'd feel?"
"I don't know that." Shwartz tick-tickeded the pen. "You can never know. That's what's terrible about death."
"Lots of things you don't know when you're alive. So what's the difference?"
Schwartz's fingers stopped, and he stared at Lloyd as though he had seen him purely and for the first time.
--Thomas H. McNeely, from "Sheep"...it kind of ties in with the previous entry. See today's comments for an explanation of how the "too much cool stuff" ties in to the anti-packrat decluttering simplification bug. In short, it's about learning to let go. I'd like to say it's about not defining ourselves by our posessions, but I think we ARE somewhat defined by our posessions, and that's ok.

(1) that's how *i* want to go
2003.04.26

Man, did I watch a stinker of a movie last night at Jim and Sam's Bad Movie Night..."The Black Ninja". A black...err, ninja who drives...you guessed it, a Black Ninja motorcycle. He's a top notch defense attorney who gets suspects free and then kills them. It's either so new or so bad it doesn't show up on IMDB.com! Which is especially odd because it was written/ directed/ starred in by Clayton Prince, who has been in some mainstream stuff incuding the Cosby Show and Third Watch. (And according to a more offical website, the other actors have pretty big credentials as well.) I'm no Bill the Splut when it comes to talking about this kind of stuff, so I'll let kungfucinema.com do the work for those who want to know how bad indy chop-socky can be. Had a good theme song though, kind of a retro-blaxploitation number.

Quote of the Moment
"Gee honey, I don't regret going to college. Why then I might not have married you. What would have become of me then? I would have probably just lived an empty, meaningless existence, ordering hookers and pizza till I dropped dead... ...with a slice in my mouth and a greasy hooter in my hand."
--Ted Bundy, Married with Children

Cultural Lesson of the Moment
How To Bow is a great and informative flash presentation, going into great detail about Japanese manners at work, home, and while going out. Really informative and thought out, though even the "fast" silent version is rather slowly paced. (Which might be part of the point, I don't know.) I love this kind of cultural stuff. The metafilter conversation where I found the link has some discussion about Western quirks, which I also find interesting. Seems like it would be tough to keep track of everyone's seniority ranking to the extent that they do in Japan, but it might be kind of nice to have a formal system of respect.

(1) the good ship lollipop
2002.04.26
On my way to Philly, not much time to write!

(PS: Snow?? On the ground?)

Image of a Previous Moment
This is me with my Mom and Dad singing "On The Good Ship Lollipop" for a talent show, way back when. I think we were a big hit.

My mom is doing a 20 minute presentation about her life, but she doesn't have most of her photos there with her in England, so she asked if I had any photos that would help tell our family story. (Also, if I had a better scan of this War Cry / Seneca picture, which I don't, alas.)

So I thought this would be as good a time as any to post the scans I made of my photo album, 427 images in 9 sections. They possibly aren't of terribly large interest to anyone outside my immediate family and friends, and maybe not even them... if you're in a hurry, you can see the 26 photos I picked out for my mom, in case she didn't have time to go through the huge batch. (Those 26 include 2 not in the album, one of her being dedicated (The Salvation Army's version of a baptism) and one of my mom as a young Salvation Army officer or cadet.)

pikajew!
2001.04.26
Conspiracy Theory of the Moment
"The Fifth Protocol of the Elders of Zion: Pika, Pika!"
--Salon article on the 'Jewish Pokeémon Conspiracy' quoting a Free Republic poster. There is a theory in some Arab communities that Pokeémon is Japanese for "There is no God in the universe" or "I am a Jew" (not a shortening of "Pocket Monsters") and that the whole thing is a way of corrupting Arab youth with jewish mysticism and gambling. Or something.

Office Toy of the Moment

Pin 'Art' Thing

#2 of a series
I always wanted one of these things when I was a kid, so I bought one at a Kay-Bee post-Holiday sale. I'm resisting springing for the larger version from a Natural Wonders close out.

Quote of the Moment
In short, assume that any time it appears that evolution is working in reverse, it is probably an illusion.
--Allen Barra in this Salon aricle arguing that the conventional wisdom that today's pitchers just don't have what the old guys had is dead wrong.




< retrospect: 26 apr >