| < retrospect: 29 apr >

April 29, 2016

Crying isn't sadness; it happens because an emotion is too big for your body.
Bai had gone into the kitchen with a six-pack and now he came back into the living room holding one beer. It was like the opposite of a miracle.
"'There are no refunds. That's the point of the game.' I should have bought two."
(The game in question has half-dead aliens wanting refunds from the gatekeeper to the afterlife... "Should have bought two" is an alien expression that kind of combines "buyer beware" and "have your cake and eat it too")
"Don't be a guy who feels bad. Nobody ever knows what to do. Our life-task is to decide what to do."
I dropped a leaf into a hole
And you dropped me in turn. I found
That gravity reversed its pull
And through the sky was solid ground.
We drop, are dropped, and each to each
It's what we do, it's not profound.
And if a hole is out of reach
We take a longer way around.
We fall in all directions. Some
Find lucky landings, higher ground.
I wait, instead, for help to come
And some of us are never found.

I left a message in the ice:
The time, the distance and the price.

Advertising copy for the Ip Shkoy computer game The Long Way Around poss. written by Af be Hui Translated into English verse by Dr. Linda Blum and Dr. Tetsuo Milk
(The game in question is about a stranded astronaut trying to return home.)
"It wouldn't be the first time the power of love was responsible for a whole lot of bullshit."
"A static document is a fossil of thought."

--These were some passages I really liked on rereading Leonard Richardson's "Constellation Games". Man, I wish I knew how to get this book the attention "Ready Player One" gets... it's orders of magnitude superior.

April 29, 2015

"Our scars have the power to remind us that the past was real."
--Hannibal Lecter, via this tumblr entry that points out he's significantly less creepy than the guy from "50 Shades of Grey". Anyway I like the quote.
Doodle transcribing a dream artifact...

"It is a joy to be hidden but disaster not to be found."

April 29, 2014

"God changed Jacob's name to 'Israel,' which means 'one who wrestles with God.' As far as I know, Israel is still the only nation named after a wrestler."

"Kings may have money and power on their side, priests have tradition. But, in the end, writers always win. Kings die and traditions change, but nobody outlives a book."

"Just because life is pointless, that doesn't mean you get to sit around all day moaning about it. There's still work to be done. You should help the oppressed, take care of the abandoned, and make each other happy if and when you can. Just because there's no point to any of it doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do."

--"God is Disappointed in You", by Mark Russell. It is a straightforward (if sometimes bawdy, and a bit irreverent) book-by-book summary of the entire Bible, Old and New Testament. (That last quote is the ending of the summary of Ecclesiastes, "very possibly the first work of Existentialist philosophy.) I feel most people, even a lot of Christian Believers, have a relatively sketchy knowledge of the meat of the thing, and I'd recommend this book extremely highly.
I posted it 2 years ago, but this still grabs me, resonates, reminds me of romances that didn't worked, and then didn't.

Lyrics here

April 29, 2013

I am astonished at how bad the PS3 is; a labyrinth of menus, endless mandatory slow download updates, last night a big game-before-the-game of hide the downloaded titles. Rage-inducing.
Just found out OSX has all these great accented voices. Sangeeta's "English (India)" is really fun to listen to, and I like the strong accents you get with some of the voices that are meant to read other accents.

thanks for the memories

April 29, 2012

Some article referenced this clip. I like its wistful nature.

red state, blue state, it's all about the edumacation

(1 comment)
April 29, 2011
found this online but I resliced it to be vertical

Karl Rove said
As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing
Yeah, too much, thanks Karl.

an april visual haiku

April 29, 2010
To view this content, you need to install Java from
aprilamber - source - built with processing

"Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty"
The MBTA distribution of plastic tap and go Charlie Cards, vs disposable tickets, is so weirdly half-assed. They just leave them lying around, or you gotta find someone to ask....


April 29, 2009

To view this content, you need to install Java from
dreamclock - source - built with processing
A timepiece that came to me in a dream last Tuesday morning. I was toying with making an hour and minute ring, but it I had an attack of lazy, plus I kind of like keeping closer to my subconsciousness' rambling.

I'm not sure if it "means" anything, except I did have Java on my mind last week. Also I'm happy that I could punch out a first draft of this in literally 5 or 10 minutes, in terms of programming mojo and convenient tools.

MA legislature... 6 3/4% sales tax? Really? I hate retarded numbers like that. At least make it the nearest damn penny. (5% was pretty cool)
heh, years later this tiny pixel alphabet is still coming in useful...
Kate points out a nice and extensive set of Creative Commons icons
(to dylan on facebook)
Holy cats, a goatee?

Hey remember when we were in like 6th grade and I was jealous 'cause you were starting to get acne and I wasn't yet? I'm over that now.
One thing I appreciate about my new company: during my whole contracting gig, I never saw them misspell my last name.

grand theft blotto

April 29, 2008
Woo, the release of Grand Theft Auto IV kind of snuck up on me! But I asked for it as a delayed birthday present from EB and he claims my copy is already secured and waiting for me...

Word is this version lives up to the hype, continuing the tradition of a rich story (actually, richer in this version, with its story of a Russian immigrant trying to make it in the big city) on a world big and complex enough to just enjoy running around in and causing havoc with weapons and cars.

Insanity of the Moment
Same with those mindless teenyboppers who go to the Hickory Farms store, and then take double samples of fruitcake and cheeselog, you warn them that they will be charged with a felony(grand theft), and that if they attempt to fight and run, they will be, unfortunately, first tazered, and if they continue to resist violently with intent to maim, then wounded.
--from the Shrine of the Mall Ninja, a very odd tale of a loon who claims to be heavily armed and working to protect a mall near you.

Captcha of the Moment
Now un-slashdotted, a new style of Captcha, those little interaction bits (like type in the squiggly word you see here) that try and help people prove that they aren't dumb spambots. The visual cognitive approach is kind of neat, though I'm surprised the "geometric center" would be such a challenge for an AI.


April 29, 2007
I'm up in Rockport helping EB again, so this is just a placeholder, an assurance that my "daily" humanistic/spiritual ritual will get done.

Maybe doing articles in advance is cheating in that regard, and really I'm just weirdly obsessed about not missing a day.

FX Suit of the Moment

I was happy to see that this "goomba" from the Super Mario Brothers movie just snuck into the Carboard Monocle's Top 20 FX Suit list. As they say
Okay, so we may catch some flak for having this on the list. Though the head sculpt and the animatronics in the face are impressive, the overall design of the creature left the average viewer wanting more. Not to mention the disappointed Mario traditionalists that wanted it to actually look like a Goomba from the game. All that aside, there was something about these that stuck with me. They were big dumb oafs, and watching a pack of these bump into each other and sway to music is just plain funny.
The goombas were the 3rd best thing in that movie, right after the little windup Bob-Oms (scroll to the bottom) and Samanth Mathis' purple-to-white dress I kisrael'd about before.

Also, the soundtrack was decent, despite of or because using US3's "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)", like every other movie made in 1993-1994.

night of the living fundamentalists

April 29, 2006
Pessimism of the Moment
"I did not come away from watching United 93 feeling optimistic about the triumph of the human spirit and the superior resilience of enlightenment values. Quite the opposite. I came away with a feeling that history has been hijacked by a cult of the undead, or the wannabe dead, suicidal mass murderers driven by theocratic savagery."
--Ron Rosenbaum in this downer of a movie(s) review.

I think he's a bit too pessimistic, I think the eternal vigilence the endless "War Against Terror" requires is going to be a pain in the ass, and there may well be tremendous acts of destruction in the future, but I don't see it as the "end of enlightenment civilization".

The article draws a parallel between "Day of the Dead", with its images of people in TV control rooms watching helplessly as the world they knew gets torn apart by undead zombies and our present situation with its risk from death-worshipping "We Love Death while You Love Life" assholes.

Damn, actually, that makes me scared and angry about religion in general. When you get in the habit of faith over "show me" skepticism, there might not BE a particularly strong reason for a culture to prefer life-affirming, positive belief over martyrdom-seeking "this world is nothing compared to the next" fantasylands. Maybe Dawkins was right, "To fill a world with religion, or religions of the Abrahamic kind, is like littering the streets with loaded guns."
After writing the above the other day, I read this Atlantic piece about how badly the administration has played Iran. It's a difficult situation that needed a much defter touch than our president and crew has ever displayed. Iran pretty much has us by the economic balls.

Another note.... how many more hardline hardcore Islamic fundamentalist governments have to get elected before we realize that widespread democracy might not be our friend in the Middle East? By coincidence, I added an old political pin to my courier bag from a collection my dad had made... "President Nixon / Now More Than Ever". I like it because it can both be used as a sly-ish commentary on the people currently in office, but it also kind of reflects my belief that we would have been better served by a Kissinger-esque sense of "realpolitik" post-9-11 than what we ended up with.

I recently heard an interpretation that states Islam has been in kind of a dark ages for centuries now. It seems to me that there's an inverse relationship between fundamentalism and human advancement. I suspect a balance between faith and science is useful to a society, but looking at how the secularist enlightenment brought Europe out of its Dark Ages.... of course the trouble is that there's not much stopping the fundamentalists from co-opting the technology and other forms of progress a more balanced approach applies... this has been going on for a long time in the Middle East and I think can be applied to some of the political situation here and now.


April 29, 2005
Link of the Moment
Next time I'm out trying to decide what car to buy, I should stop and ask myself...What Would Batman Drive? A very cool history of how his car has been revamped over the years, including the movie and animated versions. Man, he must've spent a lot of time in the garage. I think my favorite is the behemoth Frank Miller Batmobile.

Or maybe you'd like a lifesize model of an X-wing? Now on Ebay for a Buy-It-Now of $85K.

Anecdote of the Moment
Mostly Harmless had just been published in paperback and I invited Douglas [Adams] in as a guest, as well as Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who had just manhauled a sled across Antarctica, losing useful items like fingers and toes to frostbite. As the great explorer told an epic tale of suffering and endurance, Douglas's face fell.

Afterwards, in the pub, I asked if something had upset him.

"Oh, not really," said Douglas. "It's just that talking about being locked in a hotel room to write an overdue novel seems pretty tame stuff compared to trekking across a thousand miles of icy crevasses."

"Well you need to put things in perspective," I replied. "First of all, your struggle was on a more human scale, and the result is a unique achievement no-one can match. Secondly, just before we went on air, Ran Fiennes got lost in the basement of Broadcasting House looking for the toilet."

Douglas smiled and picked up his glass. "That makes me feel much better." --Dirk Maggs. With the opening of the new Hitchiker's Guide movie, slashdot linked to this series of Douglas Adams anecdotes from some cool people.

to boldly fight where no man has fought before

April 29, 2004
Link of the Moment
It looks like this speculation on what a spaceship war in the Solar System might look like is about as finished as it's ever going to get. (Three parts.) Some interesting ideas, but it is so impossible to do "realistic" predictions such as this and have it look anything like what it actually ends up as. There's always some little feature or technology, a "minor" change that changes everything.
UPDATE: that's what I get for just publishing a link from the backlog without rereading AuSkeptic points out, one of the coolest things about the link is the highlevel historical overview of Naval warfare here on Earth, and I forgot to mention that.

Observation of the Moment
"Scali" is a very intriguing name for a very mundane bread. It's such an evocative name that when it turns out to be white bread with seeds, its gotta be a disappointment.

Historical Culture of the Moment
John Bull and Uncle Sam...I hadn't heard much about the former gentleman, who is parallel in concept to Sam, though not as prevalent these days. From a Library of Congress exhibit on British-American relations. Do any other countries have semi-official personifications like these?

Meme of the Moment
This is probably making the rounds, but Babwa Wawa et al. want to make a reality show episode of 20/20: compete to adopt this baby. But, it being the strange world that it is, they may be stymied by Uri Geller's patent on the concept. Excellent. And people wonder why I'm so into pop culture.

bling bling

April 29, 2003
Paranoia of the Moment
This morning I started thinking about how little intuitive understanding I have of, say, what it costs to run a business. More specifically, even understanding that I'm blessed with an above average salary, if a company has a decent number of people, that's a lot of money. (Conversely, I think there are some costs of living higher on a per-day or per-week basis than I realize, like mortgages, car payments, and even food.) Compared to other things I buy on a day to day basis, it seems like a lot of a lot.

I guess that explains why so many companies fail; you really have to know what you're doing to get a cash flow up to paying the people that you need to do it. Maybe that's why the executives get paid so much; I could see where a really good head honcho could be worth the salaries of, 20 or 30 mere mortals. (Of course, pay is not always commiserate commenserate ("thanks" Gowen and John) with performance, but heck, that's true at all levels of employment.) It still might be a little obscene, but much in life is. (Heh, of course, if all those young bright more-business-oriented-than-me dot-commers didn't really grasp these simple ideas, no wonder we had a dot bomb implosion.)

Ugh! Now I'm paranoid. Obviously the system is somewhat stable; despite the ongoing economic turbulance, I'd say a majority of people I'm friends with are hanging in there, and I could probably make this same argument 10,20, maybe 30 years ago (though 30 brings us into some of the problems the 70s had) but still, it feels a little precarious.

Link of the Moment
Extremely cool site, Starship Dimensons shows the relative sizes of hundreds of scifi vessels, from X-Wings to various flavors of the Enterprise to the ID4 Mothership. Each page is a different scale, from 10 pixels to a meter to 1 pixel to 2000 meters. Plus, on IE, you can drag the ships to do specific side by side comparisons. (They sometimes bring up the ships from a smaller scale to the higher scale for reference...that's where these tiny Star Wars craft are from.) For me, this is tons cooler than that skyscraper page it drew some of its inspiration (and a few borrowed images) from.

Contest of the Moment had some decent coverage of the very cool looking Kinetic Sculpture Race, where artist work to make the bestest art works that can travel over land, water, and mud. "Art Collides With Engineering". The judging criteria (the most coveted award is the "Mediocre Award", for the vehicle that ends up right in the middle) and the other rules are worth a quick read through.

the pitfalls of videogaming

April 29, 2002
So I went to the video game conference, and it was pretty good. Christian, the guy I drove down with, turned out to be very good company. (He's much more of a collector than I am, with an astounding gameroom, and he's also a chef, which is a bit unusual for this hobby.)

The convention was...well, mostly it was a great big room, with many tables of video game goodness for sale, trade, and display, and very few "Don't Touch" signs. Many console game setups, but the highlight was the far corner with a few dozen fullsize Arcade machines rigged for free play...a great little stroll down memory lane.

It's interesting to be so close to people who are really into this hobby...I felt like a piker. Like this guy, Alan Hewston. He's dressed up as Pitfall Harry (the cartoon version). And as a Pitfall cartridge. It's a bit of a mixed metaphor really, but wow: that's dedication. I didn't buy much there: a Dreamcast game that was a bit cheaper than usual, and two videogame books, both purchased directly from the author there.

Quote of the Moment
Q: What would you say to people today who may not know who you are?
A: I would just say that they're really lucky to be able to play some of the neat stuff they have now, instead of the cheap stuff we had then.
--Nolan Bushnell in the book Arcade Fever. Bushnell was the founder of Atari, the maker of the first Pong arcade machine. Or as he says in the same interview, "I think I was the guy who started it two years earlier than it would have been started without me".

Link of the Moment
Guess this is as good a time as any (and better than most) to post this older link, The Church of the Burgertime. It's difficult to judge how seriously it's taking itself, actually.

connection is made

April 29, 2001
Link of the Moment
A very interesting information toy:, aka Dirk, the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. (The name is a reference to a character and stated belief system in some Douglas Adams book.) Dirk asks people to state the connection between two objects or concepts. For example, "socks" is related to "feet" because "that's where you wear them", "white" because "a baseball team", "bill clinton" because "the first cat of the united states of america is named socks", etc. The cool part is you can then enter any two concepts, no matter how disparate, and it will try to find a connection between them-- and often succeed. The server is a bit slow these days, but it's still a great site. For example, "socks" is related to "atari" with the following path:
she has a cat named socks, what more proof do you need that she is a witch? hillary clinton
by golly, it looks like the mob are out to get her. Grow up, people! bible
Genesis is the first book of the Bible genesis
the SEGA Genesis is a system that will allow you to play video games video games
atari was one of the first big video game companies atari
Cool, huh? And you can try almost anything and get the path, and then add in any connections you feel are missing.

Joke of the Moment
A Peruvian military jet on anti-drug patrol recently shot down a Cessna seaplane carrying American missionaries.

Asked to justify the shootdown, a senior military officer responded that the Cessna had been carrying "the opiate of the masses."
--Steve Holland via rec.humor.funny
KHftCEA 1999-04.1 April KHftCEA 1999-04.2 April

KHftCEA 1999-04.2 April

Jon: Sometimes I believe in god.
Nancy: Really?
Jon: Yeh, like on perfectly still summer days, when there's no movement at all.
Then I try to light a cigarette, and a big gust of wind comes and blows out my match.
Frickin' god! He's such a goodie good.
Nancy: Yeh.
Putting my first laptop down the thriftstore chute, the one I had
"silent conversations" with R on, even without the stickers (that Uncle Bill scraped off) is hitting me harder than I expected.
KHftCEA 1999-04.1 April

"Whoa, like, lay off my headbone, daddy-o."
          The Onion's Our Dumb Century, "Area Beat Beaten"
"Life's to short to buy green bananas"
--check slogan
Got a joint account w/ Mo today- next best thing to being married. The bank rep was a little flighty- told us this random story about being scorned by a clerk in a clothing store.

< retrospect: 29 apr >