| < retrospect: 25 oct >

October 25, 2015

The pumkins from last night's rendition Sarah's annual jack-o-lantern party... mine is second from the left, a kind of lame "Deal with Sunglasses" face with subtle vampire teeth

Even though I haven't had a sleepless night since assembling the philosophies that form the skeleton of "So, You're Going to Die", bedtime still seems a fertile time for that "oh man, death is weird!" passing thought. The other day, I had a weird sleepy thought of -- maybe I can view death as some kind of reward? Like, it's a definite and important part of the human experience, and something I'll definitely have the honor of experiencing for my myself. Yes, like everyone I wish I had more choice about when it happens (and the aging that will likely happen before it) but you know, it's something I get to find out about.

October 25, 2014

I wish English had more of these!

October 25, 2013

(1 comment)
"Fasted" yesterday, keeping to under 600 calories for the day.
It wasn't too awful, though I could kind of feel my body panicking a little.
Today I get to enjoy a 2+ lb drop, though that's pretty common to any early days of a diet.
Could not keep that stupid (and inaccurate) line about "why do they call them fasts when they seem to go so slow?" out of my head.
It's common to make facile "just so" stories about why diets might be effective, usually with insufficient scientific backing, but still I like the "just so" story I made/heard for this one: the inner hunter-gatherer experiences a majority of decent days, 5 out of 7, so it doesn't switch the body into "starvation", grab-every-calorie mode. But every day is not as bountiful, so the urge to lay on the excess in the warehouse as fat is less as well-- those calories are apparently needed by the metabolism here and now, for this odd strong minority of bad hunting/gathering days.
I also learned that (some?) Mormons fast monthly, and are encouraged to give the money not spent on food to charity. The Mormon I learned this from says he often feels really alert and focused on Fasting days. This ties in well with that "Just So" story, the body hunter-gatherer thinks it has to up its game for that day.
Figure drawing class last night. Y'know, the pose the model strikes really influences how much I like the result. I suppose the subjective attractiveness of the model does as well, though I'm not sure if I'm supposed to admit that. I like the way I got the line of the calf in the first one. A new book on how are brains are a bit wired for negativity, but there's hope...

October 25, 2012

(1 comment)

realistic popeye -- more here

--Protestors at a Right Wing anti-Gay Rally in France

"The world needs more dreamers, Luke. Never stop licking things."
--Phil Dunphy, "Modern Family"

rip john mccarthy

October 25, 2011

via. RIP John McCarthy The father of Lisp and AI. -- "The first story ever about "the sea-monkey farm"" is just a dumb kids book, sans sea-monkeys. What a rip. the original Prince of Persia game journals have got me using PaperDesk, super nifty iPad text/image game journaling/rambling/doodling.

I remember wanting the functionality of PaperDesk as my "dream app" for Palm, but I haven't used it much since I bought it.

audi ar ar

October 25, 2010

--from Jalopnil's study of automaker logo evolution... I think mostly I dig the "Wanderer" logo. Some of the other ones are cool too, like Volswagen's... - wow... so all Republicans have to do is screw things up bad enough that Democrats don't have time to fix it, and they can keep getting elected. Nice.
""Hey, have you ever noticed poop? And what's up with pee! Am I right?" †
Being a stand up for four year olds? Pretty easy."


October 25, 2009
EB got one of those chimnea outdoor fireplace things that he, Amber, and I enjoyed a week or so ago.



Yrs Trly:

Remember Honeycomb's Big, yeah yeah yeah? Well, yeah. "Enlarged to Show Texture" the box says. Uh-huh. Look, Honeycomb, when you're dwarfed by a cereal called "shredded mini-wheats", maybe you have to come to terms with certain conditions of life...

Plus there is a new kitten of total adorability...

The jury is still out but after a much brainstorming, the name Rex (as in "Oedipius Rex" though we're not aware of too many mommy issues except maybe being weaned a little early) is winning out. It's a nice homonym for "Wrecks"...


October 25, 2008

A while back men were walking around the roof of the building next door. I don't know why I find them so interesting to look at... I guess just because they're so out of place.

Last weekend 24 Hour Comics Day, Kate and Miller, hard at work...

I made a commemorative small gif cinema of me doing my happy dance...


Last night I drove up to Amesbury. I need to stop driving and photographing, but it was so pretty.

Sarah was hosting a jack-o-lattern making party! Here she is taking a photo of the results...

My first pumpkin was a slightly artsy experiment, not sure if it quite works... It's Jake from Young Astronauts in Love...a Jake-O-Latern!

Finished with amore traditional one...

So thanks Miller and Sarah!

btw, what's up with this whole bloomberg/city council thing? "hey guys, what do you say we let ourselves run for a 3rd term?" "OK!"
I feel a Jack-O-Lantern should use a pumpkin AS a head... when it is used as a general carving canvas, some kind of magic is lost.

thursday needs more thor

October 25, 2007
The other day I was looking up some photos for my composition class... (specifically my most recent bug picture) I had remembered it as happening "long ago" but it was from a week into September, and I was browsing the summer months to find it I was gratified to see how long ago events in June and July seem. It was a nice antidote to my sense of "man, late October already?"

It's an easy tangent from that to the attitude of Dunbar in Catch-22, where he would seek out boring activities and unpleasant people in order to prolong his subjective life.

Err, not that I'm saying Evil B and co. are unpleasant. Or even that most of the Rockport activities are boring. But I do wonder if there's a knack to finding the right tasks, a correlation between not being self-indulgent and the perceived rate of the passing of time.

Exchange of the Moment
"Dude, the Matrix trilogy is like the original Star Wars trilogy for my generation."
"Whatever, man. Dude, you're, like, 38. The original Star Wars trilogy is the Star Wars trilogy of your generation."
"Fuck you."
--from Overheard in New York

gaiden of eden

(1 comment)
October 25, 2006
Yesterday chatting with FoSO we got into the concept of Gaiden, or "Side Story".

A lot of geeks my age were first introduced to the term from the old NES game "Ninja Gaiden"... though I'm not sure what the main story is supposed to have been in that case.

Sometimes I think my story is a bit of a Gaiden for someone else's bigger story, but I'm not sure whom. And I guess this isn't a new feeling, I jsut tracked down this loveblender essay from 1997 about "Henry and June" and "Backbeat"...
What struck me about both films was the accomplishments of the 'supporting characters'. Both works end with texts going over the lives of the people portrayed. Anais' husband Hugo, portrayed as a loving but stifled banker, was an experimental film maker whose films are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Klaus Voormann, who loses his 'soulsibling' Astrid to the loose-cannon artistry of Stuart Sutcliffe, went on to create the cover to The Beatles' Revolver album (OK, not my favorite piece of album art, but still...) and played Bass in Lennon's Plastic Ono Band. To me, these ending texts are really the saga of the other men, the ones whose loves might've been the ones immortalized in film decades after the fact, if only fate had been different.
Of course, the most annoying thing is...I haven't even had an interesting enough life to sustain a Wikipedia entry. (In fact, my one appearance in one, a description and link to JoustPong in the entry for Joust keeps getting removed, "Wikipedia is not a collection of links" blah blah blah) much less answer Jim Morrison raising the bar to "enough to base a movie on."

Feelgood Story of the Moment
Wow, I had no idea that Scott "Dilbert" Adams had lost his voice, but the story of how he got it back sounds like a miracle. The condition, "Spasmodic Dysphonia", sounds really crazy, like the brain just breaks in this subtle and strange way:
The weirdest part of this phenomenon is that speech is processed in different parts of the brain depending on the context. So people with this problem can often sing but they canít talk. In my case I could do my normal professional speaking to large crowds but I could barely whisper and grunt off stage. [...] So at least until the fall speaking season ended, I chose to maximize my onstage voice at the expense of being able to speak in person.
I don't think it quite worked this way, but for some reason I had this image of him using his "onstage voice" while talking to people in casual settings, turning him into his own "LOUD HOWARD" Dilbert Character:

people place things

(1 comment)
October 25, 2005
photobook iii: people, places, things.
















I finally finished photobook iii and added it to my photobook page. It's divided by theme: 8 galleries of people, 4 of places, 4 of things. I aimed to be more selective than a "typical" photo albums, mostly focusing on photos that are visually interesting, with only a smallish percentage of ones in there just for nostalgiac purposes. Let me know which ones you think are good! It's been too quiet around here lately.

Funny of the Moment
Moderator: We're here today to debate the hot new topic, evolution versus Intelligent Des---

(Scientist pulls out baseball bat.)

Moderator: Hey, what are you doing?

(Scientist breaks Intelligent Design advocate's kneecap.)


Scientist: Perhaps it only appears that I broke your kneecap. Certainly, all the evidence points to the hypothesis I broke your kneecap. For example, your kneecap is broken; it appears to be a fresh wound; and I am holding a baseball bat, which is spattered with your blood. However, a mere preponderance of evidence doesn't mean anything. Perhaps your kneecap was designed that way. Certainly, there are some features of the current situation that are inexplicable according to the "naturalistic" explanation you have just advanced, such as the exact contours of the excruciating pain that you are experiencing right now.

Intelligent Design advocate: AAAAH! THE PAIN!

--The Abstract goes on for another 4 or 5 exchanges. Funny stuff, nice to envision the scientist finally getting fed up with playing nice and by the rules with people who clearly have their own agendas they're trying to jam down people's throat the back way. At the risk of mixing a metaphor or two. (Thanks morecake!)

Passing of the Moment
Oh...and of course, RIP Rosa Parks.

You know, seperate "white" and "black" sections were bad enough...having the "white" section in the front and the "black" section in back was horrendous. But worse than those, it's not like they were even differentiated...when the white section "needed" to grow, the black section had to shrink. That's just horrendous in at least 8 different ways.

October 25, 2004
Video of the Moment
This video suggests that cats don't like Zero-G. Maybe borderline cruel, but I don't think it does any lasting damage...(via

Article of the Moment
I know its been making the rounds already, but Wired had good coverage of the Mouse Neurons flying a virtual plane. I wonder what kind of feedback the the neurons are getting? It looks like right now the pseudobrain doesn't even know where the horizon is...and how do you motivate a bunch of neurons to "want" to fly straight and level, to select for that behavior over just random chaotic flying?

Ramble of the Moment
So I've been taking a yoga class for about a year and a half now, one run by my regular physician, which is actually pretty cool, and worth the hike into Wellesley on a weekly basis. I don't followup the class with practice during the week, except for some sun salutations, but still, it's been pretty good.

Last week I started going to an additional class run by some folks at my UU Church. It's not quite as intense, but in a positive way it talks more than my other class, and gets more into the spiritual implications of yoga.

So for the first lesson, they went over some of the history of yoga...probably the most important text was written by a guy named Patanjali around 2000 years ago, the Yoga Sutra. It describes the "eightfold path of yoga" of those parts (actually, one of the part of those parts) is "Santosha", which means contentment. The handout from the class described it as "To practice contentment with your life as it is." and said its practice is "Gratitude and joyfulness, develop equanimity around success or failure".

Now, I think of myself as a content guy in general--sometimes too content, in fact, a little too quick to adapt myself to my surroundings than to work to improve the situation of myself and others. But Equanimity Around Success or, I am lousy at that. I wrote about that this summer, actually. I get so uptight when I lose at a game, so concerned and whiny when I'm losing, so ready to redefine the game so it doesn't matter. Even when the stakes are so low as to be wellnigh non-existent...well, sometimes. If I'm playing, say, a newbie at a game I know well, I often won't play as hard as I can. At least for a while. At least until I start to regularly lose! And while I like to win and get irritated when I don't, I also dislike when, say, EvilB comes up with some relentless strategy that's within the rules but seems like so much less fun for everyone...

So where does it come from? Well, some of it is this weird ego thing I have, where I don't want to be reminded that I'm not always the smartest guy in the room. Another part is the is pretty obvious with this town's joy at the Pats and Sox, our social darwinian cultural puts a big stake into winning. It's a very bipolar view of the world, there's winning, there's losing, if you enjoy the game hardly enters into it. Ashleigh Brilliant said "If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly" but, as a culture, we're not very good at that...

Anyway, just some thoughts. I don't think I'm going to become a full practioner of yoga, but I think there's a lot in the eightfold path that makes a ton of sense. It might be worth printing out and trying to adapt into day to day life...

memory's a traitor

October 25, 2003
Might not be such a big update day. Peterman and Leslee invited Mo and I over for a yummy brunch of big pineapple slices plus french toast and bananas foster. Also some melon that I thought tasted oddly like bologna. But hey. Anyway, I ended up spending most of the day with them so that threw off my typical update schedule.

Quote of the Moment
"If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out."
--Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (via Ross)

sick world

October 25, 2002
Quote of the Moment
"It's a sick world out there, and that's why we don't live out there."
--Garrison Keillor

ASCII Art of the Moment
     __(.)=   __(.)=
     \___)    \___)    
 =(.)__   =(.)__   >(.)__
  (___/    (___/    (___/
(I really like these ducks)

Online Toy of the Moment
It is a sick world. And this online toy Mr. Rogers Out of Context is so very evil. But also funny.

Mr. Rogers is a little under-rated. He's very geared to appeal to a certain age group, I think around 5 or so, doing things that kids that age want and need; the repetition, the quiet reassurance. And, as a normal rite of passage, it becomes very cool to make fun of Mr. Rogers. The thing is, I think most people still slightly carry the anti-Rogers-attitude, seeing him only as a campy figure to make fun of, not thinking about what he really offers kids.

Research Links of the Moment
The Uncanny Valley is a scientific study on how people react to robots...the main take away seems to be that there's a certain stage of "cyber-realism", right before resemblance to "real human" is complete, that people react very negatively to. I think this has some implications for modern videogames, modern games with realistic characters might be starting to approach that valley. Maybe that's why some game makers are going the other direction, most notably Miyamoto's change of style for the new "Zelda" game.

Also, a slashdot piece that says 'Tetris is Hard'...difficult in a formal mathematical sense even. That surprises me, I had always assumed there was a near 'perfect strategy' that I was just too dense to apply.

Perl of the Moment
This beautiful line of Perl code:
$line =~ s/([^\t]*)\t/$1." "x(8-length($1)%8)/ge;
replaces tabs with the appropriate number of spaces, respecting the tab stops. Its author Phiroze Parakh rocks, and Google Groups knows it.

stop thief

(1 comment)
October 25, 2001
Stange. Yesterday on Rt. 3/3A, John and I were stopped at a redlight (he was driving) when a guy driving a big brown van wanted to know if we wanted to buy some speakers. Well, as I had intuited and John had heard about, it's a scam. It was a little different than what the link describes in our case, since the van was marked with a (bogus?) company name, "AudioJam" instead of being plain white. (I guess they figured a plain white van was triggering suspicion, and wasn't more difficult to trace than a made-up company.)

Letter of the Moment
Mr. Henry Ford
Detroit, Mich.
Dear Sir:

While I still have got breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have drove Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got every other car skinned, and even if my business hasent been strickly legal it don't hurt enything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8.

Yours truly
Clyde Champion Barrow

--of "Bonnie and Clyde" fame, from this page at is a great place to research urban myths, it's generally up to date, and can help you from looking gullible. It's also a very interesting read.
KHftCEA 1997-10 October KHftCEA 1999-10.3 October KHftCEA 1999-10.4 October

KHftCEA 1999-10.4 October

Felt kind of anxious this weekend, a feeling of something left undone. Not sure why- I had a pretty productive weekend. Maybe I'm getting concerned about my ability to slack?  Also, I'm going through a phase where I'm less gung-ho about the KHftCEA. It used to seem cool, and act as an important archive, now it's mostly just the important archive.
I enjoy reading the headlines visible in the newspaper dispensers in the morning, though I rarely buy being able to get my news online.
KHftCEA 1999-10.3 October

Interesting, right after I bought the store I was invited to a large gathering of people.  When I was introduced around, everyone talked to me.  When I used to be in the hat business, no one talked to me.  *My comment on that is, no one talks to a hat salesman;  everyone talks to a porn shop merchant.*  I'm 67 and I am learning new things almost every day.  Some of them I would rather not know, but it goes with the territory.
--Paul Z [emphasis added]
KHftCEA 1997-10 October

"Carpe Daemon - Seize the Background Process"
          --Paul Tomblin
Relationships + Geography- the closer we are the farther we grow
Cleveland Indians bring on a seventh game in the World Series.  There may yet be joy in Mudville. I'm checking the extended weather forecast for Hell.
Still getting a kick out of the pilot.  For something that's the size of a small notebook it packs a lot of fun.
We're losing daylight savings time tonight.  That sucks.

Hmmm.  Maybe it would be useful to live in a state of denial, push my schedule an hour earlier.
Sun sets tomorrow at 4:45.  Fuck it all.

< retrospect: 25 oct >