| < retrospect: 18 sep >

(2) 2013.09.18
busy busy busy

(1) extinguished

  ...of the moment  
"The idea that the working poor live off the labor of the wealthy rather than the other way around is remarkable."
"Your funeral is the one thing in life you can totally blow off [planning for] without suffering any consequences."
--Basic Instructions How to Help a Friend Answer Deep, Troubling Questions...
Twice today I provided the reauisite shouting that helped a commuter get back a dropped item (sunglassses, scarf) another person was trying to get back to them. Talent!

(8) stick a wilfork
So I watched a fun Patriots vs San Diego Chargers game Sunday (Pats are 10-0 for season openers in their current stadium). One of the most entertaining parts was an interception by big fat lineman Vince Wilfork... watching his belly jiggle in the slomo was kind of hypnotic, and joyous...

--via NESN You can maybe see some video here

the closest of close calls
You know in movies, like 2012 or whatever, when the guy jumps out of the collapsing building JUST in time, or barely outruns the fireball, or otherwise avoids certain doom by inches? This is a video of all that in real life. Not for the faint of heart!

  ...of the moment  
"When your only tool is a stapler, every problem looks like it needs to be attached to another problem."

(5) portugal: prelude
Holy cats I'm off to Portugal!

(And don't try to break into my house just 'cause I'm publicly announcing I'm gone, I still have family there.)

Don't know if I'll yet have the access/gumption to make a full photoblog, so I'll fill with a backlog of videos I've been keeping around.

Famous psychology experiment redone... man it almost feels like child abuse!

  ...of the moment  
At airport, Portugal bound! Grateful to Amber for the 6am drive....
London. Love how they have "LOOK LEFT" "LOOK RIGHT" on the curb so you don't get hit by a lorry. Also, I wonder if learning to drive on the other side of the road changes how you orient yourself on roadways, keeping the driver in the center rather than remembering left/right.
Interesting watching British TV, the polls about how Brits are very pro-public spending...
UK groceries are doing a lot of advertising on price, like digestives (type of cookie I think) for 60p.

(4) the fine line between can and should
The zeitgeist of fear doubt and uncertainty is making me feel a little out of sorts, but much to my surprise I managed to parlay a night of crashing and catching up on Project Runway to getting the bathroom cleaned, the apartment straightened, and even framing some 8.5x11 photographs for hanging. The power of procrastination jujitsu, it must've been that one web project I couldn't bring myself to get to.

Safety Feature of the Moment
When a potential accident situation is detected, the system primes both the occupants and the vehicle for a possible impact. To this end, the seat belts for the driver and front passenger can be pulled taut if necessary. The optionally available power adjustable front passenger seat with memory function can be brought into a more favourable position that maximises the protective capabilities of the airbags and seat belt system. The system also takes the precaution of closing the panoramic glass sliding sunroof and side windows if a critical driving state affecting the vehicle's lateral dynamics arises. This optimises the protective effect of the windowbags on the one hand, whilst also better preventing foreign objects from penetrating the interior or parts of the body from dangling dangerously outside.
--from this this description of The Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class safety systems - saw a commercial for it and I had to Google in a "did I really here that?" sense. Maybe they could automatically turn on the stereo system and play "AIIIIIIE OHMIGAWDWE'REALLGONNADIE!"? It reminds me a bit of Douglas Adam's Joo Janta Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses... I mean, how fast are these windows closing anyway?

Demotivator of the Moment
--from demotivator blog, my current favorite site of that type. (On an unfortunate "jailbait" streak as of late though.)

  ...of the moment  
After my typical middling response to "how do you feel" (it is AM!) my virtual trainer: "I love your enthusiasm, no really, I do". Sarcasm!
"Ya damn jolly rancher!" is clearly an underutilized epithet.
Happily coding on some std. dev. stat calculation for Nokia while listening to Public Enemy's "Tie Goes to the Runner". Cog. Dissonance!
"Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God" --Vonnegut. I put a milder form of that to spur of the moment plans w.pals...

(4) blender iii
I updated the Blender of Love this weekend, using the new look and feel for the front page. I also updated the work viewing page, so that the comments form is embedded into it. I learned two valuable lessons with that second change:
  • Test your new webpages on a variety of browsers.
  • Webpages work better when you close your <title> tags. (I mean, it might seem like an interesting conceptual art piece to stuff the entire content of the page into the title, but in terms of making a page people can actually see, not so much.)
I wasn't 100% satisfied with my Blender design, but it was getting to the point where I just needed to put it in there, and consider updating it later.

The design kind of evolved. The first one had the new horizontal and more prominent icon bar:
The second try had a new structure that kind of hearkened back to the circa 2000 design:
The penultimate draft played around with some stock photography instead of the site's trademark chunky icons:
Miller had some good advice through the process. In the end I kind of gave up on hunting down all the "trapped white space" that he warned me about, but still it's better for having tried.

Quote of the Moment
"The rose of yore is but a name, mere names are left to us"
--Slashdot QotD. Apparently a bit of middle age poetry, according to The Waning of the Middle Ages. I like the hint of Ozymandias in it, along with a whiff of hubris.

Countdown of the Moment
Bill the Splut posted a link to Time's 50 Worst Cars of All Time. Some of the write-ups seemed odd, almost as if the author didn't actually like cars very much:
The Model T � whose mass production technique was the work of engineer William C. Klann, who had visited a slaughterhouse's "disassembly line" � conferred to Americans the notion of automobility as something akin to natural law, a right endowed by our Creator. A century later, the consequences of putting every living soul on gas-powered wheels are piling up, from the air over our cities to the sand under our soldiers' boots.
It took me a while, but finally I realized the problems... it's not that he dislikes cars, he's just absolutely elitist about it, and mass-produced cars in general. He's kind of like the Duke of Wellington on early steam railroads, " "They will only cause the lower classes to move about needlessly."

(6) picture yourself in a boat on a bitstream...
Travelling to Seattle on business today!

The chance to have great coffee (though when I ask the people I'll be visiting about it, they mostly mention Starbucks... ugh)... and...enjoy the rainy climate... and..errr...see that tall building with the round thing on type... and... cross the lake... hmmm.

Creepiness of the Moment
--The Girl With Error Msg Eyes, an avatar in the game "Second Life", is one of the creepiest things I've ever seen, on both a visceral and cerebral level.

Quote of the Moment
"At the very minute scale, matter appears to be constructed from vibrating nothing."
--Gregg Easterbook, in a skeptical view of String Theory on Slate... hey, he's not just for Tuesday Morning Quarterbacking any more!

(2) zeigarnik effectiveness
Lately there's been some online talk about the Zeigarnik effect, dealing with the special attention the unconscious mind devotes to unfinshed tasks. First noted with the observation the waiters and waitresses can remember huge orders which are then promplty forgotten once delivered to the table, it is suggested that the effect can be exploited to various ends, from lerning to marketing.

I'm realizing that this tension of unfinished tasks is a pretty large force in my life. I just want things done to release that tension. (In fact, I think it's similar to the logic behind "Getting Things Done" time and stress management; you try to remove the stress of things undone by making a list that your subconscious can learn to trust.) In general, I want my mind free to move on to the next task.

One funny sample of what I'm taking about comes from the explanation after a surprise marriage proposal in Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity":
"I'm just curious about how one goes from making tapes for one person to marriage proposals to another in two days. Fair enough?"
"Fair enough."
"I'm just sick of thinking about it all the time."
"All what?"
"This stuff. Love and marriage. I want to think about something else."
"I've changed my mind. That's the most romantic thing I've ever heard. I do. I will."
"Shut up. I'm only trying to explain."
"Sorry. Carry on."
That's exactly how I think, way too often. It may even explain why I eat too fast! I don't find food interesting, so I think I have a small drive to just get it done with, to make it easier to focus on the people I'm with, or maybe just moving on in general. Maybe it even influences how I play chess! I'm always eager to make equal exchanges of pieces. One obvious explanation is I prefer a simpler board because I'm such a bad chess player. On the other hand, if you view each piece as having an unfinished agenda...well maybe that's stretching things, but I think trying to reduce the number of open items in my life is a big factor.

(Heh, I even remember this one guy ("Editor Dink" of ThinkAttack, when we worked at Event Zero) saying whenever he was copying and pasting, he was always in a hurry to finish with the pasting, he hated the in between state of carrying it in the clipboard. At the time I laughed a bit but now I see it's just his personal response to this kind of tension...

(12) cosmic ark swarm
Java Toy of the Moment

Source code // Built with Processing
"Cosmic Ark Swarm"--I'd been thinking about this little toy for too long...for months a very rough version of the source code was clogging up one of my journal backlog tools, and in a way, this is the kind of "random critters moving around" thing I've wanted to make since...yeesh, at least 1987. This is a big wildlife refuge providing a home for all 7 critter-types (kisrael'd previously) from the Atari 2600 game Cosmic Ark by Imagic. The beasties are skittish about your mouse pointer, and rightfully so...pressing the mouse button turns the pointer into a little sticky tractor beam that lets you pick 'em up as you sweep by.

Video of the Moment
Funny...I ran into Strindberg and Helium on memepool just before Candi remembered it from way back when and mentioned it in her LJ. Very strange stuff...kinda like Poe meets the Care Bears, or something. "Absinthe and Women" is probably the best one: "How sweet life can be when the misery of one's existence is blurred by slight intoxication."

(1) dance dance non-revolution
Friday is Talk Like A Pirate Day...are you ready?

Flash of the Moment
Check out Drift, "an interpassive flash clip of a dancer without a body", whatever that means...still, it looks cool and has good music. (Huh...reading this onsite interview with its creator, I guess they used motion-capture and everything. Huh!

Rant of the Moment
Bill the Splut's 9/17 entry is a thought provoking rant about how A. average Iraqis hate us (according to the NY Times even) and B. the numbers of dead and wounded are way understated. What the hell has Bush gotten our soliders into there? More than he'd want you to realize.

Quote of the Moment
I recognize that just because the story had a theological happy ending doesn't mean that the Crucifixion was anything other than horrific. (Jews probably should not go around saying, "Yeah we killed Jesusand you're welcome.")
--Steven Waldman, in an article about the lack of productive discussion on 'who killed Jesus' inspred by Mel Gibson's new movie "The Passion". He also entertainingly states near the begining "In the interest of disrupting the already-off-on-the-wrong-foot public discussion of Gibson's movieand with curiosity about whether I can alienate both my Christian and Jewish relatives in one articleI propose the following".

(1) a horse baared don't look him the tooth
Sometimes I wonder if I'm "Selectively Lazy" or what. I voluntarily take on some projects that are huge expenditures of time and energy, but for other things, even smallish things sometimes, I often find it hard to get the ball rolling... (From a backlog entry consisting of two words "selective laziness" but I thought I'd expand just a little.)

Link of the Moment
Englih as She is Spoke is a legendarily bad phrase book, apparently written by a Portuguese who did not know English, or even have a Portugeuse-English dictionary, but he had a French-English phrasebook and a Portuguese-French dictionary. Zompist has decided to compare its roundtrip translations to those of the online translator Babelfish

Movie Quote of the Moment
"Do you believe in love?"
"I believe in saying, 'I love you.'"
--All That Jazz

(1) wtc. wtf.
Funny of the Moment
Look at this!!!!

This is from Nostradamus, I think it's a bit vague, but don't you think he might have been predicting what happened the other day?

I'm really excited about this!

On Tuesday, some Arab maniacs will hijack the American Airlines plane
There will come a mighty rending as they open boxes with box-cuttters
President Bush will get hot buttocks
The whole caboodle will hit the world trade center with a massive bang!

Don't you think that's uncannily accurate? I do! It's amazing isn't it.

Yours sincerely,

A sad cunt who'll believe anything. And I mean fucking anything.

--From alt.prophecies.nostradamus via It only really makes sense if you know the fake Nostradamus prophecies that were going around....

Image of the Moment

Click for Fullsize
A while before the tragedy, from Weather Picture of the Day

More Links
I know my mom isn't too keen on me posting stuff like this, but here's a piece where Richard Dawkins blasts Abrahamic religion, that even the 'good' type of it sets the stage so that the others could talk them into the glory of martyrdom. (via Bill the Splut's news, where the he's run through some chilling scenarios recently.)

Operation Desert Storm, Operation Just Cause (or 'Just Because' as some quipped at the time), Operation Overlord, how they come up with those names.(via memepool)

A view from a Afghani-American writer that's been going around a bit, though maybe not enough.

KHftCEA 1999-09.2 September KHftCEA 2000-09.2 September

KHftCEA 2000-09.2 September

          "I always thought that about the Garden of Eden story," said Ford.
          "Garden of Eden. Tree. Apple. That bit, remember?"
          "Yes, of course I do."
          "Your God person puts an apple tree in the middle of a garden and says, do what you like guys, oh, but don't eat the apple. Surprise, surprise, they eat it and he leaps out from behind a bush shouting 'Gotcha.' It wouldn't have made any difference if they hadn't eaten it."
          "Why not?"
          "Because if you're dealing with somebody who has the sort of metality which likes leaving hats on the pavement with bricks under them you know perfectly well they won't give up. They'll get you in the end."
Man, sometime a month can be disturbing in its ability to hussle and sneak on by...
KHftCEA 1999-09.2 September

A program should follow the 'Law of Least Astonishment'. What is this law? It is simply that the program should always respond to the user in the way that astonishes him least.
--Tao of Programming,
"If life was fair there wouldn't be rich people."
--Beth, NewsRadio
"Microsoft has done for software what McDonald's did for the hamburger."
--PC Magazine, June 1997
Finally got on the plane to Florida. I doubt the KHftCEA has ever been up this high. Good visibility too.
Phillipe Halsman, photographer w/ Dali
"We put the hyper into hypertext"

< retrospect: 18 sep >