| < retrospect: 26 aug >

August 26, 2015

Awesome, pioneering women in software! Right up there with Admiral Grace Hopper:

Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer of the Apollo Project, stands next to the code she wrote by hand and that was used to take humanity to the moon, 1969.
The times presents a Well-crafted insight into the modern professional music process. One thing this confirms for me is how important the audio attributes of the samples used are; I had a hunch that that was one of the differentiators between the pro stuff and the hobbyist work, and Bieber mentioning how expensive some of the sounds were kind of confirmed it. It also points up the difference between live and studio music; seem a real challenge to put this back on stage. (Which in turn ties into my secret hypocrisy that- with some exceptions- I don't like listening to live music as much as the polished studio stuff. But I sure like making it!)

August 26, 2014

--humon on deviantart...

AK aug 12 - museums

August 26, 2013
A more chilled day, taking in some museums.

Riana has major food from the woods mojo. We had a couple terrific meals of that Chicken of the Woods mushroom and kale she had from her friend's garden.

The Alaska State Museum had an exhibit of local artists facing various developmental challenges. These birds were by Maryann James. Her placard said, in part:
The birds have stories. Birds say "tweet, tweet" and drink water.
Tell them [people coming to the show] that I say "water", "owl", "shark", and "heaven".
I like when people say "good job".

The state museum also had a lot about the Tlingit who were in this land way before white folks. I liked this frog hat.

Lighthouse Fresnel lens. I took some footage for my "One Second Everyday", and accidentally had the camera light on, and it came out really cool:

Finally, a big piece of machinery at the Last Chance Mining Museum. I took in the place and chilled while Riana went on another very vertical hike. Later we went to our B+Bs social hour and then the jacuzzi.

With EB and his two daughters yesterday-- we followed the fine Rockport tradition of going down to the waterfront and sketching and painting. I'm not sure if I've ever tried to do a landscape before... moderately pleased with the results.

Photo of the same scene:

r.i.p. neil armstrong

August 26, 2012

"Kirk has at least the strength of one man!"
--Amber -- "Digital" by Goldie/KRS One. Found the original (non-remix) on a Newbury Comics compilation. Great drum and bass breakbeats. - I really like the idea of this burial urn that lets you become a tree (in part) after you die...

so charming

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August 26, 2011

"My friend died doing what he loved Heroin."
--DeAnne Smith

pigeon catch

August 26, 2010

Finished Runyon. Love the names; Regret, the horseplayer, The Sky, Brandy Bottle Bates, Horse Thief, Sorrowful, even good ol' reliable Nathan Detroit...

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."
--George Bernard Shaw
"If Sir Mix-A-Lot has taught me anything, it is that the anaconda wants what the anaconda wants."
Wild Turkey at Alewife!

me and you and me

August 26, 2009
Just finished "Me and You" by Margaret Diehl, a novel I first read back in college, a super sensual (in both senses of the word) story of an alcoholic painter woman. A few bits I found in it that I remembered, but not their source:
She didn't worry about my drinking in those days. She thought I was celebrating. (As the sweet, buck-toothed matron at the London drunk tank said, "What were you celebrating then, love? What were you celebrating?")
Also, this one, a bit more sensual, about the main character's older lover:
Jack knelt above me, his stomach muscles quivering. The light was behind him, his body dark. I looked at it dreamily, that bulk and tension. And, from shame, my vision was acute. I saw the pride of his stomach, that self-pleasing defense. I saw his penis's desire not only to carry the seed but to appear most magnificent, to best in power the muscular legs that carry the man, that stride the earth. Such grandiosity, such insecurity, often produce a fatal charm. Insistence seduces as endurance prevails. I let him inside.
The book is almost stunning in its sensuality, how it captures certain tableaus. It's funny coming back to a book that you don't remember distinctly, but remember as influential in your own former writing.

"I'm on GI Joe's special sleep squad"
--Me asleep last night
Office Debate: If actions speak louder than words, why is the pen mightier than the sword?
The English language is a belief in the human being and his or her abilities, despite anything. It is a belief that a plan, further work, and results are connected among themselves in reality and not simply in illusion.
--Dmitry Vedenyapin

adventures in home furnishings

August 26, 2008
Decided that my living room, despite its small size, needed one more piece of furniture for the sake of hospitality. Something smallish, but comfortable... behold the Ikea KARLSTAD chaise, in all its "Dillne multicolor" glory!
I think the stripes work better with the space than a flat color would have, and it goes eerily well with the circus/carousel theme I had set up on that wall. (That's an authentic circus railway poster my dad had acquired.) Hopefully it doesn't say "trying too hard"...

This might well become my "go to" piece of furniture for reading and lounging, at least when I can resist the shiatsu-esque call of my Aunt's iJoy massage recliner parked next to it. (Also, I'm grateful to my Aunt for joining me on the jaunt to Ikea and helping wrestling the not-too-heavy-but-huge box in, and then assembling the thing.)

Dialog of the Moment
["Granddad" Freeman is making grandson Huey mow the lawn...] "And make sure you get between those trees on that hill."
"It's so big..."
"But that's a good thing, Huey. This land is a dream come true. Think of it like '40 Acres and a Mule'!"
"Yeah, but I'M the mule."
"Yeah, I guess you WOULD be the mule ...
...well, I never said it was YOUR dream come true."
--The Boondocks. What a great comic strip... daring and actually funny.

Diet Pepsi is a flavor of my youth, what they sold cans of from the fridge at the pharmacy I worked for Mr.J
Ikea's furniture pickup department is not the well-oiled machine, the model of European efficiency one might've hoped for.
After having this one Irish chocolate, I can definitively say that I don't have enough hazelnut in my life.

a comfortable block of swaddling lucite

August 26, 2007
Not that my opinion is worth anything more than anyone is paying for it, but I think this Michael Vick dog-fighting thing is way overblown, and frankly smacks of racism, or at least cultural chauvinism.

Omnivores have ceded the moral highground already. While you might be able to mitigate the impact with "cruelty free" products, ultimately you've declared that the health and well-being of animals is not your number one priority, and that it takes a back seat to your culinary and possibly fashion desires.

As far as I can tell, these animals are bred so that they are born to love to fight. And while I'm not happy to hear about them being killed for failure in the ring or other reasons, they are hardly the only dogs out there whose lives are nasty, brutal, and short thanks to how humans have treated them.

I don't like dog fighting, I don't like the mistreatment of animals for entertainment, but in a world of boxing and factory livestock, I can't see that it should cost Vick his job or years in jail.

(Evil B. pointed out an odd resemblance between the Vick situation and the structure of that beloved kids' favorite Pokémon, which is a bit like dogfighting, albeit with fictional, imaginative creatures who just get knocked out if they lose.)

Convos of the Moment
Man, I don't IM as much as I used to, and so there's a bit less funny in my life.

Recently though I got the chance to talk to Sarah, who also happens to be a newish mom...

sarah: his lordship is definitely having high maintenance time right now... keeps kicking arm... hard to type this he is lolling on other arm... naptime looms tho... so will be back
kirk:It's too bad that they can't encase babies in, say, a comfortable block of swaddling lucite.
kirk:with appropriate drainage holes
kirk: and the head free at top
sarah: that would be most helpful

OK, not hilarious, but I like the idea of "swaddling lucite".

Also, I have a modified screenshot I once set to my coworker Rob... for some reason in the IM client his messages were showing up with a rainbow and fluffy cloud backdrop. (I think some kind of system default, not his choice.) I'd post it, but I think the screenshot with a crudely drawn arrow and "HA HA U R GAY ! !" moused in via paintbrush might not actually put me in the best light, despite my ironic intent.


August 26, 2006
So my plan for at least half a week at my family's place in Ocean Grove, New Jersey with Ksenia was cut off at the knees by my company's need to have someone tear through this quick project for an important customer, a project that will send me to Denver for a week, the final week of Ksenia's school break. GoshDAMN but I am terrible at taking vacations. Note to self: schedule stuff for early in the season, so this crap matters less. To make it worse, it's a customer we're very anxious to please, we haven't the exact same setup that the customer has to run the application I made this week, and also the dresscode there is one notch higher than my previous gigs on client sites (which is then 2 or 3 notches than my usual engineer-ware)... not quite suite and ties, but one level down from that.

To make it worse, yesterday there was a fair number of hours when it looked like there would be a switch in the project and I wouldn't have to go next week, or maybe even at all (if there was a technology change) but no, it was just a cruel tease.

I actually feel this weird mix of resentment and sympathy for my boss. Resentment because he was slow to square with me when giving me a tentative ok for my plans, but then this kind of roundabout sympathy for him as he tries to suggest alternate plans, like seeing what Ksenia has free around Columbus Day. I just had to say, No, Sorry, this really does break my vacation, it was already going to be on the chilly side for the beach, and there isn't going to be any similar batch of days when she and I are both free anytime soon. I actually have deep-seated discomfort watching someone feeling guilty or sympathetic and try to help a situation that's essentially "unhelpable". (And I hate being on the other side of the situation as well.)

Math of the Moment
"Hamilton contributed over fifty per cent; the Russian, Perelman, about twenty-five per cent; and the Chinese, Yau, Zhu, and Cao et al., about thirty per cent."
--The Mathemetician Shing-Tung Yau from this terrific New Yorker piece on some of the current drama among mathemeticians. (I know it's kind of dumb to giggle at such fudged guesstimate arithmetic, but still.)

I'm actually happy to see the Poincaré and the situation with Perelman getting as much play as it is; it gives me hope how the culture pays at least lip service to a respect for science and math.

only suckers pay retail?

August 26, 2005
At the risk of thinking in stereotypes, if there's one thing that confirms my uptight WASPness, it's my absolute discomfort with wheeling and dealing at retail outlets.

Last night I did some quick price comparison before getting a camera for my mom. Staples, Target, and Best Buy all had it at the same price, but Staples was offering a free 128 meg memory card. I mentioned that I found that deal elsewhere to the salesperson at Best Buy (mostly to explain why I would be buying some accesories there but not the camera itself) and she said she thought they could match it, if I'd tell them who it was so they could verify the deal. And that's exactly what happened, she played dumb "Uh, yeah, does it come with the 128 disk whatever?" over the phone, and then knocked the price of the card off of my purchase.

For some reason that seems so strange to me, a little seedy somehow. Especially at a big retailer; I would have guessed that the price is handed down from on high from a corporate office. I've never worked retail (except for a bit of counter work at a pharmacy during middle school) so maybe I'm not aware that there's (a fixed amount of?) wiggle room in the price. Maybe I'm afraid of being thought of as "poor"? Maybe I'm afraid I won't be able to haggle well, that I'll have no response if they say "no sorry that's the final price" other than a sheepish "can't blame a guy for trying"? Maybe it's just my sense of order of the universe, that in a retail place, the price is the price is the price? I don't know.

News Headline of the Moment
The United States shut its consulate in [Nuevo Laredo] for a week early this month after drug gangs fired bazookas and raked each other with machine gun fire in a street battle.
--From this Reuters Oddly Enough on Nuevo Laredo offering tourists armed police escorts.

Bazookas! In street battles! Life imitates "Grand Theft Auto"...who knew?

It reminds me of my 1988 trip to Mexico City, with a church band group...I was kind of nervous when the cops wanted to play tourguide, but they were just in it for the store kickbacks. I forget if they wanted tips or not.

dos and don'ts, wooze and won'ts

August 26, 2004
Site of the Moment
The A to Zs of the DOs and DON'Ts of Photography. Some good advice, lots of attitude.

Geekery of the Moment
The amazing Search Engine Belt Buckle scrolls like 24 hours worth of people's search queries in wearable form...damn, if only I ever wore belts...I wonder how the battery holds up.

Blog of the Moment
Speaking of gadgety geekery, the gizmo blog gizmodo kind of flew under Lore's Radar, and mine as well...not that compelling but still some cool things.

Yet More Geekery of the Moment
A rather cheap and easy way of making some computer controlled lavalamps...his geeky use for 'em is to indicate when a software project's build process (making sure all the code still runs) is having problems...I could see hooking this up to a readout of the Dow Jones or NASDAQ status...

the short and long of it

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August 26, 2003
Quote of the Moment
"What I've learned is that life is too short and movies are too long."
--Denis Leary (in GQ...via Reader's Digest, heh.)

Article of the Moment
Kind of a gadfly article pointing out the ambiguity of the "10 Commandments". I had forgotten how what make up the ten is open to interpratation.


August 26, 2002
Link of the Moment
Bill linked to some excerpts from instructions for kamikazee pilots. I wonder how they thought they knew so much about the moments just before death...surely they just know about the moments before near death?

Poem of the Moment
The architecture of eloquence
may be brevity

Thus the simple symbols
at the close of a letter
slice my heart
(as they do)
--Kyle Parrish, from an old Tufts .plan.

Pirates of the Moment

--To the left is a woman pirate Kyle randomly attached in some correspondence about the above poem. To the right is Peterman dressed as a fearsome but inexplicably fuchsia-wearing and Harvard-Law-attending (you have to squint at the shirt) pirate. Frankly, I don't have a great explanation for the presence of either of these images in my life.

"Fuchsia" is a very hard word to spell. Most spelling programs won't get to the correct spelling from "Fuschia".

it's a...nice day for a...wet wedding

August 26, 2001
Image of the Moment
We got the wedding picture proofbooks this week, and Mo spent a big chunk of yesterday scanning them all in so long distance friends and family could select what they want prints of. This was probably my favorite picture of the lot:

--copyright 2001 Allison Evans Photography
In some ways it's an odd shot; it's after we all had changed our clothes (though Mo is still in white) and I'm soaking wet, but from the chest up only. (There was a Wrath-of-God style thunderstorm with hail and heavy rain for the last half of the reception.) Plus I have kind of a goofy expression. The photographer says she was just fooling around with a plastic lens camera she has. (No built-in flash, she held the shutter open as the assistant did the flash. I always wonder how photographers got that blurred-but-with-something-well-lit look.) Still, I like the feeling it captures, and it's visually interesting.

Quote of the Moment
"Welcome aboard Southwest Flight XXX to YYY. To operate your seatbelt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seatbelt and if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with two small children, decide now which one you love more."
A bit of old Internet Lore, worth reading through them all if you haven't seen the list.

< retrospect: 26 aug >