| < retrospect: 3 mar >


  ...of the moment  
"'God is dead, God is dead'...Perdition! When God dies, you'll know it."
--Confessions of St. Argentine. (I think this is a fictional reference, the epigraph for "Petra" by Greg Bear, a cool short story I first saw in the "Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology") - interesting study in how we try to connect to new people. I'm thinking of trying to adopt its suggestion of "So what's your story?" I've been using "So what do you do, for fun or profit?" as a way of trying to find out what people are about without presuming they define themselves through work, but without judging them if that's how they DO define themselves, or find most compelling to talk about. (Also I like how the article starts with the Somerville/Cambridge habit of taking it to the square or subway stop level.) A study in time zones. Confirms my suspicion that I moved from a late sunset area (Cleveland) to early (Boston). Cleveland has it better in my mind, no doubt: trudging to school in the dark in winter was a small price to pay for those long summer nights.
"Sometimes the wrong train will get you to the right station."
--"The Lunchbox"
"Art isn't everything. It's just about everything."
--Gertrude Stein
"Cynicism helps combat how terrifyingly beautiful everything is."


  ...of the moment  
Louis C.K. quotes. Didn't realize he's from Boston. - great piece about the civilization-warping impacts of real AI, and some other big think topics as well. Sometimes I think goofy-sounding 50s scifi was smarter than I realized.
"Wanna feel old? Ralph Macchio is now 51 years old, The same age that Pat Morita was in the first ‘Karate Kid’"
"because there’s never two of anything."
--Christopher Castellani’s "All This Talk of Love", via

Blender of Love

(3) playlist: season_2011 4 winter
Another 3 months gone, another time to round up music I've added to my collection... all these I've ranked "3 stars" or greater, with the 4 and 5 ones highlighted in red.

Unfortunately, the very best song I added to my collection this quarter, the only 5-star song and maybe one of my top 5 ever, I can't post here... it's not really released! It's called "As It Comes" by "The Exploding Voids", it was played over the credits of the same German artist's (Daniel Vogelmann) horror short "Wilt" (Welk, originally) and he was kind enough to send me an MP3. I will absolutely write more about it once it's out...

Christmas Hip Hop - one year for Christmas I got the kind of great cassette (it was the 80s) Christmas Rap (I blogged the Cover Art before.) So many of the tracks really stuck with me: When I ripped my whole CD collection, somehow I missed the "Blues Brother" soundtrack, which was HUGELY influential on anyone in a high school jazz band in the 80s and early 90s... some of the songs seem a bit too polished now, but they're still pretty awesome. Progressive, Alt-Rock, Softer... I dunno. I fail musical genres.
  • Concrete Wall Zee Avi. My friend Erica had us go see her live, based in large part on the terrificness of this song.
  • How You Remind Me Nickelback. I'm not afraid to like music I think sounds good. In this case, I was reminded of this song by a Motown tribute made to placate protesters against Nickelback.
  • Unwritten Natasha Bedingfield. More music I'm not afraid to like. This is a great sounding song with a nice upbeat message.
  • Solsbury Hill Peter Gabriel. Another unabashedly optimisitc sounding piece... I love the role it has in making this recut trailer for The Shining into a feel-good dramedy.
  • Off To The Races Lana Del Rey. Amber's big on this gal right now, and I dig some of her songs.
  • Nantes Beirut. Accordians and Euphoniums, what more do you want in a piece?
  • The Humbling River Puscifer. This song is the incongruous backdrop for the trailer for the video game Transfomers: Fall of Cybertron.
  • The Guitar Guy Clark. Daniel Vogelmann mentioned some of his American cowboy influences, including Guy Clark, so I checked it out. A bit like a softer and more haunting "Devil Went Down to Georgia"
  • Glycerine (Acoustic) Bush. 90s Calling! This was on one of Amber's playlists.
Electronica, Party, Hip-hop...
  • Party Rock Anthem Lmfao. Somehow I totally missed Lmfao 'til one of the summer interns at work came back for a visit and mentioned these guys at played at Tufts' Spring Fling.
  • Sexy And I Know It Lmfao. Then when xkcd made a cartoon riff on this song, I downloaded it too.
  • Super Bass Nicki Minaj. Weirdly an obscene Eminem to this artist made me wonder if any of her songs were any fun.
  • T.H.E (The Hardest Ever) This is a super fun video.
  • Smell Yo Dick Riskay. Amber hates this song but I like the note of sadness it carries.
  • hooked on a hollaback blue swede vs gwen stefani. I ripped a cover of this mashup from this video of.... well, it's a naked woman hula hooping.
  • Christmas Tree Lady GaGa. Lightly racy lyrics, I think this one came up on Pandora's Modern Holiday channel.
  • Wu-Tang Clan Aint Nuthing Ta F' Wit Wu-Tang Clan. Weirdly this song has a cameo as a lullabye in that "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas". Which I somehow managed to see in 2D. Thanks, Somerville Cinema.
  • electric pow wow drum A Tribe Called Red. Cordelia, member of the Seneca tribe, LJ'd about this (I think)
A few random songs with retro appeal:
  • You Got Me Hummin' Sam & Dave. From some Pandora "Hold on, I'm Coming" (Sam+Dave) station I made. Like I've said, I'd like to think I'd know these guys even if they weren't what was on the Blues Bros' car 8-track, but I'm not sure.
  • Cherry Cherry Neil Diamond. We saw Diamond honored at the Kennedy Center Honors. Plus, Saving Silverman.
Two cool 70s instrumentals (rare that instrumentals make it into my playlists) by Ananda Shankar... Finally, weird and novelty songs.

  ...of the moment  
"Just remember: it's not true unless it makes you laugh. That is the one and sole and infallible test of all ideas that will ever be presented to you."
--Hagbard in "Illuminatus!", Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
I always look for a place to pay for a (DRM-free) MP3, but when that fails is pretty good (Hot Chocolate, Shonen Knife)

(3) windows through the ages
--A little bit of geekery! I think the simplicity of the presentation belies all the pain in the butt factor must have gone into making it, tracking down all the old versions, etc.

Sometimes I get a little nostalgic for Windows 3.1 Program Manager. Also when programs minimized to icons instead of the task bar, so you could make little art pieces there...

(7) beetimetrials
To view this content, you need to install Java from
beetimetrials - source - built with processing
This is probably the best single player game I made this weekend, even though it's just "Rotatin' Rocket Race" with a differnt control scheme and some of the graphics from "beebash" -- still, I like the little dial controller, and it's pretty easy to try and beat your time.

I wonder if it's possible to beat ten seconds? The best I can do is 11-12.


  ...of the moment  
South Station was all iPod Touch, then plus some Palm, now all Palm- go lil' guy! Weird to see hand sized devices shown bigger than a person... - heh, hand models. Megan Fox has REALLY ugly thumbs, never would have guessed but a few seconds of Googling shows it. - A. those are the worst pie charts I've seen - someone really needs to read their Tufte. B. 46% of iPod Touch users are 13-17, but only 6% for iPhones. My guess is the Touch is a "first computer" - interesting if the iPad furthers that.
Don't usually bother with Google's frontpage unless I need "Language Tools"- I guess they're trying to split the difference of the traditional "just a logo and a search box" with their new features by making everything else on the page slowly fade in.
So for a while I've been using "softly, softly" to help me spot notepad++'s poorly-defined icon on the taskbar. Googled and realized the full phrase is "softly softly catchee monkey" which is probably not the most enlighted thing. Ah well.

(4) "it gives you pep, see?" --greg bauer, 1992
So, famously, Pepsi adopted a new logo. (Actually, with variations: a more slender gap for diet, a larger gap for max.) Here is some of their new campaign at South Station, always the place for giant faux-agitprop monumental banners:

And here is the previous logo, still visible here and there:

I liked that the old logo seemed like a shoutout to Daoist balance of Ying/Yang, albeit with a large border between. So the new logo can be taken as a weird kind of shaking up of the universe, if one were so inclined to free mix Asian religion and pop culture via Jungian synchronicity.

Followup! China might not get the new logo, which totally reinforces the Yin/Yang theory. PLUS! When did Pepsi announce the new logo? October. When did the Dow/Jones cross 10K and then continue tanking? I rest my case.

Huh... so, I guess there was a (unverified) redesign document that put the new logo in such grandiose terms (though it might just be a hoax) that had some fun with it...showing how Pepsi will save the Earth:

and How Pac-Man Reacts to Different Pepsi Logos:

(The core images were actually from that document; I had assumed they were original.)

But after all that, I think I'd like to let Lawrence Yang have the final word:

  ...of the moment  
"if you don't ask the right questions / every answer seems wrong."
--Ani DiFranco - some thoughtful observations about hell as it appears in the Bible, and how weird it is to become such the focus of so many Evangelicals.
Last Tuesday I interviewed for a job I am really hoping to land. They said it was prescreened to me and one other applicant who was talking with them today. If my nemesis' schedule mirrors mine, in 40 minutes they'll get underway. My time there went well but I have no idea if I'm up against a rockstar or a shlub! Ugh!
Yesterday I tried one of those handheld scanners at Stop and Shop. So not worth it, even if you try to minimize human contact while shopping. Plus it caused me to inadvertently shoplift. - WSJ argues that 2 months of Obama has made things worse... the assumption that this would be a typical downturn save for Obama's anti-capitalist plans. That's a huge stretch of course, but when could we switch blame from Bush to Obama? : tv + computers = I know about hulu, but do people sit and watch full shows on PC screens?
Housesitting in Rockport. Theory: change of venue = massive, less-distraction productivity. Practice: endless Youtube surfing.

(13) tall and tan and young and lovely
When I am king of the world, I will make this law:

Every movie with a prolonged scene on an elevator - especially ones where the characters are awkwardly standing and waiting - must have the elevator playing an instrumental version "Girl from Ipanema". Plus, every movie made after 1970 or so that does NOT have music playing, this song will be added to the sound track of all existing prints. (Individual directors of existing films may apply for an exemption, but have to write an essay explaining why they want one.)

"Lost in Translation", I'm looking at you.

Movie Secret of the Moment
"I love you. Don't forget to always tell the truth."
--Supposedly what Bill Murray's character whispers to Scarlett Johansson's at the end of "Lost in Translation". Watched that movie again with cmg the other night; it really is lovely. I wonder how Bill Murray-esque I might be in my interactions with new and unfamiliar parts of Japan...

Video of the Moment

--How People Count Cash. Supposedly. (Take it with a big grain of salt.)

(3) justification of misanthropy 101
So some dickwad hit my car as it was parked at Evil B's last night, severely denting things around the driver-side front wheelwell. I left their place a bit after midnight to find that the door wouldn't quite open... at first I thought it might be frozen shut, but no.

So to whomever did this, without leaving any kind of contact information: screw you. I wish you a long and prosperous life in the long run, but in the short run I hope you get an odd crick in the neck as a direct result of this incident, a short-term but troubling rash that the doctor can't diagnose, because GUILT and TERRIBLE KARMA aren't easily diagnosable, and a mysterious string of flat tires.

(At some point in the evening we had heard a car having trouble getting a grip on some ice, though at this point I almost wonder if it could have been one of the sanding/salting trucks or something.)

It was almost like the universe was trying to make it up to me, though, when it slipped me a 10 from the sidewalk this morning. Sorry universe, too little too late. Or at least too little, in this world of insurance deductibles.

Sport of the Moment

--So my high school buddy Jeff is (I think) one of the founders of trampleball, a backyard sport of sorts, involving three guys on a trampoline jumping for a football thrown in their midst. more videos on Youtube.

dc redux day 6
Finally, two visually complementary pieces... the centerpiece of Dupont Circle...

And another attraction, Krispy Kreme. (Wheere they only barely do ice coffee.) I took this picture because for some droll reason I found the name embedded on the lid "Insulair" amusing... a vague insulin reference in a place known for its incredible amounts of sugar... er, guess you had to be there. Maybe I was working too hard.

(1) float like a butterfly, sting like treponema pallidum
Quote of the Moment
"If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you."
--Muhammad Ali

Photo of the Moment
--at a loss for things to say today, thought I'd show you this twisted picture. These are some of the same guys involved in happyface bowling a few months ago.

(3) i voted, didn't help
So Goodbye / Super Tuesday / Who can place the blame on you / For Kerry it's just a brand new day / Edwards I'm gonna miss you

Quote of the Moment
"It's almost like Sept. 11 is a software glitch where you go: 'Yeah, you know, that never happened! Ah, nah, forget it.' Some of the thoughts are just so unspeakable and so scary that you don't want to spend your life worried about all this stuff." interview with video game great (Robotron, Defender, etc)Eugene Jarvis. I've seen glitches like that.

Illegal Art of the Moment

--"Disneyland Memorial Orgy" by Wally Wood. You can see a larger version here. Interesting subversive use of some well known characters.

Advice of the Moment
"Thanks t'him an' some other people I hadn't counted on, I got moved in time. But that ain't all I wanna tell ya. There's a lesson in this. Nuts to the so-called friends a' yers who grin in yer face but ain't there when you need 'em. People like that are a dime a dozen. Friendliness is not one of the first things I look for in a friend. The most important things are honesty an' reliability. Gimme a sour-faced buddy who returns phone calls, shows up when he's supposed to, and pays his debts when they're due. This is a tough world, folks. We all need help t' get by so help yer friends an' make sure they help you or know th' reason why."
--Harvey Pekar, the American Splendor anthology. I really think he's right on about friendship. I mean, I think being interesting and sharing activities is important as well, but reliability is right up there. Excellent book, by the way...the best $16 I've spent in a while. Amazon has it cheaper, but I think it's better karma to buy it from a local comic place if possible.

Pekar reminds me a bit of my best friend from high school Mike Witczak. I don't know if it's the jewish eastern european thing, the east side of Cleveland, or what, but they have some similar qualities: intelligent, interested in music, a cynical outlook, some frustrations in life plan. I dunno.

Link of the Moment
The Accidental Video Game Porn Archive for the inner middle schooler in all of us. I think "Ring King" is the one that started it. It reminds me of this one animated GIF I put together, Dig Dug Does Do based on someone's comment on the usenet group

(9) ouchie ouchie ouchie
You know, moods are really arbitrary. I have no idea why sometimes I feel confident and happy and othertimes feel anxious and concerned; or rather, usually I can pinpoint something or other causing that mood, but it's such a tiny corner of the overall picture of my life that it's not logical that it should swing my entire mood. I think that people's reasons for distrusting stuff like Prozac aren't entirely well founded; we assume that we're emotionally rational beings, with our mood the most reasonable mood based on a level-headed analysis of the current circumstances. (On the other hand, I don't think people should take messing with their brain chemistry lightly either.)

Music of the Moment
This has been kind of making the rounds...Johnny Cash covered the Nine Inch Nail's piece hurt, and you can see the video online. Moving stuff...a little heavy handed at some points, but good. Slate has an article with some analysis, talking about how the video uses kitsch as a metaphor for end-of-life regrets.

Editorial of the Moment
Slashdot posted a link to a long but highly readable and informative Overview of the Near Future of the Tech Industry. Everything is presented in terms of the "small business manager", but I think there's a lot here for my fellow techies. Some parts stretch credulity, like about Microsoft using .NET databses replace traditional filesystems, and the slashdot crowd rips into stuff like that, but still.

Geekery of the Moment
Meet the biggest stud at MIT, who wired up an old-school telephone handset as the (not-so) "handsfree" plug in for his cellphone. The Dungeons and Dragons die in the photo was a nice touch.

(3) twist shout and sauertkraut
Link of the Moment
Ranjit pointed out as an example of "things you didn't think need their own domain name". Or their own Message Board or Club ("What other sauerkraut club would you join?") either, for that matter. The Health Info page is kind of's not actual nutrional information, just a solicitation for comments about the health benefits of sauerkraut. Ranjit considered chiming in with "My eyebrows were upside-down until I ate sauerkraut!", a concept that has been stuck in my head ever since he mentioned would you tell if your eyebrows were upside-down anyway? Is there a chance that mine are and I just haven't realized it?

More Business Cards of the Moment
Sarah of the UK accent and great hair decided to get in on the act of making a business card for me. It looks a bit 70s to me, like the computer exhibits at Disney's Epcot...
Finally, I found this design I made for myself (but never really used) about 5 years ago. Funny how much I emphasized my websites, I guess back then it was a little rarer to have your own domain:

(41) skin
Man, Winter has gone on way too long. I find my self getting charged up at the site of skin-- almost any bit of bare upper arm or torso. At first I thought it was some kind of odd, visual "polymorphously perverse" thing but then I realized it was just missing seeing skin. I'll be glad when I start seeing women in tank tops again, that really marks the return of warm weather for me.

Movie Quote of the Moment
"Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."

Saw that movie last night. Pretty good! I had some trouble believing some of the plot twists, but cinematically it was doing some really interesting things. But I really really like that quote. It catches so much of how I'm trying to cope with mortality. It has some kind of weird old world charm, invoking some kind of cordiality along with a general cheerfulness. I'd almost like it as my epitath.

Link of the Moment
OJR's Spike Report has some really well written story/link combos. At the moment, interesting coverage of the whole "did Shakespeare smoke marijuana" question-- was it the "noted weed" from Sonnet 76?

< retrospect: 3 mar >