| < retrospect: 2 may >

May 2, 2015

Arlington St Church

Annie: So, what got you into photography?
Sam #2: Oh, I wouldn't call it photography.
Annie: What would you call it?
Sam #2: I love taking pictures, I guess.
Annie: Okay. Well, why do you take pictures?
Sam #2: Umm.. I don't know. When I see something I like looking at, I get to keeping looking at it.
--happythankyoumoreplease. Nicest spin about photography I've seen in a while.

playlist april 2014

May 2, 2014
Few in number, not bad in quality, last month's songs. Arranged in descending order of "I really think you should check this out"

May 2, 2013

Just finished week 4 of C25K, which puts me at halfway through. Noticed my arches are tender during the day, but I wonder if that has more to due with some fisherman sandals I've been wearing now that the weather has shifted.

I guess my speed isn't great, but I jog when they say jog and walk when they say walk and keep up with that, so that's something.
My April, One Second a Day... a lot of Emma, was never sure when it was going to be her last shot... So, not a clear win for "cut out the Internet", but still some lessons to be had. I wonder how I could get a better balance...

when the 80s met the 90s

May 2, 2012

the view from 501 boylston

May 2, 2011
This is the view from the top step of my workplace, 501 Boylston. (Usually there aren't headless people walking around though.)

I put it together with a great free iPhone app from Microsoft... photosynth. It's a bit like some other panoramic apps I've shown here but it makes these interactive pieces that angle and stitch the separate views in real time, so you don't get the fish-eye effect of just mapping the whole thing onto a flat surface.

The other interesting thing about the app is how it's in Microsoft's "authentically digital" Metro style, as seen on the new Windows Phones - it gets rid of the chrome, random shading and softening and 3Ding that most software has these days. I think I digit it but I'm not sure.

"Perfect might be the enemy of good, but good enough is the enemy of brilliant."
"Speaking of things that are gross, why do cats who always pee and poop in their litter box feel like they can just barf anywhere they want?"
"8 years to the day when Bush put on that costume and falsely declared "Mission: Accomplished.""
Well-timed: 65th anniversary of Hitler's Death announcement, 8th anniversary of "Mission Accomplished", and interrupted Trump's Apprentice.
That said, I'm in the anti-gloating side. Hopefully this further disrupts Al-Qaeda, but still, dancing on his grave is not helpful. - nice piece on the institution. - nice piece on the institution.
"Was Du erlebst, kann keine Macht der Welt Dir rauben. [What you have experienced, no power on earth can take from you]"
--Viktor Frankl
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy."
--Martin Luther King, Jr
"Man walks into a bar and says to the bartender, "Gimme a drink." Bartender says, "Why should I? You're so drunk your breath gives me a nosebleed.""
--Henny Youngman as envisioned by Deanne Stillman

hub crawl 2010

May 2, 2010
So yesterday Amber, Kjersten, JZ, his gal Michelle, her dog Moose, and I formed Team Angry! Manatee for the second Hub Crawl organized by my former housemate Miller. The hubcrawl is a photohunt (like a scavenger hunt but you don't scavange per se, you just take pictures) with a little bit of puzzle solving for flavoring. You get bonus points for having more team members in the photo...

Here is our team in full (sorry that Moose is blocking Amber)

After solving most of the puzzles as a group, we decided to split up to try and get more photo coverage, so mostly I was walking around Beacon Hill, the Common, and the Public Garden with Amber and Kjersten. Here we are in front of a "Civil War Memorial".

In front of "statue with a man with a beard aiding a naked man"

"A parking ticket". I bought one of those weird tripods with flexible legs that can kind of cling to posts and other things, and learned how to use the self-timer on my camera. It led to some funky angles sometimes.

"A college or university seal" (Hi Aunt Susan!)

"an icecream truck"

"statue of a can of worms"

The puzzles were used to locate tokens, stickers that were placed (sparingly) at various points on the Hub Crawl course. This one at Government Center was pretty devious.

"Stuffed lobster toy"

We made a so-so showing, but were pretty heavily penalized for having an "oversized" team. Not that having 5 people instead of 4 was a big advantage, Miller just thought 4 was the size he was aiming for. And in the end, it was another friend of mine, Sarah, whose team triumphed. 'Til this day, Sarah's teams had been "always the bridesmaid" when it came to winning Miller's events, so she was a little happy at China Perl where about have the people congregated after, to socialize and hear the final tallies.

Memorial Drive is taken over by Walk for Hunger. Which is cool and all, but the ice cream truck at one end seems a little out of place.

the president would like to recognize the great job you’re doing

May 2, 2009
--via Horklog who gave me today's enjoyable title.

I've been enjoying using forms of "to enjoy" as of late... I think somehow inspired by the use of the word embedded in this 2000 article:
Enjoyably, Critser describes fast food restaurants as the bathhouses of the childhood obesity epidemic, "the places where the high-risk population indulges in high-risk behavior."
I think enjoyment is an art that needs to be nurtured more.

Pick up a reggae album at random. Any reggae album. Listen to it and you will find a far more accurate, reliable and theologically sound exegesis of the meaning of Babylon than you will ever get from Tim LaHaye or any other so-called "prophecy expert."
--Slactivist on literal interpretations of Babylon by Revelation writers. That site is so great, sometimes I wonder if my own spirituality would be different if his kind of left-leaning, activist voice - calling out literalist and fundamentalist extremists on a number of very valid points - had a stronger say in the pop-culture.
At Foxwoods won $200 by being willing to lose $1000 (1/5 chance of losing)... at the table I played the role of the nebbish high roller.

your own robot army

May 2, 2008

--derived from's ASCIIBotics Labs' Quantum Mini-Robot-Factory. The rightful winner of BoingBoing Gadget and Seagate's 1K Competition - the code I'm Creative Commonsing here can do it's work in under 1K, which is lovely and amazing.

it wasn't me being creative, really, but i am so pleased with today's's robot machine i could give me such a pinch!
GTA4 has reawakened my interest in Rastafarian vocab... wikipedia talks about some of the deliberate logic of "I and I" instead of "me"
thank heavens for google plus youtube... i thought that mountain dew "thank heavens for little girls" spot was gone forever


May 2, 2007
I was looking at my old "Palm Pilot" journal, especially the early entries. Sometimes I feel I lost something switching to the blog-style of kisrael. I gave up keeping both when there was just too much overlap. (Heh, I found where I announced the end of the Palm journal... I'm surprised to see it only had a 4-year-run, it looms kind of larger for me than that.)

KHftCEA (the name of my journal when it was on Palm) was quirkier, and more immediate. I didn't have an audience in mind (other than myself; and actually it was letting Evil B read it that got me to shift it from a private to public thing) and it doesn't try to explain so much, had plaintive little diary-ish entries, and random prose bits. (I remember never quite finding the perfect journal program for Palm, one that would let me created images to embed in the text.)

Plus, the Palm journal seemed to have more interesting quotes; for a while I thought that was because I was reading less, but now that I've been tearing through a book every few days on my commute, I have to figure that it's because I'm paying less attention, or maybe that I've drifted away from Usenet groups.

Sometimes this site seems a bit sterile to me, or at least formulaic. Deliberately starting each day with an anecdote, then the "of the Moments"... the backlog has shifted from being a buffer for stuff I don't have time to write up and a stockpile for busy or uninspired days into a way of making each day have an anecdote and between 2 and 3 items...

So what to do? It can be a tricky balance. Amusing an audience is important to me, I consider Sharing Interesting Stuff a kind of humanist spiritual mission of mine. On the other hand, it's foolish for me to try and be a mini-BoingBoing or a MetaFilterFilter. Of course the two goals (a quirkier subjective journal, and an entertaining read for others) aren't necessarily exclusive.

What do you all think? What do you find interesting about this site? Are you in it for the links, the quotes, the anecdotes, keeping up with me because you know me in real life, the randomness, some of each? At the very least I think I'd like this site better if it more closely mapped into the interesting stuff I run into as I run into it, even at the risk of having some days more full than others. (Which was probably the benefit of the Palm; it was always there.) Be frank; if something strikes you as annoyingly self-indulgent or just is part of the appeal, let me know. I probably won't really see the "error of my ways", but still.

Doodle of the Moment

-From this morning's commute. On the one hand that's a good use of that tablet PC I shelled out for last summer, on the other hand it seems kind of pretentious and show-y (and I guess dangerous,-ish) to do on the subway. Doing casual art on the Palm Pilot would be cooler, though the resolution is pretty bad.

Video of the Moment
Bill the Splut found and linked to Gizmo!, a very cool 1977 documentary with all this great old footage of weird inventions (especially flying machines) and feats of physical ability. The link seems to have the whole movie, plus director Howard Smith's time on David Letterman after. (IMDB trivia: "Much of the newsreel footage, originally shot without sound, has dialogue dubbed in. A lip reader was hired to figure out what the people were saying in the newsreels, and actors lip-synched the lines.")

At around 20:20 in the film, there's a neat device that lets babies use their instinctive kicking motion to propel themselves around a circle... clever!

Article of the Moment
Huh! It looks like the problem with reviving people who aren't breathing isn't the lack of oxygen so much as what happens when the oxygen comes back. From Dr. Lance Becker in the article:
"It looks to us as if the cellular surveillance mechanism cannot tell the difference between a cancer cell and a cell being reperfused with oxygen. Something throws the switch that makes the cell die."
And later "The body on the cart is dead, but its trillions of cells are all still alive"... that's kind of spooky! And odd, how it might be a cancer-defense mechanism. Which makes sense since fighting cancer is pretty important, and CPR has only been here for a blink of evolutionary time.

my gut tells me that's how our nervous system works

(1 comment)
May 2, 2006
Ok, I'm a day late and a dollar short with this, but Stephen Colbert at the White House Press Corps dinner is brilliant... a beautiful absurdist element runs through so much of it, as if you used a video projector to broadcast Fox News on Groucho Marx, except before he was dead. Or maybe it's just Dave Barry-like. But still. Some excerpts from this uneven transcript:
We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say I did look it up, and that's not true. That's 'cause you looked it up in a book. Next time look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works.
I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.
Because really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.
BoingBoing has a more canonical set of related links. The video even has its own fan site, Thank You Stephen Colbert.

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (pronounced with a soft T for both words) are... amazing. Maybe the most important thing basic cable has ever done; sharp, cutting satire that's also damn funny.

Kirktrivia of the Moment
More mundane things in my life for the avid consumption of my readership: I got a new desktop system, one continuing my obsession with compact consumer goods. This computer will be named Monk, sixth of that name. Here's the new hotness next to the old and busted...

I've disappointed some of my Mac-friends by shunning the Mac Mini, even though it's smaller and could conceivably dual-boot to XP. My gut (heh) just told me to keep it simple, and this slab actually appeals to me more than the little box of the Mini, which seems like it would almost get lost on my desk. Since I'm pretty laptopped up, I mostly turn to the desktop when I need to hunker down and focus, and right now I still only do that well on Windows. Plus the new HP slimline also has some nifty features, like a built-in multicard reader and Lightscribe laser-etching for CDs and DVD it burns, if I'm willing to shell out a bit more for the media.

I ended up stickering Monk 5 quite a bit...
I haven't decided if Monk 6 will meet a similar fate, or if I should try to keep things a bit neater. Anyway Monk 5 will have a good home... having a good hand-me-down recipient in mind is a wonderfully self-serving form of generosity when you really just want to upgrade. The new machine has proper USB2, and can actually show 32 bit color, so those will be some improvements beyond the form factor.

Now to get to taking away all the Fisher-Price crap UI and loaded up "special" offers and get to work...

attention time travelers!

May 2, 2005
Announcement of the Moment
Attention Time Travelers-- don't miss the Time Traveler Convention -- May 7, 2005, 10:00pm EDT (08 May 2005 02:00:00 UTC)
East Campus Courtyard, MIT
42:21:36.025°N, 71:05:16.332°W
(42.360007,-071.087870 in decimal degrees))

I love the idea of this. Though I will point out, pedant that I am, that just travelling in time isn't enough, you need something that can warp or move you through space. Unless your frame of reference is firmly tied to the Earth, you'd end up popping up in space somewhere, where the Earth used to (or possibly will) be.

Hey, "travelers" only has the one L? Who knew.

Dialog of the Moment
"All my life I've had this unaccountable feeling in my bones that something sinister was happening in the universe and that no one would tell me what it was."
"Oh, no, that's just perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the universe has that."
"Maybe that means something: that outside universe we know some alien intelligence is..."
"Maybe. Who cares? Perhaps I'm old and tired but I always think the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, 'Hang the sense of it' and keep yourself occupied. [...] I'd far rather be happy than right any day."
"Are you?"
"No. That's where it all falls down of course."
--Arthur and Slartibartfast, "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", though I'm paraphrasing a bit from the different versions.

todo, todone

May 2, 2004
Mundanity I Wish to Share with Everyone of the Moment
Usually I like keeping my TODO's on my PalmPilot, the beastie that's always with me, and ticking off each one in turn, but for a weekend where I'm trying to get lots of little chores done, I like keeping up a simple .txt document. I label the top TODO and as each is done in turn I move it under the heading DONE. For some reason I fins this immensely satisfying. Here's this weekend's lists so far:
hot tub chems
hot tub write up
grocery store
bank card!!
weight bench on craigslist

write dave
catchup mundane
write kyle
read blender poems
check dehum
blender improve?
do blender writeups
do blender review
harv square? (617) 661-9277 
clean email
ask susan r.e. lawyer
publish blender
If you're around a computer a lot during the weekend, I'd highly recommend it.

Current Events of the Moment
Well, current as of a week or so are amazing before and after images of the North Korean city where the train explosion occured.

Smallminded Cultural Observation of the Moment
You know, I know it's mostly just me turning into a reactionary old fart, but for some reason it seems very odd to think about some infant today who in 20 years will be very nostalgic for mommy's tattoos, like who would assoiciate those twisty tribal armband patterns with motherhood on some deep level. "Just like mommy's tattoos" doesn't ring right with me. (Actually, I know of one woman who had one removed not too long before she had her first kid, I don't know if she felt the same thing or if she was just sick of the tattoo.)

something strange, in your neighborhood

(1 comment)
May 2, 2003
Quote of the Moment
"Any view of things that is not strange is false"
--Neil Gaiman, Sandman

Image of the Moment
"A creation by Iraqi artist Zerak Mera made from Iraqi army boots is seen where a statue of toppled Iraqi president Saddam Hussein once stood, in the center of Kirkuk, April 29, 2003." Via image of the day, they mention the disrespectful symbolism "bottom of the shoe" has in that region.

Article of the Moment
Jack Chick, the man behind the tracts.

lifestyles of the rich and LANless

May 2, 2002
Ok, a request from my guestbook from Justin Anderson ("wealthy and loving it") who wants to know how to hook up 4 computers to share the same phone based 'Net connection. First off, look into something better than dialup access! Especially if you're talking about multiple people online at once in a LAN-kinda-way. If you do that (with, like say a Cable Modem or some other ethernet based connection) you can get yourself a Linksys Router w/ Switch...or better yet, get the wireless version like Mo and I have. (Anyone want to buy our old non-wireless 4 port version?) Neither version is too expensive. If you're stuck with dialup, I dunno. We use to run software called WinProxy, then WinRoute (which needed less configuration per PC) with 2 network cards in one PC. You might still need a router or something.

Better yet, you're rich, dude! Go down to your local CompUSA or whatever and see if you can't throw some money at someone to do it for you! (I think they have services like that.) Or better yet, get a smart high school or college student to do it.

Funny of the Moment
"If I were a maitre d', I'd suddenly scream at my customer, 'You want the booth? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE BOOTH!' That is some funny-ass maitre d' humor, I don't mind telling you!"
--Jim Rosenberg, via Kim on

Link of the Moment
2001 and 2010 were on the other day... found this in-depth "Underview" website. Lots of "behind the scenes" material, and some interesting thoughts under the Hal! link...poor thing was just misunderstood.

hangover of the moment

(1 comment)
May 2, 2001
Chant of the Moment
--Yale's Skull and Bones initiation-ritual theme

The link is an interesting story of one person infiltrating the organization. And based on my personal activities last night, I'd add another:
But, you know. In a good way. Ooh, my head.
KHftCEA 2000-05.1 May

KHftCEA 2000-05.1 May

"Time which you enjoyed wasting was not wasted"
--G.K. Chesterton
"So, what are you going to be doing this Millennium?"
"Not much - I'm going to be dead for most of it..."
--Man on Street Interview, CNN 2000 coverage in London (
"Sometimes I am, sometimes I think."
--Paul Valéry
Dennet saying we are preprogrammed to build our minds the way a beaver is preprogrammed to build its dam, or the spider its web.

< retrospect: 2 may >