| < retrospect: 11 dec >

December 11, 2015

advent day 11

Beginning of the End for Giant Glass? I would be kind of bummed if Giant Glass fell - including that jingle (why do I not mind it when 1-877-Kars-4-Kids unfailingly causes me to angrily stab for the radio dial? Maybe horns vs guitar?)

Fun fact: Giant Glass was named after the football team. Don't hold that against them though - that was before the Patriots. Hell, even my Waltham-based granddad liked the Giants then.
Yesterday I learned that "Beauty", my lovely Holton Collegiate Sousaphone, has a serial number that dates it to 1954...

New Airplane Seating with a View More for the "I Wish I Was Insanely Rich" file.
glad I looked up from my book

animal advent ala emberley day 11

December 11, 2014

Lots of cool and accessible analysis of 30 years of David Letterman Top-10 Lists. My only argument is I've heard that the final #1 entry for each list, while often indeed the zingiest, is often not meant to be the out and out funniest, they often go for the biggest laugh around #4 or #3. Or so I've heard; it's probably too subjective to really analyze.
An interesting way to bring up kids with video games...
Interesting argument in favor of the Harvard Jerk Lawyer and the $4 chinese resturant overcharge.
Edelman's blog does seem to have a legitimate consumer protection angle but still... unless you argue that this kind of nuttiness is the only way of getting the attention of a small business, it was too much zero compromise.

December 11, 2013


advent day 11

Admiral Grace Hopper, computer pioneer, on Letterman. Awesome to see her hand out her nanoseconds, and kudos to Letterman's Late Night (albeit in the 80s) for having her as a guest!

A flowchart to find the game right for you.
The Grolier Poetry Book Shop is a landmark of the Harvard area.
Happy 20th Birthday DOOM!

December 11, 2012

(1 comment)

advent day 11

"People want to believe so badly, and that's exactly what they do."

javadvent day 11

(1 comment)
December 11, 2011

Crazy huge gorgeous orange moon as we head back east to Boston...
"There's an Occupy Berkshires. We missed that when we were driving around there."
"Occupy Berkshires-isn't that just called 'camping'?"

sierpinski? i hardly knew ski!

December 11, 2010
To view this content, you need to install Java from
sier - source - built with processing
So the topmost video on yesterday's page on Doodling Mathematically touched on Sierpinski Triangles but didn't get into one of my favorite ways of making them. It's called the Chaos Game and you can do it with pen and paper, though you get quicker results with a computer program...

The core idea is pick 3 corners of a triangle, and then any point (or one of the corners). Then randomly pick one of the 3 corners, and draw a dot halfway between that point and the corner. Then randomly pick one of the 3 corners again, and draw a dot halfway between that corner and the last dot, and repeat. After you do it enough times, Sierpinski's triangle rises from the mist.

I've tried to animate the manual process with this program, slowing it down and sketching out the line, with the outlined circle being which corner had been picked and the white circle being where a new dot is drawn ... move the mouse up and down over the canvas to speed it up or slow it down, and click to start with a new dot.
"For somebody fluent in over six million forms of communication, it's weird that C-3PO went with 'gay-tinged passive aggression.'"
What was so bad about the "applet" tag? It still works in 6 lines while #processing 's 40 lines of "object" is busted on chrome.
I hate "standards compliant" tags that are
A. harder to read
B. grandly more verbose
C. more fragile than the old school ones.
Like, setting margin-left:auto and margin-right:auto for a div instead of the old center tag. (I know it's not as simple as that but still)

javadvent calendar day 11 - happy hanukkah!

December 11, 2009

Man, my GPS that was stolen was rather easy to replace with a newer model, but the cheap MP3-to-FM-adapter I got, not so much. Can't find it at Walgreens, and most other models don't have the nifty bass boost feature... FWIW the adapters that use the headphone jack A. work with every MP3 player and B. let you crank the volume and get a stronger signal to the radio. It's frustrating to have a car that can play MP3s if they're burnt to disc, but then the cheaped out on the fifty sense to have a stupid plug in the thing. Hell, sometimes it would seem better to have a cassette deck, the adapter would be easy then.
"I wish when I was born my first word would've been 'quote' so that right before I died I could say 'end quote'"
--Steven Wright. Hmm, maybe I should try to get EBB2's first word to be "quote" - "antidisestablishmentarianism" might be a little too ambitious anyway.
"The point isn't to 'understand' music. It's to empathize with it."
--Roger Ebert
Sigh, yet another work account set up for "kisreal" not "kisrael". An easy enough mistake, but still... semi-seriously (well, very semi-) changing my name to "Kirk Is".

last night i had a weird dream with the special wing of the space force who flew ships that looked like marshmallows and prayed rapidfire prayers to the aliens to keep them away

December 11, 2008
You know, it's funny how with Twitter taking most of my casual thoughts, more often than not I'm stuck with talking about the weather here. It's almost as bad as the filler I write for the Love Blender. Or a conversation with a stranger on an elevator.

Quote of the Moment
There is something, that comes suddenly like a wind on a warm summer's evening. It takes you off guard, and leaves you without peace. It follows you like a shadow, and it's impossible to shake. I don't know what it is, so I can only call it love.
--Yu Hong's Diary, from "Summer Palace"

"Machines take me by surprise with great frequency."
--Alan Turing. I'll bet he doesn't even know if they're going to stop!

Link of the Moment
Speaking of Royal nicknames Wikipedia has a page of Honorific Titles in Popular Music: 3 Kings of Rock-and-Roll, two Kings of the South, the Godfather of Soul, 4 Queens of Pop... it's all in there.

Board games.. I guess ultimately I like, say, Pictionary + Taboo over Settlers + Fluxx. Ultimately it's more fun to be creative than smart. - Obama smokes??

no reason to die all tensed up

December 11, 2007
I'm finishing up Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane's "Riding Rockets", a pull-few-punches look at his time with NASA (including his own admittedly sophomoric humor, as well as a fierce criticism of the political culture there.)

One thing I had forgotten is besides the two tragedies, the Space Shuttle program has had many near misses. On his second flight, on Atlantis, heat tiles got knocked off the bottom-- they couldn't even tell qui how many until after they had landed-- and their chances about making it home safely were in doubt. His commander on that flight, "Hoot" Gibson, encouraged a casual stoicism:
"No reason to die all tensed up."
That's a pretty decent outlook to have.

Reading the book reminded me of my vague desire to go into space, though I'm not sure if I'd be able to afford it any time soon. But Mullane writes mostly about the spectacular view... I realize I'm more in awe of the idea of weightlessness. I figure the view I can get some idea of through wide-angle pictures, etc, but the physical sensation of floating, without the viscosity of water interfering with your movements... that's something you can't readily duplicate on Earth.

Maybe I should just try to go in one of those freefall "Vomit Comet" planes for 30 seconds at a time. Zero gravity is actually a bit annoying in the long term! (Especially in the bathroom department, another topic Mullane isn't shy about discussing.)

Link of the Moment
So, come to think of it, yesterday's "atariparty" GIF might have been inspired by this terrific website of C=64 Sprite Art. (I was googling after some kisrael comments about C=64 sprites... for some reason I had gotten to thinking that they were monochrome, and you had to double them up to get multiple colors. I stand corrected!

The skateboarder, from "Skate or Die", was one of my favorites. Overall I thought that game looked like it came straight from an Amiga. (And the NES version was much less impressive.)

PS it's more difficult than I expected to get a clear MP3 of the title screen music for Skate or Die... I don't think the emulation gets it quite right, and its sampled electric guitar and terrific simple drumwork just doesn't carry through.

maybe there is nothing, ever, that can equal the recollection of having been young together

December 11, 2006
It seems so dark these days, but I console myself with the reminder that these are very near darkest days of the year, that the sine wave of daytime has pretty much peaked, axial tilt is doing its worse and we're surviving, and for the most part it will only get better from here.

Literary Passage of the Moment
"Venture too far for love, she tells herself, and you renounce citzenship in the country you've made for yourself. You end up just sailing from port to port. Still, there is this sense of missed opportunity. Maybe there is nothing, ever, that can equal the recollection of having been young together. Maybe it's as simple as that. Richard was the person Clarissa loved at her most optimistic moment. [...] It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later, to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk, the anticipation of dinner and a book. [...] What lives undimmed in Clarissa's mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and it's perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other."
--The Hours, Michael Cunningham, recommended by FoSO (who pointed out the sentence used as today's title) and excerpted by Cutter Girl.

Comparing the excerpt to the full passage from the book, it seems like it does a pretty good job, removing the bits that are more subjective, and that the reader would need to take in more of the book to catch the setting. But then another side of me wonders if those subjective details are what it's all about, what sets the scene first, with the more universal analysis built on top of that.

Article of the Moment
Slate on Sudhir Venkatesh's new book on the ghetto economy and sociology. It's a fascinating article, but it almost sounds too good to be true, like one of those personal stories where the main character turns out to be completely made up by the author.

sometimes a monument is just a monument

(1 comment)
December 11, 2005
Quote of the Moment
"Even young children need to be informed about dying. Explain the concept of death very carefully to your child. This will make threatening him with it much more effective."

Article of the Moment
Slate had a good, not-afraid-to-be-opinionated tour of the monuments of our nation's capital

Kind of weird to think how tombstones are also kind of like one-person-honoring monuments themselves.

this is spinal tapped

December 11, 2004
Quote of the Moment
A spine is a long bone that goes down your back. Your head sits on one end, and you sit on the other.
--Alleged actual quote from a student's paper, collected by Richard Lenderer.

Newsline of the Moment
Bellon asserted that previous attempts to win trust from Iraqis suspicious of US intentions had telegraphed weakness by asking, " 'What are your needs? What are your emotional needs?' All this Oprah [stuff]," he said. "They want to figure out who the dominant tribe is and say, 'I'm with you.' We need to be the benevolent, dominant tribe.
--from a Boston Globe Article..."[stuff]", huh? It's an intriguing idea, though I wonder if "American" would ever be considered a tribe there, or if there's too much animosity for that...

in his houth at r'lyeh dead cthulhu waits dreaming. and snoring lightly.

December 11, 2003
Link of the Moment
You have to be into some obscure bits of literary geek culture to get this, but what if Jack Chick wrote on the Cthulhu mythos?

AIM Chat of the Moment
sarah: I can understand wanting to be younger again, or rather wanting to live out the freedom of singledom in the college years... we all probably feel that from time to time, but I think that I only feel that way because I forget all the crap that went along with it... the grass is always greener scenario
kirk: well, she doth protest that she's never really lived alone, except maybe a very brief time in college, and barely that, just doing the whole serial monogomy shtick
sarah: So she wants to go be a lonely slut?
kirk: well, that's certainly how I'd put it, yes.
kirk: well, no.
sarah: well... what's so great about living alone anyway... the longer you live alone the harder it becomes to accomodate living with another person... it's just the highway to crotchetyness if you ask me
--Don't know if this is nice to post, but it feels good at this difficult time in my life. Plus I thought it was a little funny (Sarah did immediately say she was being facetious about the "lonely slut" remark, or rather "fecissuoaos... fecisous ...phecishus? Facicious?" ) and I do like the phrase "highway to crochetyness". Sarah and Dylan are great for snarky IMing with, except Dylan's never online.

slogans for the masses

December 11, 2002
Links of the Moment
"Obey Your" " Tested, Mother Approved." "Strong Enough for a Man, Made for a" The Advertising Slogan Generator is providing all my slogan needs! And if that wasn't cool enough, the Brunching Shuttlecocks' C.Y.B.O.R.G. (what would your acronym be, if you were a robot designed to cause mayhem?) has been upgraded to generate cool graphics like the one here to the right.

Quote and Review of the Moment
"The Turkish Enterprise's dress code has got to cause problems. The female personnel are forced to wear miniskirts that end four inches above the bottom of their asses, and when they turn around to work on the spray-painted cardboard computers, they have no secrets. I'm sure this leads to situations where the navigator loses his concentration and says, 'Miss Uhura, we are crotching a course for the panties sector, coordinates your whole ass hanging out. Repeat: panties, panties, panties.'"
--This was some of what boingboing decided to excerpt for its link to a review of the Turkish Star Trek. The review was funny though it went on for a bit...but this damn "coordinates your whole ass hanging out" quote has been sticking in my brain.

Headline of the Moment
"The Bush administration is reminding potential attackers that nuclear retaliation is among the U.S. options." Pandora, your box is ready.

Quote of the Moment
"The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not."
--George Bernard Shaw. Dylan said about the same thing to me when I was having my "existential crisis", that I was fretting about the fate of the world while he was worrying over the current price of ground beef.

star whores

(1 comment)
December 11, 2001
Image of the Moment
--A common, drive-you-nuts typo for the Nintendo game "Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader" is "Rouge Leader"... Robert Montjoy of created this memory aid, but he says it hasn't helped much...

Web Tool of the Moment You enter one of those big honking links, and they will store it in their database, and give you a short, easily cut-and-pasteable link that when clicked will bring you to your original target...a neat idea and public service.

Dialog of the Moment
"She's about a quarter turn from being a diesel dyke."
"You haven't seen my new belt!"
--Kirk and MZ, before the bachelor/bachelorette party for Mo and was quite the macho belt to go along with MZ's new short haircut. In a similar story, Mo got hit on by a woman Newbury Comics. She was very happy to still have her old "dyke street cred"...
KHftCEA 1997-12.2 December KHftCEA 1999-12.1 December

KHftCEA 1999-12.1 December

Wow, I'm spending quite a little bit this holiday season- ah well, a few paychecks will make everything right again. Man, no wonder consumer debt is such a huge problem.
KHftCEA 1997-12.2 December

What do you do when you wake up and find the world of your friends a much more complex place than you thought?
"Civilization and science fight against the natural mistakes of our brains. Itís a wonder of our species that weíre learning to use our brains to fight our brains. If you feel it, but it isnít right, donít do it and donít believe it. We can be better than natural -- weíre human."
          --Penn Jillette
Empty vase, empty sky,
full sake cup
and a lone drinker.
poem idea: love being like that time I ate magic brownies and was captivated by the moon, a streetlight, the lights in a dorm

Wow, Mo.

< retrospect: 11 dec >