May 29, 2016funny

Melissa wanted to watch Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, so we are. (She had watched the old series some but not the movies) So far the hardest thing to explain is McCoy's pants in this scene.

May 29, 2015photos

Going through old photos. Took this one in 2001, with this weird click-on attachment camera for the Palm Pilot, the Kodak PalmPix.

May 29, 2014 So the religious right as political force came not from pro-life but pro-segregation. Man. Sandwiches are the best.
I am increasingly amazed at the Listicle-sites having great big, flat-color, inviting arrow buttons by all the ads, and little tiny "next" buttons to get through the content. The makers of those will be first against the wall when the revolution comes.
So some companies have N.I.H. syndrom, "Not Invented Here", a reluctance to use pre-existing code from outside groups. I certainly suffer from that sometimes, because coding things is fun, and generally my homebrew solutions are compact and focused and you can understand the codepath without having to know how it tries to solve 8 other dudes' problems as well. But sometimes I think my company suffers a bit from N.I.S.E...
An article supporting that view, a bit:

May 29, 2013

"Spooky sleepover game: go into a bathroom, turn out the lights, look in the mirror, whoa, you're 37, what are you even doing with your life."


May 29, 2012
I remember Tufts' University bookstore having Afri-Cola in the early 1990s... I wondered where it was from, what it was all about... I'm not sure this commercial from the 1968 would really have explained things. It kind of reminds me of that old Simpsons bit of faux-agitprop Worker and Parasite... via
"What will survive of us is love."
--Philip Larkin
"We must love one another or die"
--W.H. Auden


May 29, 2011

When we were in England, Amber pointed out this rather awkward-looking photo from a NY Times article Badmintonís New Dress Code Is Being Criticized as Sexist. I think we were most startled that it seemed to be the lead story. Slow news day?
Giant DDiced coffee with a "turbo" shot. Good to be back home! Twins with physically overlapping brains - astonishing to ponder.
"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection."
--Thomas Paine - wordless video message to myself from the Tate Modern... touch screen for ending the msg was a bit wonky.

woman, wonder!

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May 29, 2010

--Continuing yesterday's theme... I didn't realize how awesome a theme song and montage that was.
App of the moment- "Find in Page" is a brilliant bookmarklet that makes up for a serious lack on Apple gadgets, lack of "ctrl-F" find.
In NJ for a wedding. Irritated that the Dunkin Donuts iced coffee is all mucked up with Yankees logos. Least it's not "New Yorke Kreme" eh?

so happy about the new movie

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May 29, 2009

--via horklog

Note to future self: Tomcat context tag might be lurking in server.xml, where it will override that conf/Catalina stuff, and/or context.xml. This was hard-won knowledge today.
Is there a movie with dialog "You shot him!" "What do you care, you're a nihilist" "But... you shot him!" - I thought Big Lebowski, but no-
6 years ago today I mentioned "heomald" (a possible Palm typo) appeared no where on Google. Still my site is the only source of this word. : Prop 8 PLUS: Lets Defend Traditional Singing By Defining Songs As "Music Of and By Heterosexuals"!!

oh, hannah

May 29, 2008

So this morning I heard that there was a terrible crash on the green line. Here is a kind of useless animation about it, but then I guess since the investigation is slated to take like a year, they can only give that kind of rough summary... BTW, how does an investigation take a year? I can't see why the forensic investigation and questioning should take more than, like, a month.

I guess I shouldn't cast dispersions aspersions (thanks Mom... interesting error to make, "dis-" would seem to be a good prefix for the term) upon the dead until we know what happened, but the only fatality was the driver of the train that (I would think) is most suspect for being at fault, in that it rear-ended the other one. Even with signal failure, shouldn't a driver be able to deal with situations like this? "Gee, that train in front of me is barely moving, maybe I should slow down or stop or something...")

Convenience Store Item of the Moment
Hannah Montana-branded Birth Control Pills at the local 7-11?

(That was my first thought. Then I realized it looked more like pitch pipes. "Cookie CDs"? I would have loved to been at the design meeting for that one. "Well, Hannah Montanna makes CDs... and cookies are round... are you thinking what I'm thinking?" "Brilliant!")

that dark-chocolate-covered -cinnamon and -peppermint altoids prevail over -ginger is a damn shame
apple's big boston store has a giant billboard showing someone using iphone's notepad for a to-do list. palm had a to-do application. bleh.
ok, boingboing, i get it. cory doctrow has a new book called 'little brother'. maybe it's a "wonderful thing" BUT SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY!

reading for dummies

May 29, 2007

So I started "The Complete Idiot's Guide® To Zen Living".

I sort of like when these "for Dummies"-style titles take on weighty subjects. "Rocket "Reconciling the Fundamental Contradiction of Free Will and a Deterministic Universe for Dummies", "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coping with your Crushing Sense of Existential Dispair", etc etc. (Hmm. If I were feeling a bit more ambitious it would be amusing to make an automatic cover-layout generator for faux titles such as those.)

The books generally are pretty good. I kind of mentally rewrite the titles to "...with few assumptions about what you already know of the subject", which I think is the real crux of what they're getting at. The first ones, like "DOS for Dummies", capitalized on a self-deprecating feeling that PCs of the era brought on.

So I just started "Zen Living". I think I might have some trouble keeping the concepts of Zen's un-ness seperate from what I know of Daoism's "uncarved block", at least in terms of life application.

It also raises the issues of whether you can have relative degrees of Zen. Is it a problem that I'm not looking a moment of "and thus, Kirk was enlightened" so much as improved general clarity and definition in the flow of my life?

Sports of the Moment
Indians played (and lost to) the Red Sox last night. Both are division leaders, likely the current two best teams in baseball, and these games are kind of "win-win" for me... my deeper loyalty is with the Sox, and every win makes life more difficult for the Yankees, but the Indians are in a tighter division race.

Anyway, I was reading the Indians' wikipedia page when I came across this gem:
In April 1962, the Indians sold Harry Chiti to the New York Mets for a player to be named later. In June 1962, after playing just 15 games for the Mets, Chiti was named by the Mets as the player to be named later.
Plus, I was reminded of another reason to dislike Edgar "Rent-A-Wreck" Renteria... besides extremely spotty play for the Red Sox he scored the run that made the Indians lose the '97 World Series to those Punk-ass Marlins.

Beer O'Clock of the Moment
--LAN3 pointed out this awesome "Beer O'Clock" reference. The show is a BBC production "Life on Mars" where a modern era British police officer finds himself transported to the 1970s version of his current life. The show plays with the ambiguity of whether he traveled through time, if he's dreaming in a coma in the current day, or if he's from the 70s but mentally unstable. In any event, it plays up with the cultural differences between the two eras.

one time at band camp

May 29, 2006

I've appreciated this four day weekend, but vacation always makes me nervous for this reason: I'm afraid I won't want to or be might be unable to get back into the groove of the daily work grind.

Band of the Moment
One of the side effects of Netflix is that the barrier to entry for "guilty pleasure" movies is that much lower. Case-in-point, "American Pie Presents: Band Camp". It definitely harkened back to the old "teenage sex comedy" tradition, plus there were enough semi-realistic marching band references to keep me entertained.

It got me to googling, where I found the old FAQ. My favorite section was 2) Which band was banned from where? and my favorite incident listed in that section was
1972 Columbia is banned from West Point for "forming" the napalming of a Cambodian Villiage, complete with flaming villagers.
That, my friends, is chutzpah.

Me and my mom at Tufts Pep Band, Parents' Weekend. I like how she's sporting some major Jumbo the Elephant (Tufts' mascot) Bling.
I got to reading about Scramble Bands, where players just run from one formation to the next. (I remember once or twice where my high school band did a "scramble" when we already had a complex enough show and didn't want a highly scripted switch to the next formation.)

In trying to track down a factoid that some Ivy League bands play in suit and ties, I found my way back to the site for the Columbia University Marching Band, aka CUMB, aka "the cleverest band in the world". (In Euclid we called ourselves "God's Favorite Marching Band", as evidenced by a sudden downpour erupting with the opening gong strike of "Carmina Burana" and being finished by the time the piece was done, but I suspect the "God's Favorite" moniker isn't too original.) Anyway, I didn't see a reference to the West Point incident, but I liked their list of other scramble bands, all that intra-Ivy snarkiness. I wish Tufts had had its act together to have a scramble band rather than just a stand band, we'd only take the field once or twice a year.

I'm still trying to figure out where I could borrow a tuba or sousaphone from for a day or two, or even rent. Ksenia's dying to hear it. Or more likely, see it. Tubas are meant to be Seen as well as Heard.

damn camps!

May 29, 2005

So one of my favorite little games is whenever I'm drinking something and it goes "down the wrong pipe", to followup my coughing and sputtering with a whisper-croaked "smoooth!", as if I were a teenager trying to be blasé about the whisky he has just tried for the first time. I mean, I really enjoy this little game, not quite enough to purposefully try and choke on liquids but enough so that I'm not at all unhappy when I do.

I've found out there's a similar game in Russia, where if you have a coughing spell (as opposed to choking on liquid) you can say "damn workcamps!" as if you were sentenced to hard labor at a Soviet Siberian workcamp and now had TB. Ksenia told me her friend Efem taught it to her then 4-year-old brother, and it was the cutest thing in the world when he'd cough and then try to say it.

the pleasures and pains of coffee

May 29, 2004

Essay of the Moment

Coffee is a great power in my life; I have observed its effects on an epic scale. Coffee roasts your insides. Many people claim coffee inspires them, but, as everybody knows, coffee only makes boring people even more boring. Think about it: although more grocery stores in Paris are staying open until midnight, few writers are actually becoming more spiritual.

But as Brillat-Savarin has correctly observed, coffee sets the blood in motion and stimulates the muscles; it accelerates the digestive processes, chases away sleep, and gives us the capacity to engage a little longer in the exercise of our intellects. It is on this last point, in particular, that I want to add my personal experience to Brillat-Savarin's observations.

Coffee affects the diaphragm and the plexus of the stomach, from which it reaches the brain by barely perceptible radiations that escape complete analysis; that aside, we may surmise that our primary nervous flux conducts an electricity emitted by coffee when we drink it. Coffee's power changes over time. [Italian composer Gioacchino] Rossini has personally experienced some of these effects as, of course, have I. "Coffee," Rossini told me, "is an affair of fifteen or twenty days; just the right amount of time, fortunately, to write an opera." This is true. But the length of time during which one can enjoy the benefits of coffee can be extended.

For a while - for a week or two at most - you can obtain the right amount of stimulation with one, then two cups of coffee brewed from beans that have been crushed with gradually increasing force and infused with hot water.

For another week, by decreasing the amount of water used, by pulverizing the coffee even more finely, and by infusing the grounds with cold water, you can continue to obtain the same cerebral power.

When you have produced the finest grind with the least water possible, you double the dose by drinking two cups at a time; particularly vigorous constitutions can tolerate three cups. In this manner one can continue working for several more days.

Finally, I have discovered a horrible, rather brutal method that I recommend only to men of excessive vigor, men with thick black hair and skin covered with liver spots, men with big square hands and legs shaped like bowling pins. It is a question of using finely pulverized, dense coffee, cold and anhydrous, consumed on an empty stomach. This coffee falls into your stomach, a sack whose velvety interior is lined with tapestries of suckers and papillae. The coffee finds nothing else in the sack, and so it attacks these delicate and voluptuous linings; it acts like a food and demands digestive juices; it wrings and twists the stomach for these juices, appealing as a pythoness appeals to her god; it brutalizes these beautiful stomach linings as a wagon master abuses ponies; the plexus becomes inflamed; sparks shoot all the way up to the brain. From that moment on, everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop; the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination's orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink - for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water, as a battle opens and concludes with black powder.

I recommended this way of drinking coffee to a friend of mine, who absolutely wanted to finish a job promised for the next day: he thoughthe'd been poisoned and took to his bed, which he guarded like a married man. He was tall, blond, slender and had thinning hair; he apparently had a stomach of papier-mache. There has been, on my part, a failure of observation.

When you have reached the point of consuming this kind of coffee, then become exhausted and decide that you really must have more, even though you make it of the finest ingredients and take it perfectly fresh, you will fall into horrible sweats, suffer feebleness of the nerves, and undergo episodes of severe drowsiness. I don't know what would happen if you kept at it then: a sensible nature counseled me to stop at this point, seeing that immediate death was not otherwise my fate. To be restored, one must begin with recipes made with milk and chicken and other white meats: finally the tension on the harp strings eases, and one returns to the relaxed, meandering, simple-minded, and cryptogamous life of the retired bourgeoisie.

The state coffee puts one in when it is drunk on an empty stomach under these magisterial conditions produces a kind of animation that looks like anger: one's voice rises, one's gestures suggest unhealthy impatience: one wants everything to proceed with the speed of ideas; one becomes brusque, ill-tempered about nothing. One actually becomes that fickle character, The Poet, condemned by grocers and their like. One assumes that everyone is equally lucid. A man of spirit must therefore avoid going out in public. I discovered this singular state through a series of accidents that made me lose, without any effort, the ecstasy I had been feeling. Some friends, with whom I had gone out to the country, witnessed me arguing about everything, haranguing with monumental bad faith. The following day I recognized my wrongdoing and we searched the cause. My friends were wise men of the first rank, and we found the problem soon enough: coffee wanted its victim.

--"The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee", by Honore de Balzac, translated from the French by Robert Onopa, via this page.

vacation filler day 8 (backlog flush #27)

May 29, 2003

asking that musical question...gametoy

May 29, 2002 old were you before you realized "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "The Alphabet Song" have the same damn tune?

Middle school, for me: the band was having a special performance for some elementary schoolers, to show off a saxophone the player played "Twinkle Twinkle" and I was floored when all the kids yelled out "Alphabet Song!" when asked to name that tune...
Gamebutton of the Moment

Spinning dashes come hurtling in from the right. Click to rotate the dashes in your dashstack: If the dashes in your dashstack are in the same direction as the falling dash when it lands, the topmost dash is removed, otherwise the falling dash is added to your stack and the stack is rotated for you. (Tough Game! Originally called "BracketStack" when I thought you'd rotate > v < ^ pieces...better name but the pieces didn't look as good)

Tip: once you click with the mouse to start the game, the spacebar is much more reliable than the mouse for registering button hits
Link of the Moment
The NY Times thinks Athanasius Kircher was pretty cool for a guy from the 1600s.


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May 29, 2001

Quote of the Moment
"That's some cold shit, throwing my man Leroy out the window. Just picked my man up and threw him out the Goddamn window."
--Willy, Shaft (the 1971 original)

Link of the Moment
The site for Mario Party 3 has a number of fun little shockwave minigames. The N64 game itself is a lot of fun, I've always felt that it was a revival of "classic" style (i.e. like the old Atari) gameplay with modern graphics. Sort of like having a mini-Atari cartridge collection, so you don't have to keep playing the same simple game over and over.

KHftCEA 0.4

"If you haven't been rejected three times this week then your not trying."

"Never, ever fall for a gal named after a flower, a gemstone or a month of the year."

or a bible character.