April 27, 2017

Facebook Meme, post 10 musical groups or people you've seen in concert, but one of them is a lie.... here's what I said.

Alright, lemme join in! 9 concerts I've been to live and a lie.

1 The Canadian Brass
2 Weird Al Yankovic
3 The Knack
4 Deee-Lite
5 Dirty Dozen Brass Band
6 Maynard Ferguson
7 Gladys Knight
8 Phoenix
9 Dr. John
10 Trombone Shorty

"Which ones the fib" gives this meme legs I guess!
(Honestly the only other 4 I could think of were all recent shows: Coeur de Pirate, Tribe Called Red, The Soul Rebels, Steve Earle... I think I've never been gung-ho about going to shows, though it's usually a good time... looking forward to TOO MANY ZOOZ next month at the Sinclair though am expecting to be filled with jealousy)

April 27, 2016

"We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us."
-- John Culkin (paraphrasing Marshall McLuhan)

April 27, 2015

Made this:

April 27, 2014

"Think of cocaine. In its natural form, as coca leaves, it's appealing, but not to an extent that it usually becomes a problem. But refine it, purify it, and you get a compound that hits your pleasure receptors with an unnatural intensity. That's when it becomes addictive.

Beauty has undergone a similar process, thanks to advertisers. Evolution gave us a circuit that responds to good looks-- call it the pleasure receptor for our visual cortex-- and in our natural environment, it was useful to have. But take a person with one-in-a-million skin and bone structure, add professional makeup and retouching, and you're no longer looking at beauty in its natural form. You've got pharmaceutical-grade beauty, the cocaine of good looks."
--Ted Chiang, "Like What You See: A Documentary" from his collection of short stories "Stories of Your Life and Others". He's my new favorite scifi author-- actually, he's been my favorite since college, when I read his take on the Tower of Babel...
"Stephen Hawking... found it tantalizing that we could not remember the future. But remembering the future is child's play for me now. I know what will become of my helpless, trusting babies because they are grown-ups now. I know how my closest friends will end up because so many of them are retired or dead now... To Stephen Hawking and all others younger than myself I say, 'Be patient. Your future will come to you and lie down at your feet like a dog who knows and loves you no matter what you are."
--Kurt Vonnegut - as quoted by Ted Chiang. Actually, several of Chiang's works can be seen as explorations of spaces first laid out by Vonnegut (specifically, the Tralfamadorians, and "Harrison Bergeron", where everyone has to be "equalized" with artificial handicaps.)

April 27, 2013

New glasses. 10 days to decide if they're too much.

crabs and ice water

(1 comment)
April 27, 2012

From The Illuminatus! Trilogy:
"Balls" said the queen "if I had them I'd be king" and "Nuts" said the prince "I've got them and I'm not king" and "Crap" said the king and thirty thousand royal subjects squatted and strained for in those days the king's word was law.
I think I like it because My Ever Lovin' Aunt Susan sometimes uses the first one. She sometimes uses "Crabs and ice water!" which is said to have been a favorite of my Nana...
My buddy Tom Kermode pointed out that "Bring Your Parent to Work Day" would be both cool. And I think potentially informative.

the power of words and graphics

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April 27, 2011

--My buddy JZ is pretty good at making music suggestions for me... he suggested this song with Black Eyed Peas Just Can't Get Enough. Neither are all-time greats but both are pretty catchy.

I love the format of the "lyric video"... I'm visual enough that I genuinely appreciate being able to see the words, and then combined with playful typography, it's a real win.

Kindle app dutifully has no "copy" function for highlighting. Don't they know the copy UI sucks for anything larger than fair use?
"If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?"
--Scott Adams
"I think I had a beautiful life. I didn't wish for anything I couldn't get, and I got pretty near everything I wanted because I worked for it."
--Louis Armstrong
My favorite nickname for Trump is still "Donald Mayonnaise".
The fourth worst thing about a Trump candidacy would be the endless "You're Fired!" campaign jokes. Endless, I tell you.

youtube resizer

April 27, 2010

Youtube has started irking me lately -- as they add more HD-ish videos, when they offer an array of size choices for people to embded one on their site, they've made it so that the smallest option is about 560 pixels across. Many blogs (including this one) find 500 to be a more pleasant default column size, so the stupid things won't fit.

However, it's generally pretty easy to change the size of a Youtube video, but there's a little bit of annoying math and some fiddly search and replace you have to do to get it right. So I made a new simple gadget off of my tools page, a Youtube Resizer
youtube resizer
embed code:
target width:
You just copy and paste in the Youtube embed code, set it to what width you want, and then copy and paste the result. Extremely non-rocket-sciency but it makes my blogging life a bit better.
"i think of my nipples as an umlaut that makes my beer gut more sophisticated"
"One of the things I like best about Al Jazeera English? No fucking comments section."
I know my head isn't totally into CSS when I try to type foo="bar" type stuff as CSS attributes, not foo:bar;

sloooooooowwww doowwwwwwwn yoooouuuu'rrrrrre moooooooooviiiiiinnnng toooooo faaaaaaaasssssst

(1 comment)
April 27, 2009

I-Movix SprintCam v3 NAB 2009 showreel from David Coiffier on Vimeo.

Along with the well-chosen slow-motion, I think the use of focus really makes this work, bringing attention on the subject with some kind of emotional impact.
"To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all."
--Peter McWilliams, Life 101. That's a big part of my condition in a nutshell.
I'm pretty easy going and non-judgmental, but one of the few traits that really gets under my skin is snobbery. Connoisseurship is one thing, but to be blind to utilitarian values seems like a crime. (Of course the illogical extreme / parody version of this stance runs "how dare you have high standards"...)
"'I never said she stole my money' can have seven different meanings depending on which word is stressed."
-- http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/technology/27jeopardy.html?_r=1a on having a computer play Jeopardy.
For grins (nervous grins) I just registered PerfectCytokineStorm.com. Once the DNS kicks in it will say "Yikes."
future decades big trend: audio tattoos, subdermal chips that play your theme song when touched. I'd get http://kirkjerk.com/2003/04/27/ done.

kirk's home for the chronically not-so-easily amused

April 27, 2008

I got bored waiting in EvilB's car while he went in various door stores to check out prices etc; but I guess it beat just milling around in those stores, 'cause I could goof off with my iPhone (...since of course, the one time you decide "nah, don't need a book") I started reading up my old Palm-based KHftCEA journal. From spring 1997 to the dawn of this site in early 2001, it was my ever-present notebook for ideas I had and quotes I encountered.

This isn't the first time I've mused on some of the nuance I lost when I decided the KHftCEA was largely redundant, a kind of casual spontaneity, and even though I started letting people (EB first, come to think of it) read it, and finally posted it, it was less censored and audience-aware than this site. I also seemed to produce more microfiction and goofy verse.

Of course, if I were to start it up again, that would be THREE daily or semi-daily journal activities, which is a bit much even by my high standards of self-absorption. I think I'll start keeping it on my iPhone and than emailing content to myself for inclusion in either my public or private journal.

Photos of the Moment
Saturated photo from my iPhone of a great big rock by the Home Depot parking lot:

Blossoming tree near the church next door. The way it is kind of spotlit made me have higher hopes for the photo:

Quote of the Moment
"Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance."
--Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus". He just described the software development industry to a T

nerd of war

April 27, 2007

I'm starting to feel like a T veteran, because I've finally developed a strategy. One coworker says he always goes for the subway car where he'll have to walk the least, but my goal is to find the least crowded car, and hopefully a seat.

So not surprisingly, it's the far end cars that seem to be the least populated. And I've found my favorite seat on the Red Line: so, saying that the line goes south into Boston from Cambridge, the best seat is in the "northermost" car, southwest corner... usually the car is close to empty at Alewife, and that particular seat has this little shelf thing you can toss a bag or coat onto. Luxury!

(Me, overthink?)

Link of the Moment
  1. Most wars are asymmetrical / irregular.
  2. In these wars, the guerrillas / irregulars / insurgents do NOT aim for military victory.
  3. You can NOT defeat these groups by killing lots of their members.
    In fact, they want you to do that.
  4. Hi-tech weaponry is mostly useless in these wars.
  5. "Hearts and Minds," meaning propaganda and morale, are more important than military superiority.
  6. Most people are not rational, they are TRIBAL: "my gang yay, your gang boo!" It really is that simple. The rest is cosmetics.
I just found out about the "War Nerd" Gary Brecher (thought to be a nome de plume)

He's... really something. To say he's jingoistic is putting it extremely mildly. I think a lot of people will find his expression of love for war and his casual off-the-cuff bloodlust revolting. And some people claim that his belligerent style sometimes conceals a lack of hard facts, at least in certain cases.

But he's willing to call a spade a spade and skewer sacred cows like the greatness of the American Military (historically, it's really supply and logistics that we do really well, and beyond that we probably have only our fair share of heroes.) Like his take on WWII... pretty much all of Europe was borderline fascist, and the real fight was the Nazis vs Soviet Russia, the rest was largely window dressing.

The sheer pragmatism of his outlook is almost scary, especially with his stated hope of seeing more and more exciting wars. But his piece on assymetrical warfare (where that list comes from) and his strong arguments that Bush and Cheney and Co. set us up for nothing but failure in Iraq really reminded me just how nuts and agenda-driven these guys are. I wonder if the "war nerd" persona is meant to be a Vonnegut-ian "wrang-wrang", "A person who steers people away from a line of speculation by reducing that line, with the example of the wrang-wrang's own life, to an absurdity."

I liked his article on Count Carl Gustav von Rosen... he underplays how the civillian airplanes the Count refitted with missile batteries to fight a bushwar in Africa were originally designed as military vehicles, but besides that it's an amazing story. (Here's another link with some photos.)

who's a widdle biddy blue bomber... oh yes you are!

April 27, 2006

--via Geek on Stun. I really had nothing interesting to say this morning, and it's been a few days since we've had pictures, and they review the new "kiddy" Mega Man game, and it's SOOOOO CUTE, so there you are.

the waste vastland

April 27, 2005

Article of the Moment
NY Times article Watching TV Makes You Smarter--it argues shows like "24" and "The Sopranos" are much more complex than the ones in years previous, bucking conventional wisdom about tv getting dumber and dumber.

Heh...you know, now I don't feel as smug about the way I haven't watched much TV at all for the past years.

art high and low

(1 comment)
April 27, 2004

Image and Site of the Moment
The site Early Visual Media has a lot of early photography and other interesting light tricks they used back then. Including nudes, for your prurient old school interests. The Danse Macabre pages remind me of this book my dad used to have that I keep meaning to look up, a bunch of woodcuts with the figure of death giving little quips as he gets ready to take each of these various stereotypes (baker, gravedigger, etc) away.

Link of the Moment
In the much more modern and low brow visual arts, I can't believe
doodie.com is still making a poop-themed cartoon every day and has been for years. I can't get the far back in the archive, but I swear I was looking at that site back in like 1998.

Quote of the Moment
"It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."
--Oscar Wilde, via this Slate piece on the delicous Freudian Slips of Condoleezza Rice. It's a great quote and true.

old schoolartmusic

April 27, 2003

Music of the Moment
So, back in the day, someone taught me the blues scale (you can hear it on this page) and that was my basis for a ton of basslines and piano improvisations all during high school. One time, I recorded one of the lines (can't remember its name) for Marcus, a friend from school, who took it to a buddy who had some kind of homestudio and added a (stock?) drumtrack and lower bass part. I've been meaning to get it in digital form for a long time, so here it is, an MP3 taken off an old audio tape:
Jam w/ Marcus, 1286kb, 82 seconds
This is the whole bassline about two times through. (The part I made is the xylophone-sounding part on top, like what the recording starts with) The original recording goes on for like 5 or 6 minutes, and has some interesting cutouts where it's just the drums or just my line, but this is enough to give the idea.

Link of the Moment
Not as cool as those guys assembling a million actual toothpicks, the MegaPenny Project helps you think about what different amount of pennies look like, from one to one quintillion.

phillyclassic philler day 1

(1 comment)
April 27, 2002

I'm outta town for a few days at PhillyClassic but kisrael.com rolls on thanks to my programming wizardy. (Anyone wanna have such genius emplyed at their company? Let me know!)

Anyway, some philler for philly; (Interesting to compare this work to Dialogue of Soul & Stone, day 3 of my Honeymoon Filler (which is what led me to make this system in the first place...)

Don't knock a stone: don't say things like "stone dead."
A stone always knows what it's about.
It holds itself together better than you do,
better than I do. A stone is comfortable
with its battery of cunning smithereens
milling around, bouncing off one another
exactly right in their tight little compound.

Any old stone--you think it can't talk?
Dumb old stone? Ho! Every atom in it talks,
every part of every atom talks. Just listen.

Trust your eyes and ears to recognize your
grandmother. A stone doesn't need eyes and
ears to know what's coming down the pike.

A stone knows what it wants, and gets it,
pressing up tight against the fluffy surrounds,
all that space made of the same stuff as the stone stuff.
Don't knock a stone: it'll show you up,
put you down, cover you up, forget you.
--Paul Lawson

bad noose

(1 comment)
April 27, 2001

Quote of the Moment
"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar."
--Drew Carey, via IMDb

Web Tool of the Moment
Yesterday John pointed out that rot13.com is a working site, and has a rot13 translator. Rot13 (short for "rotate 13" I assume) is a purposefully very weak encoding system I've mostly seen used on Usenet when someone wishes to mask potentially offensive text content. The idea is each letter gets moved over 13 places in the alphabet so if you apply rot13 twice, you get the original text. (What with the alphabet being 26 letters and all.) You can see the Jargon File's definition and a collection of implementations in various computer languages. I've also coded up a working example toy in javascript:
Not as cool or accessible as the domain, but hey.

Bad News of the Moment
House passes fetus protection bill. I believe this might truly mark the begining of the end of abortion rights. It gives ammo-- (perhaps in an all too literal sense)-- to the people who argue that abortion providers are murderers. Oy.

I really think that a logical analysis of the prolife/prochoice debate will have to intersect the issues of fetus viability and whether the baby is 'wanted'. The non-intuitive extension of my thoughts is the idea that a very young infant is not an independently conscious being and should not be afforded the rights of such-- but it can and should gain some of those rights and protections as a part of a family-- in this view, a family (even if it's only made of two people) is in a sense, a virtual person... similar to the recognition a business can receive as a corporation.

Of course, people whose sense of personhood is tied into some mystical concept of a tangible soul won't find it easy to accept this view.

Jeez. Nature spontaneous aborts fetuses all the time. It's the age old question, is God the biggest abortionist of them all? I don't think believers have anything but handwaving for most of these questions.

In other bad news, free speech loses out: EBay to pull "Wind Done Gone". The rights we are giving to copyright holders are getting way out of control.

Oh, and George Bush 2's graceless hand brings more tension with China. Or as the Onion headline put it "First Chapter In History Of Sino-American War Of 2011 Already Written"

KHftCEA 1999-04.1 April

"Evaporation is God's paper towel"
-Dylan Murray
Book of fun poems: "Polkabats + Octopus Slacks" (from NPR)