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2015.09.05

  ...of the moment  
Even though it wasn't one of my top favorites, the Atari 2600 game "Riddle of the Sphinx" has been in my dreams a bit lately...

this screenshot from the animated screenshot tumblr http://pixelclash.tumblr.com/

august 2015 new music playlist
2015.09.04
5 and 4 star:
  • My Favorite Picture of You (Guy Clark) The studio version of this made my 5-star list. It feels so true; the picture he's showing on the album cover must be the one in the song. When he says "click" it gives me a shiver; such love, such remorse.
  • Wild World (Cassandra Jenkins) A LOVELY cover of Cat Stevens' song.
  • The Time Is Now (John Cena & Tha Trademarc) There's a new version of Rick Rolling that uses this, Cena's entrance music. It's a super energizing song.
And the rest...
  • Tusk (Fleetwood Mac) I kind of like this song, and the use of Marching Bands, but wish the sound balance was more in favor of the band...
  • Barley & Grape Rag (Rory Gallagher) A prodigous 13 year old was playing this at Rockport's Acoustic Musical Fest... nice little bluegrass-y number
  • Sail (AWOLNATION) I missed this one when it was fresh. I've seen it on cat videos since...
  • X Gon' Give It to Ya (DMX) Maybe I saw this on a trailer? I like his powerful angry delivery.
  • Shoop (Salt-n-Pepa) I really dig Salt-n-Pepa's uninhibited and uncompromising enthusiasm about sex on their terms. (Could do without the songs use of 'retard'; interesting that that word gets censored in the video.)
  • Can't Let Go (Lucinda Williams) Heard a cover of this at Bryan's birthday party, another nice bluegrass-y number
  • The Peoples' Champ (feat. Hellnback) (A Tribe Called Red) I dig the mix of hip hop and first people's music, along with the activist sentiment
  • Encyclopedia Frown (Jonathan Mann) Anna Anthropy's cat in exciting pirate adventures! Fun video... also a version with more people singing than the one I have. Actually, I may have to replace the guy-and-guitar version I have with this one.
  • Music From the "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation" Movie Trailer (The Action Band) A remake of the actual progression of music from the trailer. (I'm still looking for awesome remixes of the original theme... I remember trying to march to it at Tufts Marching Band... we take the field once a year, so that year we pick the song that goes 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 1 2??)
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise (Jimmy Buffett) I remember Mo requesting this song in Florida. And more recently Melissa didn't realize it was an actual song, she thought that the title was just like a metaphor.
  • New York (Angel Haze) Angel Haze is kind of harsh, but I like the sound of it.

  ...of the moment  
"No one's being jailed for practicing her religion. Someone's being jailed for using the government to force others to practice her religion."
--https://twitter.com/rachelheldevans/ on Kim Davis. See also: @NextToKimDavis... Davis is either terribly misguided or just trying to ride the Loony Conservative Gravy Train.

2015.09.03

  ...of the moment  
The month started with a lot of band: helping shutter the JP Library for renovations and then the Hatch... a big swing underdog on the 9th, trombone shorty on the 13th, and ends on a holiday note.

On the difficulty - but continuing importance also - of peer reviewed science... includes a great p-value fiddler interactive widget.
Cora Vs The Rooster...

2015.09.02

  ...of the moment  
I kind of hate Google's new logo (looks too much like a kid's toy) but I think I prefer the "Capital G of many colors" mini-version...




That's a "closeup" of the last 5 years or so of my weight monitoring. (It avoids the tragedy/triumph of my mid- and late-aughts foray into 220 land, but the data is a lot cleaner) An annual pattern has emerged! Spring and summer, I tend to put on some pounds (this year some of my easiest dieting times happened during the blizzards, living on microwave popcorn and canned soup actually ain't so bad.)

I've been thinking about my inner-eater; the part of me that apparently wants me to bulk up in case there's a famine or something, or just likes to eat tasty things. He's gotten *really* devious: my favorite bit is where I consciously figure out "so, I'm not really hungry, and there's not even anything super tasty temping me, so I'm ok with not eating now" and he comes up with "Aha! Right! So now is a good time to enjoy the pleasure of eating because you don't really need/want it!!!" -- the rest of me totally falls for that sometimes.

Radiolab had a bit about ways we can motivate ourselves; in particular, how to wrestle the immediate-gratification parts of ourselves. The examples given was the socially-consciously lady who quit smoking by vowing that if she had another cigarette she'd donate $5,000 to the KKK, and that disgust caused her to recoil from the cigs. In an even more extreme case Oliver Sacks gave himself ten days to write the book he was stalled on or kill himself. (!!!)

The point of those were that you might need something really visceral to counteract the promise of pleasure in the moment. To quote the "Procrastination" demotivators -- "Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now." Life is so uncertain, that sometimes I think our tendency to overvalue immediate payout is not as irrational as we assume!

But still, I'm convinced I'm more content at a lower weight, ideally around 180. Unlike smoking, folks gotta eat to SOME level, so it's not like I can say, I Don't Eat or I Give $1,000 to the NRA. I'm thinking maybe I can bribe myself? Like if I hit 185 (which is where I'd need to be to stay below 190) I can get that cheap Windows laptop I've been thinking of, or maybe some exhilarating experience like skydiving or bungee.

Come to think of it Liz does dietbets, which is along the same idea of the KKK donation wager -- lose X% of your body weight by a certain time or lose money. I guess I'm blessed with enough financial cushion, or feel that enough factors go into weight loss (especially against a deadline) that I don't want to go that route- it doesn't feel quite visceral enough, I think.

Wow, this got longer than I planned. Guess I'm still an old blogger at heart.
I love logos and mascots

2015.09.01

  ...of the moment  
"I built the website for our class final and it was not easy. But it also wasn't scary. It just took a lot of patience, reloading, and Googling. Unlike math, there was no mythic and absolute answer that I was missing; I could do it my own way as long as I followed some basic rules. And unlike learning a new language, I didn't have to stare into someone's face and watch her cringe when I mangled a new phrase. My ugly textedit coding document was a judgment-free zone."
--Victoria Fine at Slate on learning how to code.

2015.08.31

  ...of the moment  
Picture of me showing an "Etch-A-Sketch Animator" (with both of us in matching HONK! shirts) to my Super-Niece Cora. Once I got over how weirdly big my head looked in it, it reminded me of and caused me to dig up a photo of me and my dad when I was around 3. There's some parallel in the adult-paying-attention-to-child aspect (even if both are 'Kirk saying hey let me show you this')





Also: that photo was right next to


which reminded me of another recent favorite

(of course she's about 2 years younger than I was, I think that's a promising sign)
"For love, it seems, is like the peacock's tail: blind, yet full of eyes."
--Rachel E. Gross, in this Slate piece on peacock tails and sexual selection
Years ago I posted a link to this article, and while the title leaves a to be desired, it really does make me think about how perfect some Game Boy sprites were...

2015.08.30

  ...of the moment  
"If the month has an 'R' in it I'm cold!"
--Janis, in Arlo & Janis. Some how this observation seems both new and obvious to me. Is it the origin of all those "any day that ends with y is good for drinking" style parodies?
RIP Oliver Sacks...

2015.08.29

  ...of the moment  
Little known Tom Lehrer Red Line Song... too bad the stop names changed!

2015.08.28

  ...of the moment  
F'in Gyroscopes, How do they work? For reals.

2015.08.27

  ...of the moment  
"You can't think seriously about thinking without thinking about thinking about something."
--Seymour Papert, "Mindstorms" - Wonder if LOGO might end up a good bet for helping kids learn he possibility space of computers...
I was talking with Jeremy a bit about computers for kids, he recommended this book. I'd love to see a followup that takes the last 30+ years into account. Like, the BASIC he's most likely talking about is the one with line numbers (tho as he twittered "Say what you will about line-numbered BASIC, it's *incredibly* easy to teach from scratch, one concept at a time") and not the named subroutine stuff that came along in the Amiga era.

One thing LOGO brings to the table is a physicality that might be useful for some folks, just a subjective concrete sense of thing you can mentally ride along with. (Conversely, it's very plotter/line based. You can easily make a "draw circle" routine, but the noun then is a recipe, vs the circle itself as an object... so there's also no easy way of coloring something in, except for maybe a flood fill.)

"Scratch" gets a lot of attention, with the "building blocks" approach ala Lego Mindstorms, though it's been said kids might spent more time fooling around with other people's creations and funny sounds than building their own.

Going over old home computer mags for http://gazettegalore.blogspot.com/ reminds me what a special era it was... having BASIC be both the door to running more advanced programs as well as something you could make your own stuff in was great. LOGO (and stuff I code up in, like Processing) is always in a walled garden of sorts, while BASIC made you feel much closer to "the metal" so to speak.

Anna Anthropy wrote http://boingboing.net/2015/08/24/a-game-making-app-for-everyone.html ... recently, I'm reading it now. Some neighboring thoughtspace of this stuff I'm thinking about; though (roughly) her focus is more on friendlier tools as a means to the end of games and creating in general, and I see games as a means to the ends of picking up coding skills that I've found rewarding these years.
This place is definitely in the top three for view from places I've worked... probably the very top

2015.08.26

  ...of the moment  
Awesome, pioneering women in software! Right up there with Admiral Grace Hopper:

Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer of the Apollo Project, stands next to the code she wrote by hand and that was used to take humanity to the moon, 1969.
The times presents a Well-crafted insight into the modern professional music process. One thing this confirms for me is how important the audio attributes of the samples used are; I had a hunch that that was one of the differentiators between the pro stuff and the hobbyist work, and Bieber mentioning how expensive some of the sounds were kind of confirmed it. It also points up the difference between live and studio music; seem a real challenge to put this back on stage. (Which in turn ties into my secret hypocrisy that- with some exceptions- I don't like listening to live music as much as the polished studio stuff. But I sure like making it!)

2015.08.25

  ...of the moment  

2015.08.24

  ...of the moment  
via tumblr

w/ the caption "dammit carl"

2015.08.23

  ...of the moment  

(If you get bored of it, skip to 2:30 for a nice closer)