kisrael.com | archive | last weeks
2014.10.24

  ...of the moment  
Wow -- so the other week I was musing about the difference in music I dig, and music I intellectually think I should I like, but don't (like The Meters' Cissy Strut) I thought maybe the difference was the downbeat, that music that just has a groove, even a funk-ish one, still leaves me cold unless it has the big bass-y downbeat. (Not to mention my disinterest in jam bands.) Today, by semi-coincidence, my coworker Jeff shows me this video, a one minute lecture on Bootsy's Basic Funk Formula. And -- IT'S ALL ABOUT THE ONE. For Bootsy style funk, everything is rooted in that downbeat, and then you build off of that.

I don't know what's the cart and what's the horse, in terms of the tuba playing and the musical appreciation, but it all ties together.

2014.10.23

  ...of the moment  
Haha, I so don't want to tell my calorie tracking app my current weight, because of how it will recalculate my daily calorie goal. "NO GIVE ME BACK THOSE 20 CALORIES THAT'S LIKE A WHOLE WHITE RABBIT CREAMY CANDY"
http://www.cgccomics.com/1134755001/ - A copy of Superman's introduction "Action Comic #1" was found... take a good look!

I like how it hits the note of saving an innocent life, and has Lois standing up for herself (if only to show how Clark Kent couldn't.)
"'City on a Hill" "Athens of America' 'City of Champions' 'The HUB' (as in 'OF THE UNIVERSE')
DID YOU KNOW? Boston holds the worldwide municipal record for most self-appointed, self-aggrandizing names that no one outside the city has ever heard of!"
--Tom the Dancing Bug -- funny jabs at our beloved city in our beloved Commonwealth

2014.10.22

  ...of the moment  
5 Research-driven Secrets to Great Relationships. Great, now I have to go skydiving on a first date?

2014.10.21

  ...of the moment  
They had a yoga class at work. It made me nostalgic for the weekly class my doctor used to run; a couple of lifetimes ago. A little note of sadness for the things that didn't work out, and the people it didn't work out with, heightened by a note that things feel a bit transitional right now.

2014.10.20

  ...of the moment  

2014.10.19

  ...of the moment  
This is an autotuned version of that Apollos Hester post-game interview that was making the rounds a few weeks ago:

You can see the original clip with partial transcription. Honestly I like the way the video condensed and focused and fluffed the message.

2014.10.18

  ...of the moment  

What is nothing? Macbeth answered this question with admirable concinnity: "Nothing is, but what is not." My dictionary puts it somewhat more paradoxically-- "nothing (n.) : a thing that does not exist." Although Parmenides, the ancient Eleatic sage, declared that it was impossible to speak of what is not-- thereby violating his own precept-- the plain man knows better. Nothing is popularly held to be better than a dry martini, but worse than sand in the bedsheets. A poor man has it, a rich man needs it, and if you eat it for a long time, it'll kill you. On occasion , nothing could be further from the truth, but it is not clear how much further. It can be both black and white all over at the same time. Nothing is impossible for God, yet it is a cinch for the rankest incompetent . No matter what pair of contradictory properties you choose, nothing seems capable of embodying them. From this it might be concluded that nothing is mysterious . But that would only mean that everything is obvious-- including,
presumably, nothing.

That, perhaps, is why the world abounds with people who know, understand, and believe in nothing. But beware of speaking blasphemously of nothing, for there are also many bumptious types about-- call them "nullophiles"-- who are fond of declaring that, to them, nothing is sacred.
--Jim Holt, "Why Does the World Exist?"
"Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition."
--Alan Turing
Our own universe is not very symmetrical on a small scale— look at what a mess your living room is!
--Jim Holt
"Kick at the rock, Sam Johnson, break your bones: / But cloudy, cloudy is the stuff of stones."
--Richard Wilbur

I kind of like this skull I made for the

halloween loveblender
Probably inspired by seeing the Día de Muertos- themed "Book of Life" the night before.

2014.10.17

  ...of the moment  
I am trying to figure out the level of irony in reading an ebook on mindfulness while walking to the T station
1. All jokes aside, I think there's 2 different kinds of mindfulness: being in the moment, and aware of ones surroundings, and taking more things in, vs focused intellectual activity, such as reading. And I don't think it's a terrible loss to let my mindless mind handle the walking as my mindful mind takes in a good book, my mindless mind has had lots of practice. (I remember walking the halls of 6th grade with a book in hand; as well as having a problem where teachers couldn't get my attention if I was deeply into a book, though for better or worse I don't lose myself with that level of focus very often these days.)
2. I do find a correlation with mindfulness and the art and practice of programming, at least if you're doing the latter properly
3. If I could foster half the focus on my surroundings at any given moment as I do on, say, an attractive person showing a chevron of belly below a short shirt after a long winter and spring, well, I would be doing pretty darn well.

I used that last meme on my new Devlog Entry on frameworks. I need to make sure possible future employers know that I'm not a curmudgeon about following the patterns they like.

2014.10.16

  ...of the moment  
So happy to see Amazon's Kindle app for iOS has finally added in "Collections"! It was so frustrating to just have "giant pile of books, some read, some unread".

wherefore art thou kirkjerk?
2014.10.15
So, recently I was (again) asked about the actual "jerk" aspect implied by my once preferred nomme de web "kirkjerk". For the record, no, I do not view myself as a jerk (or at least feel I'm near the center of the bell curve of jerkness). But why that name? Just because of the rhyme?

Not quite! Back in the mid-90s there was a game for PCs called "Death Rally"... it was a fun overhead car-racing-with-guns game, kind of like that old board game Car Wars / Autoduel come to life. In action it looked like this:


The game had a lot of character - and specifically it had 20 characters, enemies you'd race against. Here's a leader board; I think "D3ATH" is probably the name selected by the person playing th game:


Those names were BOGUS BILL, FARMER TED, LIZ ARDEN, DIESEL JOE, MIC DAIR, MORI SATO, SUZY STOCK, IRON JOHN, CHER STONE, LEE VICE, DARK RYDER, GREG PECK, MAD MAC, MOTOR MARY, MATT MILER, CLINT WEST, NASTY NICK, JANE HONDA, SAM SPEED & DUKE NUKEM. (Yes, that Duke Nukem.... kind of a crossover. I further acknowledge this naming scheme would also work for Garbage Pail Kids.)

So, when it came time to pick my own username for the intraoffice online game play (4 players at once) I tried to match the scheme, and ended up with KIRKJERK (I also think it was constrained to 8 letters, so I was pleased to just fit it in under the wire).

I tend to prefer usernames based on "Kirk", rather than being cut from whole cloth; Kirkjerk, Kirkamundo, TheGreatKirkini. And "Kirkles" is probably one of my oldest lasting nicknames, bestowed in high school (when my teasing friends envisioned the romantic exchange "Oh Kirkles" "Oh, Lynnie-Poo") and still used by my best college buddy and his family.

Anyway, like I said, "Death Rally" had a ton of character. Some of it was in the form of "flavor text", these little evocative prose passages, narrated by "TRUE TOM":

THIS IS HOW IT GOES. YOU ARE DRIVING. YOU ARE SAYING 'HANG ON BABY, THIS IS WHAT I DO." IT'S DOABLE, ALL RIGHT? WINNABLE. AND THE BULLETS TAKE THE SKY, LIKE CLOUDS OF LOCUSTS. THE END IS NIGH. RACE OVER. GET IT? BUDDA BUDDA BUDDA. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

and another example:

BODY AND SOUL; YIN AND TANG. YOU, MY ROADWARD APPRENTICE, ARE THE SOUL IN THIS EXPONENTIALLY ACCELERATING EQUATION. YOUR VEHICLE IS THE BODY. CAN YOU FEEL THE PRECIOUS EQUILIBRIUM SLIPPING AND TAIL-SLIDING FROM YOUR CONTROL? DON'T LOSE IT NOW. STAY TUNED: RACE TIME!

I'm not able to dig up the evidence, but I have vague memories of corresponding with the guy who gave voice to "TRUE TOM"; he said it was kind of an independent effort they threw in, rather than being part of the design from the outset, and there were all kinds of character constraints they were dealing with.

Once upon a time I dug up this Lore of Geek's usernames. Back before FB and Google's emphasis on "real names", online handles were even more important (I guess they still have a big role in tumblr and twitter.) Of course, we've also seen how pseudo-anonymity can be abused, and jerk-enabling.

2014.10.14

  ...of the moment  
yesterday, I saw a video on the physics of skateboard tricks and this morning I am suddenly weirdly struck by the everpresence of gravity; how it's always down down down and it seems like a miracle that anything can stand at all.
The Internet and Money and Hearts......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Standards_Day Today is World Standards Day. Except in the US, which celebrates it on the 23rd.
Also, the infamous Smoot became chairman of standards board ANSI!
Group shot of the band!

2014.10.13

  ...of the moment  
On the one hand, Columbus was a big slave owning jerk who missed judge the size of the world and got lucky. On the other hand, I kind of wish I had the day off too, dammit.
Picture of our group from yesterday's Honk Fest Parade... that's Chris, leader of the kids who joined us from the Conservatory Lab Charter School. Check out this Oral History of the Honk Festival, or this set of photos

Sweetgreen's "Roasted Turkey + Fall Vegetables Salad" is AMAZING. Brussel sporuts and sweet potatoes and I was worried cranberry vinaigrette would be too sweet but it's kind of perfect.
"From a gardening book: Don't plant an oak tree or you'll break some gardener's heart in 350 years."
--Tom P.
A buddy - giant horror fan and radio show runner - is kickstarting a genderswap'd take on Dracula. Should be fun!

2014.10.12

  ...of the moment  
The Banner (thanks to EB, and there's EBD!) on its jury-rigged display, ready to march!

2014.10.11

  ...of the moment  
Jp honk banner in progress...