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2015.07.28

  ...of the moment  
TIL a New Vocabulary Word: Gamine!

"a girl with mischievous or boyish charm."

Not unrelated to Manic Pixie Dream Girl, I'd say.

Source: http://joshreads.com/?p=25478

via
I'll bet you somewhere near, some illustrator is sighing and putting a little tricorn-hat wearing mascot proposal away in a dank filing cabinet.

2015.07.27

  ...of the moment  
A Poem by Brenda Shaughnessy:

A Mix Tape: "Don't You (Forget About Me)"

"Think of the tender things that we were working on." – Simple Minds

Such a delicious pain in the ass to make,
on a double deck if you were lucky,

otherwise you had to drop the needle
onto the precise groove as your left

index hit PLAY/RECORD, taking all
afternoon or many. Mistakes, thinking

too hard about what you wanted
to tell the person but couldn't say

any other way. It was always
"I love you," didn't you know?

Mix tape: private language, lost art,
first book, cri de coeur, x-ray, diary.

An exquisitely direct and sweet
misunderstanding. We weren't

fluent yet but we lived in its nation,
tense and sweaty for an anthem.

Receiving a mixtape could be major,
depending on from who; giving one

to someone in public was a dilemma.
You had to practice. Would you say,

nonchalantly, "Oh, here, I made you
a mixtape?" By the lockers? In class?

Ugh! But giving it over in private
could be worse, especially arranging it.

You never picked the best song off
the album, definitely not the hit single.

The deeper the cut the deeper buried
your feelings for that person. You didn't

know? Not all lovesongs, though--
that would make you seem obsessed,

boring. They should know you're fun
and also funny and dark-hearted

and, importantly, unpredictable.
A "Blasphemous Rumours" for every

"Only You." And sexy! Though not
Prince's moaners--not "Erotic City,"

not "Darling Nikki"! But what?
Not top 40, stylish, with a sly angle,

70s funk, some Stevie Wonder, like you've
got background you don't really have.

As it records, you have to listen to each
song in its entirety, and in this way

you hear your favorite song with the ears
of your intended, as they hear it, new.

This was the best feeling of your young
life. Then the cold chill of suddenly hearing

in your 3rd favorite INXS song a lyric
you'd break out in hives over if you thought

they thought you thought that about them
when they heard it: (there's something

about you, girl, that makes me sweat).
The only thing worse was the tape

running out a full minute before the end
of "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out."

You never got it right, not even once.
That was part of the mixtape's charm,

to your dismay. Did it ever win you
love? You never fell for anyone

else's mix either. Sometimes cool,
mostly was just someone else's

music in a case dense with tiny
handwriting to get all those titles in.

So much desire in those squeezed-in
letters. Not "love me!" so much as

"listen to me! Listen to me always!"
So that's really it, right? Maybe

you thought someday you'd make
a mixtape that your splendid friend,

your lucky star, your seventh stranger,
would take a pen to, punching in

the little plastic tabs which meant,
as you well know, it could never be

taped over again. They'd never use
your mixtape to make another mixtape,

to give away or to copy a friend's album
they didn't like enough to buy, joining all

the ok tapes in caddies stacked up a wall
or thrown in the backseat of the Datsun,

then in moving boxes, stored in parents'
garages, 5 for a buck at a yard sale,

buried in landfill, or, saddest of all,
discarded on the street, purple script

still aswirl on the white label FOR YOU--
JUST BECUZ. Shiny brown ribbon

tangled, strangled, never again to play
out what had to be said just that way.
Boston's tech problem is the same as its Olympics problem I'm bummed the Olympic Bid is dead, mostly because of the way this article has stuck in my head. We're too smart and neurotic to achieve greatness.

2015.07.26

  ...of the moment  
My comic now in print!

...now what? ;-)

2015.07.25

  ...of the moment  
I had to bring those cool sunglasses back to get the lenses replaced; the person helping me at the eyeglass place didn't bother to ask if I wanted polarized or no.

Like this site says:
Polarized lenses can be troubling for people who need to see LCD (liquid crystal displays) screens clearly. In fact, wearing polarized lenses can make an LCD screen difficult to read and can even make it seem to disappear completely at certain angles. Therefore, operators of heavy equipment or pilots should not wear polarized lenses
Umm, given the number of screen based gadgets we have in our lives, that kind of means NO ONE should wear polarized lenses. Duhhr.

And it wasn't just my local gadgets (it was kind of funny, actually: my iPad 2 was fine in portrait mode and a totally black screen in landscape) but I'd see weird patterns on electronic billboards and gas pump LCD screens etc.

Also, without asking they included a brown tint; for a while I thought the kind of weirdly omnious, pre-storm-looking shade was a side effect of the funky blue mirroring I requested, but no: they just slapped it on. The remade lenses will have a more neutral gray tint.

Man, I hate bad "default settings" for stuff like this... ah well, their (company's) lost, it just cost me some time.

2015.07.24

  ...of the moment  
http://nextdraft.com/ - this daily email newsletter is worth signing up for, about the only thing besides Quora and "Javascript News" that I appreciate having sent to my inbox. It would do a decent of keeping you up with the biggest news stories, a few more relevant bits, and then an almost always funny "Bottom of the News" couple of items. The curation is first rate. They also have an app if you prefer that to email.

seaport has the best clouds sometimes

2015.07.23

  ...of the moment  
"The two things you need to know about exponential growth: it lets you get to large numbers very quickly. And it always runs into physical barriers."
--Maciej Cegłowski in Web Design: The First 100 Years which points out we've reached some stability in what our devices can do, and that echoes how the airline industry plateaued. We COULD build supersonic passenger jets and moonbases, but we don't. Similarly, in college in the 90s if I didn't get a new computer every year or two I was qualitatively behind in what my machine could do. Nowadays, I would barely notice issues with a laptop that was 5 years old. (And my hopes for a "techno rapture of the nerds" Singularity is diminished every time I have an interaction that reminds me of how there's just no there there with Siri...)

Not that there's not still a lot of room for change: self-driving vehicles are going to be super-disruptive.

Also: I really like seeing transcriptions of this kind of presentation, where I can skim/read at my own pace but still enjoy photos that half the time just provide general feel and a sense of being rooted. Electronic text often lacks that; I think that's one of the reasons comprehension and retention lags with electronic readers. But to me it feels like "arbitrary" images returns some sense of the physicality that would be otherwise lost.

2015.07.22

  ...of the moment  
"The eyes might be the window to the soul but the nose is the front door to the brain."
--Elio
Kind of old news now, but I love this "Everything's a Product" parody in the Honest Trailer for The Lego Movie:


New glasses!

2015.07.21

  ...of the moment  
"Celebrities should adopt pets from shelters and then offload them onto normal people who would take them because they were previously owned by a celebrity."
--tones2013, https://www.reddit.com/r/Showerthoughts/
"Gambling is essentially believing in the heart of the cards."
--fortunesflavour
NYC Woman Throws Herself Off Rooftop Bar, Party People Keep Drinking This is sad - I think I met the woman in question at a "BeaconWeek" presentation. Faigy Mayer was an aspiring app developer, with a special focus on apps to help other people who were also breakaways from the hasidim community. (Other reports say most people at the bar had no idea about what had happened)
I don't know the story of her current struggle, but she's in a documentary about ex-Hasidic folk... -- what a tough transition to make.

2015.07.20

  ...of the moment  
Aww, nuts. Davis Square's Johnny D's set to close. I was chuffed that I got to play there last year, at Chandler Travis' Christmas Cavalcades. Such a landmark...
"The most significant difference I notice switching from a flip phone to a smart phone is that the number of times one can break-up and reunite in one week is greatly enhanced."
--J.M.
"I'd like to say there's a correlation between the quality of the girl and the song, but there's not. Some perfectly good girls got no songs at all - I have no explanation for that. It's a matter of poetics. There's no justice in poetics."
--Steve Earle (Saw him live at the Wilbur last week thanks to my cousin Billy)
"A nor'easter is just a frozen hurricane - and those things are THAWING OUT..."
--Steve Earle

2015.07.19

  ...of the moment  
A blast from the past... Strindberg and Helium... it's enormously fun to imitate both characters.

2015.07.18

  ...of the moment  
new prescription sunglasses! a little too polarized though, but I dig the pseudo-mirrorshade effect.

2015.07.17

  ...of the moment  
Last night was "Paint and Wine Night" at work...

...lesson learned, nowadays you can't paint dragons without someone assuming it's a Game of Thrones reference!

2015.07.16

  ...of the moment  
Rebekah​ is lending me the book "Set This House in Order", about people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka Multiple-Personality). I got to googling about the reality of it, since it is making such a compelling work of fiction. This Natasha Tracy article talking about it also made the claim that "All Mental Illness is an Amplification of Normal Behavior" and now I'm thinking about that claim.

It's not a new thought for me: almost ten years ago - http://kirk.is/2006/06/14/ - I got to musing about "shadow syndromes" in general, and this kind of spectrum thinking, and the conditions I felt some kind of possible affinity with...and the issue of the line between self-coddling, excuse-making half-assed self-diagnosis and legitimate chances for empathy that goes beyond mere sympathy.

Getting back to the "All Mental Illness is Amplification" claim... trying to definitively say when a quantitative distinction becomes a qualitative difference is a bit of a mug's game, I suppose. And I suppose there's a danger of having LESS sympathy if we start to say to someone who is suffering with mental illness "oh, buck up, everyone has that, you just have it a bit worse."

As I get older I feel like I'm a bit more aware of my way of interacting with the world. I still struggle with seeing myself as others see me, the whole "problem of other minds" shtick. And sometimes I'm worried maybe I'm not that much more aware, I'm just remember the more recent bits of awareness better than the stuff in the past.

It'll be fun to watch my parade of friends kids, some of them virtual nieces nephews, as they run into this stuff for themselves. Maybe too I'll learn a little more about myself, and how I looked to my elders as the unbearably precocious punk kid I was, and maybe there will even be a chance to help these kids mold themselves in ways that will foster their own self growth.

2015.07.15

  ...of the moment  
This Amazon Prime Day thing is a bit underwhelming. I think the problem is people (ok, maybe especially people who have the luxury of not sweating most prices too much) are already use to the wacky disconnects between "Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price" and Amazon will charge 'em, or the prices variations you can get from different Amazon affiliates, or even aware of the obnoxious algorithmic flex pricing where different Amazon users might get offered different prices, or even variations at different times. So a big row of "X% offs!" might not be such an appeal.

Then there's the "offer expires" timer feature... I imagine this cranks up the excitement for some folks, but for others it just feels manipulative...
For future self-reference, "Manna" is the story about a future dystopia or utopia based on a fastfood automation being extended to take over the world... (Not Leonard Richardson's Mallory which is about video games) http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm