kisrael.com | archive | last weeks
2014.09.21

  ...of the moment  



2014.09.20

  ...of the moment  
Found out at a Cambridge DD - I think it's a study of the letter "P"

"Looks like a person with boobs"
For pete's sake, why the hell does ios convert PNG files into crappily compressed JPGs when uploading via webform? What a waste. Why would they do that?

2014.09.19

  ...of the moment  
"Marget's nurse in earlier years, said God would provide. But she said that from habit, for she was a good Christian. She meant to help in the providing, to make sure, if she could find a way."
--Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger"
"Not a sparrow falls to the ground without His seeing it."
"But it falls, just the same. What good is seeing it fall?"
--Ursula the Housekeeper and Satan's nephew in Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger". This book (a recommendation embedded in Vonnegut's "A Man Without a Country") is terrific: humanist, humane, and subversive.
Why I Hope to Die at 75. Thought-provoking piece. Via Next Draft, which is the best email newsletter I've ever subscribed to.

2014.09.18

  ...of the moment  
Sometimes I wish I had more characteristics of an Ayn Rand character, that by sheer force of will I could make things happen: specifically, turning myself into a better me; I know my "fixed mindset" background makes me swing too hard the other way, into strategies that avoid pointing out my deficiencies on the micro level, but make be less capable in the macro sense.

One trick I've heard lately is to replace "Oh, I really shouldn't do ___" with the thought that "I'm the kind of person who doesn't ___"; swap the verb for the noun, so to speak. In the same way that the physical act of smiling can lead to a legitimately happier mood, this might be a little con game we can play on our own self, for our own benefit.

I look at the things that tend to clog my todo list, often items I feel a little intimidated by: work on my "lowLag" JavaScript library for sounds (I took a swing and a miss at an annoying IE-related issue), finding a publisher for SoYoureGoingToDie.com, a stack of stuff at work for my team's new assignment on technologies I honestly am not super enthused by... I am the kind of person who pushes through this crap. I have a decent track record of things I've done, and the potential to get through many more.

AW YEAH

"Look Deep Into My Eyes. NO-- DEEPER"...

[On why is there something rather than nothing.] "Beats me, actually; but who doesn't love the Universe?"
--John Updike
"[We] skate upon an intense radiance we do not see because we see nothing else. And in fact there is a color, a quiet but tireless goodness that things at rest, like a brick wall or a small stone, seem to affirm."
--John Updike

2014.09.17

  ...of the moment  
"For survival in this world, it’s to an animal's great advantage if Humans think you're cute."
--http://twitter.com/neiltyson
At 230 calories, a bottle of Guinness Draught and a Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle bar makes a helluva nightcap for a dieter like me.

2014.09.16

  ...of the moment  
My favorite from a series of post-Soviet ruins: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/the-collapse-of-the-ussr-left-behind-a-haunting-post-ap-1635138386/+caseychan

I made Yet Another 7-minute workout guide page This one's gimmick is that it talks more than most, announcing the next exercise, counting down "3 2 1" at the end of intervals, and playing a note at halfway points. More details at my devblog.

My coworkers and I are using it daily!
"I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!"
--General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

2014.09.15

  ...of the moment  
"The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is."
--Kurt Vonnegut, "A Man Without a Country"
"I don't know about you, but I practice a disorganized religion. I belong to an unholy disorder. We call ourselves "Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.""
--Kurt Vonnegut, "A Man Without a Country"
5 Tragic Reasons Why the World's Largest Theme Park Stands Abandoned in Ohio. Dear old Geauga Lake park-- when I left Cleveland it always felt like Cedar Point's little cousin, I had no idea it had had such a radical expansion and merge with Sea World. So sad, in any guise that place was fun, and now when I see the aerial footage of where it stood... same kind of deal as the ghost malls in the area.

2014.09.14

  ...of the moment  
Oh well. She also says, "We aren't put on this earth to be happy."

Not your kids, anyway, mom.
[...]
Everything that's sexy-- mussed hair, straps that fall off the shoulder, a sweaty glow on the face-- is a bit askew , yes, but touchable.
[...]
If you really want to promise something worthwhile, try this: I will stand by you even if I no longer love you. Now that's a promise. That really means forever.
--Charlotte Roche, "Wetlands". This was the most disturbing book, viscerally and emotionally, maybe that I've ever read. There aren't many books I've read that are so wrenching or squicking that I have to put it down and come back to it later.
After around 10 months of "5/2 Fasting" (600 calories twice a week, no other particular restrictions) I think I need to switch gears.

The first 4 months or so were pretty effective, but I've been more or less plateau'd since then, and still recovering from some indulgence over the summer.

My new inspiration is Chubster, a very down to earth book. It's technique is good old calorie counting - which, in the form of The Hacker's Diet ( https://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/ ) was responsible for some of my most notable weight loss - though 10 to 15 lbs seems to be my limit for any particular plan.

The good thing about my time with 5/2 Fasting is I'm less afraid of being hungry than I was, better at being mindful, mentally acknowledging the feeling, but not being compelled to fix it immediately.
"[...] the frankly villainous dictum that all is fair in love and war."
--Ambrose Bierce, An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge

2014.09.13

  ...of the moment  
"There are more than 3 times as many new mobile apps released per day (~2400) than the total number of unique games made for NES ever (~800)."
--http://twitter.com/HobbyGameDev

2014.09.12

  ...of the moment  
TIL MC Hammer's real middle name is "Kirk". (Thanks Bill)
"The point is this. Caballero is really smart, so when he puts your obesity in a larger context, accept that what he’s saying has some real weight (pun not intended) and that you are not “fat” but “evidence of a landmark accomplishment by our species.”

Fatness is a byproduct of the leisurely life your hard-working ancestors and the greatest minds of the Western world have been working to create for millennia. They wanted you to have a life of plenty, a life without backbreaking work. Your great -great-great-grandfather would weep with joy at the sight of you half-conscious on a couch, having just shoveled a pile of fried noodles straight out of the takeout carton into your mouth after a busy day organizing the office’s fantasy football league. Surely my descendant has become a king!

Yes, our overweight society is, by the standard of the ancients, a utopia. You’ve relished it, taking full advantage of your ability to eat like a devout hedonist at an all-inclusive resort while neglecting to tax your muscles with arduous labor. Of the billions of people who’ve ever lived, you have it easier than almost anyone. History congratulates you."
--Martin Cizmar, "Chubster: A Hipster's Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool"
"Gluttony is not a secret vice."
--Orson Welles
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/09/ghostbusting-lovecraft Nice view of Ghostbusters as a commentary on the Lovecraftian outlook
That physicality is interesting... Lovecraftian horrors are sometimes surprisingly vulnerable to, say ramming by a boat (see "The Call of Cthulhu") and Ghostbusters showed that these beings are not transcendent, just powerful, and playing by some different rules.

2014.09.11

  ...of the moment  
Dietzler’s Law for Access: Every Access project will eventually fail because, while 80% of what the user wants is fast and easy to create, and the next 10% is possible with difficulty, ultimately the last 10% is impossible because you can’t get far enough underneath the built-in abstractions, and users always want 100% of what they want.

I think this law applies to build systems and javascript frameworks as well, as I outline in my devblog post about it.

2014.09.10

  ...of the moment  
I liked this video a lot. It's made by the same guy who put into Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and both have a good use of both digital and non-digital "effects" to communicate a certain nightmarish vibe.

Here's what the USA should do every time ISIL releases another "british sounding dude in black executing a journalist" video- get our hollywood and meme-making best and brightest and produce a pitch-perfect parody... like the knife or whatever jumps out of the killers hand, and then the journalist in orange leaps up and starts chasing the would be killer around Benny Hill style, Yakkety Sax included. Or it morphs into an action movie. Or a Monty Python skit.

I know people would think this is disrespectful to the slaughtered, and to their family, during all too tragic and serious times. But we give way too much power to these monsters, letting them gain status, look bad-ass to their target demographic, and goad us into actions that may or may not be the correct approach. The power of parody could dilute this, utterly. ISIS would be forced to change their video presentation template, and we'd follow suit. Eventully they couldn't make a video like this without the masses wondering what hilarious spoof would follow.
"Spider man
Spider man
How do spiders control a man?
Down the throat
Behind the eyes
Walk among us spreading lies
Oh god.
Run from spiderman"
--http://twitter.com/Tarrigan

2014.09.09

  ...of the moment  
Haha, just bought a cd from some buskers and now I don't know if I have anything to rip it with! (Come to think of it, I just installed one of those cd-slot phone mounts for my car, so I can't even easily play it there either...)

5000 days - a foolish consistency!
2014.09.08
Today represents my 5000th entry on this site as a blog! I started in the final days of the year 2000.

(As usual, I used my Date Toy tool to count the days for me. Man-- 5000... I remember celebrating my personal 10,000th day in 2001, I had a little party, "K10K". Crazy to think I've been doing this site for half as long as that.

Yesterday I did a search, and found I had only missed 5 days (each of the 5 now have placeholders) -- 2011.07.07, 2013.03.16, 2013.05.04, 2013.05.08, and 2013.05.13. (Not sure why last May was so rough!) Of course, I had missed previous entries, but had already backfilled them, generally within a day or two.

I wish I had something bigger in mind to celebrate the occasion. Like it would be a perfect time to bring it to a close, or maybe move it to tumblr. (The homebrew nature of the digital underbelly of the site is amusing to me... it's pretty good, actually, I drag and drop images to upload things to my edit tool and everything.)

The site (then http://kisrael.com/ ) had existed for a while before, but I decided to jump on this whole new "blog" bandwagon I'd been enjoying with other people. Some of it was moving the quote journal I kept on my old Palm Pilot (remember them?) to a place it was more readily shared.

For a while, in the mid-2000s, this place was a little online hub for some of my friends and family. I think FB sucked the air out of the room for that - it's difficult for one site by one person to be as compelling as a site that will stitch together a single page from LOTS of friends and family. And then spammers came and overran my humble little homebrew comments system, and I've since shut it down.

In that same era I alwso enjoyed a guest-run sidebar -- first Dylan's Sidebar, then Dylan and Sarah's, then The Sidebar of the People.

Over the years the content changed as well... the current site is (usually) less chatty than the old days. Early on I started using the "of the Moment" framing for individual things, which I guess got dropped a while back when I started putting twitter/tumblr like "short form links and quotes and images" in a special "of the Moment" box. The "real entry" / "of the Moment" dichotomy still exists, but it doesn't mean very much anymore.

I sometimes wish I had a tag system or somesuch to separate the wheat from the chaff here- make it easy for me to pick out my personal projects and "good photo days" (or special theme days like monthly musical roundups or One Second Everydays) and rambling essays from all the days of random quotes and links. I guess that's what I was doing with my Best-Of page, but it hasn't been updated for years.

One reason I've been slow to switch to tumblr, with its laudable community sharing culture, is giving up feeding this site's retrospect feature, where I can see what I posted on this date going back over the years. It was awesome 4 or 5 years ago, but now I admit the view is long... 14 plus years of material (it covers the 4 years or so of my Palm Pilot journal as well) is a bit too much.

So I dunno. I guess I'll just keep on keeping on, regardless of a nagging suspicion how my Foolish Consistency with it reflects a psychological disfunction, that changing course would reflect a rebuttal and rejection of my former self... I wish I had an easier time embracing the concept of personal change and growth. On the other hand, I still enjoy having this blog, and I refer to it quite often, and am grateful how useful it is for digging up half-remembered anecdotes and quotes and links.

5000... yeesh!