Playing tuba with Veterans for Peace on Armistice Day:
November 16, 2018
I do daydream about making an expanded version of my self-published comic on coping with mortality, something that captures the best of my thinking not just on death but on the best way to get through life.

I continue to look for the best app to do that with, experimenting with various paint programs (over the year I've spent so much money on devices with touch sensitive screens, each time thinking "maybe THIS will be the one that lets my doodle skills blossom") Apple iPad's "Notes" program probably can't be it (if only because it doesn't deal with layers) but it really has some interesting UI decisions: coloring with the marker is more or less two-toned, paint once then start painting on the same spot to get a darker shade. And the eraser tool is kind of wild: it's like using the "Undo" button (that might erase a set of lines squiggles you made without lifting the stylus all at once) but instead of removing the last thing you did, it removes what ever you poke with the eraser tool. It's disconcerting at first, but kind of encourages a "well if you mess up you can do that whole thing over" approach.

I'm appropriately humble about my doodle skills, but looking at the sesame street characters I drew from memory during a meeting, I wonder if some of the lack of depth most of my stuff has comes from my preferences for using flat flood fill to color with... it's interesting to let go of a kind of "coloring perfectionism".


"I really do think that love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops. But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpth time, that life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all."
--RIP William Goldman, writer of "The Princess Bride" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"
November 15, 2018
In FB comments the other day on my post about the search engine, and how rich a resource two decades of blog has become for me, I am reminded of a term for the concept I liked once upon a time - I am following the tradition of the "commonplace book" - or in verb form, "commonplacing".

The term is a bit unfortunate, because we now read commonplace as "ordinary, boring, dime-a-dozen", but if you look at the parts of the compound word, the meaning can be of a "common place" to hold on to quotes and other transferrable tidbits.

Actually the etymology "commonplace" is a bit of a mess - looking at the wikipedia page for Commonplace book there's a claim that "commonplace" is a translation of locus communis. Except that term seems to be a different beast - how different writers might have a topic or phrase in common - tropes, basically. In this sense the "commonplace book" is inly locus communis in the sense of "stuff I the collector ran into".

Thinking about it more I'm increasingly suspect of the derivation, especially seeing as how "commonplace" means "not very good or interesting".
(I guess "common" alone has that double meaning.)

I wish the term was more like "a gather-book", where things are gathered together from myriad sources for future reference.

Of course, "blogging" as a term has its own duality- usually a blog is either more focused on "commonplacing" (and emphasizing the outward link) or more focused on "journaling", people writing their own observations, often in diary kind of way. It's a spectrum, though I think most sites lean one way or the other.
Speaking of commonplacing, did I really forget to send out a link to the Knuckle Tattoo Generator?

I think that's the font I ended up using on my devblog...
"Also I was pretty fucked in the head, and I was being a sad crazy fuck about some horrors I'd been through. It's true that you go through some horrors and it fucks you up. I don't care what violent motherfuckers say; if it doesn't fuck you up then it's only cuz you're just too fucking stupid."
--Nico Walker in "Cherry: A Novel". Sort of like Holden Caufield meets Trainspotting, but with a big intermezzo in Iraq ("Starship Troopers" is the only reference I have for that kind of detailed-laden grunt wrinting.) Man, what a horrific situation that was, for what was done to, and what was done by, our soldiers. ("Spot the East Cleveland reference" was kind of fun for me in the other parts.)
Almost two decades into updating it daily, this site is increasingly useful to me as a storehouse to lookup half-remembered quotes, citations, etc.

I'm probably the only person who uses it but I upgraded the site search (linked to from features) - now it supports search "for phrases" and individual words rather than just one single big phrase, and it puts all content in chronological order (the earlier seach was weird about "main blog entries" vs supplemental stuff).

I wrote up the main bit of PHP juice on my dev blog
Me and some fellow CarGurus wearing the same shirt made the Boston Globe article "As casual dress takes over Boston offices, could 'Formal Thursday' become a thing?" :-D


"THERE'S a genius. Except for the genius part."
--MBTA #69 Bus Driver just now, griping about someone foolishly darting at an intersection.
"You may live to see man-made horrors beyond your comprehension."
--Nikola Tesla
Had a dream the other morning, I was in a trolley or something, with passengers, and as it rolled backwards time was reversed outside the tracks, and I had fun narrating how things were happening differently; rain was falling up from the ground to the clouds, birds flying backwards, etc. The hardest thing to explain was light; it seemed so weird that things were just illuminated and sending photons back to the sun that it made me think light and time were deeply connected.
"You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!" --Jesus (Mark 7:9)
There is a big and sometimes weird disconnect between White Jesus in the Good Ol' USA and the actual scriptures...

"We must acknowledge once and for all that the purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis."
--Spock, "The Mark of Gideon"
Enjoying doing techie things while re-watching "The Office". I had forgotten in "Casino Night" (first time Jim kinda confesses feelings to Pam) she's wearing one of those green/purple shimmer dresses I so dug on a friend in high school (actually the gal I ended up going to prom with)

Yeesh. Unless Google is lying to me because it knows I like my own blog, it might still be the number one hit for "perpetual nostalgic", a kind of mangling I invented 20 years ago.
November 12, 2018
My dad always planned, were he to come into extravagant amounts of money, to do two things: one was to hire a person whose sole task it would be to draw the curtains at night. (Not sure if the job would also include opening them in the morning, or if that would be another employee.) The other would be to compensate for his relative lack of musical talent (though he played a mean Salvation Army timbrel/tambourine) by funding "The James Edward Israel School of the Triangle", consisting on highly focused research and training on just that percussion instrument.

Anyway, visiting The Harvard Art Museums the other week, Melissa found an appropriate centerpiece for such an institution:


Need to double down on use of my task app "2Do". Too much task clutter. I need to accept that there are some things that, while seemingly a good idea, may never quite be worth doing relative to all the other things I could be doing or even my need to relax and that's a bitter pill to swallow. Step one: instead of having new tasks fall into my general "high priority" category, make "importantish" its own category, and then new tasks default to "sort me"
RIP Stan Lee. Excelsior!
November 11, 2018
Exactly 100 years ago, the Armistice ending "The Great War" went into effect.

My band BABAM will be marching with the Veterans for Peace.

I worry the USA has learned some bad lessons over the past century, forgetting some stuff from the Civil War - that war is something that happens elsewhere, that you don't really have to worry about declaring war per se, and as long as there's no draft you can keep up military occupation as long as you want. (I'm a little extra-jaded right now reading "Cherry" by Nico Walker - at first I wasn't too impressed by the heroin-using bankrobber Holden Caulfield protagonist and was just playing "spot the East Cleveland reference", but its horrifying story of the grunts in Iraq in the early 2000s- both what they did and what was done to them- has switched my view.)

Anyway, here is the famous ending of Blackadder Series 4:


In news of interest to a rather small and select group of people:
from 2002-2008 my blog kirk.is (well, then it was kisrael.com) had a "Sidebar" feature. For a while it was "Dylan's Sidebar", and then it was "Dylan + Sarah's Sidebar" and then to Dylan's further annoyance it was "The Sidebar of the People", a cast of about 16. It was a mini-blog, basically, letting my friends ramble about whatever they felt like and getting a bit more of an audience in those pre-Facebook and mainstream-Twitter days.

I already a (idiosyncratically arranged) sidebar of the people archive but now I've made it so my blog archive views show the relevant sidebars. Probably (hopefully?) I'm about the only person using my site's On This Day feature, but still.

It all harkens back to before-Social Media was so corporatized, and I miss providing the gathering spot for some of buddies, online and otherwise.