wrinkleramble

(9 comments)
February 1, 2001

Midnight (or thereabouts) Ramble
Ahh, my free-floating neuroticism has found its latest idea to latch on to. Looking in the mirror, I thought I saw a wrinkle. Not much of one, a little crease on one side when I smile, above the cheek. If my cheeks weren't so full to begin with it probably wouldn't even be there. But they are, and it was, and it set me to thinking.

I've come to terms with mortality, I think. But when you think you see the effects of time it's tough to accept. I'm kind of perversely lucky in that I've never been in really good shape, so I'm more able to make actual improvements in my body over time, without the glory days to have fallen from.

I guess I shouldn't have too much trouble dealing with this, at least not for a long while. I can see that it's really a subset of my general mortality fears, or at least secondary to them. It is kind of funny that it's not just eternal life we crave, but eternal youth. (Isn't there a myth about the guy who asks for eternal life, but forgets to ask for the youth. and just gets older and older and more horrible and decrepit?) Understanding that I'm physically different as I approach my late 20s than I was in my early 20s, and that, aside from the efforts I'm making now (yey stairmaster) it will always be more or less downhill-- it's tough.

And I mentioned this to Mo, and she says she says "Aw crap, we're gonna get old someday" and I tell her that she'll be beautiful when she's old, and I believe that she will be even if she isn't, but still, it reminds me of the powerlessness we sometimes have to make the world a good enough place for the people we love. That's another really hard truth to accept.

Link of the Moment
Science Says Women Dig Fast Cars in Wired News
Hooray for Science!
Luckily Mo seems ok with my Honda Civic Hatchback. Though I have memories of at least one commencement-era romantic interest impressed that I was getting my life together enough to get a car, have a job.

groundhog groundhog

(3 comments)
February 2, 2001

Link of the Moment
www.ventrella.com is a site by Jeffrey Ventrella. I took a class from him in Artificial Life (simulating life on a computer, usually by starting with simple rules and hoping to see some complex, lifelike behavior) at Tufts' innovative Experimental College. The site has a variety of artsy little projects. One of the coolest things there is a program for Windows called Gene Pool. Little multisegmented critters, like the two fellas shown here, swim and evolve. Each is defined my a few numbers, the joints you can see, plus a few sine wave like rules that control how their 'muscles' push against the water they swim in. The eat and reproduce, and eventually evolve into very efficient swimmers. You can select what the population generally finds attractive in a mate, and changing that variable lets you different features prominent in the evolutionary mix. Very cool stuff.

Followup
Heh, you know what? If yesterday's wrinkle thing really became an issue, I could always get a facelift! I don't think I ever would, but it's nice when there's a solution to a 'big life problem' waiting in the wings, even if you'd never want to use it...

Ahh, cleared out my inbox in Pine. That always makes life feel a little less chaotic.

boy o boy

(2 comments)
February 3, 2001

604 love poems to read for The Love Blender this weekend. It's going to be the Valentine's issue, so I'm pressured to do a good job, maybe keep some of the extra audience we always get this time of year.

Moving

My company finally changed offices. Finally the move Mo and I made to Watertown last summer pays off, since I'll be less than a mile from work. One thing I won't miss is the parking lot I had to use for the past couple weeks. Not only was it dark and scary at night, but it got incredibly icy. And then it got a little warmer, with rain, making the entire thing look like the ice fields that got the Titanic. Jamie Soohoo took the above photo, and also showed me how by using the parking brake you can make some really exciting sliding turns on the ice.

"For Lovers Only"
Informative Salon article on sexual lubricants. "I just don't understand how people can think they're having good sex without using a lubricant." --sex therapist Marty Klein

Quote of the Moment
I, Hatchet Jack, being of sound mind and broke legs, do leaveth my rifle to the next thing who finds it, Lord hope he be a white man. It is a good rifle, and killeth the bear that killeth me. Anyway, I am dead. Sincerley, Hatchet Jack.
--From "Jeremiah Johnson", via the IMDB

keyboards

(2 comments)
February 4, 2001

Keyboard Fun
Just got one of those Microsoft split keyboards for home, like I have at work. Except all they have are the 'pro' model, with USB connectors, and a row of special shortcut buttons at the top. I'm not sure what I think of those. Except for volume +/-, they're pretty much all things I don't really need or have my fingers trained for already, in terms of using the existing keyboard shortcuts. (Of course, I used to think 'damn windows key. I can just use ctrl-escape!') Actually, it is kind of annoying how small the spacebar is becoming these days. That shortcut key on the right side for the context menu is well night useless, generally I have to click on the thing anyway.

It's also funny that they've started labeling common keyboard shortcuts, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-N, etc., with captions. It feels like I'm back on my Commodore 64 with all the graphical shortcuts. Even odder is that the symbol they decided to use for Ctrl, a circle with 3 lines cutting through it, looks a lot like the Netscape ship steering wheel as it appears on the taskbar.

Actually, I really wish I could have an ergonomic keyboard without the stupid numberpad. It's just a space hogging unused piece of electrocrap.

Link of the Moment
This is pretty scary: Ouchy the Clown. He even does meetings! (via CamWorld).

Ramble
Having an odd little e-mail discussion with this one guy, who wrote me about my mortality pages. I guess he disagrees with the idea of matter being the 'ultimate reality', he thinks that some consciousness is what everything is based on, that The Matrix is a good metaphor for What's Really Going On. I dunno, we'll see what turns up.

hasta la vista baby

(2 comments)
February 5, 2001

Watched Terminator 2 the other day. Man, that has some nightmarish scenes, especially where Sarah Connor is dreaming of the nuclear blast, and you see the wall of fire taking out the buildings, blowing apart the ashes of the people on the playground... yikes. Also when that one programmer guy (Dyson) is on the dead man's switch to blow up the building, hyperventilating from fear... it's unusual to see a hero in a movie like this who shows emotion other than gritty determination.

Hey, my company starts up at the Arsenal Office Campus today. Should be an interesting place to work. I don't know if I should walk it or drive it. I feel lame driving it, but if I walk it I might get the impression that that's enough exercise for the day, when really I'm not even breaking a sweat.

Link of the Moment
Got the Valentine Edition of the loveblender up yesterday. It took a bit longer than I expected (well, I also had to wait for Mo to download some sun java tutorial files. She seems to be getting the core ideas pretty quickly.

Joke of the Moment
>> Please give me the top ten uses for silk scarves.
>> I need to know for a report I am writing. Well,
>> that and Zixia is arriving in 10 days.
>
>TOP TEN USES FOR SCARVES:
>
>1. Dance of a thousand scarves (Highlights package)

I must have missed that issue when I was last at the dentist.

SILK SCARF STRIPPERY AND FOREPLAY WITH GOOFUS AND GALLANT:

GOOFUS just whips all the scarves off while dancing and gets instantly naked. GALLANT teases and hints with the scarves, leaving those he dances for increasingly aroused.
GOOFUS binds the wrists of his victims to his bedpost with silk scarves, just before stabbing them with an icepick. GALLANT blindfolds his partner in the kitchen, and seductively shoves strawberries, bananas, and other food products down their throats.
--Dean Lenort via alt.humor.best-of-usenet via alt.religion.kibology

damn lies, statistics

(4 comments)
February 6, 2001

SPAM of the Moment
You were referred to me as someone who was ready for a Financial Breakthrough!
--it's even harder to take this kind of come-on seriously from a guy named "nipplebaby@hotmail.com".

Quote of the Moment
"There's something ironic about you having a machine named 'Placid'"
--John Trussell at work, where most of our PCs are named after bodies of water.

Statistics
I made up a program to analyze the logs on kisrael.com, in general it works on one day at a time. It came up with the following: for 05/Feb/2001:
frontpage: 43 hits 31 unique ip
overall: 2359 hits 67 unique ip
(the kisrael.com frontpage got loaded 43 times, from 31 unique IPs (roughly meaning that many desktops), and over all 2359 pages got loaded, from 67 different IPs)

Anyway, I realized I could run the same script on the loveblender log:
for 05/Feb/2001:
frontpage: 2789 hits 2009 unique ip
overall: 42174 hits 3387 unique ip

That's a lot of unique users!

dang

(3 comments)
February 7, 2001

Ok, that's it, I'm not walking to work any more, at least until the weather is nice. Not enough people clear off their sidewalk of snow and ice, and I'm worried it'll give me an "excuse" to stop stairmastering. Considering one is a leisurely stroll and the other is actual exercise, that wouldn't be a great tradeoff.

The cartoon is from doodles I used to at school. It took me a while to realize I had given him the same name as Don Marquis' cockroach poet.

Link of the Moment
a short and happy life is a great semi-daily-updated website. K.Thor Jensen puts together something that's worth the daily click, pop-culture flotsam and jetsam, personal essays, multipanel cartoons he's done, music from his old two person band. One game he's developed is to masquerade as a_m_b_e_r_4_e_v_e_r, a 14 year old girl, on various chatrooms, trolling for people looking for cybersex then turning the tables on them in various ways. This one made me laugh out loud. Also, a long time ago I featured I Am The Stupidest Man Alive as the love blender feature selection.

Typo of the Moment
kirkli: good day, sinshine.
--me to Lee on AOL-IM

tea

(1 comment)
February 8, 2001

Went to Harvard Square last night to buy some Astro City compilations (great comic book about the mundane side of a world with superheroes) and after I stopped in at Tealuxe, a café offering nothing but, well, Tea. Huge rows of various teas are lined up in bins behind the counter. Last June, Habib taught me how to make
Morocan Mint Tea
In a smallish glass, put the leaves from about four stems of mint and pat them down ("garden fresh mint" said the package- it should smell fresh and the leaves should be rough.) Pour boiling water over the leaves. Stir in two teaspoons of sugar. Keep stirring to ensure the leaves don't scold. Let simmer to taste. Drink and enjoy.
I think the mint in question is Spearmint. Anyway, Bin 197 at Tealuxe is Moroccan Mint, and I think it's a fair approximation. It might be the sugar that does the trick.

Tealuxe smells great, much better than any coffeehouse. I'm not sure why, but it reminded me of the smell of this one old romantic interest's dormroom. Might've been my imagination.

Links of the Moment
Scary funny made-up consumer goods: Unnovations
(via the Cruel Site of the Day)

Even scarier than that-- bizarre real things people are selling on E-bay at Disturbing Auctions. Both sites are really funny.
(via CamWorld)

quote me

(4 comments)
February 9, 2001

Link of the Moment
I took all the good quotes from the final months of my KHftCEA journal and put them in my Random Quote Generator. Everything above 955 or so is new. I think it's worth clicking through.

Joke of the Moment
"It is ridiculous claiming that video games influence children. For instance, if Pac-man affected kids born in the eighties, we should by now have a bunch of teenagers who run around in darkened rooms and eat pills while listening to monotonous electronic music."
--Joachim Lous translation of current Swedish joke, via rec.humor.funny

Rant of the Moment
Watching "Stupid Behavior Caught on Tape". These shows are great mild lower brain entertainers. But one thing that I think is a bit of a fraud is that they feel free to modify the sounds for the individual clips. "Wacky" punchups, fine. Music, fine. But if you're not paying attention, you assume the sounds are real, but many are completely manufactured.. I'm not looking for journalistic excellence here, but this is borderline fraud. I could just hear some producer-- "Hey, we need to hear the car as it falls down the cliff.. otherwise the audience just won't feel it. Wouldn't that be funnier if the javelin line judge who gets hit with the javelin screams, kind of an 'aaaaargh', as we play it again and again? Let's draw in some electrical sparks, there aren't enough in there." Same with the "Dangerous Police Chases" series- ever notice it's always the same damn "voice in the helicopter"? But they play it like he's really there, reporting on the action as it's really happening.

fears of a clown

(2 comments)
February 10, 2001

Funny Link of the Moment
Hey, President (cough) Bush, what's that on your Palm?

Techie Link of the Moment
Interesting suck.com article on WAP, and why it sucks. WAP is the underlying protocol that you use when you use "wireless internet" on your cellphone. Although the protocol itself isn't too too bad (except for an odd 1492 character limit in how much a server can send in one gulp), it's associated with WML, a terrible HTML-like language, and also having to use the cellphone keypad to laboriously tap in letters.

Quotes of the Moment
"As we say in the trade, nothing bad happens to a writer, everything is material."
"Enjoy your life, my dear; it is the only one you'll have on this earth, and it's a good earth."
--Garrison Keillor writing as Mr. Blue.
He is one of the wisest writers I've ever read. Taken together these quotes seem kind of cheesy, but in the context of his advice column they really work.

feynman

(2 comments)
February 11, 2001

Quote and Links of the Moment
"Hey, what's the matter?"
"I'm sad because you're going to die."
"Yeah, that bugs me sometimes too. But not so much as you think... ...When you get as old as I am, you start to realize that you've told most of the good stuff you know to other people anyway."
--Richard Feynman and Danny Hillis.

If you don't know about Richard Feynman, you might be scientifically literate, and you might be culturally literate, but you're not literate in scientific culture, and you should at least check out this site. Feynman has taught a lot of people what science is and how it should be done (from his groundbreaking work in particle physics to his speculative musings on nanotechnology ("There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom!") to his integrity on the committee investigating the explosion of the Challenger) --and also how life outside of science should be lived, how we can do interesting things in fields we're not 'experts' in, like how Feynman become a drummer for a ballet troop without knowing anything about music except how it sounds, or his love for the mysterious remote country of Tuva.

This quote is interesting in the way it relates meme theory and mortality-- how our ideas can live on beyond us, and passing on those memes might be more important than passing on our genes. (Speaking of which, random note: Mo worked with Feynman's son.)

Tax Code of the Moment
Mo found the following gem from the 2000 Massachusetts Resident Income Tax Form 1:

Uh yeah, I'll be sure to get right on that.

beauty

(1 comment)
February 12, 2001

Yesterday I read Machine Beauty by David Gelernter. Interesting book. I like his suggestion for a definition of beauty, beauty=power+simplicity, and that a feeling for beauty and elegance transcends culture and is probably a convenient wrapper for a host of analysis we can do intuitively. On the other hand, I disagree with his theories as to why ugly DOS/Windows beat out beautiful Mac. "Is prejudice against beautiful technology a deep-lying part of our national character?" he asks. I think he's oversimplifying. His writing is a bit juvenile at times as well,a bit over the top (saying some computer interface was "causing us to reach for the air-sickness bag".) And he thinks it's the 'technologists' who are responsible for featuritis (the addition of too many features in software) and not marketing.

He also doesn't realize that the quest for elegance, for trying to shoehorn a complex problem into an 'elegant' solution, sometimes results in the worst kind of ugly. (When you're in love with your beautiful hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.)

Quote of the Moment
"While some look at what is and ask 'why?' and others look at what could be ask 'why not?' I look at my coffee table and ask 'where are my sunglasses?'"
--Paul Mather, subatomic humor (now a bit defunct)

Quote of the Other Moment
"Selling out is the new integrity."

retrotech

(1 comment)
February 13, 2001

The Joy of Ancient Gadgetry
In the early-80s there was a great piece of now-defunct consumer technology called the RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc (cleverly abbreviated to CED by those in the know). It's kind of like a stone age DVD... inside a case (roughly the size and shape of an LP, but thicker) it's a circular platter that the player actually puts a needle on, just like a record, but instead of sound only, you get an entire movie. The case is kind of cool as well, you shove it in the player, it grabs the platter out of it, and then spits the case back out. Anyway, the device still has its fans (actually my Aunt and Uncle have a bookshelf or two full of flicks for the thing) and some of the more extreme of those fans have made the CED Magic site. Everything you'd want to know about this amazing technology, and then some. (If you're in the mood for more technology that fell by the wayside, check out 8 Track Heaven)

Game of the Moment
Came home sick. Really felt unwell. Spent too much time unlocking every screen in Yoshi's Story, a way-too-cute platformer for the N64.

Television of the Moment
Right now I'm watching "Behind the Music" on Weird Al Yankovic. Weird Al's interesting, he's very down to earth when interviewed "for real", very different from his "wacky persona". (You can see this on the "Ask Al" section of his official website) I don't listen to him much any more, or at all come to think of it, but I still have a fond place in my musical heart for him. I think he's the "gateway drug" who has allowed a lot of young geeks get out of pretentious not-really-understood jazz and classical and into popular music.

nuts to you

(3 comments)
February 14, 2001

Recipe of the Moment
Nuts to you on Valentine's Day! This is one of Mo's simple holiday favorites. I've actually started to like pecans by themselves as a snack food, but that's because I'm a lazy bum...I think most will agree that this recipe is better, and not all that difficult:

Rosemary Roasted Pecans -- serves 25
"A big bowl of roasted nuts is a favorite predinner nibble. It's also easy to prepare and serve. This version relies on aromatic rosemary, a touch of butter, and a spot of honey."
2 pounds whole pecans 1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon honey 1/2 cup chopped fresh rosemary 2 teaspoons salt
Preheat oven to 325F. Divide pecans between 2 rimmed baking sheets. In a 1-quart saucepan over low heat, melt butter with cayenne pepper, honey and rosemary. Allow rosemary to begin to sizzle in butter, then immediately pour butter over pecans, dividing it between the 2 pans. Sprinkle pecans with salt and toss with a spatula. Roast pecans until crisp and brown, about 25 minutes. Stire twice during baking. Let cool. To serve,divide among 2 bowls or place in 1 large (2-quart capacity) bowl. Store pecans in tightly sealed freezer bags. In a very cold freezer (0F) they will keep 3 to 4 months. If they have been frozen, it is nice to refresh them in a 300F oven for 10 minutes before serving.

Quote of the Moment
I don't pretend to understand the mysteries of relationships, but it seems to me that lust and passion and sex are how many men and women manage to fend off the natural shocks of matrimony and all that proximity and the inevitable bruises and the sagging heart.
--Mr. Blue

Link of the Moment
On the blender board of the loveblender Gala came up with the idea of having everyone submit their top 3 picks from the last year, this is the result.

stream

(2 comments)
February 15, 2001

Song of the Moment
Row row row your boat
gently on the lake
merrily merrily merrily merrily
consciousness is just the story that we make

When I was a kid I used to think that the original song was "deep". (Then again, I used to think "throw your teacher overboard / and listen to her scream -- Aaaaah!" was the best ending for it.) And in a way "life is but a dream" isn't as trivial as many people assume it is, but I had to modify the sentiment slightly to represent my current worldview. And my original draft of this version ended "consciousness is just the story that we tell ourselves" which is more interesting but doesn't scan so well.

Alternative Version
Row row row your boat
gently down the stream
of consciousness
which ain't all that it might seem

Link of the Moment
Many movies use this one stock scream sound effect, kind of an "aiiiiii!" It's called a "Wilhelm" after a character in one of the first films it showed up in (in the 1950s, although it was probably taken from Loony Tune cartoons before that.) It's shown up in all of the Star Wars flicks, even though often it doesn't quite fit. One guy has compiled a Series of Video Clips featuring this yell, it's kind of amusing.

money

(1 comment)
February 16, 2001

Link of the Moment
Salon.com has an interesting little piece on why Why capitalists should like estate taxes. Makes an interesting argument that we don't live in Aristocracy. We don't allow people to hand down political titles to their children (ok, well obviously we're not doing to well on that front at the moment, but you know) but when it comes to wealth, which is where we make our de facto aristocracy these days, we don't say anything.

I'm kind of a mixed case. I feel like I'm a selfmade person, more or less, though I have to remind myself I had a really good upbringing-- despite having parents living on minister's wages. On the other hand, there's a bit of property in the family trust, with me ending up sole direct heir of my maternal grandparents. But despite this middle ground I seem to occupy, I have to remember by view is skewed just by the happy job market I've stumbled into. Without that, I might be more counting on an eventual windfall.

Rant of the Moment
So I go to the United State Postal Service Website to find the nearest Post Office. Great, they have a link "Locate Post Offices". I enter the info for work, and get back an address. I have a bit of a trouble tracking down the address it serves up-- or rather, I find the building, but it seems to all belong to an HMO. I hunt around back. Turns out the address is just that of a mail distribution center. Gee, Thanks USPS, I really wanted to see all the grimy mailtrucks getting loaded with huge sacks of mail. I'm so happy you had a search engine that could oblige me on that. They really need a checkbox labeled "only show me post offices I might actually want to visit even if I'm not an employee or a homicidally irate patron." (Though I'm suddenly reminded of the mailguy job I had freshman year for Lewis Dorm at Tufts.)

all your base

(3 comments)
February 17, 2001

Link of the Moment
ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US. The conspiracy continues.

Jerks of the Moment
If you own a domain, Network Services will now selling its database to marketers. Oh goody. I'm I keep my personal home information out of date. Great quotes:

"On your mark, get set, go! The VeriSign/Network Solutions domain registration database is available for the first time ever. Approximately 6 million unique customers, sliced and diced for you to target prospects ..."
"... You can target based on their status in the dot com lifecycle: Is their web site live, is it secure or e-commerce enabled? We'll even tell you about their host switching behavior ..."
I feel so... so... so used. So glad to be seen as part of a great big commodity.
(via CamWorld)

Joke of the Moment
"What is this talk of 'release'? Klingons do not make software 'releases'. Our software 'escapes' leaving a bloody trail of designers and quality assurance people in its wake."
--from here, among other places.

boom baby boom

(4 comments)
February 18, 2001

Short journal today, my computer is being moody.

Played Nintendo with my cousins Ivan and Kayla yesterday. It's funny to think that someday I'll be an old guy, and still playing videogames. Then again, my mom was a pretty decent player at Atari when I was growing up... I could beat her at games in general, but the games she really got into, she was untouchable-- 2600 Ms. Pac Man, Burger Time, Pengo, Missile Command....

Speaking of Missile Command, we decided to bomb Iraq. Kind of scary on the face of it, especially with the whole Israeli/Arab thing being at a low point anyway, though I'm not sure if it's worse that Clinton's missile-ing an aspirin factory when the whole Monica thing was getting underway.

More Republican Madness
On Reagan's birthday, the anti-tax firebrand Grover Norquist was busy promoting his latest Reagan-related project. (His last one was the successful effort to rename Washington National Airport Ronald Reagan National Airport. It used to be unusual, except in places like Stalingrad and Ciudad Trujillo, for important localities to be named after living politicians.) Norquist wants to replace the portrait of Alexander Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill with a portrait of Ronald Reagan. "Hamilton was a great American," Norquist jauntily told the Times. "But it's time to move on."
--Hendrik Hertzberg in The New Yorker

pathos

(2 comments)
February 19, 2001

Last night Mo and I watched House on Haunted Hill, a film with an ending that no where lives up to the wonderfully nightmarish visuals that lead up to it. Or as one guy on the Internet Movie Database put it, "HAVE LARGE UNCONVINCING BALLS OF CGI EFFECTS EVER BEEN SCARY??"

The movie takes place in an old asylum, and one of the motifs is the use of Electroshock therapy. Watching the film reminded me of this one passage from Prozac Highway, a book I've been reading off and on. Much of the book is in the form of e-mail from participants in a mental illness support mailing list.

Spoken like a woman who's never worked night-shift. But the next one's bad. I went down to the drop-in centre and got in a fight about shock treatment with this old guy. He was saying how great it was and how it had really helped him. He had this voice, this voice you get to recognize. I told him, "Man, they have fucked up your brain. I can hear the damage when you talk." And he looked at me and said, "I've had a hundred shock treatments, I have to believe it was for something." I felt so fucking bad. What am I doing, rubbing this guy's face in it just to make my point.
I find that really sad, a moving example of how people are forced to cope with some of the awful things in life.

Funny Dirty Link of the Moment
Ok, you have to be a bit of a geek to get this one. It's from a site for Adult Interactive Fiction. (Interactive Fiction is an old form of computer game, Zork and Adventure being the most famous examples, where the computer describes where your character is in words, and you type in what you want the character to do. I once reviewed an innovative piece of Interactive Fiction that describes the genre a bit more.) Anyway, This is the page that I find so funny. It's a set of instructions on what to type in to win one of the adult games. (I believe 'g' is the command for 'aGain', i.e. repeat the last command.) Without the supporting descriptions, it's just randomly lewd and goofy.

chaotically

(2 comments)
February 20, 2001

A while back I finished Gleick's groundbreaking Chaos. It wasn't as cool as I had hoped, maybe because the basics of it have been so integrated into geek culture that it no longer seems so revolutionary. But since finishing it, I've been on the lookout for chaotic systems in my own life. So far the best one I've come up with is the HEPA airfilters we have at home, the way they shift into different modes of audible vibration doesn't seem to follow any definite pattern, but it's not purely random either.

Link of the Moment
Cat's Eye Technologies has a lot of demented mini-languages. Befunge is particularly mind-brutalizing. FORTRAN meets the old game Lemmings-- your code pointer travels through a 2D grid, kind of like an old Atari videogame.

Exchange of the Moment
"She could suck the chrome right off a trailer hitch."
"Uh- I don't think the quality of that kind of activity should be rated in PSI."

brilliant

(4 comments)
February 21, 2001

I discovered this brilliant invention. They're called Rollens and they're absolutely brilliant. They're a curved piece of UV sunglass-shape plastic. They stick to your head by themselves (based on their curve), they can fit under prescription glasses, they rollup into their little cardboard sleeve and can be stored anywhere. Such a good idea. Jill from work gave me the pair they gave her since they had to dilate her eyes. You look a little cyborgy when you wear them (and freaky when you wear them underneath your glasses) so it's best to wear when you don't care what you look like. So my pair's going to live in my car for when I can't find my beloved clip-ons.

Anxiety of the Moment
Despite the wonder of these sunglasses, I feel a little down. I'm reading Prozac Highway, a very realistic story about a performance artist struggling with depression, connecting with a support group e-mailing list. Sometimes between my anxiety attacks and just feeling blue (and reading about it sets up some sympathetic vibrations I imagine) I wonder if I have some minor level of mental illness. Very minor, and I'm able to use rationality as a kind of med. Sometimes I think I'd like to talk to some kind of psychiatrist, not because I really think I need the help, I just need someone to say "yeah, you do have a touch of it (whatever condition 'it' is), but you're coping ok." Someone who will be impressed with my mortality guide as a form of coping.

I guess today had a couple of weird things.

go court go

(2 comments)
February 22, 2001

Rant of the Moment
The Supreme Court is going nuts. It wasn't enough the undid the presidential election, now they're trying to overturn what the Civil War said about states' rights. Hey geniuses, the Eleventh Amendment stops people from suing other states, not their own. I hate the way Congress uses Federal funds to exert control over states, but that's the only option they're going to have to back up the ADA. What the heck. State legislatures can be such yahoos, this feels like the inmates being given run of the asylum.

Sheesh. Way to make new law court.

And this is before Bush makes any new Supreme Court appointments! Maybe Congress will be so ticked off at its power being cut that they'll be less likely to approve a hyperconservative state's righter.

Game of the Moment
My online pal and role-model Ranjit was on a team that just got another game published at the shockwave site: It's called Loop and it's really beautiful in its simplicity. Draw lines around butterflies, that's it. Plus nicely stylized graphics (Think the Hungry Caterpillar) and good music. Its play mechanic is a bit like the old Vector game Quantum, but Ranjit says they independently came up with the line drawing idea. Not that it matters so much, it's still a good and innovative game.

Art Quote of the Moment
"Sorry Rob. I don't think 'Being a Dork' qualifies as being a performance piece. And bringing in your laundry hoping someone will do it for you is not a multimedia installation."

gotta have heart

February 23, 2001
Quote of the Moment
Well there are parts of Unix that have timeless qualities.
But cron... 70s as disco.
--Me to Lee on AOL-IM

Virtual Candy
A little bit late for Valentine's Day, it's the Make Your Own Candy Heart. A chance to see how creative you can be with a maximum of 4 letters each on 2 lines. I guess Mo and I are lucky to have such short names...(via Cruel Site)

Rant of the Moment
VisualCafe. Visual Source Safe. Visual C++. Visual Interdev. What the hell? Were the previous versions designed for the blind, or what? It makes it harder for me to find the right icon when all I can see on the task bar are buttons captioned "Visua...", I have to rely on the damn icon, and it slows me down. Dang that's irritating.

the artless dodger

(2 comments)
February 24, 2001

There were a few tough questions, but they went unreassuringly unanswered.

"Mr. President," said a reporter with the BBC, "you have a meeting with Prime Minster Blair tomorrow -- "

"Correct," Bush said.

"There are some concerns in this country about the European plan for what they call a rapid-reaction force, their own military capability. What will you tell Prime Minister Blair about the American attitude to this rapid-reaction force?"

Again, Bush didn't answer the question; it must not have been on his cheat sheets. "I, first, look forward to the visit," Bush said. "I'm anxious to meet the prime minister. We've had a couple of good conversations on the telephone. I'm thankful that he's coming across the -- actually coming down from Canada -- but coming across to see, to visit us. Laura and I are looking to having a private dinner with he and Mrs. Blair Friday night. We'll be having a press availability after our meeting, and -- "

"I know, but I think a lot of people would like to -- "

"Well, why don't we wait until after he and I visit," Bush said, "so I don't have to give the same answer twice."

"But just on the whole outline of the question of the European defense capability -- "

"You bet," said the president. "I understand; you're trying to get me to tell you the answer twice. Britain and the United States have got a special relationship; we'll keep it that way. I look forward to talking to the prime minister about the importance of NATO. It is -- anyway, let me visit with him first. I promise to call upon you tomorrow."

An informal poll of White House reporters indicated that 100 percent were confident Bush had absolutely no idea what the BBC reporter was talking about.
--from Salon.com's Bush's Opening Night

Yet Another 'Priceless' Parody
NEW BONG: $50
COCAINE HABIT: $300
FINDING OUT THAT THE GOOD-OLD-BOY NETWORK CAN STILL RIG AN ELECTION IN THE DEEP SOUTH: PRICELESS
from this image on CamWorld

sunday sunday

February 25, 2001
Joke of the Moment
When I was younger I hated going to weddings...it seemed that all of my aunts and the grandmotherly types used to come up to me, poke me in the ribs, cackle, and tell me, "You're next."...They stopped that crap after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.
--from rec.humor.funny

Quote of the Moment
"His code is 'write only'. It might work, but you have no chance of understanding or modifying it, you might as well burn it to CD."

Club Quote of the Other Moment
"Yeesh, you can really see where they dyed those black jeans, under the blacklight."
"Well, yeah, but it kind of fits with the 80s theme, as long as it's not coffee or pee stains I think I'm doing ok."

gas we pass

February 26, 2001
So Maybe W. still woulda won that recount. Still doesn't account for Florida's incredibly over-enforced anti-Felon voting act, or the way George W. Bush is acting like such a damn partisan when he got fewer votes nationwide than Gore.

Link of the Moment
There's a surprisingly straightforward fart FAQ Here. I like its direct style.

I remember when I was in third grade or so, I got into an argument about how to spell "fart"-- I was convinced there was a U in there, "faurt", that it was some kind of French word or something.

Randomness of the Moment
"I praythee, Lorde, bequest me with thine finest crab rangoone, and ye olde beef with greenerie vegetables and tremendouse fine spice"
--Hypothetic D&Der ordering Chinese.

Peterman who I wrote this to (the one who always orders for Spicy Beef and Broccoli) pointed out that all RPGers aren't of the SCA variety. Still, I amused myself writing it.

tea-rose

February 27, 2001
You know, I was a little bit unsure of using a quote like the following here, but what the heck. If this site is going to be a replacement for my Palmpilot Journal it needs to be able to be used for quotes I like, such as the following:

Adult Quote of the Moment
Mallory collapsed off of her and lay blowing like a beached cetacean in the foetid air. His muscles felt like rubber, and he'd half-sweated the whisky off with the sheer work of it. He felt utterly wonderful. He felt quite willing to die. If the tout arrived and shot him dead on the spot he would somehow have welcomed it, welcomed the opportunity never to come back from that plateau of sensibility, the opportunity never to be Edward Mallory again, but only a splendid creature drowned in cunt and tea-rose
--Gibson/Sterling, from The Difference Engine

Movie Quote of the Moment
"You know what you are? You're God's answer to Job, y'know? You would have ended all argument between them. I mean, He would have pointed to you and said, y'know, 'I do a lot of terrible things, but I can still make one of these.' You know? And then Job would have said, 'Eh. Yeah, well, you win.'"
--Woody Allen, Manhattan, (via the IMDB)

Link of the Moment
Salon.com has an interesting article on the post-dot-com slackers, taking it easy after all the sound and fury of the late 90s. I know Mo and I both are a little bit more nervous in general. I think the non-techies are getting it worse than the engineers, but still it's not the job bonanza that it has been.

loss

(2 comments)
February 28, 2001

Quote of the Moment
"best weight loss advice ever: 'eat a carrot, run a mile'"
--dj, 2001.01.10
My friend Dave wrote that advice on my guestbook. I asked what he meant.. it's not meant to be literal advice, just that you know in general what to do to lose weight (watch what you and exercise,) so quit your belly achin' and do it.

Anyway, today I got beneath the lowest weight I hit last time I was on a diet plan, in August of 1999. I think my attitude is better this time (based on the comments I write in my weight log) so hopefully I've found something more sustainable. That's the thing that quote doesn't cover, that you have to make a permanent life change of carrot consumption and mile running.

Link of the Moment
Fun web toy: The No.1 Song in the UK or USA for any date in the past 50 years. Hope the song for your birthday was better than mine.
Thanks Brooke -- check out her website Her linkpage (under 'a discovery') has some neat stuff, and I'm not just talking about the link back to here.

Other Links of the Moment
dieselsweeties.com is a very neat cartoon that I got to via biscuit theater on Yip Yop... also worth a click. Brooke grooves on the elf heads, but I like the cartoons.

Diesel Sweeties has a small cast of characters. Clango and Maura are the main characters, and they explore all the nuances of sweet sweet robot/human lovin'. I also like Indy Rock Pete.