farmer farmer let me down

(16 comments)
December 1, 2001

Oy, 543 poems to read for the loveblender this weekend...

Quote of the Moment
"Sometimes you get the elevator...
             ...sometimes you get the shaft."

Videogamers of the Moment
Man, and some of my friends thought I was bad with my videogame collection... pretty impressive. I feel so inadequate.

Joke of the Moment
A rancher needs a bull to service his cows but needs to borrow the money from the bank. The banker who lent the money comes by a week later to see how his investment is doing. The farmer complains that the bull just eats grass and wont even look at the cows. The banker suggests that a veterinarian have a look at the bull.

The next week the banker returns to see if the vet helped. The farmer looks very pleased: "The bull has serviced all my cows, broke through the fence, and has serviced all my neighbor's cows."

"Wow," says the banker, "What did the vet do to that bull?"

"Just gave him some pills," replied the farmer.

"What kind of pills?" asked the banker.

"I don't know," says the farmer, "but they sort of taste like chocolate."
--rec.humor.funny.reruns

squeezing the bla-bla

(1 comment)
December 2, 2001

Request of the Moment
Brooklyn Girl has secured the domain PaulReubens.com to get Paul Reubens' attention. So Mr. Reubens, if you happen to be Googling your name and this page comes up, please contact her at her site. (Incidentally, the front page of her site is probably a parody of Art Frahm's peculiar artistic themes.)

Criticism of a Past Moment
Let us be blumbt. Try reading English literature...

I am sorry, Kirk, I can not find any susbstance in your writing.

Forgive me if I am to direct. If one squezes your bla-bla, the juice that one gets is quite unfulfilling. You try to give drama to it, Where is the drama? You try to create a scenario, where is it?

One may speek of many things and say nothing.

--Two E-mails from Pedro Demetrion Cunha to me, from Jan 4 1996 (spaced about 20 minutes apart.) Taken from my original Loveblender comments page, probably concerning some of the writing on this page, especially Cafe at Night.

I just like the idea of somebody squeezing my bla-bla to get juice.

you know, captain

(1 comment)
December 3, 2001

Ok, popcorn making "EHS alumni". Any females? Jenny, Ellen, Lynn, Wendy, Deb, Toni, Marnie, Maria, Chris. That's roughly in order of likeliness, off the top of my head, and I'm sure I'm forgetting many. Are you any of these? Sheesh.

Quote of the Moment
"You know, Captain, every year of my life I grow more and more convinced that the wisest and the best is to fix our attention on the good and the beautiful. If you just take the time to look at it."
--The Phantom Planet, covered by MST3K. One of the cheesiest quotes I've ever heard, it just comes out of nowhere, the show had a lot of fun with it.

Link of the Moment
More of the wonder that is the web. This has to be one of the oddest fetish video collection I've ever seen. As far as I can tell, the whole video set stays at PG-13, but I think it's a sincere website.

Different strokes to rule the world. So to speak.
(via Cruel Site of the Day)

SUPERuperuper SMASHashash BROTHERS!!!

(11 comments)
December 4, 2001

Woo Hoo! Smash Brothers Melee for the Nintendo Game Cube is out today! It's a turbocharge of the previous N64 game, which had bunches of classic Nintendo characters (Mario, Donkey Kong, Samus from Metroid, Link from "Legend of Zelda", newcomers like Pikachu from Pokeémon and Fox from Star Fox) duking it out in a big brawl, four players at once, with each character having features and weapons from his or her game. I'm going to be attached to the TV for quite some time...

Movie Quote of the Moment
Simon: Father! ...we must leave at once!
Stella Star: 48 seconds left 'til the explosion--we've got to get out of here!
Simon: It's true father--the count has mined the planet with nuclear devices. We're all about to die!
Emperor: You know something my boy? I wouldn't be Emperor of the Galaxy if I didn't have a few powers at my disposal. [To Ceiling:] IMPERIAL BATTLESHIP, HALT THE FLOW OF TIME!
--from Star Crash, a "Spaghetti Western" attempt at a Battlestar Galactica/Clash of the Titans/Barbarella movie Just as good as you'd expect a film featuring David Hasselhoff, starring a robot sheriff with a southern drawl, with intermittent kung fu scenes, bone wielding cavemen, and alternate titles like "The Adventures of Stella Star", "Female Space Invaders", and "Scontri stellari oltre la terza dimensione" to be. In other words, so bad it actually warps the flow of time and space around it. Mo and I watched it last night. Thanks Erin.

Link of the Moment
Is Your Son a Computer Hacker? An amusing parody of a parent's view of the current geek world. (Thanks to Peterman for the link.)

no freak gyration

(1 comment)
December 5, 2001

Well, so far Smash Brothers Melee has proved to be good, maybe not the testament for all humankind I was expecting, but good.

Quiz of the Moment
A little topical quiz: Character in Harry Potter Book, or Current U.S. Navy Rear Admiral? Surprisingly challenging. (thanks Ranjit)

Link of the Moment
Wow. As far as I can tell, Pageant City is a sincere site, from Katy Johnson, Miss Vermont USA 2001, cartoonist, columnist, founder of the "Say Nay Today" and "The Sobriety Society"...she's all that and a bag of (low-fat) chips. Her site is chock full of bon mots, targeted at young aspiring beauty contestants and young ladies in general, full of advice such as "No booty dancing / or FREAK gyration... / I don't play with my reputation!", and featuring her own troop of upright cartoon gals, the Starrlettes. Recently she's addressed the current crisis of our nation, with cartoons like the one to the side here. (via Portal of Evil)

Quote of the Moment
"We have tamed lightning, and now use it to make sand think."
--Unknown. It's a pretty amazing thought, actually. Incidentally, this is the last piece of pre-wedding backlog I had stored up, though there is still plenty of stuff from July...

splish-splash

December 6, 2001
Went to the dentist yesterday. I was really surprised and somehow flattered that the hygienist, who had just spent like 10 or 15 minutes scraping metal in and around my teeth and gums, commented on how relaxed I was. It takes a lot of work to relax like that. I had to drum my fingers in time to the music on the radio.

Quote of the Moment
"Tell that guy the piano ain't got no 'wrong notes'."
--Thelonious Monk to Radio Engineer (regarding the DJ talking about how Monk made music by hitting the "wrong notes"), via Phil Schaap.

Random Observation of the Moment
This summer I was thinking about trying to rig up some remote controlled device that would let me squirt the cat with water from the comfort of my bed when he was noisily scratching and meowing at the bedroom door. I thought if I could get one of those battery operated waterguns, it might not be too difficult to rig up something to fire it. The thing is, they don't make that kind of watergun anymore! Almost everything is of that Super Soaker variety. Those UZI-looking battery powered guns that went click-click-click are nowhere to be found (realistic looking guns are frowned upon anyway these days.) I remember when the first supersoakers came out...there ability to deliver a solid stream of water was really impressive. Some guy brought one to jazzband and we were in awe..."that things a hose!". An arms race ensued over the next decade, and current models are quite huge. Anyway, here's an interesting piece on how they work.

dennett done it

(2 comments)
December 7, 2001

Peterman called me 40 minutes before a talk by Daniel Dennett last night. He's my favorite philosopher, I loved his spirited defense of classical Darwinism and I find his definition and explanation of consciousness to be right on the money. I can't believe I didn't pursue any philosophy when I was at Tufts, where he presides. I'm also wondering if I didn't ask a clunker of a question in the Q+A; I thought it was a fair question given some indefinite areas in his talk, but it may have come across badly. Ah well, I'll take solace in this next quote (from my October 1999 PalmPilot journal) from Richard Feyman...

Quote of the Moment
"I'll never make that mistake again, reading the experts' opinions. Of course, you only live one life, and you make all your mistakes, and learn what not to do, and that's the end of you."
--Richard Feynman, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" I don't know why, but I find it a very reassuring quote.

Link of the Moment
So I guess the segway, aka Ginger, aka "IT", has been in the news lately. (Oddly, I've heard more about the coverage than I've seen coverage itself.) It's an electric, two-wheeled self-balancing scooter. Some people praise it as the next wonderful thing, but this Piece in Salon points out that it's not replacing cars, buses or trains; what it's replacing is walking. Dean Kamen, a nation turns its chubby eyes to you.

you want ice cream cones?

(1 comment)
December 8, 2001

I guess the mysterious female EHS alum (from my guestbook) with the "decent or more than decent" sense of humor gave up on me. Maybe she was upset I didn't rattle off her name in my initial guess...

Link of the Moment
This flash video isn't quite as amusing as it thinks it is, but months after I saw it I still think of it from time to time. It's the Mario Twins! ("Good god they looks so god damn like the same person. I would say to them you want ice cream cones, both of them say yes.") It's animation to go with 2 guys (with a drummer and sometimes a bass) singing the themes and sound effects from the game, it's amusingly homebrew sounding, and has a big "oh yeah...I remember that part!" factor for anyone who grew up playing Super Mario Brothers on the NES.

Quote of the Moment
Sturgeon's Law: "Ninety percent of everything is crap."
(Dennett quoted this the other night, in response to Peterman's question, I think it addresses people who would apply meme theory to everything.)

snow-oh

(1 comment)
December 9, 2001

--View out of the kitchen
window. Man, I hate winter
in New England.

Funny of the Moment
"My parents just came back from a planet where the dominant lifeform had no bilateral symmetry, and all I got was this stupid F-Shirt"
--via the Comics I Don't Understand page.

to sleep perchancefunny

(8 comments)
December 10, 2001

Hmm. In my guestbook Rhetoric from the Love Blender commented on this poem, hadn't thought of it for a while.

Geek Chat of the Moment
kirk: I've found another nugget of wisdom to add to my regular expressions arsenal
john: mmm???
kirk: they work better when not commented out
--You might have to be a bit of a programmer to get this. Regular Expressions are a tricky-ish tool to process text in a program, and one thing programmers do is "comment out" lines of code (i.e. turn them from program code to mere non-code commentary) when they're poking around, trying to figure out what's going wrong. Hmm. For a non-geek this joke probably doesn't work at all. But Who Says Java Programmers Don't Have A Sense Of Humor?

PG-13 Link of the Moment
This tale of the Worst Job in Singapore (At a zoo sperm bank--you figure it out...) sets off my BS detector, but it's still a funny read.

star whores

(1 comment)
December 11, 2001

Image of the Moment
--A common, drive-you-nuts typo for the Nintendo game "Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader" is "Rouge Leader"... Robert Montjoy of bobville.com created this memory aid, but he says it hasn't helped much...


Web Tool of the Moment
Interesting...MakeAShorterLink.com. You enter one of those big honking links, and they will store it in their database, and give you a short, easily cut-and-pasteable link that when clicked will bring you to your original target...a neat idea and public service.

Dialog of the Moment
"She's about a quarter turn from being a diesel dyke."
"You haven't seen my new belt!"
--Kirk and MZ, before the bachelor/bachelorette party for Mo and Me...it was quite the macho belt to go along with MZ's new short haircut. In a similar story, Mo got hit on by a woman Newbury Comics. She was very happy to still have her old "dyke street cred"...

i-snet, usenet, we all snet for usenet!tech

(2 comments)
December 12, 2001

Google just announced that they've expanded their Usenet Archive to go all the way back to 1981! They made a big Announcement with lots of 'Firsts': First mention of Microsoft, the Commodore 64, first post from AOL, first serious spam, etc etc.

So I've been going a little nuts going over my old posts. Here's the first one of mine I could find. (Actually, the searching mechanism seems a little buggy, you can see it by fiddling with the dates, so it's probably not my first first post.)

Ok. Time to prove my true navel-gazing geekdom. Here's a handy chart of all the accounts I used to post, and related info:
account dates # #/day
kisrael@pearl.tufts.edu 28 Apr 1993 -
14 May 1993
9 .56
kisrael@jade.tufts.edu 14 Sep 1993 -
05 Jun 1994
102 .39
kisrael@emerald.tufts.edu 15 Jun 1994 -
27 Feb 1995
139 .54
kisrael@diamond.tufts.edu 23 Mar 1995 -
25 May 1997
486 .62
kisrael@allegro.cs.tufts.edu* 26 May 1997 -
28 Sep 1997
265 2.12
kisrael@allegro.cs.tufts.edu 28 Sep 1997 -
29 Jul 1999
1950 2.9
kisrael@andante.cs.tufts.edu 03 Aug 1999 -
12 Jul 2000
873 2.5
kisrael@andante.eecs.tufts.edu 15 Jul 2000 -
01 Sep 2001
962 2.33
kirkspam@alienbill.com 01 Sep 2001 -
11 Dec 2001
483 4.8
*for some reason this group of posts only shows up when you search for posts before Sep 28 1997

I'm a little alarmed that the average posts per day has doubled lately. It may be a spike, since it's a smaller than average sample, and I posted a lot right after September 11th...

Funny of the Moment
> Actually, I have heard rumors that Howard Stern
> and H Ross Perot are one and the same. (Have we
> ever seen them in the same room, huh? huh?)

No, that's not true: in fact I have them both in my room right now:
        say Hello, Ross:

        Hello! I'd l

That's enough Ross, thank you. Howard?

        This is fucking ridicu

Thank you, Howard.
Kirk "and the truth shall make you free" Israel
--from this 1993 talk.rumors post. Every once in a while I'm worried that I used to be funnier.

looks like rain, dear

(2 comments)
December 13, 2001

Navel Gazing of the Moment
Looking at my old posts, I found some old ".sig" taglines I hadn't thought about for a while. It turns out most of these had made it into my old Palm journal as an appendix: part 1 and part 2. (Some of those were also from my ".plan", the file someone would see when they "finger"ed my account...er, it's not as sick or complicated as it sounds.) What didn't make it there, however, was my ASCII art, generally just a small part of my longer 80-col sigs.

This guy came first. I think in some way he was supposed to represent alien bill, or at least be a similar kind of character:
_/O\_
Later on I had some Happy Holiday Reindeer.
    _|     |_       _|       |_
     \ ___ /          \ ___ /
      \o o/            \o o/     
 ()___/ __>o      ()___/ __>o  
 )      /         )  ,_ <     
 /// >>>>         ///  \\\
'''' ''''        " "    " "
I started with the guy on the left, then switched him to the guy on the right when someone pointed out the original's resemblance to a reindeer/centipede mutant crossbreed. Though overall, the ASCII-art I was most fond of was my selfportrait...
_____
-O\O  Kirk Israel     
( = ) kisrael@jade.tufts.edu 
I thought it was a pretty good likeness, captured my lips and cheeks pretty well.

Link of the Moment
Slashdot had a link to this guy who built a portable Super Nintendo. At first I wasn't all that interested, but I was drawn in my his Comic Book Hero account of its making...a funny, informative read. For instance, it informs me that I'm even farther from being a hardware hacker than I had assumed.

Quote of the Moment
"I've had a wonderful time, but this wasn't it."
--Groucho Marx. I once read a biography by one of his sycophants who knew him near the end of his life...the subtext was "this guy was a complete jerk to most everybody around him, but it was ok, because most people would receive an insult from Groucho than a compliment from anybody else." Still, he had some great lines.

what's in the daily newss?

(3 comments)
December 14, 2001

Oy. I really started to feel down in the dumps yesterday. It's a real time of anxiety. Peterman said "yeah, great time to be alive, huh?" but the thing is, it is a great time. At least in general. Despite it all: layoffs abounding, Bush is pulling us out of the ABM treaty (yeah, great terrorist defense that'll be), Israel and Palestine exploring life as hell in handbasket, wondering if Osama slunk away, that American Taliban punk (click here for his posts to Usenet from 1997 ... doodoo@hooked.net??) predicting biological attacks this weekend... (I guess they found a terrorist guide to fitting in: remember, deoderant on the body, not the clothes, get a good cover story, wear your watch on the left wrist, learn the difference between perfume and aftershave since "if you will use the female perfume so you will be in big trouble.")

Old Sorta Funny of the Moment
> Two males got mad in a traffic accident on the downtown
> interstate and got out and took turns shooting to death
> the guy who was involved in a fender bender with them.

Huh?
"I'm gonna shoot him! <BLAM!> There, he's dead."
"Ok, my turn- <BLAM!> Ha- dead again!"
"Gimme my gun back. <BLAM!> There, I killed him again."
"Sucka! Gimme that! <BLAM!> He's dead."
"Yup. <BLAM!> I killed him."

I dunno Vic, this is pretty extreme, even by your standards.
--Yet another old Usenet post of mine.

Link of the Moment
Salon talks with the author of the book about Sputnik's effect on America. Man, 1957 was a bad year...this guy reels of so many details that have been generally lost in the mists of American pop culture short term memory. (Salon had a Premium-subscription interview with Kurt Vonnegut the other day that wasn't as good as I would have hoped.)

mais wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

(3 comments)
December 15, 2001

Idea of the Moment
I've started keeping a cheap digital voice recorder by my bed so that I can record dreams before dream amnesia sets in. Recording dreams is a way of getting something more out of sleep, since otherwise it feels like such a waste of a third of my life. So far it's worked out pretty well, I'm two for two for having something to write down the next morning. The image on the right is from the first evening, I was in some kind of thrill ride at the Eiffel Tower, you went to the top, got into a capsule with windows attached to the peak via bungee, and then they hauled you down to the bottom and let go, sending you zinging around Paris...

Link of the Moment
This guy really, sincerely likes gum. Or he's pretending to. I'm not sure.

Quote of the Moment
"There are 27O million Americans. The US is filthy with one-in-a-million events."
--Uncle Al in this Usenet post.

smurf wide web

(6 comments)
December 16, 2001

Toy of the Moment
What's your Smurf Name? They've compiled a pretty good list of adjective names. If you don't care about preserving a sense of Smurfy Magic, "View Source" of the page, and read through what they came up with.

One thing I noticed about Smurfs, relatively recently: their heads are huge. Papa Smurf's beard kind of hides it here, but they are like footballs balanced on their scrawny little shoulders.

The Official Smurf Site has some interesting history about the boys in blue. (click on "Facts" on the left navbar.) The "history" page propagates the line that they are "three apples high". This always seemed weird when we heard it in the original cartoon, because unless you're talking crabapples, the Smurfs are shorter than that. Years later in middle school French I realize that there's an expression, you say a short person is "as tall as three apples", and that this literal usage of the expression is meant to be a joke that just doesn't translate very well.

Quote of the Moment
The appreciation of pleasing decay is an important one because it is so often neglected
--placard in Tom West's (of "Data General" fame) workroom, via "Soul of a New Machine"

Link of the Moment
An interesting study Social Networks and the Prediction of Romantic Relationship State and Fate... turns out if you want to know the likely future of a heterosexual romance, don't ask the couple, and don't ask his friends, it's her friends who will have the most realistic appraisal.

zzzzzapaim

(2 comments)
December 17, 2001

AIM of the Moment
ranjit: Some people can say "you know what I'm saying" in just two syllables, nome sane?
kirk: we laugh because it's funny, we laugh because it's true
ranjit: we laugh because of the electrodes inserted into our cerebellums

Link of the Moment
The results of the Great Bellybutton Lint Survey are in. And the conclusion is, that ain't just clothing lint. I object to their use of the term "Snail Trail" for the hair trailing from the belly button on down...that implies that it's slimy or slippery, and hopefully it's neither of these things. "Happy Trail" is a much better term.

Quote of the Moment
"Not all of us who drink are poets. Some of us drink because we're not poets."
--from Arthur. Not as bad a movie as I had feared, but I don't see why people praise it quite so much as they do.

snot funny

December 18, 2001
Quote of the Moment
"It should not be surprising kids like the stuff. Dried nasal discharge is largely composed of complex sugars, sodium and water -- the same ingredients as most junk foods."
--from this really interesting piece on snot research. (via Ranjit)
Mystery of the Moment
What the heck is this?? Perhaps there are some things I just wasn't meant to know.

oooh umaphotos

December 19, 2001
Portraits of the Moment
The other day Mo and I watched Henry & June. It might just be my favorite movie ever, I wrote a review of it for the loveblender back in 1997--the penultimate paragraph of that review is kind of interesting. I was looking around for some information on the movie. It introduced the NC-17 rating; unfortunately the idea of movies for adults that aren't porn but still get nationwide release is still a bit of a pipedream. There's a book of the same name, a selection from Anais Nin's diaries that inspired the film.



I believe that the portrait up and to the left is the one that appears tacked to Henry Miller's wall in the film. (From the planet out movie review) And on the right is one with Fred Ward. He gives me hope for bald guys looking good. (I never saw what all the geek chicks see in, say, Picard on Star Trek.) But in general, I wish I could learn to take photographic portraits like these. (The two on the right are from a Kevin Spacey fansite, though Spacey was relatively a minor character in the film.)

These are about the best two portraits I've ever done. I hope it's mostly a matter of composition, since I'm sure my digital camera, no matter how beloved by me, won't win any awards by itself. (In fact, these were both taken with primitive Kodak digital cameras.) I wish I could find a photography class that talks about composition without going through all the "mechanics of 35mm film" first. I suspect the main factors are interesting lighting, framing the shot, and getting the person not to smile. (Speaking of photos, I think I need to pick the most interesting photos and make a new "photobook" rather than all the random collections listed on the sidebar.)

Quote of a Previous Moment
"Uma Thurman on a Hog Harley: now that's heaven." --k.d. lang

stone age

(1 comment)
December 20, 2001

Quote of the Moment
"The United States of America has just succeeded in bombing a country back out of the Stone Age."
--Christopher Hitchens, via photodude. Maybe a little overly optimistic, but an interesting point.

Link of the Moment
In California at least, the right to wear pants shall not be infringed. Ok, not quite as wacky as it may first appear. (thanks Ranjit...wow, he's been a veritable fount of interesting stuff lately.)

Geekness of the Moment
Yes, I am a geek. A bit of a video game geek. That's why the other night I typed in all of Electronic Gaming Monthly's "Best 100 Games of All Time" (for their 150th issue) into my homebrew database. I've always been interested in lists like that. But the scary thing is, it's not the first time I've done this...I did the same thing with their "100 Best" list they made for issue 100. So I was able to compare the two lists, you can see the results here. (You can also see the older list that a bit more analysis on it.) I think it's interesting to see what games slipped, as well as what older games have seemed to improve with time.

bored of the rings

(2 comments)
December 21, 2001

Quote of the Moment
"Enya to Star Wars, Enya to Star Wars, Enya to Star Wars"
--Janis Roihl (my mother-in-law) on the new Lord of the Rings movie.

Link of the Moment
Space Moose is one of the offensive cartoons online, but also one of the funniest. It's PG13 to R material, with scatological humor and sodomy jokes, but laugh at loud funny at parts. Two of my favorite Space Moose cartoons actually aren't offensive, though: Demented chess game and Ducks.

crapstorm thunderbolt

December 22, 2001
Aw crap. My home directory and all the files (including my website) are missing from alienbill.com. Still waiting to hear back from tech support. Well, at least now I've figured out a way of backing up my other sites. (FTP always had problems, I'm hoping pscp (from the maker of puTTY, a kickbutt free little ssh client) will do the trick for this site and loveblender.)

Man, why do suck things always come in waves?

Headline of the Moment
Salvation Army fights to stay in Moscow...they're being accused of being a paramilitary! Hee hee hee. The 'Army claims it's because they're not making the requisite bribes.

Piecemeal Quote of the Moment
With the arrival of the "ultra-rapid computing machine", "the average human being of mediocre attainments or less" will have "nothing to sell that is worth anyone's money to buy."
--Nicholas Weiner. Couldn't find the whole quote, but I think it's from early-ish in the 1900s. It's an intersting flipside to the "computers will do all the work and we can all retire and it will be utopia" mentality.

oh no, not the uno you know

(2 comments)
December 23, 2001

Link of the Moment
It's Hot Death Uno! (PG13.) It's pretty much regular Uno, but with extra cards like "Glastnost", "The Spreader", and "Holy Defender". I saw the Windows Version of this game at the frontdesk of Tufts' Eaton computer lab. It hasn't aged well, cards sometimes fly a bit faster than you can see them. Still, the oponents are well done, with a bit of trash talking thrown in. It'd be cool to have this on a color Palm Pilot.

Quote of the Moment
"Life is like a box of chocoloates, a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift no one ever asks for. Unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates. So you're stuck with this mostly undefinable whipped mint crap, mindlessly wolfed down when there's nothing else to eat during the game. Sure, once in a while you get a peanut butter cup or an English toffee, but it's gone too soon and the taste is fleeting. In the end you're left with nothing but broken bits of hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts, which if you are desperate enough to eat, leaves nothing but useless brown paper wrappers."
--Cigarette-Smoking Man, The X-Files. Actually, I like boxes of chocolate.

mean people suck

(2 comments)
December 24, 2001

So the good news is alienbill came back. The problem is that it has been restored from a months old archive. My webhost had a security breach. Pretty much anyone whose home directory began with "a" or "b" got screwed over. Apparently, the webhost I use for that is unfamiliar with the idea that backup files shouldn't always be reachable online. Man, hackers are such assholes. I don't think this effects the main public content of it too much, but I've a lost a lot of updates to my homepage.

Silver Lining of the Grey Cloud of Suck of the Moment
When I was looking for possible archives of my site, Ranjit pointed out the wonder of archive.org. They have snapshots of websites going all the way back to 1996. It was interesting to see my homepage circa 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999

Quote of the Moment
"Imperfect Web Design For An Imperfect World"
--alienbill.com slogan circa 1998. I think it's a useful construction for a lot of circumstances. It could be used for expressing the "sometimes 'just good enough' is best" kind of attitude...

very merry

(3 comments)
December 25, 2001

You know, it's Christmas, and I have hardly anything to say about it, and nothing in the kisrael backlog that's very Christmas themed...

Quote of the Moment
"I'm prettier than you are! I'm prettier than you are!"
"...but you're still dumb."
Will Smith and Muhammed Ali, on the set of the new Ali film that opens today.

Link of the Moment
OK, I lied about not having any Christmas-related backlog. There's a convincing salon.com article All Hail Pottersville, about how the "evil" alternative future of James Stewart's town in It's a Wonderful Life was really pretty rocking, and maybe Bedford Falls wasn't all that great to begin with. (I didn't want to post this quite yet because I haven't seen the dang movie.)

Image of the Moment
--I thought I'd do a Google Image Search for a spinning gift gif. Some how this beauty came up. I find it disturbing on several levels at once.

Anyway, hope you all are having a good Holiday Season!

back to the grind

(1 comment)
December 26, 2001

Is it just me or has google been a bit slow lately?

Funny of the Moment
I carried a case of Sam Adams Winter Lager out to a customer's car yesterday. She popped the trunk, saying "I wonder what's in here." There was 1 of those wheeled golf bag carriers (but no golf bag), & something else.

ME: "Why is there an anvil in your trunk?" HER: "It's my boyfriend's car." ME: "Why does your boyfriend's car have an anvil in it?" HER: "I dunno!"

I suppose you should have something with which to defend yourself, in case you get carjacked by Wile E. Coyote.
--From Bill the Splut's What's New(s) page. (He works at a booze (or "package"? Is he that New Englandy?) store.)

Link of the Moment
I already mentioned SmarterChild, a utility chatbot that's available via AOL-IM. I've been using it more and more... just add SmarterChild to your buddy list, then use a command like news for the latest headline, forecast for a weather forecast, movies for local movies (for the last two, it remembers where you live once you tell it), spell someword for a spell check (or define someword for a definition, or syn someword for a thesaurus lookup), and it has other features too, foreign language translation, some games, bible, etc. It's pretty impressive, and a very fast interface.

Brunching Shuttlecocks had a funny time proving despite all of SmarterChild's utility, it makes a pretty mediocre therapist.

Actually, I'm surprised SmarterChild never seems to be warned. With all the idiots out there, you would think the warning would go way up. I'm too chicken that I'll be cut off to experiment with it.

booze and advice

December 27, 2001
So the other week we had dinner with Lee and MZ at Magnolia's Southern Cuisine. Hot stuff from Mew Orleans, and one of the things on the beer menu was Shandy Carib. This thing tasted wonderful, like ginger ale, very sweet and a bit tangy. My buddy Greg Owen (aka Gowen) tells me that a Shandy is, by definition, beer with a mixer, usually ginger ale or sometimes lemonade. (And that website confirmed it was only 1.2% alc/vol, a "cool, hip, lively, one-of-a kind, contemporary young, sociable, fun loving, 'so-you-stay-in control drink.'") He gave me a link about Shandies in General and how they're really great when it's hot out. I remember some guy saying how ginger ale was his (surprising) beverage of choice for spicy Thai or Indian food, and this kind of goes along with that.

Quote of the Moment
"A uhhh [hits desktop]... a blow, to the head, you have had such a blow?"
"Who hasn't...it was the pills, speed. I'll lay off the speed"
"Yah, do so, Mr. Sutcliffe...and also, do this: slow down. Take your time. Life is..long. You must not be in too much of a hurry."
--German Doctor and Stuart Sutcliffe, Backbeat (the story of the early Beatles in Hamburg). I always thought this was a good outlook to have. (Another useful quote construction from the same movie:
"You know what it is I like about Liverpool, Mr. Sutcliffe?"
"No, what is it you like about Liverpool, Mr. Lennon?"
"I was hoping you'd tell me.")

stopgap

(2 comments)
December 28, 2001

Just a quick entry...we closed on a house this morning! This is a post-it I wrote on during the process, I heard I was going to have to make an unreal number of signatures and I wanted to know how many...50 signatures, 39 initialings was all. Mo had 2 extra, plus she signed 3 personal checks.


Link of the Moment
Slate.com has a piece on viewing the math of the polarization of politics. Interesting stuff, especially the "Animated GIF" link... I think it was a mistake putting the House and Senate side by side, so it looks like they might be on the same graph, that was confusing. Cool anyway.

time, towers, and tubas

(2 comments)
December 29, 2001

Quote of the Moment
"I wish it need not have happened in my time."
"So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
--Frodo and Gandalf, Lord of the Rings. Saw that the other night with Mo's brother Dan. Pretty cool flick. I find this advice really comforting, especially in troubled times like this. Of course when I think back, I'm not sure if this time is as troubling as, say, World War II, not to mention stuff like the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Link of the Moment
This slate.com article suggests maybe Osama had beef with the WTC's neo-Islamic architecture. Face it pal, we're a co-opting culture; that's our strength.

Image of the Moment
Me and Toni, the tuba section at dear old Euclid High. I've always liked the weird swagger in this picture. Toni, write me some e-mail, don't just leave little cryptic things in my guestbook!

one year in!

(2 comments)
December 30, 2001

Holy cow, I didn't even realize, today is the exact 1 year anniversary of my 'blog. It's a little annoying that I started so close to the start of the year, but not quite January 1. I'll probably end up doing some "year in review" crap soon.

Personal Note of the Moment Toni, you wound me. I don't get it...do you regularly read my page, or do you have some other mysterious method of sensing when I've dropped your name? And why won't you mail me or hit me on AOL Instant Messenger? Yeesh. Anyway, at your request:
That's the back of the house, showing the original smaller part on the left, and the big more recent extension (single big room) on the right. Mo put up a whole bunch of photos we took as well.

Link of the Moment
"52 things they do better in America" from a UK newspaper columnist...though I know a fair bit about modern culture in England, this includes some that I don't how they do differently in England, ("18. Thirty-year mortgages", as opposed to what?) some that I don't see why they're advantages, ("19. No amber between red and green.") and some that I don't have around my part of America... ("25. City street signs that indicate the range of house numbers between them and the next sign."...around Boston, I'm happy when the street sign labels both streets)

Quote of the Moment
"Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of the pleasures; costs nothing and conveys much. It pleases him who receives, and thus, like mercy, is twice blessed."
--Erastus Wiman

two thousand one is done

(1 comment)
December 31, 2001

What better way to end the year then with a picture of me that happens to be slapped with a big old "2001"...
Mo thinks this is about the scariest picture of me ever and keeps trying to destroy it. It's Peterman and me on "Superman: The Ride of Steel" at Six Flags New England on September 9th. (A multimedia view of another ride on the same day can be found in this journal entry.) The moose antlers were a perennial favorite of my dad.

Quote of the Moment
"A man gazing at the stars is proverbially at the mercy of the puddles in the road."
--Alexander Smith

Link of the Moment
Thanks to the power of the Internet, it's The Naked News. Newscasters take off their clothes as they read odd little news snippets. I find it strangely sexy, more so than a traditional strip tease, probably because it makes nakedness seem normal. (The same way I'm more easily distracted by jeans and a tanktop than by lingerie...)