no vim, brrrr

(14 comments)
November 1, 2002

Another month has arrived. Time goes by quickly, on the other hand events at the start of October seema long long way away; I wasn't even doing intraday updates of kisrael.com.

Added two new pages to the Features sidebar, both compilations of previous work: small gif cinema and the javascript gamebuttons. The latter page got some attention on one of my favorite sites (and uncredited sources of kisrael links) boingboing, who called it "just about the coolest goddamned webthing, ever". I resisted urge to be a further hit whore by adding in a lot of links back to the daily entries the games premiered in.

Mixed Metaphor of the Moment
"I broke your pomegranate cherry?"
--CJP mixes a metaphor, 2002.10.30. Indeed, I had never had a pomegranate before. What an odd, alien-seeming fruit, where you scoop out the red seeds from their white nesting lattice and then chew their covering.

Game Geek Link of the Moment
It's the GameSpy Grudge Match. This week: Mega Man vs. Bomberman. Their archive and writing is decent, though probably not as sharp as the original WWWF Grudgematch...its set of past matches is worth skimming through, from "Gary Coleman vs. Webster" to "Bill the Cat vs. Odie".

with a little help from my friendsramble

(10 comments)
November 2, 2002

So Ranjit rightfully pointed out that he has a strong claim for the original inspiration for gamebuttons after I had made the original 4 non-interactive animations as this May 22 AIM chat shows: (he also later came up with the brilliant term "dashteroids".)
ranjit: i wonder if pong could be made into a real game? using ' - and , for ball, or something, P b and Ģ for paddles...
kirk: what the hell is that last letter?
ranjit: Icelandic lowercase thorn.
kirk: sounds like the name of an art band
ranjit: heh heh

Link and Ramble of the Moment
Geeks and the Online Aliases they choose. If you're in a hurry, just check out mrcurtain's story or the story of the Dans from crisper's tale.

I've never been big into choosing evocative aliases. Most often I stick with my unix username "kisrael"...for example, this site.

On AIM I use "kirkjerk" (a name that I started using in 1997 on a great online car-race-with-guns Death Rally...it fit the style of that game as well as its 8-character limit.) though I've also used "kirkamundo" and "thegreatkirkini". In videogames now I'll use "kirkles" if there's enough room, or "KRK" if it's just initials(I used to always sign games "Z", which now strikes me as pretentious)..."Kirkles" has a history of its own, in high school, friends would tease me and my then girlfriend Lynn by imagining us murmuring "Oh Lynnie-Poo" "Oh Kirkles". (I was always bummed that that friend Mike "Woodchuck" Witczak ended up with the more pedestrian nickname "Mookie" when he went to college.)

There are many interesting names used on the loveblender, though there I'm just "Kirk, Blender-Keeper". I have to admit I remember people who post good stuff and have an interesting alias more than people who just post good stuff.

east anglia under snow

(1 comment)
November 3, 2002

Quote of the Moment
"A lock of hair touches one's eyes in a plane with East Anglia under snow, and one is in love."
--Graham Green in a letter to his paramour Catherine Walston

Link of the Moment
Yet another wacky patents article, this one from the UK Patent Office. "For every 100 applications lodged, I'd say that 10 are a bit whacky." Like this one here, a hat mounted rifle...with recoil that broke a poor tester's neck during early testing trials.

Link of the Moment
The November edition of the Blender of Love Digest is here. Guess I'm still getting more (boingboing related?) traffic here than the Blender's usual fairly high numbers.

the roar of the pixels, the smell of the crowd

November 4, 2002
Webtoy of the Moment
What better way to start a week than to select the features of your very own evil clown?

Product of the Moment
The Army is testing a new electronic self-playing bugle. You know, not only is it probably harder to find good bugle players these days like the article says, but getting Taps just right can be tough because so often the player has to do it without any chance to warmup.

Cartoon Quote of the Moment
"It turns out that the human brain hasn't evolved enough to see a dish that clean."
--from one of the cooler Slow Waves in a while...Slow Wave is a cartoon where Jess Reklaw makes a 4 panel cartoon from the descriptions of dreams that people send in. I've been Slow Wave'd twice, once last May and then again last October, the Yak-Man cartoon that Mo still teases me about.

happy voting day

November 5, 2002
Quote of the Moment
"I don't regret a single kiss I ever participated in. Cocaine-fueled, alcohol-tinged, whatever. A kiss is love and love is God so it's all good, baby."
--George W. Bush as imagined by Misti Lake in this loveblender piece. I wish our beloved president was the kind of man who would say something like that. But it reminds me of my new theory about listening to the guy...3/4 of the time, it makes a lot more sense if you pretend he's really really drunk.

Web Toy of the Moment
The eys have it. Might've been better if I had seen it in time for halloween.

News of the Moment
Yet another thing for me to be neurotic about, NPR mentioned this new find that the northeast USA is likely entering a cycle of increased likelihood of superstorms.

republicans, democouldn'ts

(2 comments)
November 6, 2002

Aw MAN. This SUCKS. How can Bush be so damn popular? How can so many Republicans ride his coat-tails? How can the Democrats be so stupid and just take it? How can voters be so fond of the administration of can't break out of the economic downdraft and is all hot to fight a war that more and more people see will make our lives less safe, not more?

What would life be like if people hadn't voted for Nader in 2000? "Republicrats" my ass...these Republicans--specifically, this Republican...is a danger to the nation. And the world, as bozo13 points out on the guestbook. (Or what if thousands of black voters weren't illegally disenfranchised in Florida, for that matter.)

The next two years are likely to suck, badly. Here ya go, Republicans, both houses and the presidency. Lets see how you screw it up.

Funny of the Moment
> I had a colleague, years ago, who called his small son
> Tom Dickon Harry.
> Wanted him to grow up with a sense of humour.
> I had visions of him in later life being pulled over
> in a car by the police for some minor reason.
> "Name?"

"Tom Dickon Harry."
"What?"
"No, really. Here's my drivers license."
"Huh, it really is. Wow. By the way, what's that weird smell?"
"Oh, that'd probably be my father's body in the trunk."
--Jill Mills and William December Starr in this Usenet post.

Small Personal Triumph of the Moment
I won my first game of league darts last night. I was part of the team of 3 playing 601 ('01 games mean you have to double in (i.e. you can't begin subtracting points from the starting 601 total until you score a double, i.e. the very outer rim of the dartboard) and double out (you have to get your total to exactly zero again on the outer rim.) The remaining total was 48, I threw an 8, went for the closing double 20, missed, but got it on my final dart. Yay!

Quote of the Moment
"But what I think is funny is what an 8 year old boy thinks is funny."
--Tony Soprano

¡hola señor!comic

(5 comments)
November 7, 2002

Funny of the Moment
"¿Que Hora Es?"...The Mexican Soap Opera for people who only had a few months of Spanish in Elementary School!
--Skit intro on "Cedric the Entertainer"

Nostalgic Geek Link of the Moment
The Amiga was the awesome computer of the mid- to late-1980s. It had graphics and sound capabilities that PCs wouldn't get until the early 1990s, and had a built in "genlock" so it could overlay things on video signal inputs, and was ahead of its time in many other ways as well. I never had one, so seeing a site like Amiga Reviews gives me this weird nostalgia for a future that never was. I'm so used to think of the Amiga as a better computer than what I have, that seeing it and its now very dated collection of games is a bit disconcerting. The magazine reviews are from the UK, and the multiple reviewer commentary took years to make it to the USA.

Political Link of the Moment
And I thought I was a bit upset about the recent elections... (via Bill the Splut)

Wacky News Link of the Moment
"Look at me! I'm invisible! Time to go hit a bank!"

Duhhhh. Was it the movie Mystery Men that had the hero who was invisible so long as no one was looking? (Along with the Shoveler: "God's given me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well.")

Cartoon of the Moment

stairing contest

(1 comment)
November 8, 2002

Game of the Moment
Wonderfully sadistic game/physics simulation, Porrasturvat - Stair Dismount. Set your angle and target area and then push the little man down the stairs. The Slashdot article talks about some interesting quirks/bugs people have found, as well as pointing out a certain thematic link to The Terrible Secret of Space, a Flash video I'm surprised I hadn't kisrael'd before. Also, the main site of the people who made the game has some interesting little demos, made to have interesting music and visuals in a tiny amount of diskspace.

Quote of the Moment
"Nature is by and large to be found out of doors, a location where, it cannot be argued, there are never enough comfortable chairs."
--Fran Lebowitz

Essay of the Moment
Brilliant Slate piece revealing Harry Potter as the pampered jock, patsy, fraud, trustfund baby that he is.

get your rocks off

(1 comment)
November 9, 2002

Art of the Moment
When erotica and geology collide. Be sure to check out all 5 pages of the gallery.

Clip of the Moment
You might think you're good at Tetris. I doubt that you're 2001 Japanese Tetris championship good. Just look at the guy's hands! Crazy. I'm amazed I'm the same species.

World View of the Moment
CamWorld (not about WebCams) had a link to this Salon interview about how the rest of the world views the USA. Like our pop-culture, hate our politics, but most places have a more sophisticated view of us than we give them credit for. (In fact Hertsgaard contends that it's the Americans with the really over-simplified view.)

Sexiest Sentence Alive
"My breast flipped inside out so my nipple touched my heart."
--According to the scientific formula applied this webpage, that's the sexiest sentence alive. The other entries are worth a glance through as well. (via Ranjit)

like, cosmic, man

(1 comment)
November 10, 2002

Science News of the Moment
Yikes, among the recent news stories to be neurotic about, this one pegs the meter...how a measured weakening in the Earth's magnetic poles may cause 'em to flip, and in the meantime, the stuff that protects us from the solar wind may be MIA. In the slashdot discussion I got this from, they point out that it could be happening "in the next 1000 years or so", but still...the number of things like global warming, pollution, and nuclear terrorism that make me not want to worry about longevity treatments or bother with cyrogenics...or want to hesitate before having kids...keeps going up.

Funny of the Moment
The Brunching Shuttlecocks responses to the Purity Test are funny, especially if you're familiar with these from way back (I'll let you do the googling, there are a couple different flavors with different amounts of questions to determine how "pure" you are.)

Software of the Moment
Speaking of things concerning our solar system, Celestia is a cool little simulation that lets you zoom through the solar system and the rest of the Galaxy. The interface isn't the most obvious, however. I recommend going to ZZZ Tech, where I found the link and where they talk about getting around a bit, or going to the Help menu and clicking on Demo. (That's where I started from to get this shot of the moon with the Earth in the background.)

Pop Culture of the Moment
Washington Post piece on Wonder Woman...looks at her place as an icon from a few different angles.

mundane monday

(2 comments)
November 11, 2002

Links of the Moment
At the risk of giving away my sources, Metafilter has a healthy supply of interesting links on a daily basis...so much so that you could probably make a little blog that was basically metametafilter.

Quote of the Moment
"My niece is dating a sculptor. She can see no flaws in him. He hopes one day to govern a province. Myself, I don't envy that province."
--Translation of a quote in a sample fictional language at The Language Construction Kit, where geeks learn to roll their own tongues (block that metaphor!) for their fictional universes. The Kit has some interesting "big picture" analysis of existing languages.

Article of the Moment
A kuro5hin article on the history of online multiplayer games had this piece on what might be the first virtual rape in this otherspace. People start to identify very strongly with their online characters, even when the world is represented purely as words (as is the case here), symbols, or with graphics (like with Ultima Online and EverQuest.) Sometimes I'm very glad that the learning curve of these "MUD"s (Multi User Dungeons) prevented me from doing more than barely dipping my toe in when I was in college...I have enough little addictions taking up all my free time.

Sports of the Moment
Been hearing a little bit more about NFL Europe. I've always been in to alternative sports leagues and the team names and logos they come up with, but I'd never heard of the Amsterdam Admirals, the Scottish Claymores, the F.C. Barcelona Dragons, the Rhein Fire, the Frankfurt Galaxy, or the Berlin Thunder (helmet shown here, you can also go see all the helmets and logos) What I really liked was their Beginner's Guide to American Football, trying to explain and justify the dang thing.

I'm not sure what is says about my upbringing that I always feel a bit of an urge to apologize for liking to watch football. I end up explaining my history of watching games from the stands with the marching or pep band.

too much sincerity isn't a good thing

November 12, 2002
Quote and Link of the Moment
"You can be sincere and still be stupid."
--Charles F. Kettering. TJ Holland on the loveblender pointed out a site, brainyquotes.com. I wish they had a random feature like I have though.

Geek Article of the Moment
Wonderfully smart yet accessible article The Law of Leaky Abstractions. It explains how web pages and e-mail can reliably land on your doorstep, even though the underlying connections (hardware and software) may be flakey as heck, in very amusing terms. Also says that although we abstract things in programming and whatnot, trying to make difficult tasks doable with a couple of keypresses, that since you need to learn what's going on in the guts of the system anyway to deal with it when it breaks or doesn't perform as quick as you need, you have more to learn with Easy-to-Use systems, not less.

Wow. That really puts into words some of my problems with things like hard core J2EE, and why it's so hard to take advantage of all the bells and whistles it offers. I really hope "The Law of Leaky Abstractions" meme starts to spread...

more than just bacon, mounties, and syrup

(1 comment)
November 13, 2002

Video of the Moment
One of the few funny and smart Parodies of Apple's 'Switch' Ads is making the rounds...this from a guy who decided to switch to Canada. If it wasn't for the cold and uncertainty about the tech market, I'd be all over that place. The USA is just too big and bossy these days.

Funny of the Moment
Ranjit sent along Project Genesis Internal Corporate Correspondence - what if creation had been as badly managed as your last software project? A neat blend of corporate humor with some nice geeky details.

Quote of the Moment
"My personal religion is what I practiced today: I swam nude across a pond."
--Lynn Margulis, Professor of geosciences, U-Mass Amherst. From a sidebar in a recent Wired article on Science and Religion. Specifically, how big bang theory really doesn't have better answers for "why is there something rather than nothing" than religion does. (I guess this ties in pretty well to the geek/theology vibe of the previous link.)

Metahumor of the Moment
Heh. Mad Magazine Onionizes the Onion. They make some good points, but actually it's not as funny as a typical issue of the Onion. (Like this unarticled headline from the latest one, "Ray Charles Signs Def Leppard Album". Heeheheeheh)

dylan's pointless sidebar

(1 comment)
November 14, 2002

I'm happy to announce a new feature for the site: Dylan's Pointless Sidebar, you can see it there on the right. Dylan's my best buddy from middle school when I was living up in upstate NY, we kept in touch through out high school, both went to college in Boston, and he even stayed with me for a few months in my old Waltham apartment. He's now in San Diego...he keeps in touch with my life by making this page his startpage, and has kind of kept me informed via the guestbook. But now he has his own public spot to spout tales about his mundane life. He'd like everyone to keep their expectations nice and low for his little sidebar.

Brand Loyalty of the Moment
It hit me that I'm really loyal to this one brand of pen, the Pilot Precise V5 and V7, and I have been for years. I made a special sidetrip to Staples just to buy a 5 pack of 'em (one shown here to the left.) They just write so well, with a nice thick line, almost like painting, but without too much page bleed-through. In middle school, I was all about the EraserMate, but no longer.

Awesome Link of the Moment
PUT YOUR NAME ON MARS! Looks like the real deal...you can put your name in a form, and it will be written to a DVD. They'll then photograph the DVD when it's on Mars. But you have to signup soon!

A Photo of a DVD is kind of funny. Kind of like those folks who can guess what music an LP has just by looking at the groove pattern in the light.

Quote of the Moment
"Stupid people surround themselves with smart people. Smart people surround themselves with smart people who disagree with them."
--"Sports Night". I think by this measure, Bush is just a tiny bit smart, but mostly dumb. On NPR, someone speculated that one of the reason Bush has hesitated a little bit from the warpath is reaction from the armed services.

Followup Geek Link
The other day I posted that article on leaky abstractions...today Slashdot picked up on it too (meaning the server is much slower...) and someone there posted a link to this older Salon article by the same author that covered some of the same ideas in a more approachable way. I think one of the differences between good geeks and the rest of the world is that geeks aren't happy unless they have some idea of what is going on behind the wizardy, the "automagicness", while the rest of the people are content with it so long as it works.

lured by the ring

(3 comments)
November 15, 2002

I know I've mentioned this before, but dang, my sense of space gets so messed up when I switch my wedding ring to my other finger, because my left ring finger gets a little sore. I'm not kidding, it makes me feel a little dizzy, and typing and driving are both very weird. I guess normally these days I no longer have a difference telling left from right because that ring acts as a little orienting device...I don't just learn to turn right when walking down a hallway at work, I myst be learning to turn towards my ring finger, so having that switched is disconcerting.

News of the Moment
Dang it. THe FBIs warning of "spectacular" attacks. Just when I was thinking that maybe we managed to cut the bad guys down to mostly the rinky dink stuff, and that maybe there was room for the economy to make a soggy recovery.

On the other hand, this particular warning might be overplayed by the media. Not that the situation is good, but the FBI seems to be talking a bit more in the medium/long term than right now, and points out "However, target vulnerability and likelihood of success may be as important to a weakened al Qaeda as the target's prominence."

I wonder about that increase in "chatter" they always warn about, which they say kinda sorta anticipated 9/11 as well. Is it an increase in seemingly idle chitchat among the things they're monitoring? Is it all so carefully veiled and code-worded that there's something there, we just can't tell what?

I wouldn't be surprised at a spike in attacks of some level or other if we move on Iraq. Which of course will be taken as a sign by the administration that they're on the right track, "proving" a formal link between Iraq and these groups, when really it might just be a general anti-US in the Middle East statement. Of course at this point those guys would attack anyway.

Art Link of the Moment
Malta in the early 1300s:
When
Mickeys
Roamed
the
Earth
.

Japanese Pop Culture Link of the Moment
Bill the Splut thinks Japanese people may be insane. He may be right, but can we really respect the opinion of a guy whose nickname is "Splut"?

Quote of the Moment
"I'm not afraid of death; but dying scares the hell out of me."
--Jack Cleary. I definitely understand what he's saying, but it's almost a paradox; you might not have the fear, but you might still have the metafear. I guess FDR said it first.

Sex of the Moment
Gentle condemnation of the book "The Joy of Sex" (coming up on its 30th birthday, and one book I've always credited about giving me a clue about this whole sex thing back in the day) in this Salon article.

i'm forever bursting bubbles

(1 comment)
November 16, 2002

Game of the Moment
Bubbles. Sinisterly simple gameplay...how many bubbles can you pop, net? I realize it's tough because only the tip of your mouse counts in terms of popping power. The main site, TomAndPhil had some interesting links. I also liked the concept behind Scrollbar Racing.

Comics of the Moment
Alan Moore, one of the true greats of comicdom, wrote a long proposal for DC (home of Superman, Batman, etc) for a series called Twilight of the Superheroes. A kind of Ragnarok for the godlike superheros, it portrayed an alternate future where the world was divided into clans; the House of Steel for Superman and his brood, the House of Thunder for Captain Marvel's family, the House of Mystery (a grouping of the magic based characters) etc. I found it a terrific read, but I always have liked descriptions of comic story arcs almost as much as the comics themselves (and sometimes more.) Still, given the male gigolo and the BDSM themed event that the plot hinges on, I guess I'm not too surprised it didn't get made. If you're interested but don't want to read the whole thing (it is pretty big), check out this page that contains some background and summary info, although I think the guy was drunk when he came up with his site structure.

Joke of the Moment
A physicist, a biologist and a mathematician are standing outside a building. They watch one person walk in, and two people walk out.

The physicist says: "The law of conservation of mass holds, after accounting for experimental error."

The biologist says: "Apparently they're breeding."

The mathematician says: "If one more person enters the building, it will be empty!"
--from a slashdot review of a science humor book. Geek humor has its moments.

backlog flush #1

(2 comments)
November 17, 2002

Dang it. I'm having backlog issues. In switching to a intraday update style, I have this huge backlog that's never going to get used, and prevents me from using the backlog tool properly. Most of it's not stellar, or else I would've used it already...but much of it is still worth looking at. So:
Link of the Moment
I saw a photo of one Michael Jackson removed his surgical mask in court recently, how the rumors of "his nose falling off" are true. Couldn't find a good link, then memepool.com linked to a Photographic History of Michael Jackson's Face. Man. I feel sorry for the guy...he really has issues.

Political Jab of the Moment
"We've got to act fast! - Saddam's got weapons of mass destruction!"
"Does he intend to use them?"
"There's one way to find out!"
--GWB and Average Citizen looking over his war plan, from a Wasserman Political cartoon.

monday mourning

(2 comments)
November 18, 2002

Huh, without my Palm I might not have realized today was the 30th anniversary of my folk's wedding. My dad passed away in 1988--sometimes it frustrates me that that was when I was still a boring and graceless adolescent.

Shifting the Sun
When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses. May you inherit
his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join the club you vowed you woudn't.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shines forever.
And you walk in his light.
--Diana Der-Hovanessian

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
An interesting article from one of the writers for Dr. Strangelove...includes description of the semi-legendary cut piefight scene. Too bad the actors let themselves slip out of character for it, and also that it took so long for the studios to recognize what a great movie it was. But mostly I just wanted an excuse to showoff this old pixeltime work I made.

Footage of the Moment
On March 31, 1984 (my tenth birthday...) a guy swooped through the 'legs' of the Eiffel Tower. I think the resulting footage and photo would seem even cooler if 9/11 wasn't tainting it with a slight air of menace.

Cartoons of the Moment
Ah, the power of Insomnia...and a Red Meatish take on a similar situation.

i dine on swine

(1 comment)
November 19, 2002

Quote of the Moment
"BREAKFAST IS SERVED ALL DAY IN HELL! WHO WANTS MORE BACON?"
Red Robot #C-63 in today's Diesel Sweeties. I mention Red Robot in the other day's backlog flush, and bacon is one of those 'inherently funny' concepts. I remember one summer Tufts had its own Cult of Bacon, and they had one or two big bacon fests. That was odd.

Site of the Moment
I Used To Believe is a really cute idea, people send in the little weird beliefs they came up with when they were children.

Mine was this: I thought I had a family of frogs in my belly...I think this belief came from the expression "frog in your throat", and I thought they must have moved down in to my tummy to live.

They liked to eat oyster crackers. And I got really upset when some other kid punched me in the belly, because of what might have happened to the frogs.

Headline of the Moment
Mystical Creatures Can Now Live Happily Ever After Thanks to CITES...seahorses are "mystical"? I know it's not quite the same thing as saying they're "mythical" (unles you have a bad lisp) but still...mystical?

Meter of the Moment
Slate presents The Saddameter, measuring the chances of a US invasion of Iraq. (4 dears ago they did a similar thing for impeachment and removal from office of President Clinton.) Today's Chance of Invasion: 58 Percent, a number that sets Blix saying things can be ok so long as Iraq co-operates against the US claiming that Iraq shooting planes patrolling the No-Fly Zone represents a breach already. (Which is stupid; the UN didn't set up those Zones, the US and UK decided it would be a good idea. I'm (semi-)amazed at how little coverage that little tidbit gets.)

backlog flush #2

November 20, 2002
Company meeting today. But, seems to be one of the regularly scheduled ones. Hopefully no bad news.

Another in my ongoing attempt to plow through my backlog from the past year...I guess "Flush #2" isn't the most fortunate of titles, but hey.

upward spiral

(2 comments)
November 21, 2002

Quote of the Moment
"Sometimes, I think Trent just needs a cup of hot chocolate and a blankie."
--Tori Amos on Nine Inch Nails.

Former Celebrity of the Moment
The Atlantic reports that Bobby Fischer is nuts and spinning R+B in the Phillipines. Anti-semitic to boot. I wonder how is chess game is these days. (Well except now he just thinks it's all "mental masturbation" as well as a crooked sport now.)

Movie Reviews of the Moment
Bill the Splut pointed out the great fun that can be had reading old Roger Ebert movie reviews--especially if you follow this link to a search for the lowest ratings...he really knows how to rip into a flick. "'Charlie's Angels' is like the trailer for a video game movie, lacking only the video game, and the movie."

News of the Story
So that guy went ahead with the public autopsy in England. Y'know, it seems odd to be that you need a license to cut into a body in public. I really don't grok what the big deal is.

hu is the new leader of china?

(1 comment)
November 22, 2002

Political Punnery of the Moment
Ok, since the new leader of China is named "Hu", it leads to some pretty obvious Abbot & Costello references. Hu's On First by James Sherman is one of the better ones, and throws in some other names from the international scene. Or you can go back to the original comedy routine.

Game of the Moment
It's Dinky Bomb! A bit like the classic game Worms (except the environment doesn't get blown up) or Artillery Duel, featuring online play. You challenge another player or accept a challenge in the lobby, pick your army of three guys, and then have at it, taking turns having a soldier adjust his position, choose his angle, and firing at the opposition.

Online Comic of the Moment
After seeing yesterday's link about Bobby Fischer, Kiru Banzai suggested in the guestbook that I check out Scott McCloud's online comic My Obsession with Chess. A good read, and interesting seeing some of the Boston places he draws in there.

I had a young geek's typical interest in chess, but it was passing. I didn't have enough patience to carefully lookahead even a move or two, and since I'm blind to nuance, I tended to dismiss it as the same thing over and over.

The best chess player I knew growing up was my church buddy Beau Hill. Beau really taught me something: although I was always the guy with the 'book smarts', he was a much better chess player and musician (he played trumpet, a much more competitive instrument than the tuba I played.) I think he learned to develop a super solid work ethic that I never have.

Bad News of the Moment
Ugh. Salon wonders if the next wave of terrorist attacks could be shoulder launched missiles against commercial aircraft. No one mention this to Mo before our trip to Cleveland, OK? (My solace is, look, yeah it's bad and all that, but I think the numbers would be pretty low overall, and the chance of it being me or my loved ones even smaller.) Gee, maybe the CIA handing these things out like party favors in the 80s wasn't such a bright idea.

Bon Mot of the Moment
"The early worm gets the bird."
--Unknown, via slashdot...subtly clever as well as making a good point about an old cliché.

the problem of moral clarity

(3 comments)
November 23, 2002

Quote and Link of the Moment
"So let America increase the pace of this conflict or decrease it, and we will respond in kind."
--Osama bin Laden. Part of that recent audiotape...but the part you probably hadn't heard. This article explains how by seeing Osama as evil, and only evil, we are putting ourselves in more danger that we would be in otherwise. Bush's "you're either good or evil" viewpoint is so, so, so tragically stupid. Osama sees himself as good, and so do a lot of Arabs. He uses tactics that we find reprehensible, but targetting civillians is the strongest way he has of getting our attention, and he feels that we've (accidentally or on purpose...I don't think it matters that much to him) been responsible for the deaths of enough Arab civillians that there's a justification there. Counterpoints: I think this articles idea of promoting a mutual standdown misses the way that there's been so much water under the bridge, they might feel that any 'spectacular attack' going into the future is 'justified'. Plus, the logic is if you seem to be able to be pressured by terrorism, that might lead to terrorism being seen as more of a useful, and therefore more widely used, tool.

Backlog Flush #3
Still from the end of last year...

metroid metroid metroid

November 24, 2002
Today's entry will be pretty minimal, except for this giant honking graphic, 'cause Peterman and I are in the midst of working our way through Metroid Prime, a brilliant 3D update to an old school Ninentdo classic. This here is the hero of the game, Samus Aran.

Kirk History Flush of the Moment
My earliest Usenet posts, I liked the idea of signature files, or actually snappy original one liners added to the end of messages. Here are some I found when Google opened up its Usenet Archive:
--
"My life: it's not a job, it's an adventure. If it were a job I'd want to be paid better."
--
"Quote?? We doan' *need* no steenkin' quote!"
--
"Jeez, we've been crawling through this desert for days! Take it easy on that water, man! There's no telling how long we're gonna need it, and you're going through it like it was- oh, never mind."
--
"I'd rather be rich than stupid."
--
"There's no situation so bad that it can't get better."
"But it won't."
--
"It never rains but it pours."
"Now what the hell is *that* supposed to mean?"
--
"hello world. it's 5:00 am, the sun is rising, birds are singing, and i am hating spanish 2 with a hate that would shake the foundations of the earth."

Quote of the Moment
"Amatuers discuss Tactics, Professionals discuss Logistics"
--Napoleon

r.i.p. dennis o'neil

(2 comments)
November 25, 2002

Sad Local News of the Moment
Sunday night news reported the death of electrician Dennis O'Neil, who fell while doing the cool tree lights they have in the center of Waltham, where Mo and I live and my mom and aunt grew up. I've always loved these lights, just simple white, but it makes a wonderful 3D effect, since the trees are bare, and it's a big, almost park-like town square. I guess in the spirit of "he'd want it this way" they're going to still have the lights, but it'll be kind of melancholy this year.

Essay of the Moment
Not entirely convincing but thought-provoking Australian article seeing the USA as the new Roman Empire.

Image of the Moment
Not for the squeamish, or the bird-lovers among us, this picture of what happens when a small plane's wing hits a large bird is gross but funny in a macabre kind of way. Also scary, that plane couldn't have been too easy to land.

Video of the Moment
This is a really amazing dance clip from Kollaboration, a Korean-American talent show. (via metafilter)

News of the Moment
The Guardian published the full text of Osama bin Laden's 'letter to America'. (Though the authorship is not 100% confirmed.) Ah, the power of religion...how easy it is to know you're right when God is on your side. Arguing with someone who has a strong religous belief that you don't share is pointless, since you're not going to agree on the ground rules.

the beauty of pollutionphoto

(10 comments)
November 26, 2002

Image of the Moment

--Detail of Salem Parking Lot, 2002.11.22

Gross Article of the Moment
Sigh. Cruel Site of the Day pointed out this article from the Tufts Daily [R-rated link, not for the squeamish], paper of my alma mater. It starts "I don't believe that there is a woman, homosexual male, or flexible boy out there who would claim that semen tastes great" and goes downhill from there. Looks like someone is trying to capture that "Sex in the City/on Campus" vibe and failing miserably.

Book of the Moment
Today I'm raking. I haven't really raked for years, maybe not ever, really. It's not bad work, really, but I in trying to think of a good way of bagging the results, I decided to consult Google. Amazon offers me a chance to buy a book, How to Rake Leaves, for the low low price of $40.24! Now, yeah, technically I was the one looking for some pointers, but $40 for How to Rake?

Tip of the Moment
Whoa...I'm a bit of an inadvertant expert in getting around Windows without using the mouse (it goes back to the day when I used to sit way back in my Papasan chair with the keyboard in my lap.) Anyway, I knew about tabbing through links in IE, and using return to open one, but I only now just realized I can hit shift-Return to open a link in a new window. (BTW, the other thing I always setup is the Accessibility option "MouseKeys" that lets you move the pointer via the numberpad.

Funny of the Moment
Leonardo DiCaprio
Your social class is stuffy. Let's dance with the ship's rats and have fun.
Kate Winslet
You have captured my heart. Let's run around the ship and giggle.
(The ship SINKS.)
Leonardo DiCaprio
Never let go.
Kate Winslet
I promise. (lets go)

THE END
--Samuel Stoddard's Ultra-Condensed version of "Titanic". From Movie-A-Minute, where they cut out all the filler bringing movies to their essential core. They do the same thing for books as well.

the snow blows

(6 comments)
November 27, 2002

I'm really amazed that it seems I have never recorded my favorite winterism "the snow blows" in any previous journal entry, from my PalmPilot based days 'til my curent Weblog.

Anyway, there's a lot of snow on the ground, and it's still snowing. Ugh.

Flash Movie of the Moment
Brooklyngirl made a really terrific brief Flash movie, so close, so far that she let me submit to the loveblender on her behalf. I need to catch up on her livejournal, see if there are any other goodies in there.

Incidentally, brooklyngirl is still on her quest to communicate with Paul Reubens (of Pee Wee Herman fame) by way of saving his .com domain for him. So if you know someone who knows someone, let him know to check it out.

putting the 'anksgi' back into 'thanksgiving'

November 28, 2002
Happy Thanksgiving all! Mo's making chicken, 'cause even the smallest turkeys are too much for four people. Personally, I think she should've gone for Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs.

Rant Quote of the Moment
"Because the big questions in life are tough. Why are we here? Where are we from? Where are we going? But if people believe in asshole, douche-y liars like you, we're never going to find the real answers to these questions. You aren't just lying, you're slowing down the progress of all mankind -- YOU DOUCHE."
--South Park's Stan Marsh telling 'Crossing Over' psychic John "I can hear the dead" Edward why he's a douche. I already kisrael'd about this bozo, but this quote gets to heart of the problem, and of faith vs. inquiry in a nutshell. (South Park is actually one of the most topical comedies on televsion. I don't always agree with the opinions, but they are usually well argued.)

News of the Moment
What I mentioned a few days ago has started to come true, as predicted by Salon, there's been a (mercifully failed) missile attack against a commercial airliner, an Israeli plane departing from Kenya. Oy.

Campaign of the Moment
A kind of amusing if not-fully-realized campaign to ban comic sans. (You can also check out microsoft's Comic Sans Café.) Actually, the letters from the font's creator on both sites are interesting. (And isn't it odd that fonts have creators? It seems like they're just there, but creating one is extremely hard work, I'm not sure what 'language' you describe a new font in, but it has too scale, look ok bold, in italics, etc etc.) The 'ban comic sans' campaign seems to be a poor copy of Andre the Giant has a Posse.

Huh. You know, I put this section in 'comic sans ms' as a bit of a joke, but actually, maybe sans-serif fonts are more readable online. Huh, I wonder if I should convert kisrael over at some point.


Music of the Moment
Surprisingly listenable, 9 Beet Stretch takes Beethoven's 9th Symphony and stretches it to last 24 hours. It's kind of like trance electronica. Divided into 19 sections of around 1 hour 20 each, for your listening convenience.

backlog flush #4

(2 comments)
November 29, 2002

I'm heading to Euclid, Ohio (suburb of Cleveland) for my 10 year high school reunion...wish me luck! Instead of the usual random prose or poetry, I'll continue the plowing through of my backlog. Tosday's set neatly finishes up my backlog for 2001! Yay!

A random note as I pack: the paradoxes of scouring ones books for the one or two you've been meaning to get back to: if the book was that great you probably woulda read it by now. And seeing a book and not remembering if you've read it or not is a very risky situation, it might be you have and it just isn't memorable.

backlog flush #5

November 30, 2002