2003 June❮❮prevnext❯❯

vacation filler day 11 (backlog flush #30)

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Travel Photo of the Moment
Mo, with the German city of Cochem below. A "skilift"-type ride to the top, then we decided to walk down, 2003.05.22

vacation filler day 12 (backlog flush #31)

Travel Photos of the Moment
Mo with Papa Smurf in Cochem, Me and Samus (from the game 'Metroid') at Frankfurt Airport.

vacation filler day 13 (backlog flush #32)

Travel Photo of the Moment
Being a big nutella fan (nut?) my joy at Veronika pointing me to Frankfurt's "nutelleria" was clearly unbounded.

vacation filler day 14 (backlog flush #33)

Travel Photo of the Moment
I loved the curved buildings of Regent Street...

vacation filler day 15 (backlog flush #34)

Travel Photo of the Moment
We stumbled on Hamleys, a wonderful seven-story toyshop in London. For my money it has FAO Schwarz beat hands down. Here's the Hulk and Lego Boba Fett.

vacation filler day 16 (backlog flush #35)

Travel Photo of the Moment
Closeup of Vermin Death Star by David Falconer, at the Saatchi Gallery. A huge sphere of free dried and repainted rats.

home again home again

Travel Photo of the Moment
Me, Mo, and wacky giant Lego thing, at Legoland Windsor, 2003.06.02.

Travel Wrapup of the Moment
So, just for my own future reference and to make some of you green with envy, here is what we did on our Summer Vacation:

Fly into Frankfurt Airport, rip a Euro 50 clean in half. Figure out how to get a train to the city of Cochem. Take a skilift thing to top of a very tall hill, hike back down.

Take a ferry up the Mosel river (passing through a lock which explains why all the boats on that river were skinny) to Beilstein, where a ruined castle sits on top of a hill. Get a bit sunburned. Return to Cochem, climb up to its castle (These days were marked by lots of climbing up and down things, including the 5 or six floors to our hotel room) and manage to catch the last tour.

Take the train to Aschaffenburg. Get met by Veronika's future brother-in-law-in-law Mark, though because of a later planning mixup we get a cab to hightail it at the last moment to Veronika's wedding. A terrific reception, where I have a bit much to drink. I only had one glass of wine, but it kept seeming to get refilled...

Go to Veronika and Volker's for cakes and coffee with the family. Hang out with Anja and Jan and their two lively sons Tjark and Jorin. We eat pizza and once the other family is gone we play Pictionary.

Veronika and Volker have to pack for Mexico, plus we help them count and organize some of the money they received as wedding gifts. (The Germans are less shy about cash wedding gifts: sending cards, attaching them to plants as money trees I guess you'd say, and in V+V's case, embedding them in cinder blocks, symbolic of their plans to buy or build a home.) Then we drive into Frankfurt, eat at an African restaurant, and have desert and cocktails elsewhere.

Fly to London (after seeing V+V on their way to their Mexico honeymoon) via Ryanair, an incredibly inexpensive airline... $36 for both of us, including taxes and what not.

Wander London. Happen to catch some of the changing of the guard at Buckingham--amused to hear the band play "One Moment In Time", the song that dare not speak its name in high school (after an assembly where we had to repeat it about 5 times longer than we had planned.) We see Hamley's toystore and a number of other shops around Piccadilly Circus and Trocadero.

Take the "Big Bus" tour (open roofed double decker) around London. Go to the Tower of London, take the tour by a "beefeater" yeoman guard, see the crown jewels. Then we take a ferry ride down the Thames.

Back to Westminster. Ride the London Eye, a giant "observation wheel" (ferris wheel, but more amazing than that, I'll do more on that later.) Saw some modern art at the Saatchi Gallery, including Damien Hirst's (in-?)famous stuff, and Richard Wilson's amazing waist-high perfectly reflective room of sump oil, "20:50".

Go with my mom over the Millennium (or "Wobbly", based on what happened opening day) Bridge to the Tate Modern, a terrific collection of all types of modern art. Then to Covent Garden, I rode one of those odd "put your self in a gyroscope" contraptions.

After a leisurely morning we take the train to IKEA. Man, Boston really needs one of these, it would totally kick Jordan Furniture's butt. Great inexpenive couches and chairs and everything, that we could only look and drool over. Fun time figuring out detours around Tram station, since there's a fire blocking the road and the line in East Croydon. In the evening we head out for a surprisingly dull Jack the Ripper tour. (We probably should have gone with the main writer guy, not be woo'd by the prospect of a smaller group with the other lady.)

My mom's anniversary gift to us is a trip to Legoland Windsor. Obviously geared a bit young, there was still cool stuff there. Mo and I did the Mindstorms workshop, made our ping pong ball carrier bots race.

Visit my mom at the Salvation Army's International HQ (temporarily housed at William Booth college while its building is being rebuilt near the Millennium Bridge.) We even get to shake hands with the General, the Salvation Army's equivalent of the Pope... (well, roughly speaking.) After lunch there we head to Parliament, wait in line to see the House of Commons (reasonably interesting talk about the National Health Service got more interesting when the opposition did a "Point of Order" asking "when is Blair going to explain this whole WMD coverup?" to which the unflappable answer from the Speaker of the House was "tomorrow, as scheduled") and the House of Lords (quite a bit drier.) Had a fancy dinner at The International restaurant by Trafalger Square.

Took the Evan Evans tour to Stonehenge and Bath. Saw the ancient Roman Baths and sampled the (rather blood tasting, thanks to the Iron) water there. Most people took it as a day trip but we were on the overnight tour, spent the evening at the very fine and amusingly named "Pratt's Hotel". That's where we also had a very good three course dinner.

Explored Bath a bit more, and took the excellent free walking tour, run by volunteers. Lunched at a great Vegetarian restaurant. Took the bus back to London.

Actually, I'm writing this now. We're a bit weary and Mo has come down with a cold, so we'll probably have a very leisurely day, maybe I'll just get some "Take Away" (their term for "to go"/"take out") here in Beckenhem. Plans for dinner tonight, Italian chain called "Ask". Fly home tomorrow via Frankfurt.

Saturday Pre-Update
Grr, Lufthansa sucks...they rearranged our flight from Frankfurt so it leaves many hours earlier than our one from London arrives. We called them to get a new flight, so now instead of a reasonably relaxed midmorning bus ride to Heathrow, we have to have a cab pick us up at 3:15am. Grrrrrr.

eye on london

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I was up at 3:30 this morning, after having gone to bed before 8 last night. Guess I'm still on London time...but that 3am ride to Heathrow combined with "gaining" 5 hours made for a long day.

Landmark of the Moment
London Eye was one of the coolest things we saw in England. It's a giant "observation wheel" (like a ferris wheel, but bigger) set right in Westminster, by Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. They built it for the Millennium celebrations, but then British Airways stepped in to run it full time. (Supposedly they might be looking to sell it...I certainly hope it remains a permanent attraction.) It takes about half an hour to go all the way around, and it generally doesn't have to stop to let people on and off. Anyway, it's such a cool thing to have built, I thought it deserved a photospread of its own...

Distance shots from tourbus, from two different days. Big Ben (well, its tower) is visible in the center of the second. I love the asymmetrical architecture of it, how it juts over the Thames, only supported by a few beams on one side.

Artsier shots, including a nearby elephant statue.

Here's an idea of what its capsules were like. Clever design, so views are never blocked by the infrastructure.
And of course there were some great views up there, including Mo in a tanktop. "Those people look like ants!"

Link of the Moment
(Trying to get back in the hang of non-vacation-related updates...) WayTooPersonals is a gathering of real personal ads that definately fall into the realm of "Too Much Information" about the people who posted them.


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Interview Q+A of the Moment
Do you think it follows without God, without faith, life is indeed meaningless and purposeless?
No, I don't actually think that. Without God, it may be ultimately meaningless and purposeless, and I suppose intellectually, if you are an absolute atheist like Richard Dawkins, you have to believe that. But because it's true ultimately doesn't mean to say it's true penultimately; you can give meaning to it, you can believe that love is important, that truth and beauty are important. And in a strange kind of way, if there is God then that experience must be part of the experience of God as well, so I think all the fragments get gathered up. I hate the kind of moralistic preaching that tries to blackmail people into believing, on the grounds that otherwise they will live lives of extreme anguish. I know lots of wonderfully committed ethical atheists whose lives are no more anguished than mine. They've chosen, as it were, not to believe in the way I have chosen to believe, but then to suggest that they are incapable of ethical vision, or love of their children, or enjoyment of the Monet Exhibition is absurd. But I do think that the meaning of God is so extraordinary that even official atheism is somehow not safe from it.
Richard Holloway, Primus of the Episcopal Church in Scotland (head bishop) being interviewed by Naim Attallah.
from a book called "Insights", where Attallah interviews many important cultural figures of England who are reaching the twilight of their lives.

What struck me is how much more common atheism and agnosticism is in England, and how even Christian believers (including Richard Holloway) there tend to see the story of the Virgin Birth and Resurrection as allegories, not historical fact. Of all the people interviewed, there was only one strong defense of what I think of as "traditional" Christianity. I think one thing that we forget in the USA is how much of a Fundamentalist influence there is, relative to other Western democracies. (Someone once claimed that some ethnographers view the USA as a third world country that got lucky wealth-wise; given how strong fundamentalism also is in, say, African nations, I wonder if religious influence is one of the things that ties into that view of the USA.)

Quip of the Moment
To err is human. To blame someone else for your mistakes is even more human.
seen on Slashdot

sloth and fear

Quote of the Moment
My favorite piece of information is that Branwell Bronte, brother of Emily and Charlotte, died standing up leaning against a mantlepiece, in order to prove it could be done. This is not true, in fact. My absolute favorite piece of information is the fact that young sloths are so inept that they frequently grab their own arms and legs instead of tree limbs, and fall out of trees.
Douglas Adams, "The Salmon of Doubt".
Another one of those English atheists I was talking about yesterday, actually. I wish I could find out more about the first claim.

Monosyllables of the Moment
WMD and Al-Qaeda and 2 years: Yikes. Tom Ridge and budgets and cargo scanning: Ugh. Yeesh, it's like we can only hope that this report was made in the same state of mind as the reports of ready-to-go WMD in Iraq...

Funny of the Moment
"Safe Sex", get it? Grabbed from Ross. Reminds me of my old similar cartoons for corkscrew and checkmate.

Linkback of the Moment
Speaking of sloths...my seventh grade story 6 Toed 1 Eyed Battery Operated Laser Sloths just got some attention on the front page of boingboing...I guess now is the time to fess up that the concept and general design for Puddo, the "huge, hungry, friendly pudding being" was ripped off from the J.D. Castens game Rebound in Antic computer magazine. And "The Place Where It All Is" has a few features in common with Loony Tune's "Wackyland". Ah well, "weak artists borrow, great artists steal". Especially in middle school. (Where I had myself called by my middle name "Logan", in case anyone was wondering about the title page.)

bring home the bacon

Just a reminder, if you're interested in what you see here on a particular day, feel free to use that "Comments" link up above. I love getting feedback, getting a feel or what people find the most interesting.

Quote of the Moment
Here is a test to see if your mission on earth is finnished. If you are alive--it isn't.
Richard Bach (sometimes attributed to Francis Bacon, according to Google.)

Photogallery of the Moment
Ok, ok, this should be about the last bit of vacation coverage: Kirk and Mo's European Vacation in Words and Photos. I used my previous day-by-day break down and supplemented it with the best photos I took (around 220 out of the 480 or so I had in total...) There are also captions so you know what the heck you're looking at...overall I think it's pretty browseable and more interesting than a typical big bunch of uncaptioned photos. A few stitched together panoramic shots that came out pretty well are in there too.

Links of the Moment
Well, the bad news is that the Brunching Shuttlecocks won't be making any new content but there are two spin off sites: The Self-Made Critic (and if I had to guess, I don't think that he was much of a draw for the original site) and, fortunately, The Book of Ratings now gets its own site. Maybe this well bring some focus to one of the most consistently funny things on the web, only behind a few sites like the Onion. (Also, Lore mentions that if he gets an idea for one of those random things that used to show up on Brunching Shuttlecocks, like those great Lore cartoons they'll likely end up on his already pretty good blog Slumbering Lungfish.)

News of the Moment
I was pretty happy to hear about the court decision that had Ontario legalizing gay marriage. The other day I heard Christian Right radio's "Focus on the Family" bellyaching about lo, how Canada had fallen, and was wondering what it was all about. They were talking about "the family is precious, and if we don't fight for it we'll lose it" and really, I can barely fathom that kind of thinking. If two people want to commit to each other, what is their problem with the state sanctioning that? If they were really out to protect the concept of "family", you think they'd be encouraging this type of move. I mean, they don't want to let the straight kids see people having sexual fun outside the commitments of marriage, do they? So what are they trying to protect? What are they saying there? "Our monopoly on state-sanctioned relationships is precious..." comes to mind and, well, yeah-- no duh. Maybe since they think homosexuality is a choice, "heterosexuality is precious and if we don't fight for it we'll lose it"? Heh, you wonder. "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve"...well, if we look to the account of Eden, it seems like Adam and Eve's kids were all about marrying each other, and I don't think Focus on the Family really wants to focus on that kind of family...

Maybe it's...I dunno, all because gay couples can't make kids? There is almost something to that, I suppose. You can't push this logic too far, because then it seems a few steps away from mandating straight couples have children, but any two people who make a family that's just about the two of them (and for all I know, this could include me and Mo) is going to be more "mutually self-centered", and possibly act politically according to that, then a family with kids. On the other hand, a number of "childfree" advocates would say that some of our priorities are too offspring-centric already. "Won't somebody think of the children??", blah blah blah.

wise old owl my butt

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Fact of the Moment
It takes an estimated 2,893 licks to reach the center of a Tootsie Roll pop.
The Door Magazine. Now you know!
Update: in today's comments, Ranjit claims to have spotted a digital lick counter. Plus, it's his birthday. Yay Ranjit! Happy Birthday!

History of the Moment
AtariArchives.org has lots of old computer magazines scanned in, including most recently The Best of Creative Computing Vol. 2, circa 1977. Interesting to see what computing was like over 25 years ago! I also have admired its sister site, the Classic Computer Magazine Archive, which has a full run of my old favorite "Antic"...MAN does seeing the covers for that magazine around 85-86 bring me back...

what's black and white and stinky all over?

Fact of the Moment
Zebra mating is often accompanied by flatulence.
report on Zoo Animal Breeding on NPR this morning. I'm not sure if it's a mating display thing or what, actually.

Funny of the Moment
My husband, not happy with my mood swings, bought me a mood ring the other day so that he would be able to monitor my moods. When I'm in a good mood it turns green. When I'm in a bad mood it leaves a big red mark on his forehead.
from "a female friend" of Charles Oakes, via rec.humor.funny

News of the Moment
Bush on a Segway       Bush off a Segway       He's not all that great at golf either, according to CNN

Quote of the Moment
Ah, Atari. In your rise and fall is every lesson a video game executive should take to heart and never does. Lesson one, be run by a chief executive who at least commutes to reality.
Interesting reading, though probably only for fans of games in general.

oh, canada

Joke of the Moment
"How do you spell 'Canada'?"
"C - eh? N - eh? D - eh?"
Ed Forster, friend of my Mom's, thought to be original to him! I thought it was a little clever.

Small Gif Cinema of the Moment
two kitchens

In England I bought a tiny toy camera, Digi Precision, imported from China, with a cool see-through case. The instructions are pretty unhelpful, I'm thinking about making a webpage for it. It's not a good camera for photos but one redeeming features is the movies it can take...practically ready-made to be shrunk down for small gif cinema.

News of the Moment
I don't know if it was a semi-legitimate attempt to start a tour operator company, but I admire the concept of Mainline Airways, started by a college kid, without offices. Or planes. Or crews, or permits, or much of anything...the pure virtual airline.

that's a lot of spam

Funny of the Moment
New Scientist readers are concerned about their e-mail boxes being bombarded with spam, and the need for more and better filters. However, they seem to have overlooked the benefits to be gained from all these spam messages. For instance, I have been accepting all offers made to me by e-mail since the beginning of this year, and my penis is now 43 meters long.
Letter to the editor from a recent issue of the New Scientist, posted by "A Mack" to rec.humor.funny

Index of the Moment
Probably one of those things that is more interesting to Kirk than to anybody else, I've made a public version of my script that shows you all of my blog entries sorted by name. It's interesting (to me, anyway) to see the patterns there, what titles are repeats or near-repeats.

it ain't easy being green

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AIM Conversation of the Moment
kirk: man, thank goodness bruce banner has such flexible pants
brooke: hahaha
kirk: "HULK STOMP! HULK SMASH! HULK- er -- go cover privates..."
brooke: HAHA
brooke: I laughed out loud at that one

News of the Moment
Wired.com reports that people are falling in love with their robovacs (in the "it's ok to love your pets" kind of way...I hope.)

Image of the Moment
This English rotary-in-a-rotary is the most amazing traffic thing I've ever seen. The call it the "Magic Roundabout" after an old kid's tv show (Originally French, but a new, smarter version overdubbed into English, with lots of supposed sly drug references.) I wish I could see some video of cars on it; even with the traffic sign that link provides, I still don't quite get how it works out.

merry quips

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Dialog of the Moment
"I asked the chief predator where to find you and he said, 'Our Mrs Peel's in ladies' underwear.' I rattled up the stairs three at a time."
"Merry quips department on the fifth floor, sir."
John Steed and Emma Peel, the Avengers

Ramble of the Moment
I've been thinking a lot about food lately. Mo's getting into some nutrition stuff. I wonder...is the common wisdom about foods as wrong as some of these books say it is? Is so much of the stuff we take for granted about nutrition just totally off base? And is there a chance that the people making the decisions about what stocks our grocery shelves and restaurants don't have our best interests at heart?

One of Mo's books claims that diet soda has a surprising negative effect because the sweetner is uses triggers an insulin effect, even though there's no sugar for it to counteract. (And so this might lead to inadvertant weightgain.) That kind of bummed me out.

I dunno. Ever since I've found that peanuts aren't a health food (when I was like 10 or so) I haven't trusted my intuition about food at all anyway. Luckily, I'm not too fussy of an eater, more concerned with convenience than anything else, so if I can make it convenient to eat well I probably will.

Quote of the Moment
Time goes, you say? Ah no! Time stays, we go.
Austin Dobson, via slashdot

i'm attracted to bright light too

Image of the Moment
Screendoor Moth. I added a larger version to my desktop wallpaper page, it's what I'm using now.

Article of the Moment
We're All Gonna Die!, "a skeptical guide to Doomsday" from Wired. A great article...sometimes I'm amazed that Wired gives mostly all their content away for free on their website. (I'm very fond of Wired, they started up just about the same time I was getting online, so I feel like we've grown up together...)

Exchange of the Moment
On the same lines, is it possible that the incredible amounts of caffeine ingested by American society might also be a contributing factor in the uprise of ADD/ADHD? It just seems like a possiblity to me.
If caffeine caused mental problems, I'd be the fucking Rain Man of Dr Pepperville.
Not that it's not a serious issue for many people, but it's amazing how almost everyone can come up positive on some of the more primitive Q+A tests they have for it. Someone there linked to a thought-provoking table Hunter and Farmers, which argues that folks with ADHD might just be "hunter" types trying to live the "farmer" lifestyle our culture is now based on.

it's only thursday

Toys of the Moment
Odd little stylized experiments in Flash, blprnt v.2. Click the numbers at the bottom to see different animations/collaborations.

Chat of the Moment
J-Dogg> My wishes are like poetry in your eyes. We want this moment to last forever.
Partner8> OMFG are you trying to cyber me?
J-Dogg> We are like two dancers, for whom the music never stops. I Kiss the top of your hand. You are taken aback by the bulge that forms in your thigh.
Partner8> Is that like cancer?
J-Dogg> If cancer is our love, then I hope you don't have the technology of chemotherapy.
Partner8> Good one romeo.
from this slashdot post with like 10 of 'em, though I think they have their origin from somewhere else.
WARNING: raunchy, but that's mitigated by extreme goofiness. If you're in a hurry, the top three are probably the funniest.

Articles of the Moment
Wired article on Aesthetics and the new new new Economy. Also, they report on some cool stuff going in NYC in terms of the Mob Project, flash crowds that suddenly congregate, linger harmlessly for 10 minutes or so, and then disperse.
UPDATE: but boingboing.net linked to an even cooler/goofier happening, where lots of folks dress up as Agent Smith for the Matrix opening in Japan.

happy gif liberation day!

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Happy GIF Liberation Day! One of the most popular graphical formats for the web, for anything with simple colors and cartoonish layout (or animated, in the case of small gif cinema) (photographs usually use the jpeg format) is about to have its patent expire. Geeks remember back to the mid-90s when Unisys acquired patent rights to the algorithm used in 'em. It didn't have a big effect on the web, despite efforts to promote alternatives, though digital art programs had to cough up. Anyway, now we're in the clear! ('Algorithms probably shouldn't have patents anyway' is a common geek idea.)

Now if we could all agree if it's pronounced with a soft "G" as in "Giraffe" (which is what the original creators argue) or a hard "G" as in "Graphical".

Quote of the Moment
This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.
Dorothy Parker, via Slashdot.
And given how much I despise raisins...man, that IS terrible. (Maybe it's all because when I was young my dad tried--and failed, I think--to convince me that raisins were flies with the wings picked off.) In any case, one of life's biggest disappointments is to take a big bite of cookie and the expected chocolate chips turn out to be raisins...

Article of the Moment
You might need to be a member to see it all (which you should be anyway) but in Salon, Stephanie Zacharek makes an argument that Sarah Jessica Parker is probably guiding her character to close to the center stage of "Sex in the City"...and her unwillingness to get naked, unlike her 3 co-stars, is part of that. To which I agree. But maybe I'm just that kind of voyeur.

Oh well, we don't get HBO anymore anyways...it turns out that if you want to actually have a good chance of a decent movie at any random hour, that Starz/Encore package is a much better bet than HBO et al, which seem more geared towards their original programming. (Or of course if you are just in it for the boobies, Skinemax--er, Cinemax, is your best bet, at least in the wee hours.)

forked tongue

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Quote of the Moment
"I like the way it looks," he said, listing his reasons. "Two, I think it will be more fun during oral sex and the girls will get a kick out of it. Three, everyone and their mother has their tongue pierced and four, I'm an idiot."
The result is kind of like a snake's tongue. Says it makes it hard to eat ice cream, but you can do party tricks like pick up pencils.

Article of the Moment
Slashdot linked to an intriguing story about artidically invoking "savant" like behavior via EMF, from the NY Times. I wonder if anything could come of that? Though the technique seems like trying to paint-by-number with a giant wall-painting paintbrush.

Photo of the Moment
Mo's got glasses! She looks like an urban hipster. Actually she's probably going to be wearing them all the time now...it's kind of strange to think how it's such a change to the landscape of her head, how all time will be divided into Mo without glasses, and Mo with glasses, and that boundary point is today. (She felt compelled to have me point out that she is indeed making an odd face in this picture, it's not a natural by-product of the glasses or anything.)

Pointless Link of the Moment
I guarantee you that this site has more information than you ever need to know about the last few seasons of "The Price is Right". It's kind of like "trainspotting" (the actual activity, not the heroin-themed movie) for gameshows. The coverage adds daily commentary for the last few of the seasons offered.


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Random Observation of the Moment
Bridget Jones's Diary was on Encore last night. You know, that ending credits sequence, where they decide to show the previously-mentioned scene where 4 year old Bridget Jones is running around naked (well, half naked for the sake of the film) Mark Darcy's 8th birthday, is really kind of creepy...they play up young Mark's attraction to Bridget, and it's weird, because most 8 year old boys don't have crushes on girls. And it's subtlety disturbing because, well, you don't want to see anyone with that form of crush on a 4 year old girl.

Feh. The trivia for the film on IMDB mentions that in UK and Australia, they have an alternate credits featuring fake interviews with Daniel Cleaver, Mark's parents and Bridget's boss. That sounds much cooler and less corny (not too mention less pedophiliariffic) than what the American audience got stuck with.

Games of the Moment
The most polished version of SFCave (available for Palm and online) is this 'playmore' one...kind of neat and biological, I think it may have been an X-box tie-in. Going back to that one palm page, Ireba Soccer (near the bottom of the page) is a nifty little minigame, worth the download for Windows.

Random Observation of the Other Moment
MAN I can't believe this rain! It's like a monsoon out there!

I guess I've neglected mentioning that we're in the longest days of the year, and days will be getting shorter from here on in. Which is a bummer, but it's not so bad.

I do wonder though...is New England finally out of the woods when it comes to the drought?

Cartoons of the Moment
Heath Robinson was England's answer to Rube Goldberg, cartooning around WW2. Some interesting stuff, with a distinct macabre eye in some places.

counting is what computers do

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Toy of the Moment
click to run


Mo's sysadmin buddy Steve has a vast array of ancient computer equipment, including a PDP-11 front panel, rejiggered to count in binary. I found the effect kind of interesting and a bit hypnotizing. I'd love to try to make something like it in hardware (LEDs and circuits) but I'm a software guy, so here it is in Java(script). (original source)

Technology of the Moment
Technology marches on...Urinal based video games have finally arrived. Thank goodness.

Art of the Moment
Ross linked to an article about the The Fremont Troll, a pretty cool and large under-bridge sculpture in Seattle, Washington.

Stupid News Joke of the Moment
CNN reports that
Al Qaeda suspect declared 'enemy combatant'
...I'd say more like an 'enemy con mullet'! Yow!

oops, i did it again and again and again

Quip of the Moment
[The title character 'Sky' is] a rather alarmingly youthful and extremely boisterous woman who could be described as 'the Britney Spears of porn', if that weren't midway between an oxymoron and a redundancy.
Glenn Kenny, introduction to "A Galaxy Not So Far Away", essays on the cultural response to Star Wars.
The movie in question is "Sky's Day Off".

Link of the Moment
I've been getting more into everything2.com lately (more on that later, probably) and I found Conan O'Brien's Commencement Speech for the Harvard Class of 2000. S'funny.

Simpsons Quote of the Moment
Bart: [practicing for Radioactive Man's sidekick fallout boy] Now is the winter of our discontent!
Ralph: Oh no! Run! [runs]


Usenet Posting of the Moment
Warning, slightly raunchy content follows:
Subject: Re: Getting Love Warts
From: "Steve Howarth"
Newsgroups: alt.2600, alt.dissolved-reality, alt.folklore.urban

"Sassy Red" wrote:
Does everyone who knocks off a little piese of ass with out asking get love warts ? I's never had any such thing before last week, and i has been with a girl many other times but never did i get a spot on my tool or even a sore nut when i was done poking her.
Hey, Cletus! You got the Internet, now, I see.

Web Toy of the Moment
I don't think this guy has an official connection to Google, but Aaron Swartz has made an interesting tool that lets you see what ads would come up if you were part of Google's AdSense program. It's cool seeing what Google really thinks your site is all about.
I tell you, I'm very tempted to look into installing this on LoveBlender... I've always liked Google's approach to Ads before, the stuff is ontopic, and it would be nice for that site to finally start carrying its own weight...

Advice of the Moment
Just don't create a file called -rf.
Larry Wall.
You probably have to be a computer geek who knows Unix to get that one.

News of the Moment
I'm so delighted by incredibly nasty war waged by people trying to install religion-based government, Islamic or otherwise.

Link of the Moment
Slate.com captured what looks to be screenshots from a the Bush/Cheney '04 website prototype. Unintentionally hilarious and telling in parts.


Movie Dialog of the Moment
"You know I've been hearing about 'the one' for I dunno, like twenty years and...I guess I thought it'd be a guy..."
"Right, I know, I know, but look I don't even believe that anymore, I don't believe there's just one person, I think there are like-seven."

News of the Moment
Cool, the Surpreme Court decided a gay sex ban was an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. Good.

Website of the Moment
WreckedExotics.com, for all your car crash photo needs...specializing in fancy cars, so you can have joy in the suffering of people who have more money than you. Guess this is like a pornsite for the people in the movie Crash.

come true

News Story of Last Week
Yesterday on CBC radio the Toronto morning show host was interviewing one of the men who was involved in the court case leading to the legalization of same-sex marriages in Ontario. At the end of the interview, after the interviewee announced his intention to get married that afternoon, the host finished up by saying "well congratulations, it's a fairy tale come true."

Much apologizing ensued.
Alexander O'Neill via rec.humor.funny
a touch stale now, but maybe newly relevant thanks to the Supreme Court...

Lyric of the Moment
Fools dance, and fools look on. Since both are fools, why not dance!
Lyrics to accompany the Japanese dance "Awa Odori", according to my "How To Draw a Radish" Calendar

hey man. let me ask you something. if somebody draws something and you draw the exact same thing like RIGHT ON TOP OF IT without going outside the original designated art, what do you call that?

So I've kind of "invented" (though it's not very original) a new photo technique. There's probably better technology to help out, it's pretty labor intensive, but it's basically tracing the major contours in a new layer in Paint Shop Pro then using flood fill of a single color from each region. I thought it would help me learn to draw a bit better, but actually it's taught me more about color; for instance, in most pictures, especially those taken inside, caucasion skintone doesn't look like skintone out of the context of the picture.

Anyways, I like how some of these came out.

Hints if you want to try this yourself: learn how to use layers in your paint program. You'll generally want to go for the lightest shade in any given region. I used a 2-pixel solid brush for the lines, though for Mo's head in the final picture, I had to do it with a 1-pixel brush, then retrace. And, as always, work on a larger image, and then shrink it down.

Clockwise from Top:   Me, Post Party Mo, and the Demon Lupschada.    
Ocean Grove, New Jersey, November 1999

no carbs for you!

So I'm starting this diet Mo's been on for two weeks with pretty good results, Fat Flush. It's not just weight loss, but nutrition and detox. One of the newer generation of plans, like Atkins, that's more aware of carbs and insulin levels than at least some fats... Mo's and my holistic-minded doctor (and, er, current yoga instructor) thinks Anne Louise Gittleman, the program's maker, knows what she's talking about, so that's a good sign. Though (and some of this come from trying to avoid anything many people might be allergic to) it has some weird restrictions; like the only vinegar you can use is apple cider vinegar, stuff like that. Drinking dilute unsweetened cranberry juice, jumping jacks on mini-trampoline (the idea being the lymphatic system has no circulatory system of its own, so needs to be shaken up)...the kind of stuff that strikes me a little odd but I don't know the science well enough one way or the other to really object.

So, in yesterday's Comments (mm, love that feedback) people A. told me those pictures look a lot like the film Waking Life, B. identified the source of the quote (Chasing Amy, where a guy is ragging on a comicbook "inker" which he calls "tracing") and C. Pointed out it's kind of like Rotoscoping, but with one frame. All of which is true.

Oh, and I put some hopefully not too obnoxious ads on Love Blender from Google's program. We'll see how that goes.

Image of the Moment
Ok, probably the last one of these for a while; but this one uses a slightly different techniue that tries to use color boundaries rather than exact contours. Looks a bit like paint-by-number, but I think the effect comes out well, at least for the right images. Takes even more time though.

did you clean your pants with windex? i can practically see myself in them.

(1 comment)
Happy Anniversary to Me and Mo...

Link of the Moment
LinesThatAreGood.com bills iteself as "The Most Complete and Most Useless Collection of Pick-Up Lines" and I think it lives up to this billing. (Err, not that I need lines like this anymore, what with the being married and all...)

Quote of the Moment
My father, a surgeon and urologist, studied sex professionally all his life. Before he died at 82, he told me he hadn't come to any conclusions about it at all.
Katherine Hepburn, RIP.
Interestingly, her IMDb.com biography page also quotes her as saying
"I'm an atheist, and that's it. I believe there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other,"
a sentiment I've seen a few times before on my mortality guide quotes page.

Article of the Moment
Interesting small CSM article on how London cabbies acquire "The Knowledge"--they know their routes much better than cabbies in most cities, and there's why.

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