2004 February❮❮prevnext❯❯

behold i have become shiva, remover of books

Rabbit Rabbit. And Go Pats! We'll see how it turns out...

Melancholy of the Moment
So, continuing my decluttering effort, I went through my book collection, and tried to separate the wheat from the chaff. This here is a picture of the chaff...any friends of mine in Boston, feel free to arrange a time to come over and browse and grab before they make their exit to...I dunno, a used bookstore or a thrift store of some kind. I always feel guilty winnowing out books, they really shouldn't be subjected to such Darwinian forces, but these just weren't paying their rent...these are the ones I can't justify packing, carrying, unpacking, and finding the right shelf for once again.

In other melancholy news, Mo and I made some final arrangements about the house. I'm going to buy her out for a fixed amount, with an eye towards selling it quickly. A little bit of risk on my part, but it would be very surprising if I get a poorer end of the deal. Hashing out the details in the dining room made me sad though, and turning around, this view out the window made me sadder. Just the wintery drabness of the scene, combined with it...being a yard, actually. A yard is one of the big things about having a house versus renting an apartment, and owning this house was one of those big things that was near the center of my life with Mo.

Tying those last two paragraphs together, two book I found were one of the few chances I might've had to "read between the lines" with Mo and realize there was trouble brewing. Last year, for Valentine's Day, or my birthday, or our Anniversary, or something, she gave me I Can't Fight This Feeling ("Timeless Poems for Lovers from the Pop Hits of the '70s and '80s") and more significantly The RoMANtic's Guide ("Hundreds of Creative Tips for a Lifetime of Love ") The latter...I dunno, it was so undeniably cheesy, so different from where any sane person would think Mo and I were coming from, that I took it as a bit of hint but it didn't make much of an impression. But isn't that the most pathos-laden thing in the world, to think that Mo might have been trying to send me a message, but an unfortunate choice in the specifics of the medium (i.e. this cringe-worthy book) meant that the message was lost?

Link of the Moment
Coolest. Coffetable. Ever. Drift over the British Landscape from the comfort of your own living room...

Quote of the Moment
Life span is not the only virtue. If it were, we'd value turtles more than butterflies, oak trees more than children.
Jon Carroll, via Bill

Update of the Moment

sunny days

Happy groundhogs day!

Photo of the Moment

--Dreaming of warmer weather...Lena and Bjorn's summer vacation. I love this picture.

Poem of the Moment
When you're away, I'm restless, lonely,
Wretched, bored, dejected; only
Here's the rub, my darling dear,
I feel the same when you are here.
Samuel Hoffenstein

Controversy of the Moment
So at the end of the overall pretty lame Superbowl halftime show, Justin Timberlake reached over to Janet Jackson's rip-away top, pulled, and her right breast was exposed, for national tv to see for 2 or 3 seconds before they cut away. Supposedly accidentally and all that, but yeah right. If you're interested, Drudge has the story with a few photos. The most striking thing is the nipple ring she was wearing, some weird spiky sun shaped thing that circled the entire nipple. (Which makes you wonder, why would she be wearing that if there was no plan on it being seen...)

Now, I don't think anyone would think I'm a prude, but come on; if something is going to be billed as family entertainment, it should be free of this kind of crap...along with the entire PG13 pseudo-burlesque semi-sexuality of the rest of the performance. I could almost see a moslem cleric pointing to this kind of thing as Where The West Is...tits a-flying on our internationally televised sporting events. And not only that, but it was such a stinker of a halftime show...so many of this songs were from years ago, but not long enough that there's warm-and-fuzzy nostalgia or anything. Janet Jacksons Rhythm Nation was like 19991989 thanks Eric, this was probably the first work Puff Daddy--err, P.Diddy--had in years, etc etc. The only part I liked is that they had some nice integration with the (University of Houston?) marching band, especially the drumline.

Ah well. I actually missed the exposure on television, my interest in the spectacle evaporating when "surpise guest" Justin Timberlake showed up, though I saw the video of it later. (I like Justin's description of the problem: "wardrobe malfunction") And it was a nice bit of bobble...it's just annoying that it's going to dominate the conversation of what was in many ways one hell of a good football game.

Article of the Moment
An article on the differences in the corporate cultures of various countries, and how they might impact international collaborative software efforts. I always dig hearing about this stuff...it really makes you think of how many of the conventions you think of as logical and "just normal" are really rather arbitrary and culture-specific.

two's complementary

Geekery of the Moment
So, this is really pretty geeky, even by my high standards. A lot of Atari 2600 coders on the Stella list thought that my ongoing JoustPong game could benefit mightily from "fractional movement", meaning the game keeps track of object speed and position in smaller-than-pixel detail. So I finally got up the guts to give the 16-bit-math it requires a try, and the results so far are very promising.

But I've had to reacquaint myself with a bit of semi-hardcore computery known as "Two's Complement Notation". It's a way of letting computers easily work with negative numbers, very cool in a mathy-geeky-philisophical way. But it's kind of a pain in the butt to convert a negatic number into binary this way by hand: you have to convert to binary, flip the bits, and then add 1. So I wanted an automated tool to do it for me, as I experiment with different values for Gravity and Flap Power in JoustPong.
decimal value:
number of bytes:


break on bytes
high bytes first
I'm sure someone's already made this kind of tool, but I couldn't find it, and it was kind of fun to do by hand. I'm sure I did it the most difficult way possible, one binary digit at a time in javascript...still, I couldn't think of any other way to make it work with specific number of bytes.

Cartoon of the Moment

Harharhar, get it?

Highlight the following text for the explanation (or hit Ctrl-A), but think about it for a bit first:
It's a two...saying something nice...a compliment in fact...two's compliment...look at the rest of the page...get it now? Look, I didn't say it was very good. The "harharhar" was sarcastic.

Article of the Moment
More fodder for my neuroses, The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare, strategizing about what to do if Climate Change et al. brings us to the brink of a Mad Max-esque scenario...

Quick Link of the Moment
Fun with state shapes.

february / is so very
hard to spell / so be wary

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Tools of the Moment
Michal Kowalski has put some useful freeware programs on the web. Probably few of you will find his 6502 Macroassembler & Simulator as useful as I did (a way of practicing the math programing I had to get the Atari 2600 to do) but his Exif Image Viewer is a simple tool that can autorotate the JPEGs that my camera notated as being taken with camera held sideways. (Other software can do this of course, but my other options seemed to be either the bloatware that came with the camera, or a downloader that used to be free but now wanted $20-$30 for functionality that is now 75% included with Windows and 25% in Kowalski's program...) He also has a font viewer for Windows, and some other programs for BeOS and the Atari ST.

Quote of the Moment
'Faith' in the language of heaven is 'Love' in the language of men.
Victor Hugo

Link of the Moment
Tips on searching with Google. Starts with the very basics but works it way up to some complex-ish strategies.

Gamer Link of the Moment
I continue to be a sucker for videogame "Top 10" lists and Top Ten Real-Time Strategy Games of All Time is no exception. I think I've only played Starcraft, but I find the genre (commanding large armies in real time) conceptually interesting, especially games that have you leading hoardes and hoardes of warriors.

Misunderstood Joke of the Moment
It's dawning on me that for years I got the "wrong" mental image from that old one liner "he's so fat, when he sits around the house, he sits around the house". I always pictured some enormously fat person, so enormous that they could sit over the house, engulfing it completely. (Yeah, what can I say, I had a graphic imagination.) Only now do I see that the joke probably means just around, only big enough to cover varying locations inside the house.

fall not in love therefore; it will stick to your face

Milestone of the Moment
The engagement ring I gave Mo. Her mom insisted that she give it back. We signed the papers for seperation last night at the most banal location imaginable: a "The UPS Store" (formerly Mail Boxes Etc), where they had a notary who works later than 9-5. I decided it was as good a time as any to stop wearing my ring and she followed suit a bit later. (Maybe I was trying a bit too hard to make a dramatic gesture.) There was crying by both parties, more by her, at least that night. The small stuffed frog that's been riding in my car all these years (since '96, almost as long as I've had the car and longer than my romance with Mo) gets to wear the wedding band I was wearing. He's always liked silver things.

Quote of the Moment
"The reason we say 'fell in love' is that it makes it sound more like an accident. Men act like, 'I was walking along and fell in love. I tried to get my boys to pull me out, but I got all tangled in the ropes and sticks and I couldn't break free.'"
Chris Rock

Poem of the Moment
Incidentally, today's title is from the National Lampoon poem Deteriorata, which is a parody of Desiderata. Each is worth a read, albeit for different reasons.

Music of the Moment
As an online toy it's rather limited, but sometimes I like setting up the Weeblmixomatic as background music to listen to.

word to my peeps

Hahaha, I was wondering about the recent upswing in traffic, from around 100 hits a day to 300-500...turns out because I wrote about the recent superbowl controversy but spelled "Janet Jacksons Rhythm Nation" without the apostrophe for the possessive, and also "I love this picture" (about a completely unrelated photo) I'm the number one MSN search for picture of janet jacksons breast and similar queries. (It's often a little interesting to look at my referer log analyzer, see if anyone interesting is link to me.) Kisrael.com: scourge of horny typo-laden websearchers everywhere.

I do want to say...c'mon people, it's just a breast. The reaction is another bit of prudishness to get the Europeans to snicker at us. (For a while I was thinking that the sexualized themes of that stage show tied into it, but there would be the same reaction to a deliberately displayed, national audience, female nipple no matter what the context.)

Quote of the Moment
Noooooo....more like a baby chicken. [...] I like baby chickens.
Co-worker and old friend, Mary K.
She was giving me a pep talk on my chances in the dating scene, after I said that I'd always look "like a Campbell's Soup Kid". Thanks, Mary.

Link of the Moment
Find the Guys Head. I was just a few seconds shy of, urr, "Genius", because I looked at the wrong scale at first. (I had recently been looking at a collection of old timey hidden images, usually where a face can be made out on a much larger scale.) And given how we're programmed for face recognition and what not, I think the scale of how smart you are if you find the face quickly is a little skewed...

Moral Righteousness of the Moment
I gave blood today...I rock!

You know, I have very little sympathy for anyone who doesn't give blood just because they're squeamish about it, either their own blood or the idea of it being used to help out someone else.


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Cards of the Moment
The Best Valentine Cards I've seen since the Onion's (second link back to kisrael.com, I don't think they've republished 'em yet this year.)

Tool of the Moment
So, for a while I was thinking about loading up my Amazon wishlist with the stuff I wanted. The trouble is, for years I've been keeping the same list on my palm pilot...and I still wanted to do that, since for some stuff I do have a preference for buying from a local merchant so I'd like the list at hand. (Or, gasp, sometimes I even use the library.) So what this is is a tool that takes my Amazon wishlist and puts it into a text-only format that I can put onto my PDA.

Enter your email address as it is on Amazon, and it will come back with your wishlist. After you've loaded the full list once, you can then filter by type. (book, video, dvd, etc)
><>    wishfish    <><
I learned some stuff from this as I transferred my stuff from the Palm into Amazon...it mostly just works for books, most of the videos and cds I listed I mean to rent or research first, I wouldn't neccesarily want to own them, so I only amazon'd the stuff I wouldn't mind having some day. If you're curious, here's my amazon wishlist...

Link of the Moment
Clinical descriptions of self-bondage related deaths. Sounds extremely humiliating...you'd die of embarrassment if you weren't dead already. (Do a Ctrl-F "Find" for "Volkswagen" for one of the oddest ones.)

Quote of the Moment
"Worst Vegetable of the Year: The brussels sprout. This is also the worst vegetable of next year."
Steve Rubenstein

Update of the Moment
The new Blender of Love is here. Honestly, I don't think this was one of its better months. There were 2 or 3 really good works, fewer than sometimes. Plus I'm all dark and bitter and goofy in the intro.

Politics of the Moment
Yet more reasons to be glad Joe Lieberman is out of the race...he might just be the Emporer from the Star Wars prequels... (Thanks John!)

it's christmas! it's christmas in heaven! hip hip hip hip hip hooray!

Game of the Moment
An exercise in misanthropy, can you make it through all four rounds of Throw Rocks At Boys?

Interactive Quiz of the Moment
Can you spot the fake smiles? Go take the quiz, and then come back here and highlight (or hit Ctrl-A) to read the next bit:
I was like 2 for 10 'til I thought to start looking at the eyes, then I was 9 for 10. Still, I wonder if it might be better in everyday life to take smiles at face value (so to speak).

Article of the Moment
Great piece in Slate, Paradise Lite, on the Populist vision of Heaven. It's funny, lately I had been thinking about how non-biblical many of the things mainstream Christians, including myself back in the day, believe are.

The author missed two other representations of the "Heaven as Disneyland" view: it was beautifully parodied in Monty Python's "Meaning of Life" in the song and dance finale "Christmas in Heaven". More thoughtfully, Julian Barnes' A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters' final chapter shows how we aren't equipped to handle a heaven that's pretty much like life on Earth, but nicer, and forever...eventually, after you've devoured all history's literature, created your own, perfected your golf game so you get a hole-in-one each time, met all the historical figures you've ever wanted to...you're ready to end it. We are finite creatures, and while I wish I had more choice about by "3 score and ten years" lifespan, I found that idea as expressed in that book comforting.

Literary Passage of the Moment
After the sixth day I woke up and it was bright. I knew I was back. I was no longer inside a loose sack but was now inhabiting a body like my own, from before; I was the same. I stood and was in a wide field of buttercups. I could smell their smell and walked through them, my eyes at the level of the yellow, a wide blur of a line of yellow. I was heavy-headed from the gorgeousness of the yellow all blurry. I loved breathing this way again, and seeing everything.

I should say that it's very much the same here as there. There are more hills, and more waterfalls, and things are cleaner. I like it. Each day I walk for a long time, and I don't have to walk back. I can walk and walk, and when I am tired I can sleep. When I wake up, I can keep walking and I never miss where I started and have no home.

I haven't seen anyone yet. I don't miss the cement like sandpaper on my feet, or the buildings with the sleeping men reaching. I sometimes miss the other dogs and the running.

The one big surprise is that as it turns out, God is the sun. It makes sense, if you think about it. Why we didn't see it sooner I cannot say. Every day the sun was right there burning, ours and other planets hovering around it, always apologizing, and we didn't think it was God. Why would there be a god and also a sun? Of course God is the sun. Simple, good.

Everyone in the life before was cranky, I think, because they just wanted to know.
Dave Eggers, from "After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned".
I'd been meaning to write this vision of a dog's afterlife down for the longest time, and given today's themes it seems as good a time as any, better than most.

el fútbol americano

Sports of the Moment
Yesterday was the NFL Pro Bowl, which I happened to catch the last half or so of. It turned into a wild game, the final score looked more like a college basketball result, 55-52. (If anyone cares: The NFC was down by 18 at one point, but the AFC kept fumbling and throwing the ball to the other team, so the NFC won it by 3.)

Anyway, now that the football season is over, someone on mefi dug up this old Salon piece In Defense of Football. It pretty much sums up why I like the sport, though I'm sure that has as much to do with me sitting though so many games in high school in college as part of the marching band.

More Football and Nostalgia of the Moment
I've heard more about the Arena Football League lately, mostly because they have a new team, the Philadelphia Soul, owned by Jon Bon Jovi, who in turns is buddy-buddy with Patriots coach Bill Belichick. I guess they've been around for almost 15 years, unlike the short-lived XFL. I dug up a list of their current teams with logos as well as the historical list (guess the teams don't always have long shelf life.)

Team names for obscure leagues has always interested me, I used to create fictional teams for a "CyberWar League" when I was a kid (including associated cities and ideas for theme-based rivalries.) I've always liked logo and presentation design. A few years ago I tried transcribing some of my old designs into Paintbrush, here were some of my favorites:
UPDATE: in today's comments LAN3 points out a similarity with my artwork and the old Atari game Cyberball, which was probably a strong inspiration...though I think I envisioned the "CyberWar League" as being teams of robotic gladiators (or sometimes just tanks) fighting it out. If you follow that link, you'll see a screenshot with some letter-based logos similar to my own...I'm not sure when I started trying my hand at it. This Cyberball Site is also a good site about the game.

Of course, making logos and/or backstories for fictional teams is about the geekiest thing I can think of, but I'm still tempted to make up a page collecting my old ideas...

News of the Moment
How comfortable would you feel if you were on a flight and the pilot asked all Christians onboard to raise their hands? I'd be kind of worried he'd turn out to be a "Look out below, we're goin' to Jesus! Yeeeeehaw!" type. Or someone who really didn't like those infidels on his plane...

Resource of the Moment
LAN3 was looking for a player for some obscure video format, and we googled up FILExt.com, a very deep reference for every file type you can think of. (See also: file-extensions.org but it doesn't seem as complete.)

I don't care what other geeks say, that file extensions are a lousy way to label filetype, that metadata deserves it's own little doohicky instead. In practice, I think it works out really well, and lets a file be one thing of content rather than one thing plus another metathing...very convenient for web stuff especially.

Political Smudge of the Moment
You know, I don't like that Kerry's the front-runner. He reminds me too much of Dukakis, the whole Massachusetts politico vibe. I think all he really has going for him is the way his military service record stacks against Bush, and I think that stories gonna get played out well before the election.

Admittedly, I think he has more going for him in a national election than Dean, but I still think Clark (with his military authority) or Edwards (with his general friendliness, something which actually wins elections) would be a better bet. I guess a Kerry/Edwards ticket might be the best I can hope for.

non, je ne regrette rien. well... maybe not rien rien, but whatever

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Quote of the Moment
"I like the tattoo. I like a woman who's not afraid to make a decision she'll regret later."
some guy on the Howard Stern show

Ramble and Link of the Moment
So, I guess this new Mac music-making software called GarageBand. One of my self-appointed projects for my 30s is to get back to music, at least to the point where I can put some of the riffs and beat patterns that I've used off and on since high school into a more permanenet format. I wonder how much better GarageBand is than some older, similar programs, like Cakewalk. Worth investing in a cheap Mac?

Essay of the Moment
A worthy essay if only for the title alone: Everything I Need To Know About Web Design I Learned Watching Oz (Oz, the "gritty" HBO Prison Drama (or as the author puts it, a don't-drop-the-soap-opera), not the classic movie.)

Link of the Moment
A historical look at Sexual or Erotic Films. Fairly dry reading in parts, it does end with some lists of the some of the best or most infamous scenes. It talks about my favorite flick, "Henry & June", and the NC-17 rating that never was allowed to be a way of making films for adults without the stigma of the X rating that porn had taken over.

Technlogy of the Moment
The 100-Million-Mile Network, debugging the Mars probes Spirit and Opportunity, with lessons for people doing technology on a more earthly scale.

i wish *i* could be filmed in the miracle of skeletorama

Saw a pretty cool movie last night..."The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra". (Got free passes the night earlier, in line for the Suicide Girls Burlesque show.) It is being distributed by Sony, but it was an indie film made on a $10K budget. It was legitimately funny, an Airplane-esque parody of 50s scifi/horror, except it never relied on breaking the fourth wall for laughs. You can see a preview at lostskeleton.com. I think it's playing this weekend at the Kendall cinema, with a few members of the cast on hand. Worth checking out, especially if you like supporting indie stuff.

Slashdot Goofery of the Moment
I didn't RTFA, but it sounds like they're just running ethernet cables (or OC12 or whatever) to Mars. Didn't they stop to think that the planets move? Ridiculous! The ESA and NASA really need to get their acts together.
You've never heard of bungee earthernet? It's the new standard.
Could they make that space elevator on top of that? That would be useful, just don't get out on the floor expecting "ladies' lingerie" when its actually "hard, lung popping vacuum and solar radiation".
--Deraj DeZine, FooGoo, and myself in the slashdot discussion on that "100-Million Mile Network" to Mars article I posted yesterday. My first (Score: 5, Funny) in a while. (The first comment is the best, though, "RTFA" is the abbreviation advising one to Read The Article linked to before brashly commenting on it, so Deraj DeZine is being pretty funny there.) The space elevator is a real concept though.

Politics of the Moment
Damn it, more argument that Edwards, not Kerry, is the democrats best hope to regain the whitehouse. Kerry just...reads wrong to a lot of people, on TV and what not. Even I can tell that, just like Bush reads really wrong to my crowd. Stupid democrats, their idiot bandwagoneering is going to cost them. UPDATE: As pointed out in today's comments, I was probably a little harsh just then. (But I wasn't saying everyone who supports Kerry was a bandwagoneer or an idiot.) Though I agree with the article I link to: I get the feeling a lot of Democrats are trying to think in terms of electability, which is well and good, but there are some indications that they're getting it wrong. If you're going to bandwagon, at least do so in a way that's likely to meet your goals. And if you prefer a candidate for more idealistic reasons, more power to you, but remember: a candidate who doesn't appeal to the swing vote for whatever reason is going to keep Bush in office.

Link of the Moment
It's the Parasite Pals Super Fun Site! Meet Holly Hostess and her friends, Dig Dig the Head Louse, Tickles the Tapeworm, Blinky the Eyelash Mite, and ZZeezz the Bed Bug. So cute! And so disgusting!

helloooooo, sarah!

So, Dylan's Pointless Sidebar is getting a little somethin'-somethin' extra; our friend Sarah will now hopefully be a regular contributor. Sarah's a pretty gal with great hair and an English accent. She and Dylan go way back to their days at Boston University. In fact, Sarah was probably Dylan's last great crush before he figured out he was all gay and stuff. Here are some old pictures of both of them just so you know your source of sidebar pointlessness that much better.

Quote and Link of the Moment
"Ideas rot if you don't do something with them.
Don't hoard them. I blog them or otherwise tell people."
I was amazed at how well Danny O'Brien described my geekish preferences and note-taking habits.

Art of the Moment
The Infinite Cat Project. I would've sent in a picture of Murphy, but it was near feeding time, and he was a lot more interested in food than some stupid monitor with a cat on it.

Cartoon of the Moment
One of the worst things I've ever heard: what might be the world's only Human Computer Interface (HCI) Rap. Man, it's painful even to type that. Though the cartoon it came from, "OK/Cancel", is actually pretty decent for geeks who try to make computers easier for squishy humans to use.

i can't stop this feeling, deep inside of me. it might be some kind of intestinal flu.

Woo, Friday the 13th. Sometimes it feels like I've been living a whole month of Friday the 13ths, especially this week. Fearing for my job, fearing for my emotional health...admittedly not the same as fearing I'm going to be sliced repeatedly by an evil man in a hockey mask, but that's just a movie.

Public Service of the Moment
If you have any reason to believe that your day may end up being short of your daily minimum allotment of David Hasselhoff, or if you are of German Descent*, Please Click Here

Prayer of the Moment
<Firefly> Time for my prayers:
<Firefly> Our Father, who 0wnz heaven, j00 r0ck!
<Firefly> May all 0ur base someday be belong to you!
<Firefly> May j00 0wn earth just like j00 0wn heaven.
<Firefly> Give us this day our warez, mp3z, and pr0n through a phat pipe.
<Firefly> And cut us some slack when we act like n00b lamerz, just as we teach n00bz when they act lame on us.
<Firefly> Please don't give us root access on some poor d00d'z box when we're too pissed off to think about what's right and wrong, and if you could keep the fbi off our backs, we'd appreciate it.
<Firefly> For j00 0wn r00t on all our b0x3s 4ever and ever, 4m3n.
For those not in the know, it's a parody of a certain type of hacker talk...kinda clever, actually.

Online Toy of the Moment
Admittedly I posted this 3 years ago, but this year I remembered to link to it before Valentine's Day, it's the ACME Heart Maker. Good fun if you're trying to be cute or if your just bitter and cynical like I am today.

News Coverage of the Moment
The Daily Show invents the Bush-on-Meet-the-Press drinking game! *Hic*

valentines, shmalentines

Art of the Moment

--"Cider, Redux". I made an artsy, morose sort of valentine for Mo using this technique, but it ended up to be more than I wanted to share here, even though it came out better than my second use of the technique, an old prose poem I made, and an earlier unrequited romance. UPDATE: I did two more that I sent into the loveblender, Accuse, Redux which came out well and To Sleep, Redux...plus I made a larger version of this one.

Geek Love Poem of the Moment
Roses are #FF0000
Violets are #0000FF
chown -R you ~/base
select text(or hit Ctrl-A) for translation:
"roses are red, violets are blue, all my base are belong to you"
(funny, that's two days in a row I've posted 'L33T-speak)

Quote of the Moment
"Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want form women: a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom."
Jerry Seinfeld

brilliant, yes, but evil

Art of the Moment

--Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't use this image for online personals after all, huh? The first 3 sentences I got from someone's .sig file on Usenet (later I found out it was from "Illuminatus!") the rest I made up for a poetry class in college.

Site Update of the Moment
I decided that that whole "you need time to judge your work" stuff is over-rated, so I added 2004 to my best of kisrael.com page now, rather than wait 'til the end of the year. (Like it says, it's not "best of", it's "Kirk's online arts and crafts", and so I can pretty easily predict what will make the list.)

Flash of the Moment
A day (and a year) late, a Flash Valentine from Chaoskitty with love.

Quote of the Moment
Lee's Law: Mother said there would be days like this, but she never said that there'd be so many!
QotD at slashdot

jung and hung

You know, some times I feel like an "Onion" headline: Area Man Projects Anxieties About Impending Divorce Onto Cats. "They seemed kind of stressed out, you think they know somethings up?" "They're really after attention these days, are you going to be able to pet them enough?" When mostly, of course, I'm worried about how I'm stressed out, and not being pet enough.

Photo of the Moment
--"Home Depot is on an Heroic Scale". Mo and I engaged in an epic struggle to get ceiling tile.

Slash Fiction of the Moment
I've decided to Mom-filter this very, very funny (and not really very explicit) bit of porn-lite "slash" fiction by Michael Kelly...what if Freud and Jung got it one? Select the text below or hit Ctrl-A to view.
'I had a dream last night, Siggy.'
'It was you and me together skipping in a field. Und then this great serpent appeared and slithered into a cave.'
'Du lieber gott! Do you know what you are saying to me? Do you know what zis serpent means?'
'Ja, it is some manifestation of the World-Spirit.'
'Dummkopf! It is my cock! Ze serpent is my cock that you are craving!'
'Nein, nein! All ze time you think of cock! The serpent is some Kundalini thing.'
'Stop mit zis craziness! The serpent is my great big cock that you cannot get out of your mind. Admit you want it!'
'Nein, nein, is some archetype, Ouroboros ze great world-serpent maybe.'
'My hot throbbing cock is ze great serpent of the world and you want it bad! Look, look, look at my cock that you crave inside you!'
Freud unzipped himself triumphantly.
'That thing?' said Jung in surprise. 'That looks like a cigar.'

>Transfer interrupted

Code of the Moment
Kuro5hin.org has an overview of some of the comments in the leaked Microsoft Windows code. Fascinating stuff, especially the coders griping about other software they have to put in little fixes for. Because it just quotes comments and not code, it should be "safe" for people working on open source stuff or other companies to read without fear of being accused of stealing code...

Candy of the Moment
When the hell did M&Ms get 21 different colors? I thought it was a big deal when they had like, 5 or 6 and added red back in. (That link lets you mix and match colors which will then be sent to you with a seperate bag for each color....ahh, brave new world that has such wonders in it! Plus they have a calculator online to answer that nagging question "Having a Party? How Many M&sMs Will You Need?")

some say poison, some say ice

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Anecdote of the Moment
"I have two children, one of each. My son enjoys playing with Lego Bionicles, and his sister sometimes likes to play with them too. These are robot/monster type toys that can be assembled and rebuilt to some degree.
One morning our son comes in our room and shows us that he has taken parts from two of the Bionicles and created a new one that has two dangerous weapons, poison and ice. He describes all the ways his new toy can fight enemies.
Then our daughter comes in with Gali Nuva, the blue Bionicle. She likes this one because it's her favorite color. She says Gali Nuva is going to put on a show and do gymnastics and singing and dancing, so everyone will sit and watch and enjoy the show.
I am thinking to myself that there is a huge difference between how girls and boys play with the same toy.
Then my daughter continues, 'So when they're all watching really carefully, Gali Nuva can kill them.'"
Maddi Hausmann Sojourner, via rec.humor.funny

Quote of the Moment
These spots are based on a now-common prank, in which you steal your neighbor's lawn gnome, lug it around the world, and mail back photos of the gnome astride far-flung landmarks. Whoever first thought to do this is, in my book, an unparalleled genius (and a genius of my favorite stripe, too: useless genius).
I like that idea useless genius. If it's not too immodest to say I think I have the tiniest dab of that from time to time, but emphasis on the "useless", and actually fairly easily paralleled.

Link of the Moment
My old boss and friend Kiran sent me What Brand Are You?, after we started talking about my company's post-merge name of "Velosant". (I can just hear the focus group crowd thinking..."it's like 'Agilent'...but with velocity!") That branding tool is funny, though I think it's just pretending to look at your inputs ,and gives you a randomly select name and 'hook'. Refresh a few times and see some of the options... (I guess the site got BBC coverage when people started using the names for real...)

Sad Headline of the Moment
Despite what OutKast would have you believe, Polaroid users warned not to "shake it". Another happy tradition shot down by grim reality. (Polaroids are conceptually coolish, though I would guess they're having their lunch eaten by digital photography.)

dean's down

For the record, I wasn't nagging Dylan to give the details about what happened to his partner Tom, but I thought it would make an interesting sidebar. I guess Dylan just isn't the emotion exhibitionist I am...

Videos of the Moment
Cool and existential and melancholy stick-figure music video Doorsteps (it has a more sexually violent and nihilistic music video, I Love Death) The music is good in both, and the animation style is compelling. (In the same style the site has the game domestic violence, kind of a warped rock-paper-scissors variant)

Quote of the Moment
No one gets too old to learn a new way of being stupid.
slashdot QotD

Image and Toy of the Moment
CITIZEN: please report to the Categorical Barcode Generation Site to receive your appropriate identifying barcode. Here's mine!

Observation of the Moment
This is not, it would appear, the best time of year for Oranges.

atari music mojo

I got my Atari music mojo working in my upcoming 2600 game. Instructions for running it in an emulator are on that page, though if I can figure out a way to record an mp3 or something I'll post it.

ChatBot of the Moment
I just found out out about a new AIM chatbot, ZolaOnAOL. Kind of like SmarterChild, but doesn't want you to pay money...some useful stuff like news headlines, movie times, etc.

Diagrams of the Moment
More comprehensive yet somehow less satisfying than Lore's famous Geek Hierarchy Chart, it's the Pagan Who-Looks-Down-on-Whom diagram.

Article of the Moment
Slashdot linked to a Fast Company group of articles, What We Learned In The New Economy. Man, I really miss the old new economy. This new new economy sucks.

Game of the Moment
Odd little puzzle game, GROW. Items attached to the sphere level-up other items previously attached, and the goal is to try and max everything out. I'm half tempted to geekily learn how to get the 20K max solution, but alas, more pressing needs...err, press.

random flowers

Charity of the Moment
Chip in to send flowers to random gay people waiting in line to get married in San Francisco...very cool idea.

Death Match of the Moment
Which icon of the old school would win?
80s Rapper
  70s Computer
Street Cred
Well-regarded by hardcore fans Hated by millions of schoolkids
Advantage: KRS-ONE
Black Monochrome
Advantage: KRS-ONE
Google Hits
81,200 88, 500
Advantage: Too Close To Call
Personal Feelings
Liked that line "and war...is just a game on Atari" Eh, this little "dancing demon" game was cute
Advantage: KRS-ONE
Name Meaning
"Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone" "Tandy Radio Shack for the 80s"
Advantage: KRS-ONE
English BASIC
Advantage: Tie
Doug E Fresh Commodore 64
Advantage: TRS-80


Bushism of the Moment
"Haven't we already given money to rich people? Why are we going to do it again?"
"Stick to principle. Stick to principle."
Bush Jr (in an unguarded moment) and Karl Rove, a November 2002 meeting on the second round of taxcuts.
MullyMolly Ivins says that even tops her previous favorite Bushism, his October 4 2001 proclamation that "We need to counter the shockwave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates."

School Headline of the Moment
College Republicans battle sex events: Tufts University hosts 'Condom Olympics,' 'Vulvapalooza'
"'The gratuitousness of these events is incredible,' said Tufts Republicans President Philipp Tsipman."...he says that like it's a bad thing. (And how do you pronounce Tsipman, anyway?) Go Jumbos! Now I'm slightly more likely to give my alma mater money. Sometime.

he's the strongest he's the quickest he's the best

Music of the Moment
Making the rounds, at least 'til it gets shutdown, is The Grey Album. It's a "mashup" of the Beatle's "White Album" with rapper Jay-Z's "The Black Album" by DJ Danger Mouse. (Jay-Z purposefully released a vocals-only version of his music for remixing.) EMI is looking to remove it from the planet, and its efforts have probably increased the album's popularity tenfold. It sounds really good, actually.

Heh. Danger Mouse. That was a great cartoon.

Article of the Moment
Yikes, almost eerily straightforward and practical advice on Having an Affair, from the New York Observer.

Nerosis Fodder of the Moment
Could my new electric shaver be frying my brain, slowly?

canst thou play the lute?

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Dang, what happened to my two beacons of sidebar pointlessness? It was looking so good there for a while...I guess I'll have to work extra hard on the pointlessness of the main section...

Link of the Moment
--A quick chuckle, it's the rediscovered tapestry art of Qveere Eye for thye Medieval Man.

News of the Moment
So Ralph Nader is running for president. Sorry Ralph, but I think your lie about there not being a dime's worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats might hamper your chances, you putz.

Online Toy of the Moment
This site beleives that true greek online social networks should definately be about sharing the Mandelbrot Set. A pretty decent version of that classic Geek mathism.

because every game is better with a pterodactyl


So I had a very productive day at Atari 2600 hacking yesterday...I added Joust's "Pterry" into my JoustPong mix. (My graphic shown here.) I was very pleased with how much coding and debugging I got done. If this week goes well I should be able to release at PhillyClassic.

Atari of the Moment
Speaking of all things Atari, yesterday I stumbled onto The Atari 2600 Fun Facts And Information Guide, a 1997 FAQ about what was going on, a peek back into the homebrew scene of the time.

Quote of the Moment
"If there are any gods whose chief concern is man, they can't be very important gods."
Arthur C. Clarke.
That is an interesting matter of perspective!

Exercise of the Moment
The New Yorker had a good piece on the Aryan Brotherhood, a very powerful gang within the prison system. ("Oz" showed them a lot.) The article had a quick side note to a popular prison exercise known as a "Burpee"...I found this page describing the routine. (In case you were wondering, with the descending rep sequence, 20 would be 210 reps in all, 25 would be 325, and 30 would be 465. Though somehow I think me writing a tiny computer program to figure that out is indicitive of how my butt would get so beat down in anything but the most country club of prisons...)

Advice of the Moment
Jazz great Charles Mingus on training a cat to use a toilet. That seems like a very cool thing to do, though I've heard others advice against wanting to cat to learn how flush, since giving a cat a running water toy might not be such a good thing.

best of times, worst of times, blah blah blah

What an odd day yesterday was. I took a half day from work, went to downtown Boston, and signed to have the house refinanced in my name. With a bit of luck, that means I'm sitting on a pile of money. Came home, Peterman called, wanted to leave his truck over here during his two week vacation in Hawaii. I didn't know he was going to Hawaii, but sure, whatever. (Actually the driveway here is a bit of a parking lot, with Peterman's truck and Jane's(slightly delayed from returning from her Africa trip) car. So took him back to Cambridge, and then had a hell of a nice dinner at Carambola with Rob Baum, an old buddy from Event Zero days. Funny guy; just this dry sense of humor, sometimes we can get this great patter going over a meal. So came back home, decided to add one feature to JoustPong, got caught up in super difficult to diagnose bugs (My variables didn't. My constants weren't), and I was totally apoplectic. When I get like that, as frustrating as the 2600 stuff was, I figure it's also my way of raging at some other things in my life I'm not so happy with, but still.

Then to top it off, something in that mix totally threw off my personal Feels Like Forecast. At some point after going to bed but before waking up, I was totally willing to believe (hoping?) that the next day was a weekend. Very disconcerting.

Divorce is teaching me one thing though: pretty much every damn sidetable and furniture with shelves? Mo's.

Video of the Moment
Best. Commercial. Ever. Maybe I should just convince myself that I Feel Great. (Passed this around to some online buddies. Turns out it had already made the rounds, but still.) Sawers said someone described the commercial as cramming a Coen brothers film into 60 seconds and like, on amphetamines. Great music, lovely absurdist scenario, excellent acting... (actually, does anyone know if that music is from somewhere else?)

Quote of the Moment
I love the vast surface of silence; and it is my chief delight to break it.
Music, as personified in a monologue by Danish composer Carl Nielsen.

Amendment Hopefully Not of Any Damn Moment
"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."
When I heard it, I immediately thought that the second part rules out civil unions...apparently there's some debate on whether it does or not, what do you think?

Frickin' tyranny-of-the-majority populism...we shouldn't have let Southern Legislatures vote on their "peculiar institution" or on segregation, and this kind of civil right shouldn't be subjected to a popular vote either.

Fun Link of the Moment
Slashdot linked to The Toy Fair's Top 10 Strangest Products. Fun stuff...those "Blade Racers" look really cool.

the london wonderground

Link of the Moment
Oh for cute! 15 years ago Paul Middlewick 'discovered' this elephant in the London Tube Map (the "Real Underground" flash movie link on that page is pretty cool) and now people have spotted have more animals on the underground. My mom's coming into the home stretch of her 3-year stay in London, it'll be nice to have her back stateside, animals or no.

Observation of the Moment
When a cat won't live houseplants alone, but ignores a piece of lettuce accidentally dropped on the floor...is it just being ornery?

Music Video of the Moment
Sterogram's music video "Walkie Talkie Man" is making the rounds (but was unavailable before). As LAN3 says: "Here's a pretty inventive music video. A mix of stop-motion, live action, and knitting."

guess again

Quote of the Moment
"Only a fool is sure of anything, a wise man keeps on guessing."
MacGyver quoting Harry in the episode "The Stringer"

Epic of the Moment
Brilliant first 3 parts in some Flash-animation "Fan Fiction" that recasts the struggles of Mario and the mushroom kingdom in an almost awe-inspiring epic light. I kind of hope they leave it as is: as it stands, it would be a perfect prelude to the first Mario Brothers game, changing it from a goofy "save the princess" game to a Heroic struggle for redemption. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Link of the Moment
Reason's Daily Brickbats, tales of bureaucratic stupidity and corruption (with a liberterian agenda, natch.)

you can quote me on that

Tool of the Moment

DIY Toy of the Moment
Heh, I remember playing around with this Matchstick Rockets site at IDD in '96 or so. Big fun, just try not to get invaded for suspicion of WMD.

Quote of the Moment
When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
C. S. Lewis

Art Toilet of the Moment
This cellar.org Image of the Day is this London public lavatory lined with one way mirrors so you can see out but others can't see in. (On the message board someone asks what about at night, if there's a light on inside is everything visible?) Still, cool idea, and an artistically interesting idea about privacy and public spaces.

Ramble of the Moment
In a recent livejournal entry, Mo says "Have sworn to finally get a tattoo this summer. No more pussyfooting! Prolly something smallish on my back." (She actually mentioned to me that she almost hesitated putting it in, because she knew it would provoke comment from me...well here it is...) I just find it very odd that she doesn't know what she wants, just something, probably abstract. I mean, I guess it's not that weird a viewpoint, either she sees a line between people-with-tattoos and people-without-tattoos as a kind of social grouping, and she wants to be on the other side of that line, or maybe she just thinks it looks better and more interesting than nothing (or if it's usually hidden, some kind of peekaboo surprise), or maybe she just finds it a cool concept. But overall, just wanting "a" tattoo seems a little teenie-bopperish to me. (It's mostly a fear of needles that's kept her from one thus far.)

Of course, if I got a tattoo, that would be totally different. Mostly because I know exactly what I'd get: a small Alien Bill, like the one at the top of kisrael.com.

I suspect she finds some solace in the way tattoos don't seem as permanent now as they use to seem. Bill the Splut was right: dermabrasion is the industry of the future--maybe event the present.

my bitter friend

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Story of the Moment
My bitter friend Delirium and I had a sleepover. We got up and went to the kitchen to get a glass of juice. I said,"What kind of juice do you Want?" I want hemlock juice! I went to the fridge. I looked in and there was no hemlock juice, so we had milk instead!
--Brooke and some anonymous kidlet. It was a Mad-Libs type affair, with Brooke let filling in the blanks of the kidlet's paragraph. The tale of emergent insanity is quite terrific. More details in her journal.

Quote of the Moment
"The idea is to die young as late as possible."
--Ashley Montague

Game of the Moment
Tail Gunner is a Java remake of an old 8-bit game...very simple, you're riding on the back of some kind of spaceship, and have to use the mouse to target the starfighters that are on your tail and blast them to bits.

Video of the Moment
The Cat With Hands...nightmarish, a bit disturbing, and cool.

leaping into the future!

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Whoa, it took two cute little froggies in a Goggle holiday logo to remind me that today is Leap Day! The day that only comes around once every 4 years, and brings the Summer Olympics and a Presidential Election with it. When I was a kid I was fascinated by the idea of someone having a birthday on this day, how your birthday could just go away 3/4 of the time...you could get a driver's license on your fourth birthday! Or drink when you were six! Hahaha! Amazing!

Query of the Moment
Dear Dr. Science,
Why is there always room for Jello?
       --Mike P.

The technical term for Jello, I believe, is 2, 2, 4 Trimethylpentane in a colloidal mucous base. Early attempts to promote sales of the colorful and somewhat tasty product failed to catch on, perhaps because of their slogan "There's always room for 2, 2, 4 Trimethylpentane in a colloidal mucous base." Then they hired a copywriter to coin a catchier phrase for the product; the rest is history.

Movie Quote of the Moment
[on his appreciation of lesbians] Oh, God love them. They get so much done in a day, don't you think?
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter is a low-budget Canadian indie musical/chop-socky flick. With lots of lesbian vampires. My favorite character name? "Mary Magnum".

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