2004 March❮❮prevnext❯❯


So I'm aiming to head down to the video game convention PhillyClassic, March 20-21. I have one road buddy lined up, some guy from MIT, to split gas, tolls, and rooming expense...anyone else interested? It's kind of cool, lots of video game wackiness, tons of arcade games set up for free play. I'm going to release JoustPong there, amusingly I'll probably be asked to sign the game boxes and what not...let me know if you want to tag along, it's a fun weekend roadtrip. UPDATE: think I got a full civic load to head down there.

Inspiration of the Moment
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Of course, so does falling down a flight of stairs."
Richard Doty
Never say die. I've tried it, and it doesn't actually make people die.
Tom McCudden
"The early bird gets the worm. But then, you can also get a worm by drinking a whole bottle of tequila."
Ben Schwalb
"Every dawn brings us a fresh start, because we never freakin' learn, do we?"
Tom Witte
It takes a village to raise a child to hate all of the people in the next village.
Charles Star
"The key to someone's heart is never lost: It's just that the locks were changed 'cause your some kind of psycho."
Jean Sorensn
"You can do anything if you want it bad enough. That is why we see so many people that can fly."
Elden Carnahan
--from a contest in The Washington Post, via "Planet Proctor" in "The Funny Times".

Games of the Moment
Speaking of videogame wackiness, Lore of Brunching Shuttlecocks fame is starting a new site, Little Fluffy Industries, a blog dedicated to cataloging all the free web-based games out there. One that immediately caught my eye was Warthog Launch, an extremely compelling game. It's a 2D homage to a sport people invented by gamers fooling around with Halo when they realized they could send the indestructable "Warthog" jeeps soaring by piling grenades underneath and then shooting. (I kisrael'd that previously.) With this online version, it's very satisfying to figure out how to get all the floating aliens. Good UI too, marred only by having no way of resuming a previous game.

Toy of the Moment
Old wine in new technological bottles, it's Bush Unmasked.


Mo moves out today. The house is mine mine mine all mine!

Unfortuntely all the decorative tchotchkes were hers hers hers all hers. I need to do some decorating or something.

UPDATE: I actually wrote that last night. Doing so-so today; maybe it's a bit tougher than I expected.

Film Review of the Moment
"The Passion" strips Jesus of his message, ignores (for the most part) both his humanity and his spirituality, and reduces him to a suffering cipher. In Gibson's hands, Jesus becomes the central figure in a work of blood-soaked homosexual pornography. This film is a two-hour-long BDSM session, with Jesus playing "bottom" for a Jerusalem teeming with ruthless gay Doms.
Gibson has bragged about the fact that, on screen, his is the hand that drives the first nail. We are told that he made this gesture to emphasize his own sense of sin. Yes, Mel, we know. You've been a bad boy. You've been a VERY bad boy.

Bemoaning of the Moment
So, like I said, Mo moved out today. She went out early to get some Dunkin' Donuts coffee and brought me back an iced coffee and one of those "Apple Pie" pastries they have which are really pretty good. You know, I was fine in an oblivious kind of way 'til she wanted to hug; then I dunno, maybe things started to hit me more.

Right before I was ready to head to work I asked for a goodbye kiss; she acquiesced and we kissed and then hugged again. She said I was going to be ok. I told her thanks for everything, and also "better luck next time". She gave me a kind of a funny look; yeah, the line had kind of occurred to me before the embrace, but it wasn't meant as just a stinger. There is a legitimate hope that she finds what she's looking for, and that maybe she can get to it without having to go through something like this again. But "next time", of course, is the troublesome bit; half a year ago I didn't think there was going to have to be a "next time" and right now I really don't think Mo put nearly enough effort into trying to make our relationship work, just emotionally cut bait when she figured it wasn't meeting her needs.

I feel a bit like a loser and also like so much in our wedding has been made into a lie.

Last week Dylan sidebar'd about how some of the problems of our wedding and how maybe in retrospect they seem like omens. Here's what I wrote about the near-wedding disasters on loveblender a year and a half ago on our first anniversary. Back then I ended it "And at the end of it all I have Mo, so how can I be anything but happy?" and that's no longer true.

Game of the Moment
LAN3 pointed out that to promote the new (and highly regarded) Prince of Persia game, they've released a Flash version of the original. (Though with the SNES graphics, not the original PC's, which had the main character dressed up in a white tunic ala Luke Skywalker in a New Hope...I remember playing that game along with an excellent port of Ironman Ivan Stewart's Super Off Road on a PC during my trip to Portugal.)

i voted, didn't help

So Goodbye / Super Tuesday / Who can place the blame on you / For Kerry it's just a brand new day / Edwards I'm gonna miss you

Quote of the Moment
"It's almost like Sept. 11 is a software glitch where you go: 'Yeah, you know, that never happened! Ah, nah, forget it.' Some of the thoughts are just so unspeakable and so scary that you don't want to spend your life worried about all this stuff."
I've seen glitches like that.

Illegal Art of the Moment

--"Disneyland Memorial Orgy" by Wally Wood. You can see a larger version here. Interesting subversive use of some well known characters.

Advice of the Moment
"Thanks t'him an' some other people I hadn't counted on, I got moved in time. But that ain't all I wanna tell ya. There's a lesson in this. Nuts to the so-called friends a' yers who grin in yer face but ain't there when you need 'em. People like that are a dime a dozen. Friendliness is not one of the first things I look for in a friend. The most important things are honesty an' reliability. Gimme a sour-faced buddy who returns phone calls, shows up when he's supposed to, and pays his debts when they're due. This is a tough world, folks. We all need help t' get by so help yer friends an' make sure they help you or know th' reason why."
Harvey Pekar, the American Splendor anthology.
I really think he's right on about friendship. I mean, I think being interesting and sharing activities is important as well, but reliability is right up there. Excellent book, by the way...the best $16 I've spent in a while. Amazon has it cheaper, but I think it's better karma to buy it from a local comic place if possible.

Pekar reminds me a bit of my best friend from high school Mike Witczak. I don't know if it's the jewish eastern european thing, the east side of Cleveland, or what, but they have some similar qualities: intelligent, interested in music, a cynical outlook, some frustrations in life plan. I dunno.

Link of the Moment
The Accidental Video Game Porn Archive for the inner middle schooler in all of us. I think "Ring King" is the one that started it. It reminds me of this one animated GIF I put together, Dig Dug Does Do based on someone's comment on the usenet group rec.games.video.classic.

bachelor boy

Aargh, I'm going through what I hope is a temporary bachelor boy phase...some of it's just the trauma of my personal life, and the fact that some rooms used to be filled with stuff that turned out to be Mo's. (Though I did bring up the long folding table for the dining room, and move the one-tableish-thing-with-drawers I have to my name out to the front room so it doesn't look so bare) And I have big intentions of doing a massive cleanup but I the atari game is taking up pretty much all of my free time. I'm also willing to cut myself a little slack for a little while...I just have to make sure I don't let myself go too much.

I feel like I'm in the need of a Queer-Eye-for-the-Straight-Guy style makeover. Maybe spend a little money on stuff and not be such a cheapskate. But, I need to see what my living arrangement ends up as first.

Another issue is...I don't know, I feel a lot more apathetic in general since everything is now "just for me". I wasn't expecting that, frankly. But I guess since I'm so easy-going, when I don't have to take someone else's opinion into consideration, my standards might slip because of my inherent laziness. I also miss having a second opinion on everything. My wishy-washiness is coming back to haunt me.

Website of the Moment
GodHatesShrimp, a parody of this ugly site. For a while, I thought the latter crowd had a point that homosexuality was bibically "an abomination" while some of the other things (you know, like polycotton blends) were just smaller sins, but it looks like seafood is right there in the abomination category as well. Yeesh.

Toy of the Moment
Awesome--PsychoStudio lets you edit your own Psycho shower scene, using Hitchcock's original raw footage!

Conspiracy Theory of the Moment
Salon.com reporting that Howard Stern thinks it was his Bush-bashing that got him kicked off Clear Channel stations...including in some "swing states". I've started listening to Stern sometimes. It's often really pointless and annoying and juvenile, but sometimes it's really funny, and it's nicely paced, with all the commercials bunched together. The article quotes trade magazine editor Michael Harrison as saying "Howard Stern will be an influential force for the public and for other talk show hosts during the election. Despite the shock jock thing, Stern has credibility. He's looked upon as an honest person" and I think that's right on the money.

LiveJournal of the Moment
Betcha didn't know the Mars explorer Opportunity has a livejournal...and the personality of a teenage girl to go with it.


Quote and Link of the Moment
I was against gay marriage until I realized I didn't have to have one.
James Carvell, Clinton's old campaign manager. Great quote!
Also, it's worth point out that 92 years ago, another amendment was proposed, to abolish racial intermarriage.

Anti-gay marriage activists ask "but where do we draw the line", and I personally think it should be drawn at the ability to give meaningful consent. Which does allow some things that people may find distasteful (group marriage, siblings) but still.

Coins of the Moment
Looks like we might be getting a new nickel design in honor of the Louisiana Purchase. They say it's the first new nickel in over 60 years...not as cool as the state quarters, but still. (Also, nickels are my least favorite coin. Way too bulky for their value. Jefferson is a handsome man, however.)

Quote of the Moment
Live in a world of your own, but always welcome visitors.
Slashdot QotD

Tool of the Moment
You know what's a slightly underappreciated device? The basic envelope slitter / letter opener. It seems much better designed than those would-be macho sword types, and is a lot neater than the old jam-a-finger-or-key-and-rip technique. You just work the pointy-but-not-dangerous tip into the corner of the flap, and then it guides the cutting part safely where it needs to go. That's a really good design. Much easier to use than the oft-praised stapler remover, but admittedly the opener lacks the remover's fun resemblance to a ferocious biting monster head.

Anyway, I just got a free promotional envelope slitter at work. It had a place for me to put my business card, and like a dork, I put my business card there and brought it home.

chernobyl is not "cher's full name"

Link of the Moment
Boingboing linked to this pretty amazing photoblog about a woman motorcycling through the deadzones of Chernobyl. I guess if you stick to the road itself the radiation isn't so bad at this point? Something like that. (And when you're a hardcore motorcycle enthusiast, the chance for wide open roads without meeting any other vehicle outweighs the risk...I mean if you're that into motorcycles, you're probably not that risk-adverse to begin with. To put it charitably.) Still, some very haunting photos. People also recommend the book Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl by Robert Polidori.

80s Culture of the Moment
Bill the Splut pointed out X-Entertainment's Tribute to Shitty He-Man Coloring Books. Laugh out loud in a few places. X-Entertainment is pretty good, kind of like a poor man's Seanbaby, except before he sold out to write lame stuff for EGM and stopped updating his site.

stomp, crush, crumble and chomp

Invitation of the Moment
So I'm turning 30 at the end of the month. I decided on a three part party format: video games in the afternoon, then dinner at Summer Shack near Alewife, than back to my place for the booze and shmooze. I was pretty proud of the ebiteevite (nice typo!) I came up with, kind of a Godzilla-theme. (His decade-birthday is coming up as well.) I mentioned that there would be dancing, and then provided this link to a preview of the dancing.

So if you're a Boston-area friend of Kirk and didn't get an evite, let me know, I probably just got your email wrong...

Link of the Moment
Brooke reminded me of Fenslerfilm, primarily old GI Joe Public Service Announcements redubbed and remixed into absurdist theater. The first one PSA01 is pretty representative, and PSA17 made me laugh for a while...

on nicknames

In yesterday's comments, Sarah used an old nickname of mine, "Kirkles", which Max picked up on...just thought I'd mention on the front page that "Kirkles" has a long and undistinguished history, when I was dating a gal named Lynn in high school, and our mutual friends envisioned us gazing at one another and blissfully sighing:
"Oh, Lynnie-Pooh"
"My Kirkles..."
As far as diminutive nicknames go, Kirkles ain't so bad. (Though I just now realized that "Lynnie" sounds like "Winnie", as in "the". Huh, wonder if that was intentional.) Mo used it sometimes I think, along with some other folk. Like, Sarah for instance.

My best-highschool-buddy Mike "Woodchuck" Witczak was the most frequent person to tease with that name, though my counter-nickname for him, "Chuckles", outlasted "Kirkles" in regular usage. Alas, both "Woodchuck" (which I thought was a pretty clever play on his last name, he had had it from middle school) and "Chuckles" lost out to the (in my opinion) sadly pedestrian "Mookie" when Mike went to college and joined a geek frat.

(Hmmm--it's like a pointless sidebar, minus the sidebar!)

Tool of the Moment
Speaking of things I'll always associate with high school, there's an awesome Calvin and Hobbes search engine. Its extensively keyword indexed, though I kind of wish there was a way of sorting the results by date.

Link of the Moment
Gamespot has a history of the most controversial videogames. Heh, Chiller.

get your rah rahs

Study of the Moment
Slashdot linked to a study The Command Line - The Best Newbie Interface? pointing out that, counter-intuitively, it might be easy for novice users to get a mental model of a computer and generally feel less distracted by using the "evil command line". Heh, maybe the crapness of old-school DOS spoiled it for a generation or more...I mean wasn't that the first "...for Dummies" book?

Quote of the Moment
"Do you think all any of us really want, deep down, is to be loved?"
"No, we want to be rich, to be admired, to eat like a horse and be skinny as a snake. To have small children ask for our autographs, to be on terrific medications that make us calm and witty and sexy. To sing Irving Berlin and Gershwin and Porter at the Oak Room and be described in the Times as 'luminous.' But in the absence of all that, it's enough to be loved."
Mr. Blue

Product of the Moment
Special translucent clingy shirts that look as if you're wearing a full body tattoo. I know Mo's thinking her new life is best adorned by getting up the gumption to get a real tattoo, albeit a small one, but maybe she chould practice with one of these.

ipod upod we all pod for ipod

So I got an iPod yesterday. It's a bit on the excessively trendy side, but you know. "Consumer Electronics are the balm for my divorce stricken soul." I'm counting it as an early birthday gift to myself, since one thing I'd like to do is use it for my birthday party. I got the car kit as well, since I have high hopes it might finally be able to solve my music-in-the-car problems, that old CD juggling act.

Being able to put my entire CD collection in such a tiny little box...it's pretty amazing. But besides the road music and trendy group identification, I'm hoping it will bring me back to my music collection in a way I've lost. I just haven't been listening to CDs that much lately. Of course, it won't be like the old days anyway; I'm not much of a music purist, but it seems like the iPod encourages people to treat songs as free floating atoms, not as part of larger album molecules.

You know, it's been years and years since I've regularly used a personal stereo. There are definite issues of "I'm in my own space here" when you do, but mostly, it's odd to be bopping down the hallway jiving to my old tunes. It makes me think I don't have enough music in my life right now.

Slate.com had an article on the iPod ads (the same ones I imitate above with an old favorite picture of me.) Though the article points out the use of shadows risks making the product more important than the people, I think it misses how what's cool about those ads is how great those people are dancing, something the diamond ads were missing.

Oh, by the way, Apple Stores are kind of weird, such an odd try at a mass-market boutique. (Which was also strongly reflected in the packaging of the iPod, kind of like origami. Even the shopping bags are high end, strong plastic, with drawstrings looping all the way through, top and bottom, I guess you could use it as a backpack.) Part of me realized that the Apple Store is really the place to go if you have a strong urge to be sold a computer by a cute gay person.

Quote of the Moment
"We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers."
Carl Sagan.
Of course, it feels a little goofy having such a majestic quote after a big article about my new toy...what was my question and answer yesterday? "Would I like an iPod?" "Heck yeah!"

Link of the Moment
Bill pointed out a group livejournal dedicated to making fun of bad fanfiction. Fan fiction, such an odd phenomenon...

tragedy in spain

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Condolences to Spain, the terrorism they've suffered is awful. (Originally I wrote "unspeakably" awful...but I think we have to be unflinching in our willingness to talk about it and take appropriate action.) I wonder if if it will end up being the Basque seperatists or Al Qaeda... it probably doesn't mean anything, but it is kind of odd how the date is exactly 6 months, half a year, from 9/11. I suppose another disturbing tidbit is how the police were already on high alert, having caught those two guys with 1,000 lbs of explosive on February 29th, but this precisely orchestrated series of bomb attacks still happened.

Geekery of the Moment
Sawers sent me an interesting hardware hack with a description that gets pretty deeply into the 6502 assembly code that was generated: Super Mario Clouds. He hacked a Super Mario Brothers cartridge to leave nuthin' but the clouds, which is kind of poetic. The artist, Cory Arcangel, has a homepage with some other stuff, including the amusing on several levels I Shot Andy Warhol.

Game Review of the Moment
Jeff: Yea, truly this is the Game of all soccer games.
Tom: That's a bit like saying Home Depot's Midnight Blue is the best paint to watch dry.
Jeff: Your dislike of soccer, and soccer games, is noted.
Tom: I cite Jonathan Chait's New Republic piece from July 2002: Soccer is the sport of "shaggy athletic misfits." Chait reminded us that A) no non-soccer-playing country has ever lost a war to a soccer-playing country, and B) people have been saying soccer is the American sport of the future for going on 25 years. Face it, man: You love a slow, boring, pinko sport.
Very funny sarcastic reviews.

Article of the Moment
Guardian on Don Norman, who wrote the book "The Design of Everyday Things" (formerly the Psychology of Everyday Things, ironically, it turns out that it wasn't a very good 'design' to title your book so it had a clever acronym like "POET"). He's getting into more of the emotional and aesthetic side of things, rather than the strictly utilitarian. I suppose my strict utilitarian aesthetic could use some work, though I still have a strong dislike for most "ornamentation for the sake of ornamentation." (Except for gargoyles.)

Of course, iPod is a tremendous example of how design and group identification can outweight some other concerns, like cost.


Last night I decided to figure out what I needed for a party-able stereo system, using the iPod as the main music source...Mo took her receiver and better speakers, but it turns out that a combination of an iPod, my big TV as a stereo receiver, some old not-too-impressive AIWA shelf system speakers, and my surprisingly large subwoofer (once Christmas I asked for an "AIWA subwoofer", thinking I'd get the breadbox-sized piece I saw bundled with the newer AIWA systems, but she got me something the size of a medium-sized microwave) puts out a decent amount of noise and should be quite adequate for a party. I figure I'll be all cool, and have a DVD or videogame on just for the pictures, both for the random funkness as well as making sure the TV doesn't shut itself off.

I'm no audiophile, but I get a kick out of putting together a danceable stereo system out of spare parts.

Music of the Moment
Speaking of random music, the front page of ghetto-blaster.com has some cool little electronica riffs.

Anecdote of the Moment
While transporting mental patients from Harare to Bulawayo, the bus driver stopped at a roadside shebeen (beerhall) for a few beers. When he got back to his vehicle, he found it empty, with the 20 patients nowhere to be seen. Realizing the trouble he was in if the truth were uncovered, he halted his bus at the next bus stop and offered lifts to those in the queue. Letting 20 people board, he then shut the doors and drove straight to the Bulawayo mental hospital, where he hastily handed over his 'charges', warning the nurses that they were particularly excitable. Staff removed the furious passengers; it was three days later that suspicions were roused by the consistency of stories from the 20. As for the real patients: nothing more has been heard of them and they have apparently blended comfortably back into Zimbabwean society.
Take stories like this with a grain of salt, but man...that is such a brilliant idea.

Article of the Moment
Slate.com on the Military's upcoming gadgets. Some cool stuff in there!

T-Shirt of the Moment
Jane models the T-shirts I'll be bundling with JoustPong at PhillyClassic next weekend! I think they came out very well. Josh at Salisbury Sales let me make a batch of 60 for a *great* price...I'd recommend them. Custom T-shirts are fun!

if love is a white dress

Yeesh of the Moment
So last night I pick up a message on my answering machine.

I don't know what the right word is for this...it's not quite irony, I'm wondering if there's some general term for this salt-in-the-wound concept... but the long-term storage preperation for Mo's wedding dress is now complete, and the dress can be picked up.

(Of course, this ignores the apparent insanity of taking over a year to clean up a frickin' dress, but still.)


Toy of the Moment
Virtual Lite-Brite. I guess it deals with the main problem of the original, which was that once you poked holes through that black background paper, you were stuck either using just those holes, or having bright white light peaking through the background of your creation.


Odd, I was about to post a link to this funny lab writeup but then I realized I already kisraelized it...and oddly, that day (for a joke) I used a subtitle style I was just thinking about adopting, namely simply dropping the "of the Moment" after each category.

I don't know if it works well or not. I almost think I need to make some additional kind of seperator, like a line, or using some sort of marker e.g. ::Article::. Let me know what you think, if "of the Moment" is good or pointless or what.

Verbogeny is one of the pleasurettes of a creatific thinkerizer.
Peter da Silva

William Gibson's novel Neuromancer (the one sometimes credited with starting the "cyberpunk genre") famously begins " The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." Back when he wrote that, he probably meant static color: black and white mixed all in to some kind of grey. But someone reading it now for the first time might assume he meant a pleasant (if overly bright) blue...a lovely day indeed.

I also heard Gibson saying how he couldn't include some stuff that we take for granted today, like small cellphones: it would have sounded too much like wacky Star Trek scifi back when the book was written in 1984.

Parody of the Moment
Tremendously funny idea for a Bush campaign ad. Not for the easily offended. But what's really funny, or scary, is when you read this New Republic Journal Entry and realize that the parody has to be that much over the top, because the original ("John Kerry's Plan: Weaken Fight Against Terrorists") comes so close to being a parody of itself. But mostly, I just like saying that I'm from "Saudi Taxachusettsstan". (Via Bill the Splut)

Followup: the parody's source, a political blog called The Poor Man, seems pretty good. Claims to be centrist...in this day and age, being centrist but not passive probably means you're going to be labelled as a liberal. I like the theme of his latest entry, "Easy Answers To Unnecessarily Complicated Questions".

of the moment forever!

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Ok, I'm sticking with "...of the Moment". It works well, pads category descriptors a bit without seeming too arbirary or drawing too much attention to itself, and can sometimes be used to goof with.

I think I finished JoustPong this weekend. I say think because Al, the guy I'm working with, claims at one point during basic sanity-check testing the Game Select switch didn't bring him back to the title screen...but the hardware he was using is known to have a twitchy Select switch, so I don't think it's out side the realm of possibility that it was a one off hardware issue...anyway, I'm freaking out about it a little, I really want to release this game at PhillyClassic.

Commercial of the Moment
The Honda cars that look like their owners ad is lovely and brilliant...though the rest of the website is less impressive, the amateurs are much less convincing.

Politics of the Moment
Intriguing side-by-side display of the official blogs of Kerry and Bush, w/ the same formatting. I didn't realize their teams were both doing blogs, I guess that's a bit of the Dean factor.

Quote of the Moment
The words of that philosopher who offers no therapy for human suffering are empty and vain.
Epicurus (341 - 270 BC)

pair a' noids

Paranoia of the Moment
was wondering if anybody could recommend suitable survival strategies for street games? I'm not talking about games for children but about the very expensive type of game where whole cities start acting around a single person (the player) and newspaper articles, TV news and hollywood movies are made with bits and pieces taken from that person's diary or even his brain ..
LAN3 pointed the link out the journal entry to me, and it probably indicates not all is well with this guys head. Still kind of an interesting read.

Personal Paranoia of the Moment
Now, counterterrorism officials say one of their biggest concerns is how U.S. actions such as the war in Iraq are motivating new recruits bound by a common goal: to destroy Western secular society.
Both government and private experts are bracing for what they say will be a war that could last for generations.
ar on terrorism could spawn new enemies". It just reminded me of how there are people with these visions of a whole happy sunshine-y world for Allah and are willing to blow things up to try and get there. "You love life and we love death" indeed. Religious fervor and fundamentalism can be so frickin' dangerous...even when the "religion" is an atheistic belief.

And there will be more, if God wills it. "What's that God? You say you want me to build a bomb? And blow up a bunch of commuters! Ok! As long as it's your will!"

I do worry about the idea that the Spanish election was a bit like feeding meat to an alligator, like some administration official said.

Sociology of the Moment
Fun to play with two axis way of grouping people: Elf/Dwarf (high concept thinkers vs. pracitcal doers) and Ninja/Pirate (quiet and honourable vs unrestrained and gregarious) I'm heavily on the Pirate side, and probably a bit towards the dwarvish, though I do have a bit of the Elfen "what would be the bestest way of doing this in me.

What about you? Are you a dwarfen ninja, an elven pirate? Though in my mind, it seems like ninja/elf and dwarf/pirate are more likely combinations, they seem similar to me somehow.

Article of the Moment
Slate.com on the rise of the American cupholder. It's synchronicity; I've been borrowing my Aunt and Uncle's minivan (nice that it's a Honda, as is my own hatchback (in the shop); I know where right where all the controls are) and was glancing at the manual (actually looking for instrutions on the fold-up seating) when I found where it described the cupholders: fold-out jobbies that don't seem as sturdy as the ones in my car (the bottom is just a plastic bar that falls down when the thing slides out) but must be less likely to accumulate the dried spilled coffee and other beverage goop that I sometimes have to clean up out of mine. What struck me about the description of the cupholders in the manual was the admonition that they were only to be used when the car wasn't moving, since liquids (maybe even hot liquids!) could slosh around when the vehicle was in motion. Apparently, the manual writers come from some (lawsuit-prone) universe where A. People just like to sit in their stationary car to consume beverages and B. They haven't developed effective drink lid technology.

el día de la cerveza verde

Product of the Moment
So the other night I saw a commercial for the Phillips HeartStart Home Defibrillator. Which is, for some reason, mildly amusing to the easily amused in a Homer Simpson getting one and then realizing he can eat ALL the bacon he wants, he'll just self-defib through any heart attacks and go "ahhh" kind of way, though I'm sure for some people it's very serious indeed. But what's odd about the tv pitch is, on the one hand they say "have this around, Often no prior symptoms" scare tactic but then they mention that you need a doctor's prescription. Maybe that's not quite a contradiction, but it seems a little odd, or at least paranoia inducing.

Of course, being a separated and soon to be divorced guy, I become aware that this kind of product pretty much relies on someone else being arond.

Paranoia of the Moment
In the spirit of yesterday's parnoid with a slashdot account, it's the works of Tammy, who seems to have some serious problems. She'd write these long, Dr.-Bronner's-Soap-like rambles on sheets and hang them outside her house, but if you're in a hurry, just check out the pages about people (looks like they think I'm trying to eat up their bandwidth, go to main page, about 3/4 of the way down, the one with all the snapshots) with various psychic powers, two shown here. (It took me a second to realize that Judy Nielson's ability of "HEAVY PERIODS" probably means causing that in other women, not just having them herself.) The author has a bit too much schadenfreude in it all, but it's still compelling.

Actually, I just realized that those pages remind of Jesse Reklaw's brilliant compilation Applicant, scavanged from Ph.D. applicant files (1965-1975) where Reklaw takes the headshot and a really telling, tiny snippet from that person's letter of recommendation. (The quote, which the applicant him or herself wasn't privy to, often says more about the time period or the letter's author than the applicant...on the other hand, you can look at the picture and guess that some are strangely apt.) That booklet is only $2...buy it, it's the best $2 you'll spend this week, I promise you.

can you hear me before now? good.

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Technology of the Moment
Kind of freaky NASA technology that hears words even before they are quite spoken...

Article of the Moment
Bill the Splut linked to an article on the stone heads on Easter Island and how the ecological devastation of the island might serve as a cautionary tale to us, assuming the general issues 'scale up', and I think they might.

Quote of the Moment
Semi-related quote: "There are two things I hate in this world: racial profiling, and Arabs on my plane."

Politics of the Moment
I kind of hate to admit it but I think slate.com has a much better hit rate (in terms of articles that I find worth reading) than salon.com--often I go to Salon, skim the contents, and just check out the cartoon or "Ask The Pilot". Anyway, Slate had this fairly damning overview of the latest round of political ads, and this story with a big list of actual graffiti from Iraq really gave me some new perspectives in what the people may be feeling there...at least the ones who are willing to write on walls.

Shirts of the Moment
Josh at Salisbury Sales wanted me to mention a today-and-tomorrow only deal on white t-shirts $2.30/shirt for 50-100 shirts with a 1 color imprint. Like I said, making up custom T's can be a lot of fun.

phillybuster day 1

I'm off to release JoustPong at PhillyClassic 5! Back Monday. Meanwhile, I'll let you enjoy some quickies that have been clogging up my backlog, starting last August or so...

...but before I go, check out this chest of drawers I nabbed on my way into work Wednesday. Since it turns out that almost every damn piece of furniture with drawers in it was Mo's, I consider it a good score. And luckily I was driving my Aunt and Uncle's minivan, so I could lug it around, it's pretty hefty. I'm using it for videogames, one system per drawer works out about right.

Sitting on top is the ghetto stereo I also grabbed. I think the main piece is busted, but extra speakers can sometimes be fun for making excessively-speakered frankenstereos with. (One of the best stereos I ever heard just had a ton of speakers around a room, all scavanged.)

Any one got some great scavanging stories?

backlog flush #41

phillybuster day 2

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backlog flush #42

phillybuster day 3

I'm not sure, but I think these past few days of backlog flush have had a ton of really good stuff, maybe even better than a day when I'm actually here. I think some of these links I wanted to read through before posting...which makes it take a real long time to write up, since I always start reading or viewing.

backlog flush #43

howard and me


So, Philly Classic 5 was a load of fun! Sold around 30 copies of JoustPong and got to talk to a lot of people about it...the reaction was very positive. Here I am with Howard Scott Warshaw, maker of the 2600 classics Yar's Revenge, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and even the infamous E.T....(he was there to sign copies of his previously unreleased game Saboteur)

So right now I'm all energized with ideas for projects...but I have a birthday party to get ready for and a house to sell first!

Quote of the Moment
I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon.
Howard Chaykin.
I don't know the original context, but it reminds me of a quip I came up that I've been looking for a frame for, "____ -- the cure for incurable optimism". I think "nuclear terrorism" is about as good a substiute for ____ as any...

UPDATE: Aargh. To be taken with a grain of salt, perhaps, Al-Qaeda claims to have briefcase nukes. That combined with them calling for revenge on the USA for the Israeli killing of the Hamas leader is making me antsy. Sometimes I really wonder about what a steely-eyed, completely utilitarian analysis of the cost/benefit ratio of being so closely allied with Israel is. And I also wonder if, besides a sense of justice and attempt to make up for the awfulness of WW2, if wanting to set the stage for the events described in Revelation is behind our historical support for Israel as a standalone entity.

Though you know, some of my concern is focused on "damn, gotta sell the house before things go down"...including the markets.

The first hit on Google for "al qaeda" is a translation of the Al Qaeda Training Manual. Only glanced at it, but it's odd and creepy seeing the "inspirational" language such a thing uses.

Lyrics of the Moment
...to the tune of Paul Simon's Cecilia
You're breakin' my heart
You're makin' this dane
Oh Ophelia!
It's makin' me sick
like poor old Yorrick
who I knew, who I knew

Makin' love
in the afternoon
it's my uncle
in my mom's bedroom
and Ophelia
has come undone
handing out flowers
to most everyone

It's changin' my tune
All the slings + arrows
of outrageous fortune   
I'm worried a lot
about whether to be...
...or be not
I wrote that parody on a past crush's message board back in college. I still think that it's a little clever, and deserves better than to just be buried in my PalmPilot journal. Plus I needed some more post-Philly filler.


Sick today, my throat feels like I tried gargling with a scouring pad, but I might be able to muster up some house cleaning before the party this weekend...

Link of the Moment
Real Player sucks. I couldn't believe it didn't even have an option NOT to startup when I inserted an audio CD. Lists some alternatives, has some feedback from people at Real.

Title of the Moment
F*** You and Your Pez Despenser: The Definitive Guide to the Infantile Consumerism of the 1990s
Title for Peterman's Hypothetical Magnum Opus...coming soon to a bookstore near you?

oh baby

Heh, ironically, the kisrael.com entries were a lot better when I was away than they've been the past few days...it's just been a very hectic time, I really haven't caught up on my usual surfing.

Quote of the Moment
I hate babies. They're so human.
H.H. Munro

Link of the Moment
Encyclopedia Obscura--lots of Seanbaby-esque commentary and research (except I'm guessing it actually gets updated every once in a while, unlike SB) on really obscure bits of our pop culture heritage, from games to movies and beyond.

Article of the Moment
Continuing the popculture theme, a take on Marvel's cool teen heroes as opposed to DC's simpler, more iconic ones, and why that past coolness makes them less hip to be into now. I never really got into superhero comics when I was a kid; I don't think I've ever liked stuff that was so serialized, where you had to wait so long for the next episode...

wherefore art thou art

Art of the Moment
At Philly Classic, a woman named Aimee Dingman had a bunch of Atari-themed-art, namely, pixel-perfect acrylic paintings of famous atari characters and scenes. I didn't buy one, they price/size ratio was just one scale too large for me, though I was thinking using screenshots and a good photo printer might make some interesting results, in a rip-off kind of way. (Just for my own amusement and decoration.) Actually, as seen in the background of that photo with me and Howard Scott Warshaw, AtariAge printed up some large posters of the various cartridge fronts. I wonder where I could get access to something that could print that size, and how much it would cost...

Art of the Other Moment
Elsewhere in the art world, Niff Actuals are a cool crosspoint of handcraft and manufacture. (Be sure to click the "More Of This" buttons for closer looks.) I especially liked the Non-Specific Tape Measure and the 'It's My World' Fully Rotating Globe.

Quote of the Moment
When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest.
Bullwinkle J. Moose

Game of the Moment
Yahoo auto has set up a car racing game on a Times Square billboard that people can play by calling an 800-number on their cellphone. The gameplay is simplified speed up and slow down control only (like old kid's racing sets) probably because of lag time but still, it's a nifty idea.

News Quote of the Moment
"[Justice Souter] uses that wonderful phrase 'ceremonial deism,' a legal term of art for the 'God of the Hallmark cards'"
It always surprises me how intriguing a read it is. "It doesn't sound divisive? That's only because no atheist can get elected to Congress." was a good Newdow zinger, on the unanimous 1954 vote to add in "Under God". And, independent of one's belief, it's hard to argue that "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" doesn't flow better than "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

gadgets ahoy

Cool...JoustPong is now for sale at the AtariAge store. Seems to be selling pretty well, so if you want to get a version with the T-shirt, you better move quickly! It's kind of cool how you can type the name "JoustPong" into the AtariAge frontpage Title Search and...boom, there I am!

It was quite the day for electronics in general yesterday. Not only was JoustPong released, but on my way home I picked up this nifty thing for the PlayStation 2 called the EyeToy--a little camera that sits on top of the TV and lets you play goofy little games using your image, like fighting off all these little ninjas or keeping a virtual soccer ball from hitting the floor. I wanted to get one in time for my party, and the camera plus the disk of minigames was only the cost of a fullpriced game.

The othe thing I got was a Garmin StreetPilot 2610--a high-end-ish road GPS, so it has maps for everywhere around here, knows where you are, and even has a voice to tell you when and where to turn. We used one on the way down to Philly and man...it is so soothing to have one in the car if you're driving in unfamiliar territory. I think just the stress reduction alone is worth it.

Obviously I don't want to make spending like that a habit, but what the heck. (Heh, and I got informed of a smallish raise yesterday, 2-3% or so, come to think of it.) Like I said before (about the iPod, ahem) "consumer electronics are the balm for this divorce stricken soul"...that's a weak excuse and I know it, but everyting I'm getting should have a positive impact on my life I think. The only other post-divorce splurge I'm thinking of is teeth whitening...

Popculture of the Moment
I think it's been around before, but 10 worst album covers of all time is yet another 'worst of' with a few giggles included.

Army Life of the Moment
The 213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to Do in the U.S. Army is long but good. The paragraph at the top mentions a few of the best, just check that out if you're in a hurry. (Actually, that site, "Avalanche Company" has some other cool stuff, so you might want to start clicking through if you have the time)

me show

AIM Dialog of the Moment
albert: you.
kirk: me?
albert: yes, you.
kirk: me!
kirk: what about me
albert: not much.
albert: just you.
kirk: i can't hear enough about me
kirk: me, me, me
Albert: no comment
kirk: it's the me show!
kirk: starring: me!
kirk: guest-starring: albert!
albert: haha

--Albert of AtariAge and myself. I thought this was a very appropriate dialog to have on the day of my birthday party. Any comments about the further appropriateness of this dialog to my entire life will be politely ignored.

who is that middle aged man in the lobster hat?


My 3-part birthday party went well yesterday. The afternoon gaming attracted a good crowd. I showed off JoustPong, and we bounced from system to system, though the definite hit of the afternoon were the EyeToy camera games... watching everyone take a turn making a goofball of themselves warding off waves of tiny ninjas or keeping UFOs spinning was irresistible.

Dinner at Summer Shack was great as well, a large group, 20-odd people. That's me hoisting a mojito and wearing a birthday-boy lobster hat. Great food, I had a tuna steak with Kim Chee and Jasmine rice, but I felt a little bad because the place ended up being a bit pricey...for everyone but me that is! Thank goodness for the birthday-boy-doesn't-pay rule...suckers! (I kid, I kid.)

Finally we headed back to my place for the booze and shmooze...probably this was the least energetic part, I think the restaurant tapped out a bit of the usual shmooze aspect, but still. There was more Eye Toy played, but then when I attempted to spark the dancing with some music and a background video (to stop the TV/sound system from shutting off) the video I picked proved too interesting, so the dancing got short-circuited. Ah well. We ended the evening with some Karaoke. We also had tasty strawberries in fudge dip and anise pizzelles.

Small Gif Cinema of the Moment
Oddly enough, we later caught the very same guy responsible for putting me in a lobster hat flailing wildly for the Eye Toy. This was sometime after he insisted on flinging a couch pillow about to help him clear the foam in the virtual window washing game. The virtual window washing game was about as much fun as it sounds, but most of the other games were great.

Link of the Moment
The Sneeze is a pretty funny blog, with a very special feature: Steve, Don't Eat It! Latest entry: his wife's breast milk. Odd that as a culture we're pretty squeamish about that...especially considering he is mixing it up with Hershey's syrup. That page is laugh-out-loud funny in parts, or at least, giggle.

Article of the Moment
The archives of Stanley Kubrick. "Attention to detail" doesn't even begin to describe it.

that line about another man's moccasins

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Thinkpiece of the Moment
Mind stretching dialog, the hypothetical correspondence of Osama and Gandhi in a piece called Why terror?, by Bhikhu Parekh. (Looks like that link might become subscription only after a while.) I think one thing we're lousy at is putting ourselves in the philosophical shoes of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Yes, they're inarguably evil, but when you begin with some of the same starting assumptions they do (mostly religion based, which is why some people point to religious faith itself being a problem) it's a rational and almost justifiable evil, not just being bad for bad's sake. And many in this country will not acknowledge that. Some of that refusal is justified; almost any behavior that seems to reward terrorism is suspect. But we're so fond of the stick that we tend to forget about the carrot, act as if you can't address some of the problems the terrorists draw their energy from while simultaneously showing little mercy in the pursuit of the people planning to strike.

Comic of the Moment
Awesome...Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman...worth checking out.

You know, I always kind of assumed this cover was of Superman making a dramatic rescue, but, duh, no...he's shaking that car out like the bad guys were salt. That first issue covers a lot of ground: capital punishment, lobbyists working to get us involved in war...(and the other stories include a cowboy who knows jujitsu!)

Online Note of the Moment
Is it just me or has Google undergone a bit of a facelift? It's probably fairly subtle, but it's odd how jarring the change is for me.

Game of the Moment
Maddening..can you solve 2 or 3 simple mazes at the same time?

temporary overcast of the cluttered brain

Saw an excellent film last night, the best I've seen in years: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Made me grateful I bent my usual "only see big F/X blockbusters in cinemas" rule; thought-provoking and melancholy-stirring, an incredible (mildly-scifi) "what if"; "Vanilla Sky" minus the beautiful people factor (but better than that), some elements of Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" with it's timeshifting, a musing on the nature of memory, and living in it; a bit sexy in parts but never exploitive (not that I mind a bit of gratuity now and then...), some thoughts on the natures of dreams and consciousness, finally asking the question if you thought you could mend a heartbreak by selectively erasing it from your mind, would you?

It's a good question.

I never would, being a nostalgic kind of guy, but it's a good question.

Selection of the Moment
Lay Your Sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm:
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
W.H.Auden, from "Lullabye".
Always been a favorite of mine, something in last night' movie brought it to mind.

Political Jabs of the Moment
Bush/Cheney took down their "sloganator" banner builder, but not after some folks gave them some great ideas.

Site of the Moment
Linked to from boingboing's sidebar, it's Cancergiggles, a site by a man who has about 6-18 months to live from cancer. Written with huge doses of humor and willingness to talk about things head on.

Gratuitous Large Font Use of the Moment
Sweet Jimminy Crickets! This is the last evening of my twenties! And I'm at home cleaning my study and looking for my frickin' checkbook! (And moaning about it in my journal.) Heck, in Europe, I'm already 30!

Ah well. 5-6 years ago, my Y2K-etc fearing self thought I'd be lucky to make to 30. But here I am.

big three. big oh.


Quote of the Moment
Birthday blues, I've seen it before. What's the meaning of life? What's the grand plan? What's to drink?
Jack on MacGuyver ("Friends" episode).
I actually prepublished this mid-December last year when LAN3 pointed me to this MacGuyver page

Article of the Moment
The Council on Foreign Relations thinks that Outsourcing isn't the threat the American worker that many people make it out to be. I know a headhunter who called me to touch base was surprised to hear my company is going back to an inhouse strategy after doing some singificant offshoring.

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