2005 February❮❮prevnext❯❯

all-temperature cheerleading

I accidentally fed some beer to my laptop last night over at Evil B's. Doggone it. It's all my fault, just a momentary clumsiness, but what's doubly irritating is that my laptop's presence there was a result of trying to be nice in 2 ways but very stupid in another 2: nice to go over to Evil B's because his wife was having a rough time at work and could use some Nintendo therapy, nice to be with laptop because Ksenia asked if we could message a bit to give her some help on a school assignment, stupid because I forgot Evil B's computers have no problem using AIM, or I figured it would be so much easier to hop on his wireless network with my own client, and stupid to put the laptop on the floor. Next to the beer.

The keyboard was going nuts right after the incident, though by the end of the night just had an "8" key that would get triggered too much. I didn't try it this morning.

And before I was just thinking about how much I like having that laptop. Nice form factor, great living room machine, decent mobile DVD player...

Link of the Moment
Pump Up The Movie...I admit that I was fooled by the "Trailer" there when we saw it in a cinema, and thought it was the real thing. The "Cheerleader Toss" clip is astounding, and the game the clip inspired has a nice macabre streak. Reminds me a bit of that old SNL skit.

Pickup Line and Retort of the Moment
"That's a nice shirt, it would go great with my floor."
"Those are nice eyes, my parrot would love them."

Logo of the Moment
The NFL's Arizona Cardinals got a redesigned logo. I think it is a definite improvement. My question is...why is "Cardinals" such a popular team name? My middle school team was the Monticello Cardinals. According to this about.com page "Cardinals are very aggresive birds, and very territorial birds. They will not kill other birds, but thay will mess with them" so I guess that could explain it but still...relative to most of the other NFL bird mascots, Eagles, Falcons, Seahawks, Ravens (which have a cool Pe/macabre thing going to boot) they seem pretty wussy, kind of like lightweights.

mmmm, delicous beer-scented computing...

So, the laptop seems more or less fine...a little stinky, and some of the keys were a bit sluggish 'til I exercised them. I wonder if any local PC place does laptop cleaning. Nick mentions "you should be able to clean your keyboard by washing thoroughly with de-ionised water then letting it dry completely". It sounds like some people even dunk components and then let them dry, which would be a lot easier than prying stuff apart. I'm not sure how well it would get at the beer residue however.

Link of the Moment
Finally back from a recent thorough slashdotting, OSviews on Apple's Top Ten Flops. It seems a little mean-spirited to focus on the failures on a company that has done such neat stuff, but it's still an interesting article.

News of the Moment
--Photo of alleged abducted US Soldier "John Adam" that looks suspiciously similar to a GI Joe-like toy sold in the area. Wouldn't it be great if the whole situation in Iraq really has deteriorated into a big "I Love Lucy" episode?


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Bought a more recent version of the "Dance Dance Revolution" software. Maybe someday I'll upgrade the pad too, if I manage to actually get into a minimum-half-hour routine.

Oh, also there's a new candidate for my "holy grail" food, something that tastes terrific, isn't too bad nutrionally, and if I eat eat a ton of it one day won't hurt that much: Quaker/Cracker Jack "Butter Toffee" rice cakes. 60 calories each, which is only like 15 more than a regular rice cake. So combining that with my other favorite of rice cakes plus mustard, I have the salty and sweet cravings met.

Commentary of the Moment
William Saletan on the flipflops in Bush's Address.

Toy of the Moment
Another fun boingboing find, thumbnails matching your color wheel selection. Neat stuff.

Geek Note of the Moment
(Incredibly geeky...maybe 3 people who read my site will have any idea what I'm talking about.) So on my current project, we tend to slap new versions of single java classes into pre-existing jars rather than doing full builds. Before yesterday the technique was to copy the built classfile from its location to a hierarchy starting at C:\ (e.g. C:\com\kisrael\foo.class), open up the jar in WinZip, locate and delete the old version of the class, drag the file onto WinZip making sure to select "preserve path info"...quite a pain. I poked around the "jar" command line options and found a much easier way:
So if the class was "com.kisrael.foo" and the jarfile was "c:\dist\app.jar" and my editor put the classfiles in "c:\proj\classes" then the command would be
jar -uf c:\dist\app.jar -C c:\proj\classes com\kisrael\foo.class
This kind of process improvement is something I seem much better at than most of my peers, from getting really good at making macros and what not in editors, to writing quick little perl apps, to finding commandline options, to using my online database app to do knowledge tracking. I wish I knew a way to capitalize on this, make it closer to a fulltime activity, because I really enjoy it.

atlas shrugged. and scratched himself

Question of the Moment
So I had a thought yesterday...just what was Atlas standing on when he was holding up the world? Google to the answer! Maybe it's the classic on the back of a turtle...and it's turtles all the way down! But I didn't remember much about turtles in my hazy memories of greek mythology. According to Godchecker's Atlas entry, I guess he's atually holding up the heavens, which makes a little more sense given a geocentric world view...but it would be harder to make into a nifty statue, so the world it is.

So the answer was a little prosaic, but at least I found Godchecker, a very readable if somewhat flippant reference on all sort s of deities.

we are zogg

Subversion of the Moment
--Brilliant! The Cuddly Menace takes some old "Little Golden Book" and turns it into instruction manual for young Zogg alien invaders who must transform the earth into a Nitrogen rich resource for the coming Zogg invasion.

it's a SUPER superbowl

So today the Pats take on the Eagles...man, I hope they win. The Pats aren't used to being such strong favorites in such big games. It kind of alarms me how many people from different cities have hopped on the bandwagon.

Gay Anecdote of the Moment
When I was 19, I was in my hometown. A female aquaintance (I couldn't stand her) from high school came up and started flirting (she didn't know I was gay). We were both a little tipsy. After a few words her face came towards mine, I thought, no harm, just a lil' peck. When her tongue came out I screamed like a girl and ran out of the bar.
Anonymous comment in answer to What is the GAYEST thing you've EVER done? A few of the tales are a little raunchy, but more are just campy...and almost all are very, very funny.

I'm straight but I was still try to think of my gayest moment. I don't know if dressing up in drag playing tuba (given my face, built like my mom's, I can "pass") counts or not. I suppose the general mincing act I do from time to time for my own amusement is right up there.

yay patriots!

Hey, the Pats won again! "Dynas-three": 3 wins, each by 3 points. (I find it kind of neat to look at the "kisrael.com coverage" for the 2002 and 2004.)

I guess the thing I really noticed was how badly the Eagles handled the clock in the last half of the last quarter. The Pats aren't perfect but you never see them making that kind of mistake.

Was over at FoSO's house, with their big old high-def video projector mojo working...Evil B and wife were also in attendance, 10 or so people in all. I apologize for all the cussing. I just love cussing during games, it makes it more fun.

Slate proclaims the Pats the lamest dynasty in sports. Well, whatever. The one point I agreed with was the lameness of most of the Pats' post-score or -interception celebrations-- generally just imitating T.O.'s wing flap. It would have been at least a little funny if they made it into the chicken dance instead. As it was, it just said "Yeah, we know we're not as big a star as that guy, but neener-neener, we scored anyway."

Quote of the Moment
Once you accept that most women are evil, that most men are predictable pigs, and that someone is always on a moral crusade, the world's not such a bad place.
"Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss".
I used this as the top of the page quote for the February issue of the Blender of Love. Huh, you know what? I totally forgot to call this month's edition the "Valentine Issue" like I usually do...oh well.

Lego Creation of the Moment
--"Untitled" by Johnson Fan. I brought a Lego Advent Calendar (that I had received too late to use 'properly') into work. I had fun making a big assyemtrical edifice, but Johnson did me one better by using pretty much all the remaining pieces in one giant rolling masterpiece.

reality (loud cheers)

Philisophical Quotes of the Moment
"In physics, we can give a cold scientific definition of reality which is free from all sentimental mystification. But this is not quite fair play, because the word 'reality' is generally used with the intention of invoking sentiment. It is a grand word for a peroration. 'The right honourable speaker went on to declare that the concord and amity for which he had unceasingly striven had now become a reality (loud cheers).' The conception which is so troublesome to apprehend is not 'reality' but 'reality (loud cheers).'"

"What is the ultimate truth about ourselves? Various answers suggest themselves. We are a bit of stellar matter gone wrong. We are physical machinary--puppets that strut and laugh and die as the hand of time pulls the strings beneath. But there is one elementary inescapable answer. We are that which asks the question."
Sir Arthur Eddington, "Beyond the Veil of Physics".
I'm reading this book "Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Greatest Physicists" for my UU-church "Science and Spirituality" group, but despite some good stuff from greats like Einstein and Heisenberg, this is the first guy who really grabs me...most of the others get way too hung up on the old bugaboo of free will vs a semi-deterministic universe or physics and epistemology, the limits of what we can know.

stackin' turtle action comics!

So I was standing in line in Dunkin Donuts and I noticed a reasonably attractive woman in a jogging suit standing in front me. "She's cute," I thought, "too bad about the birthmark on her head." I glance out the window and see a guy, and he also has a birthmark, but much bigger. Finally the woman's companion shows up, and I wonder if he's related to her, because same birthmark as her, both much smaller than the guy's outside.

Duhhr. Anyway, Happy Ash Wednesday, all you Catholics out there.

Comic of the Moment
So last October Miller ran the fourth grunthunt, a team-based afternoon of puzzles, mindbenders, and randomness. I joined Sawer's team, the Majestic Golden Blowjobs of Heaven. We came in third out of three, but it was close. One bonus challenge was to do the following task involving two stuffed turtles (Cozy and Drowsy) the gamekeepers brought:

construct a 2-minute puppet show or a mini-comic starring two turtles (cozy and drowsy) incorporating 3 of the following: (mouseover for captions) I chose 2, 3, and 5 for my comic, STACKIN' TURTLE ACTION COMICS!

Starring Cozy and Drowsy!
One day, Matha Stewart was in prison but lookin for turtles!
'I need turtles for my soup! Here's one!'
  'zzzzz - uh? what? ....Huh'

'You my sleepy friend will become jailhouse soup!'
'oh no where is drowsy'
'And now into the soup!'
'Drat my slow turtle speed - I hope I've pushed this Turtle Catapult here on time'
   'I got you!'
'o thank you zcozy! i feel so safe here in your arms! i hope you hold me forever.'
    'i can tell how happy you are by your little turtle erection!'
'Er - yeah. heh heh. hold me'

do you have feet?

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Anecdote of the Moment
My wife tends to have a very fuzzy line between asleep and awake. After some years of living with this, I have finally hit upon an effective test to determine which state she is in (because, you see, the fact that she is standing upright and talking to me is _not_ an accurate indicator): I ask her if she has feet. If the answer requires thought on her part -- and particularly if the answer is "no, they're missing" -- then she's asleep. If she gets annoyed at me for asking such a silly question, then she's not asleep.
Rob Ellwood, rec.arts.sf.composition. That's so cool!

adam and billy, bibliophiles

Brainteaser of the Moment
Two boys, Adam and Billy, go to a bookstore. Adam is 41 cents short of the price of a certain book. Billy is one cent short. They decide to combine their money to buy the book but they realize they still don't have enough. How much does the book cost?

Answer: (highlight with mouse to read -- but seriously, try to work this one out. Give it at least a half hour if the answer isn't obvious to you.)

41 cents, i.e. Adam has no money.

I got this last night after an embarrasingly long time of writing out simultaneous equations and not getting anywhere. And then I only got the answer by looking for obvious "gimmick" answers and seeing if one worked. And I realized last night that I probably didn't really get it because I was still thinking maybe there was a second answer. This morning I finally realized how to think about it properly...Bill is only ONE CENT shy of the price of the book...add ANY positive integer value to that, and he should have enough...so there's no other amount other than zero for Adam's money.
Let me know if you get it or not!

Poem of the Moment
You want a social life, with friends.
A passionate love life and as well
To work hard every day. What's true
Is of these three you may have two
And two can pay you dividends
But never may have three.

There isn't time enough, my friends--
Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends--
To find the time to have love, work, and friends.
Michelangelo had feeling
For Vittoria and the Ceiling
But did he go to parties at day's end?

Homer nightly went to banquets
Wrote all day but had no lockets
Bright with pictures of his Girl.
I know one who loves and parties
And has done so since his thirties
But writes hardly anything at all.
Kenneth Koch.
Grabbed from this page which also has a great play on that old William Carlos Williams poem. (via Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life)

Passing of the Moment
Death of a Playwright. (But hey...at least he got to do Marilyn Monroe...)

food is love

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Encyclopedia Entry of the Moment
If you really love someone, you want to know what they ate for lunch or dinner without you. Hi, sweetie, how was your day, what did you have for lunch? Or if your mate was out of town on business: How was your trip, did the meeting go well, what did you do for dinner? Jason will stumble home in the wee hours from a bachelor party, and as he crawls into bed I'll pry myself from sleep long enough to mumble, how was the party, how was the restaurant beforehand? The meal that has no bearing on the relationship appear to be breakfast. I can love you and not know that when you were in Cincinnati last Wednesday you had yogurt and a bagel.

Panorama of the Moment
A Quicktime VR panorama of the last men on the moon from the Apollo 17 mission. It's so sad that the space age was the 60s and 70s and we've been marking time ever since.

"when i spend a dollar on a bottle of water, i only drink -- perrier"

So Perrier now comes in a big plastic bottle. The bottle I bought says "Now Portable!" -- though I remember it coming in even smaller glass bottles, so it doesn't seem like such a new thing. And of course I read "Portable" as "Potable", as if previously it was unfit to drink.

I have to say though, I hate the word "potable", maybe because I sill kind of see the word "potty" in it. Do we really need a different word than "drinkable"?

Heh, remember when Perrier seemed like a really classy thing? Back when it still seemed a little odd to pay for water in small bottles. Than came Evian and all the would-be-clever people pointing out that it spells "naive" backwards...at least Perrier has boubles, and an interesting flavor.

Today's title comes from a poster at Bernie Shulman's (a grocery chain in Cleveland that had these neat hand-drawn posters) back in the early 90s.


Happy Valentines, everyone!

Perspective of the Moment
An HTML scale model of the solar system. Gives your horizontal scrollbar a serious workout! Looking at the size comparison, in some ways the Earth is bigger than I gave it credit for...much smaller than Jupiter and the Sun of course, but still. It's the distance of it all that's most inspiring. (And that's 5.5 lighthours to Pluto; the nearest star is 4.1 lightyears away.)

Tool of the Moment
In a bit of tragically last-minute Valentines Daying (for a guy who runs a site called "the Blender of Love" I can be surprisingly unromantic) I found this tool, Tearooms in MA with an option to sort by distance from any given zipcode...pretty cool!

bowled over

"Business Casual" at work today, there's a client about.

Always an interesting little bit of deception, that. Unlike, say, dressing up for a job interview, I think we're supposed to project the idea that "oh, we always dress like this."

Prayer of the Moment
God, let me play well but fairly.
Let competition make me strong but never hostile.
Forbid me to rejoice in the adversity of others.
See me not when I am cheered, but when I bend to help my opponent up.
If I know victory, allow me to be happy;
if I am denied, keep me from envy.
Remind me that sports are just games.
Help me to learn something that matters once the game is over.
And if through athletics I set an example, let it be a good one.
Nice counterpoint to that whole "want to thank Jesus for this victory (but I don't blame him for that interception I threw.)" line of thinking.

Quote of the Moment
"We don't lose games where they give you a free hat and T-shirt!"
Tedi Bruschi, New England Patriots
...I'm not sure if that's the exact wording, but I love the sentiment. There was a good description of how miserable the Patriots used to be at Patsfans.com.

Image of the Moment
--Crick's first DNA doodle ...such a historic thing, where we started the long process of figuring ourselves out...


Lately I've been thinking about love vs. friendship.

I realize that in many ways, my former marriage just about met my ideals for a good marriage: a secure base that met many needs and wants of both people, but it also was a platform for two independent lives and sets of interests. In the long run, this turned out not to be enough for my ex and it occurs to me now that I was caught so offguard by the marriage's collapse because it did seem to be just what I would have hoped for.

But I have to admit, a marriage like that does look like an "enhanced friendship"...an extremely strong friendship with an additional layer of physical intimacy. It has quantitavely more closeness than even "best friends", in terms of sharing plans and finances and housing, and I think part of the question is do those differences add up to a qualitative difference--or is it just a big spectrum of gray?

Sometimes I feel like a monster just for thinking of the question in these terms, that something is missing or so damaged in me (and has been since before my former marriage) that I have to pontificate about what comes naturally and instinctively to almost everyone else. (On the other hand, I've met enough people with whom I vehemently disagree who "just know" that they're right that I have a strong distrust of intuitive knowledge.) Or should a hunt for "true love" be to keep searching until these feelings show up?

Romance has a lot of traditional boyfriend/girlfriend patterns that friendships lack. Are these cultural artifacts or just what come naturally, or some combination? Sometimes I feel like I'm "going through the motions"...but I'm usually happy to do this because I really don't want to dissapoint the other person. And trying to meet the other person's needs and wants is a big part of what passes for romance for me--I didn't have an overwhelming want to be married, or to buy a house, but I was perfectly content to throw myself into both because I sincerely cared for Mo, and it seems like that's what she needed for her own happiness.

I'd welcome thoughts on any what makes romance romance relative to the other types of close relationships we have.

we can do it!

Videos of the Moment
Big-Boys.com is a fun site...they have videos, games and images (some a little PG13/R-rated raunchy, some just fun), the same kind of stuff you see on StileProject, but they update on a daily basis, not once-or-twice-a-month, and they don't bombard you hardcore porn ads, always a plus.

Anyway, two very innocent videos: helicopter pilot bets his copilot that they can make it between some trees (the pilot loses, but no one gets hurt) and this is an amazing video of spiderman-like freeclimbers, jumping and climbing in some truly amazing ways.

run my little smurflings!

Gargamel's Influence on the Goth Aesthetic
--Chuck Werner, Gargamel: Man, Myth, Legend.

wholesale hilarity

Copy of the Moment
If you're in the market for what The Detroit News called "a lively comic adventure," Clerks delivers with wholesale hilarity! It's one wild day in the life of a pair of overworked counter-jockeys whose razor-sharp wit and on-the-job antics give a whole new meaning to customer service! Even while braving a nonstop parade of unpredictable shoppers, the clerks manage to play hockey on the roof, visit a funeral home, and straighten out their offbeat love lives. The boss is nowhere in sight, so you can bet anything can - and will - happen when these guys are left to run the store!
Back of the box Copy for "Clerks"
Ivan and I thought it was such amazing bad copy, completely out of the mood of the movie, unless it was meant ironically, and it doesn't quite pull that off.

only three points

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Video of the Moment
Probably the most amazing high school basketball shot in the history of the universe. Hmm...if people could learn to do that consistently, maybe basketball would be a whole new ballgame.

Photo of the Moment

--Tonya and Alex at their wedding reception yesterday. If it weren't for the placement of a few of the champagne bottles, this would be about my favorite wedding photo ever. I think overall I do dink around with low light stuff too much, get a lot of blurred photos. I need to figure out how to get my camera to take even darker, quicker pictures when it doesn't have enough light.

ring around yo mama

So my apartment building has some coin-operated washers and dryers in the basement. They're covenient, I guess, but frustrating...like, the dryers have three settings, "WHITES AND COLORS" "STURDY PERMANENT PRESS" and "DELICATE PERMANENT PRESS" but lack the one that I really want, "AS LONG AND HOT AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THIS DRYER IS A PIECE OF CRAP THAT ALWAYS TAKES TWO TIMES THROUGH". (To be fair, the leftmost dryer is ok. Which of course is the one that's always full of someone else's clothing.)

an ice guy

Curling Quote of the Moment
"It's forty-two pounds of polished granite, bevelled on the belly and a handle a human being can hold. And it may have no practical purpose in itself but it is a repository of human possibility and if it's handled just right, it will exact a kind of poetry...
...For ten years, I've drilled for oil in 93 countries, five different continents, and not once have I done anything to equal the grace of a well thrown rock sliding down a sheet. Not once."
...the movie shows that curling (you know, that sport with guys furiously sweeping the ice in front of a big heavy sliding stone) is a cooler sport that I would have guessed. This line was a part of that...I think there's something about the phrasing of "a handle a human being can hold"...also, I didn't realize how heavy those things were. I wouldn't mind trying it once.

Gadgets of the Moment
Cool, mobilpc brings you the top 100 gadgets of all time. (Currently slashdotted, though...)

ordinary world

Lyrics and Ramble of the Moment
But I won't cry for yesterday
There's an ordinary world
Somehow I have to find
And as I try to make my way
To the ordinary world
I will learn to survive
"Ordinary World", Duran Duran.
I got into this song lately because there's a decent "house" cover of it in a "Dance Dance Revolution" game I picked up recently. The lyrics have that nice melancholy vibe I'm so fond of. But when I finally thought about it... I dunno, somehow marriage seemed more like the "ordinary world", and now I'm in this kind of uncertain territory, with fewer constants to rely on.

It hit me yesterday when I was having tea out of one of these blue oversized mugs I have. (After a divorce, that whole "I don't remember how this item entered my life" mystery thing becomes a little more poignant.) They're really good to eat cereal out of, and I used to like doing that, and even drinking tea kind of reminded me of the sense-feel of it. I don't have cereal now though, I purposefully try not to keep a lot of food in the house, because either I like it and will eat a lot of it, or I dislike it and it'll spoil. But with married life, there was cereal and milk around, and it was ok.

Which brings me back to the whole time management thing...like I've already griped about here, it feels like I don't have any free time...specifically, it starts with not having much time to spend unwinding via random websurfing. That then generally leads to not having time to work on one of my backlog of "projects I want to get around to doing real soon now." Sure, I do have some time, but currently I have the theory that I'm not just lazy in these cases, that I do actually need some recharging time letting my brain play over the web or a decent book or a videogame, and only when that's done will I be able to get onto the "projects" horse.

A social/romantic life cuts into that time pretty badly (and I think my yoga class moving to midweek and about half my Tuesday nights having UU activities doesn't help either.) I guess my daily routine involved mostly hanging around my PC in the evenings. But with that out of the way, it was easier to go out or have a video game night in with friends or to do stuff with Mo or to work on my own projects and not feel pressured for time.

And I say "do stuff with Mo" but I'm not sure if there was enough of that. She certainly ended up thinking that there wasn't, though she did a really poor job of explaining that to me at the time. One of the saddest things I remember her saying post facto was that sometimes she had had a weird dream of having a daughter so that she'd have someone to do stuff with. She mentioned that in context of the gardening she had been doing in the little plot at the side of the house, an idyllic mother-daughter scene/fantasia ...I had helped her a little, but I wasn't enthusiastic about it, and I might've griped a little. Not much, I did try to get into it, but it really wasn't my thing, and I didn't pretend that it was.

So....does that mean I was a lousy husband? Mo felt profoundly lonely. I didn't. I didn't really get that she did. And for those reasons, maybe she was right to split. I didn't even think about it at the time, but the relationship was molded to what I still think might be my "ideal", this idea of being a rewarding and valuable and giving foundation for all the other interesting stuff in life. A means as much as an end.

Heh. You know, Mo suggested (getting the idea from her mom, I think) this Khalil Gibran reading for our wedding:
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow

I voted against it at the time, it seemed a little too negative or nuanced for a wedding, but in retrospect, it really speaks to what I think marriage should be, and I guess I assumed Mo felt the same way.

Ah well. Live and learn. It's like what Richard Feynman wrote:
I'll never make that mistake again, reading the experts' opinions. Of course, you only live one life, and you make all your mistakes, and learn what not to do, and that's the end of you.

thinking of you

Love Poem of the Moment
the other night
after eating chili
i ripped a pretty good one.
i lifted the blanket
to trap your head
and remembered
you weren't there.
i miss you.
A little too late for Valentine's Day, mercifully....as Keeper of the Blender I get a big kick out of this stuff

Howto of the Moment
How To Take Great Photographs. Your camera does not matter.

FOLLOWUP: in today's comments Max suggests Take Better Photos as a friendly and more-readable site...but warns to say "No" if it offers to install any software/spyware.

nova, no va

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Quote of the Moment
There is no certainty; there is only adventure. Even stars explode.
Roberto Assagioli

Advice of the Moment
Peter Langston presents Ten Tips from the Programming Pros back when he was a programmer for Lucasfilm's game group in the 1980s--they came up with some great games like Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus, and a lot of the advice is still useful today, and even for non-game programmers.

the projects

Quote of the Moment
Every human being has a project.
Sartre as paraphrased by Colin, a high-functioning autistic cartoonist who writes a letter to Harvey Pekar
(Pekar of "American Splendor" fame.) Google doesn't seem to think that it's an exact quote, but its a neat idea.

It's fun to figure out your project. I think for a lot of people it's their kids. I think that's a new development in some ways...in at least some points in history, men got to pick their own projects, and women got assigned the projects of the kids. Now that we lived in a somewhat more symmetrical society, women have more freedom in their choice of project, and men are expected to make the kids their project as well.

Something like that.

Personal Semi-Triumph of the Moment
So JoustPong lives again! The game was "off the market" at AtariAge after Atari (in its newish, French-owned "Infogrames" form) sent a nastygram claiming the name of "Pong" as their intellectual property. I'd argue that the concept has gone generic ala "Kleenex" -- they certainly haven't been defending their intellectual property very well, Google has pages and pages and pages of links without a hint of Atari around.

But now the game has returned in a new incarnation -- FlapPing (a name suggested by brilliant 2600 coder Thomas Jentzsch on an AtariAge forum...quite clever.) I updated the title screen, switched the "Atari Fuji" symbol for "Computer Controlled Player" to a little 1s and 0s thing, fixed a minor conceptual score display bug, and best of all Atari Age Al and I got Dave LiveInABin Exton to make some nifty new artwork for it. Here's the image he ended up using without the title or Alien Bill or AtariAge logos:

Nice, huh? You can see the evolution of it, including the other video game art that inspired it, at the Flapping Development Journal, though really his first sketch is more-or-less what we ended up going with.

In other news, a recent issue of the UK's Retro Gamer magazine published a brief interview with me. (I heard there's an interview with Pitfall! legend David Crane as well as with Atari Age Al.) Al was kind enough to scan the page with the interview (150K jpeg) for me, but the result was so heavily edited that I've published the original e-mail Q+A between Peter Latimer and me...I worked to give some quality answers to his very good questions. Unfortunately, the article gives the new name of the game as "FlipPing"...ah well.

lucky you

Anecdote of the Moment
A physicist visits a colleague and notices a horseshoe hanging on the wall above the entrance. 'Do you really believe that a horseshoe brings luck?' he asks. 'No,' replies the colleague, 'but I've been told that it works even if you don't believe in it.'
Niels Bohr

Query of the Moment
Watching some of the Oscars. Why are their so many empty seats at 9:40pm? You would think it would be a pretty hot ticket.

wait, i thought *i* was lord of the hissy-fit

Book of the Moment
--Longmire Does Romance Novels, some very funny retitlings of some very cheesy looking books. I remember we use to tease our high school gal friends who were into these by picking them up and seeing how long it took to find a naughty bit...

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