2007 October❮❮prevnext❯❯

rabbit rabbit rabbit

Back to the sweet sweet grindstone!

I want to see the Sox beat the Angels, then, sigh, the Tribe, and then the Cubs. That would be the ideal post-season for me.

Quote of the Moment
Each of these first rockets was like a beloved woman for us. We were in love with every rocket, we desperately wanted it to blast off successfully. We would give our hearts and souls to see it flying.

Video of the Moment

--When furry college mascots attack. Each other. I haven't heard this with sound yet.

tuesday loseday

Man. Today is so not Friday.

But, I get my new glasses today. It kind of weirds me out how the other pair just vanished, but still. Stylin'.

Conversation of a While Back
kirk i guess i should be up
kirk got the disc that should let us play dr. mario et al on wii
evil b nifty.
evil b more fun than a cow on laxatives.
kirk err
evil b yes, its a great metaphor, don't you think
kirk that's the kind of thinking that gave us conker's bad fur day!
evil b my god, I must a billion selling game some where inside of me
kirk you fail at verb
--2007.07.02. "Conker's Bad Fur Day" is a fun but sophomoric game with a rather prolonged cow-and-prune-juice scene.

Advice of the Moment
So that's why you wrote this: I've read stories where the most precise language and evocative imagery is saved for the all-important pudenda-shaving scene as the heroine gets ready to go to the library. I'm not knocking your kink, I'm just wondering why so much word-weight is put into a personal hygiene choice in a story about tracking down Shoggoths.

ridin' the (commuter) rails

Written on the commuter rail last night:
Riding the commuter rail up to Rockport, listening to Paul Simon on my iPhone, my eyes dilated from the eye doctors. The iPhone is pretty good in these situations, its zoom feature means you can make text big to a silly degree.

You know, that's one of the things I miss about my old palm journal, random little "What I'm doing now", slice of life vignettes.

The landscape outside the window looks dark and threatening, storm coming on, but maybe its the sunglasses I'm wearing to protect my poor dilated pupils, or maybe the windows are tinted. Funny not to know.

It feels weirdly adventurous to take the commuter rail, maybe because I've probably ridden more trains in foreign countries...

Photography of the Moment

size matters

For my photo composition class, I got 8.5x11 prints made, $2.50 a shot at the print shop in my office building.

New rule of thumb: big prints make any photo look a bit artsier.

Snapshots of the Moment

nybbles and bytes

Turbo Ice. Lovely concoction from Dunkin' Donuts; iced coffee with espresso thrown in.

Quote of the Moment
These days, if you can actually see a bit, it's probably safe to say that the bit is taking up entirely too much space!
Charles Petzold in "Code: The hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software"
Talking about the progression from punch card and paper tape for computer storage.

Logic of the Moment
Petzold also quotes this Lewis Carroll logic exercise:
"all philosophers are logical;
an illogical man is always obstinate."
Petzold points out that the conclusion isn't obvious. It's "Some obstinate persons are not philosophers". I'm not sure if that's the only one you can get, trying to make a Venn diagram from it, I thought I saw some other implications that would lead up to it.

Game of the Moment
This Slate article on how people Google on candidates, what search terms are most used in association with their names when searching on Google, is kind of fun. Actually, use of Google suggest can almost be a solo parlor game: think of a name, try and guess what the most popular terms are, see if you're right... kind of a guessing game of you vs. the Internet, the only thing is that Google doesn't sort the results by popularity, which is unfortunate.

park street is burning!

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Last night on the T they said they weren't going to be making a stop at Park Street (one of the hubs) and would be going straight through to Government Center because of a "Fire Emergency".

For a moment it seemed kind of odd that they would let subway cars pass through. I have to confess to a tinge of hope that the train would be picking its way through some kind of smoky ruin, embers still glowing. (If nothing else, to make some compelling shots for my photography class--it's not like I have anything against Park Street station.)

I have a nagging feeling I saw a similar scene (semi-automated transportation system taking the horrified passengers through some kind of ravaged, post-apocalyptic landscape) in a movie or game, but can't think of what. Maybe the recent "War of the Worlds" remake? That at least had a flaming train barreling through a train station.

Of course, the reality in the station was far more humdrum, a mostly empty station with some MBTA workers checking things out, some bewildered older guy wondering why none of the trains would stop to let him on.

Idea of the Moment
Hockey Needs a Soccer Premiership-like league system. The core idea, where the worst 3 teams get kicked out of the "major league" and 3 teams from the next one down get promoted seems fantastic, a way of keeping up the drama at the lower levels and stopping brazen "playing for the draft-pick".

Video of the Moment
A gal I met at the xkcd dream girl event (a gal currently at my alma mater, who let me try out the Diablo/Chinese Yo-yo she was playing with) sends along this Rube Goldberg video... similar to stuff I'd posted before, and a little "cheaty" with the cuts, but the bit with the chess board is brilliant.

the sketchbook conspiracy

I'm participating in an online comic jam run by my housemate Miller, The Sketchbook Conspiracy. (A comic jam is just a collaboration, a cycle of artists taking a page at a time.)

There are 3 groups going, I'm with "Less Filling"... you can see the comics (and a larger version of this one) on the conspiracy comics page.

So here's what I came up with yesterday for my first turn:

I'm more of a doodler than an artist, but I wanted to try and match the style of the previous pages. One surprise is how closely you have to read the previous panels, from names to characteristics to appearance, in order to get continuity.

I usually draw directly on a touchpad computer, but here I tried the more traditional pencil on paper, traced with some sharpies, scanned, then manipulated in Paint Shop Pro, where I also added the dialog. (Miller encouraged me to separate the background and foreground, and of course with the repetition I had in mine it made sense.) My "Layers" mojo was weak, so I ended up doing more with transparency and cut and paste than I wanted to.

So, yet another thing where it turns out that it's harder than it looks... clearly I ain't gonna set the world on fire with my mad art skills.

i like brawling

Woo, Red Sox swept. Only an Indians loss to the Yankees stopped it from being a utterly stupendous sports day.

Quote of the Moment
It's fun to shoot some people....Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. I like brawling.

Amusement of the Moment
Slashdot reported on an emergency rocket evacuation system that's about the third tallest roller coaster in the world. Be sure to click on the image... you see the car poised to go forward a bit, then straight down. (And continues to roll straight into a bunker, which is an image that amuses me a little bit.)

the man they call junior

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Obscure(ish) Patriots football humor.

On Sunday's game, Junior Seau made two interceptions. (His first in five years.) During the runback on the second, he threw out his arms in an odd (and probably showboating) gesture... dangerous, given how near some of the Browns were to him, but no harm, no foul.

Anyway, the pose looked oddly familiar, so I fired up the old Nintendo emulator...

He's just living out his Mega Man dreams.

(Hmm, maybe you had to see the replay for it to be funny. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

Oh, and Congratulations Tribe! Thanks for taking care of the nasty Yankees. To be honest, my loyalties are terribly stretched... two hometowns, one where I'm making my life, but Cleveland needs it more. (Wonder if another 1-series-and-out will make the Yankees roster destruct... George was certainly talking trash about Torre, which is kind of a damn shame but hell... they're the Yankees. Elimination is too good for 'em.)

Article of the Moment
R U Sirius (of Mondo 2000 fame back in the day... glad to see him still kicking around) asks 10 professional writers Is The Net Good for Writers?.

There's a few recurring themes... Erik Davis :
One of the worst developments for me has been the increasing brevity of print pieces, something I do blame largely on the fast-moving, novelty-driven blip culture of the internet and the blogosphere.
Mark Dery:
As for its literary fallout, print editors are being stampeded, goggle-eyed, toward a form of writing that presumes what used to be called, cornily enough, a "screenage" paradigm: short bursts of prose -- the shorter the better, to accommodate as much eye candy as possible.
John Shirley:
And in my opinion this is partly because a generation intellectually concussed by the impact of the internet and other hyperactive, attention-deficit media, is assumed, probably rightly, to want superficial reading.
I think John Shirley does the best job into giving concrete examples about the drawbacks to literary compression, but still, I think they overlook the upsides. It's a great big world out there with lots of stuff going on, way beyond the human capacity to encompass all in detail. An idea has to be able to prove its "interestingness" in a compact, distilled fashion, or get the hell out of the way.

I don't think this stance precludes finding depth-- just witness the amazing opportunities for fanoboy-ish niche-finding the Internet offers, and how deep people will go into subjects decidedly off the beaten path.

Aw, who knows. Maybe I'm making the typical mistake of assuming everyone's like me: I mean, I dig soundbite, bullet point thinking -- my collection of quotes is that idea incarnate -- but I will take the time to read a long article I find compelling.

Anyway, Clay Shirky's bit on that page is great as well. I always dig when a writer captures that olde school flavour.

may fuel of psychotic intensity

Announcement: I will never be able to spell "seperately" correctly on the first try. The problem may be phonetic.

That is all.

Inexplicable Objects of the Moment

Hmm. When did fire alarms start spouting sideburns? Oh, and: ewww. (Taken in the Arlington Street Station hallway.)

USE THIS PRODUCT MAY MAKE ENGLISH NOT TO SO GOOD! (Taken at the South End 7-11 magazine rack.)

Music of the Moment
All of the Beatles' LPs condensed into an hour of extremely weird and fast music.

may fuel of psychotic intensity - special collector's edition

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So, uh, hi -- this is the commentary track for the special collector's edition of yesterday's kisrael. I'm Kirk, I write and make and arrange pretty much all of the site-- so here we go.

Announcement: I will never be able to spell "seperately" correctly on the first try. The problem may be phonetic.

That was just a little thing from my backlog, I didn't really have a lot to say, but I like starting off with a comment in my own voice, instead of diving into the links or whatever. Maybe I should've talked about Joe Torre. I probably wouldn't even notice how often I get that word wrong if it wasn't for the spellcheck Firefox throws in there.

That is all.

Just trying to make the pointlessness of it into self-conscious joke.

Inexplicable Objects of the Moment
You know, not to long before I wrote this I was talking about how few injokes the site has, but this is one of them. I steal links from Bill the Splut all the time. He used to do the "InExOb", or Inexplicable Object of the Week, so this was kind of a shout out to that. Actually, if you Google on "InExOb" my name shows up on the first page of results, where he thanks me for some online poll script I had written for him.

Hmm. When did fire alarms start spouting sideburns? Oh, and: ewww. (Taken in the Arlington Street Station hallway.)
Yeah, that was pretty gross. I kind of like "Oh, and: ewww", as if it took a second for a visceral reaction of disgust to set in. Still: the sideburns were pretty cool.

USE THIS PRODUCT MAY MAKE ENGLISH NOT TO SO GOOD! (Taken at the South End 7-11 magazine rack.)
I was on a sort of kind of not-really double date with Jonathan at the time, and this one gal he's gone out with, and her friend from back in Texas. I guess more hanging out. We did a lousy job buying drinks. That whole "go dutch? offer to pay?" is such a potential minefield of miscommunication.

I think of the whole "parody of the idiots around us" shtick here as kind of a Bill the Splut homage, he does it really well.

Special Deleted Scenes of the Moment

So, making fun of badly written signs, the "WRAPER" thing. But it seems a little mean spirited, and wasn't that funny, so I left it out.

This was a photo I took for my Photo Composition class, trying to think about light, and exposure, stuff like that. The teacher seemed to dig it, the negative space of the buildings, but I've posted pictures like it before that I like better, like this summer at Davis Square, and in Chicago. Plus I kind of had a "square cropping" theme going with the other photos, and so it didn't make the cut.

Music of the Moment
All of the Beatles' LPs condensed into an hour of extremely weird and fast music.
This is a BoingBoing link, but frankly I still so many links from there that sometimes I get shy about the proper attribution, lest people think I'm just a BoingBoingFilter. It was a good link though, I also liked the other soundclips of what happens if you reverse the speedup, a lot of the information gets dropped and so it sounds really funky.

Anyway, that wraps it up. Hope you enjoyed a little behind-the-scenes look at kisrael, and maybe we'll see you on tomorrow's entry!

commuter railing

As Evil B pointed out to me, yesterday's entry was pushing the already high self-indulgence bar for this site. Mostly it was just a goof.

I was in Rockport helping EB clear way for an insulation work crew last night, and I crashed there and took the commuter rail down this morning. He mentioned that if you stay on the left side of the Rockport-to-Boston early train you can some nice sunrise views. I was too slow for some shots, but I thought this one was OK, if a bit pedestrian:

Article of the Moment
Lieberman, Michel, and colleagues built upon previous study of seven competing rules for verb conjugation in Old English, six of which have gradually faded from use over time. They found that the one surviving rule, which adds an "-ed" suffix to simple past and past participle forms, contributes to the evolutionary decay of irregular English verbs according to a specific mathematical function: It regularizes them at a rate that is inversely proportional to the square root of their usage frequency.

In other words, a verb used 100 times less frequently will evolve 10 times as fast.
Other tidbits: New verbs entering the language are always regular, and the word "wed" might be next to go, with "wed" being dropped for "wedded"

Site of the Moment
Unclutter.com... yet another one of "those" sites, but pretty good.


Rockport again, Rockport again, Jiggity Jig.

Man, it's getting cold again. Why do non-snowsport-enthusiasts live this far north again. Is it, like, mostly habit?

Link of the Moment
While I've never actually rolled a meaningful D20 'round the gaming table, I liked reading the RPG rules and sourcebooks when I was a kid. This Literary Sources of D&D page was intriguing, seeing where in literary fantasy the designers of the game cribbed from.

Cartoon of the Moment
--Basic Instructions, how to write haiku. I've never seen my vague sense of disappointment with "funny" haiku called out like that.

mirror mirror on the wall, who is the addict of them all

Yesterday I was at Salem Plumbing Supply with Evil B. Despite the prosaic name quite a little show room. They even had a usable restroom with one of those Japanese toilets that... err.... let's just say it gets to know you better than many casual dates will.

What made me fear for our civilization, however, was the way they now have bathroom mirrors with (evidently) one-way-glass and embedded television screens. I kid you not. The design was pretty clever, and it looks like when it's off it appears to be a normal mirror, but there's a TV screen taking up the bottom third or so.


whistle, you dumb bastard!

The other day I was sitting on the stoop of my Aunt and Uncle's place, and I caught myself kind of ogling a woman who was walking past, all curves and harmonic motions. I suddenly worried I was somehow living out this old cartoon by Booth I saw in this big New Yorker Cartoon coffeetable book my family had when I was growing up:

Article of the Moment
Tolerated lawbreaking is almost always a response to a political failure [...] This political failure can happen for many reasons. Sometimes a law was passed by another generation with different ideas of right and wrong, but the political will necessary to repeal the law does not exist. Sometimes, as we'll see with polygamy or obscenity, the issue is too sensitive to discuss in rational terms. And sometimes the law as written is a symbol of some behavior to which we may aspire, which nevertheless remains wholly out of touch with reality. Whatever the reason, when politics fails, institutional tolerance of lawbreaking takes over.
Speeding is always the one that comes first to my mind.

The aspirational aspect of ignored laws is troublesome. All in all, it's a compelling argument for a more libertarian stance, or at least a minimalist approach to the making of laws.

double-yew double-yew double-yew dot

I just heard a dumb radio spot, or maybe it was just pretending, for AT&T. A bunch of cheerleaders were shouting "W! T! G! T!" (Way To Go Team) and "G! T! G!" (Go Team Go) as well as saying "I D W" for "I Don't Wanna"-- it's some promotion for text messaging. Ironically, only the mother's character's Not Getting It "ASAP" example is actually shorter when spoken than the original phrase. (It's the old "www" thing all over again.)

On a similar note I noticed I've stopped using the usual abbreviations like "C U" and "4", just because the iPhone kind of pushes you away from the short cuts.

Video of the Moment
--Best part: "When God Gives You Lemons YOU FIND A NEW GOD". Via trunkbutt.

Quote of the Moment
You can't see ANYTHING from a car, You've got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk...
Edward Abbey

well, here's the thing

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So last night walking the dogs after birthday dinner (under a surprisingly rich starlit, moonless sky) Evil B and I got to talking about rotes, (is that the usual term?) those little turns of phrase we tend to fall back on. He was amused to be able to pick out three of mine that I had just used in quick succession: "Dude," a typical prelude, "well, here's the thing," a way of couching what I think is the critical point, and "Maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention to..." which is a way of excusing my difference of opinion I'm talking with, and conceding their possible superior knowledge.

I'm pretty careful when I argue, and tend to leave myself rhetorical escape hatches. Also, my tangential manner of thinking sometimes leaves me verbally setting off down three or four thought paths in rapid succession... this can be frustrating to my listeners, so I try to curb it a bit (which is probably when I start using those "rotes" a bit more.)

The other thing that's been bugging me lately is how a specific word or phrase, once used, has a likelier than average chance to show up again, like how I used the word "succession" in both of the previous paragraphs.

Moral Guidance of the Moment
Look at the moral guidance I offer. On faith: "After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." On gender: "The sooner we accept the basic differences between men and women, the sooner we can stop arguing about it and start having sex." On race: "While skin and race are often synonymous, skin cleansing is good, race cleansing is bad." On the elderly: "They look like lizards."
He's just out to prove an NY Times OpEd ain't such a big deal. (via Bill the Splut--I've been cribbing from him an awful lot as of late.)

Utility of the Moment
PDFCalendar.com offers a nice interface for no-frill calendar printouts, with a decent ("decent" -- there's another overused descriptor of mine) selection of options. I was looking to start a completed task log for work in that kind of format, and finding this site was a boon.

manny being reasonable

So, with the Red Sox in a do-or-die Game 5 (and, if it comes to that, 6 and 7), Manny came up with this gem:
Why panic? If we don't do it, we'll come back next year and try again ... If it doesn't happen, who cares? There's always next year. It's not the end of the world.
I guess a lot of fans are irritated with that kind of thinking, but to me it seems kind of sane. Stressing out isn't always the best strategy for winning, some say it was being in a hopeless situation in 2004 against the Yankees that let them relax and just play ball. (And "wait 'til next year" doesn't have quite the sting that it used to, though it's a bit odd to say that before the day is lost.)

The big problem is this team is less clutch than a '78 Gremlin. They've left more men on base than...err...an army general...whose wife had an affair with a sergeant...and so he canceled all the weekend leaves...

Damn, metaphor mojo weak today. Wait, is "more X than a Y" a metaphor? Stupid parts of speech.

Personal News of the Moment
Boston.com coverage of My company Enpocket being acquired by Nokia. I've been meeting quite a few Finns.

Photos of the Moment
More stuff for my Photo Composition class-- focusing on shape in particular:

romance in this modern age


the mighty 4-0 jumbos

Max points out something Bill Simmons points out in his ESPN column:
Speaking of fan bases, the fans from a certain New England college are outraged that I refuse to acknowledge a particular undefeated college season that's happening right now and resulted in an especially high ranking last weekend. And you know what? You're right. I need to be the bigger man here. So let's acknowledge it ... congratulations to the Tufts Jumbos on your 4-0 start!
So, um, Yay Jumbos. But are 4-0 starts that rare in college? I guess the one thing you can say about a team like Tufts is unlike football factories it can't really pad its schedule with creampuff opponents, because if anything, it would be one of the creampuffs...

Drawing of the Moment
In helping Evil B up in Rockport, we came across this sketch for the layout of a bedroom. We believe it was done by Alice Cox:

Click here for a larger version
Apologies for the digital photo, I tried to lighten it up some but the pencil drawing still doesn't come out to well. Here's a close up of the chair, sidetable, and lounge:

Cool stuff! I admire the technical skill as well as sense of design that went into this arrangement.

Instructions You Didn't Know You Needed of the Moment
I liked wikiHow's instructions on How to Become a Hobo, but its How to Be a Hobo with a Web Based Income is even more up my alley.



To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
conwayice sourcecode / built with Processing

Conway's Game of Life with subsequent generations plotted in 3D to make ethereal sculptures.

The viewer may click form a new sculpture; the higher in the window the click, the denser the initial populating and resulting sculpture. The view is of 32 generations of a 32x32 wrapping grid. The rotation roughly tracks the mouse, but will start on its own if left idle.

Inspired by the traditional 2D plots of 1D Cellular Automata and the realization that the same use of a spatial refactoring of the dimension of time might be informative for 2D CA. Or at least pretty.

(Basic "life" code lifted (with thanks) from Mike Davis.)

For a more advanced version, see Conwayice2 that lets you set up the initial pattern and see how it runs as well as zoom in.

sox v. rox

I caught the last few innings of the Sox grabbing the American League championship away from the Indians last night. There were a few instances where the Tribe looked comically bad at defense... to quote the Chicago Tribune:
After J.D. Drew's run-scoring single in the eighth, the Indians seemed lost in space. Blake and shortstop Jhonny Peralta collided on a Jason Varitek pop-up, letting it bounce into the stands for a ground-rule double.
Neither guy called for it, they seem to kind of startle each other, with I think Blake covering his head and ducking down in the least dignified manner possible. Despite 3 scary looking but futile long fly balls to end the 9th (really making the Sox outfield work, and Coco's collision with the right corner of the field made you wonder) it was clear that the Indians were dispirited.

I was a total fence-sitter for the whole series. I thought Cleveland as a team and as a city needed it more -- plus there's the whole David vs. Goliath feel when it comes to smaller market teams -- but the Red Sox are my team now, so... GO RED SOX. Lets see how hot these Rockies really are.

And Indians, thanks for getting the Yankees out of the way. That series could've been ugly.

Quote of the Moment
No... I don't think [drowning my sorrows] is possible. [...] All my sorrows are very strong swimmers.
Man, that's the most melancholy bit I've seen in the Funnies since that one Arlo and Janis.

hair today

I got my hair cut fairly short the other week, but I kept the sideburns, just had 'em trimmed a bit.

Suddenly I was worried I was mixing my decade metaphors, a kind of 50/60s cleancut vibe with the scruffier 60s/70s look.

Does pop fashion now only exist in reference to previous decades? Is that's the way its always been? Were big shaggy sideburns seen as something new, or hearkening back to good old General Burnside and the mutton chops of yesteryear?

Invention of the Moment
Boingboing linked to a Homebrew Helicopter. I thought the oddest bit was this:
a set of six buttons adjusts the screen's brightness
I'm kind of hoping something got lost in translation, otherwise that kind if implies an idiosyncratic sense of priorities...

Video of the Moment

Ah, Paint. (Love that exchange: "Can we... can we thin out the line? Can we make the line thinner?" "No." "Ok.") I have to admit I still come back to that program for doing pixel art on my Tablet PC, partially because of how the cursor becomes the brush you'll be drawing with.

thump thump thumpthumpthump

Let's Go Red Sox!
thump thump thumpthumpthump
Let's Go Red Sox!
thump thump thumpthumpthump

Link of the Moment
MLB.com FAQs on the Sox and the Rox.

Review Snippet of the Moment
Slate on Ben Affleck and his new "Gone Baby Gone":
Some cities are blessed with great filmmakers. New York has Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, and Spike Lee. Baltimore has Barry Levinson, David Simon, and John Waters. But the good people of Boston have been deeply unlucky in this regard. Whether it's the city's clannish insularity, the fine-bore segregation of its neighborhoods, or the mix of effete, overeducated latte swillers and "gritty, working-class" knuckleheads, Boston has never translated well on film.
The article reminds me that my attempts at a Boston accent are all pretty horrendous. Also, "Next Stop Wonderland" is not a bad film.

Prediction of the Moment
The Rockies have been living an October fairy tale. Sure, it's too bad they won't be getting their happily ever after. Sure, it's a bit disorienting for this Sox fan to feel like the wicket stepmother. But if some bigger, richer, American League team has to crush their sweet, expansion-team dreams, at least it's our team doing the crushing.
Sarah Green in the Boston Metro
BTW: I've decided that BostonNOW is to the Metro what the Metro is to USA Today, which in turn is what USA Today is to a real newspaper. Today BostonNOW. Their Halloween advice: try being a 'sexy' version of a 'pirate, nurse, French maid, [or] schoolgirl.'

thursday needs more thor

The other day I was looking up some photos for my composition class... (specifically my most recent bug picture) I had remembered it as happening "long ago" but it was from a week into September, and I was browsing the summer months to find it I was gratified to see how long ago events in June and July seem. It was a nice antidote to my sense of "man, late October already?"

It's an easy tangent from that to the attitude of Dunbar in Catch-22, where he would seek out boring activities and unpleasant people in order to prolong his subjective life.

Err, not that I'm saying Evil B and co. are unpleasant. Or even that most of the Rockport activities are boring. But I do wonder if there's a knack to finding the right tasks, a correlation between not being self-indulgent and the perceived rate of the passing of time.

Exchange of the Moment
"Dude, the Matrix trilogy is like the original Star Wars trilogy for my generation."
"Whatever, man. Dude, you're, like, 38. The original Star Wars trilogy is the Star Wars trilogy of your generation."
"Fuck you."

conway west

click to play

conway west - source - built with processing

This is a 2 hour game written for Glorious Trainwreck's Klik of the Month #4. (While probably more impressive visually, technically conwayice was a warm up for this game.)

This is probably a clearer introduction for people less familiar with Conway's Game of Life (and yes the title is a cheap pun on a current recording artist.)

Of course, Life doesn't usually have a random element like the ghost to stir things up, but I'm pleased with how he stops the board from falling into its usual simple pattern.


Rockport! Or, as Evil B puts it after this post, the Evil B Life Extension Service.

Mandate of the Moment
The meaning of poetry is to give courage. A poem is not a puzzle that you the dutiful reader are obliged to solve. It is meant to poke you, get you to buck up, pay attention, rise and shine, look alive, get a grip, get the picture, pull up your socks, wake up and die right. Poets have many motives for writing (to be published on expensive paper, to show up others in your M.F.A. program, to flaunt your sensitive nature and thereby impress someone who might then go to bed with you, to win valuable prizes and fellowships and maybe a year in Rome or Provence, to have a plausible excuse for making a mess of your life), but what really matters about poetry and what distinguishes poets from, say, fashion models or ad salesmen is the miracle of incantation in rendering the gravity and grace and beauty of the ordinary world and thereby lending courage to strangers, This is a necessary thing.
Garrison Keillor, introduction to "Good Poems for Hard Times"

Quote of the Moment
You need the scroll function for that poem to work. Isn't it kick that scrolls and icons are back??? I love the lingo.
Heather McHugh of spondee.com, quoted in "Good Poems for Hard Times"


Still in Rockport. I've seen more rocks than port, though.

Quote of the Moment
It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions.
Robert Bly
But you know, that is the guy who started that Mythopoetic Men's Movement, and a tendency to "have obsessions", and relish them, seems to be a bit more of a guy thing. Your Mileage May Vary, of course, but there is a stereotype that women are more likely to look for a life balance, and men are more willing to live an unbalanced life as a sacrifice to their current focus. And of course, that outlook reaches a zenith (or a nadir, depending on your outlook) with the current image of "geekdom".

red sox: crush crumble and chomp

I think Jonathan Papelbon said it best:
So I have to 'fess up to my moments of doubt during the second half of the season, the Yankees coming on strong and the Sox stranding giant piles of men on base. And the Indians seemed to make it a foregone conclusion. But the Sox were metaclutch, clutch when clutch mattered, and after coming back from 3-1 in the ALCS there wasn't an NL team who could possibly stand in their way.

That said, if you're suspecting you're going to be spurting each other with champagne later in the night, fine... but swimming goggles for everyone? It seems to be pushing it, and temping Murphy's Law. "Oh but you don't know how much that bubbly in the eye stings!"

Kings of the baseball world, baby! Wait 'til next year... it should be great, too.

the barometer

In his LJ, Mr. Ibis posted an old gem about finding the height of a building using a barometer. The following was my rather long-winded response:

Ok, at the risk of spoiling a lovely story:

First off, I love this chestnut of a story. It's a terrific study in lateral thinking.

I think the "Neils Bohr" bit is a retcon; previously I saw it end on the "I will give you this fine barometer" line, which is a bit punchier.

But now I'm musing on the ending. I've been thinking about "bubble tests" lately, the SAT etc. I did very well on those, which was a lovely ego boost and a boon for college admission. I'm totally willing to believe there's only a so-so correlation between these tests and "smarts", but I'm unwilling to buy into the idea that "the only thing they test is how well you take tests". My current favorite (untested, but anecdotally supported) theory: there is a surprisingly strong correlation between reading speed and test scores. A number of people who I think of as clever, but they did poorly on the tests have said they aren't such fast readers. (Not sure if it's correlation or causation, but there are some arguments for the latter including being more able to check your work.)

But anyway, that's a tangent. My point was this: when taking a test it's good to be meta- about it. Often a thought about WHY they're asking a particular question, or providing those possible answers, is extremely useful. And I used to be a fighter; if I saw 2 choices that met the question as it was asked and got the right one based on a reading of the metaquestion, I would FIGHT for other kids who got the other "correct but not the right" answer, just because of my sense of justice and fair play.

So, I think asking a question with an "obvious right" answer isn't so bad. I would say that Bohr's other solutions all rely on having other props (a long rope, a stopwatch, a sunny day and a ruler, chalk and idiosyncratically architected stairs, string, rope AND a stopwatch, or a friendly and unusually knowledgeable superintendent.) Plus, several of them would probably cost you the barometer. I think the "correct" answer only requires the barometer and some knowledge. And roof access. But you get to keep the barometer.

Video of the Moment
I don't care who you are or what your life is like, it almost certainly doesn't have enough ninjas on roller skates:

commuted sentence

(1 comment)
The Red Sox' "Rolling Rally" was right across from where I work.

I enjoyed cheering for the people who were on the duck boats but weren't getting enough love from the crowd. "Go confetti guys! You rock!" and "Yay, third 'front office' boat! You guys are so much better than those back office clowns! woooooooo!" The people around me seemed amused, so I count it as a win.

At Copley Square, the church had a giant TV in front of it, which felt a bit Orwellian, at least 'til the test-pattern kicked in:

View from the corner of Boylston and Berkeley (including the other people's cameras which were a part of it all) but with Wally the Green Monster:

Quote of the Moment
The more you find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh at it.
Bill Nye

Link of the Moment
--The other Bill posted a link of rather unsettling German Halloween costumes.

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