talktalk

(9 comments)
December 1, 2007

EB's daughter Catherine, almost 1 1/2 now, is at an intriguing stage where she bables often but you can see bits of words sticking through, and she has much of the rhythm and tone of language down.

On the one hand, it's frustrating, because it always seems on the verge of "real" communication, and then I'll be able to tell her about the world and see things from her perspective. On the other hand, I'm kind of worried about coping with how narrowly focused her life agenda probably is. (Even when you go for a faux-Buddhist "child's mild", an adult is probably only to get a limited amount of intellectual or aesthetic satisfaction from taking tupperware bowls out of the drawer. And putting them back in. And taking them out again. And stacking the bowls. And putting them back in the drawer.)

Quote of the Moment
"Fools rush in where fools have been before."
--Unknown

you're a mean drunk, superman

(22 comments)
December 2, 2007

Still Rockin' the Port, tearing down walls with EB.

Meanwhile, here is an animation of Superman drinking whisky:



achoow

(2 comments)
December 3, 2007

Bleh. Enough of a cold and a sore back that I think I'm staying in today.

The cool part is the synergy the two conditions make-- "ACHOO! Oww I wish I hadn't done that."

Video of the Moment
--NickB forwarded me a facebook reference to the premier of "A Briefcase Full of Knives". Given that the premiering theater was, literally, about 4 doors down from me it would seem mean-spirited not to go. There was a selection of local shorts first, mostly comedy, and the mini-film itself was good, silly comedy and a hint of working class angst.

Game of the Moment
Strangely compelling puzzle Chat Noir - you get to block one hex, and the cat gets to move one hex, and you try to prevent the cat from escaping. Fairly easy, but not absolutely trivial, once you get the trick.

draggingame

(23 comments)
December 4, 2007

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
draggin - source - built with processing
Just a small Java game I put together... one of the first things I've done there with sound! Devour the villagers who are threatening you and your precious apples. (You can eat them with your head, but they are deadly to the rest of your body.) It was inspired by this processing demo code which was simply moving a chain-like set of links on a screen. I'm not sure if I quite got the interaction feel I was aiming for.

greenhouse r.i.p.

(9 comments)
December 5, 2007

I'm really bummed to see that the Greenhouse restaurant at Harvard Square has gone the way of the Wursthaus and the Tastee, i.e., is no more. Making their way for who-knows-what business. No doubt about it Harvard Square has lost much of its old charm.

Once upon a time I wrote a prose poem about their french fries and heartbreak.

And then at Davis Square there's a new building with the health club above and a CVS below, right there between the twin subway entrances. The thing is, I can't for the life of me remember what was on that block, if I had to draw a map I would have put the old Someday Cafe location directly across from that block where the Buck-A-Book used to be.

Damn it, I'm remembering all these places by what used to be there.

Personals of the Moment
Excerpts from from "They Call Me Naughty Lola", personals from the London Review of Books:

I like my women the way I like my kebab. Found by surprise after a drunken night out and covered in too much tahini. Before long I'll have discarded you on the pavement of life, but until then you're the perfect complement to a perfect evening. Man, 32. Rarely produces winning metaphors. Box no. 5632.

Nothing in this world makes sense. Apart from Sphenodon punctatus, last survivor of the reptilian order Rhynchocephalia. If only there were a woman like it - cold, efficient and brutal in love, but also able to feed off small animals, inhabit the breeding burrows of certain small petrels and be in possession of a vestigial third eye. Zoologist, M (51), possibly a little too close to his work. And his mother. Box no. 8643.

I intend to spend the summer stewing over failed relationships. You can join me if you like, but know now that you'll never live up to Sandra, Jackie, Dawn, Helen, Karen, or Peter. M, 37. Bitter, bi-curious, Bebington. Box no. 5762.

Today we are kittens, but tomorrow we are tigers. Confused zoologist (F, 34). Box no. 0539

Attention male LRB readers: 'Greetings, Earthling - I have come to infest your puny body with legions of my spawn' is no way to begin a reply. F, 36 - suspicious of any man declaring themselves in possession of a 'great sense of humor'. Box no. 6413.

These are all really clever and brilliant, I wonder how successful these turn out to be in fostering romance among the British Intelligentsia...

hack-drivers don't live forever

(5 comments)
December 6, 2007

I've been taking the advice of a friend and walking to and from Park Street station. It's only a few minutes more than waiting for a green line train, and it's a little activity since I haven't really dared my bike in this freeze.

But you know it's cold when you walk past high-end lingerie joint La Perla and your first instinctive thought about the mannequins is "Poor dears! They must be frickin' freezing!"

Literary Bit of the Moment
They rode half a dozen blocks in silence. The chauffeur said: "Your partner got knocked off, Mr. Spade?"

"Uh-huh."

The chauffeur clucked. "She's a tough racket. You can have it for mine."

"Well, hack-drivers don't live forever."

"Maybe that's right," the thick-set man conceded, "but, just the same, it'll be a surprise to me if I don't"

--Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon. The book also had an occurrence of "he's good people" -- I didn't realize the phrase went as far back as the 30s. I also learned that "Excelsior" is type of packing material, "slender, curved wood shavings" -- I thought it was just a nonsense phrase by comic writer Stan Lee.

how high?

(5 comments)
December 7, 2007

I thought of one of those Microsoft-style brain-teasers, meant less to get a single answer as to see how some thinks through a difficult mathematical e

So everyone who is born is born at a certain altitude, and everyone who dies dies at a certain, probably different, altitude. Do you think net altitude over the course of humanity is a net positive or a net negative? Would an astronaut who died in space throw that off?

Superhero of the Moment
--First of The Superest, a series of superheroes, each one designed to nullify the one that came before. The artists seem to be having a great time, reminds me of a game of Mr. Snowman.


Gameshow of the Moment
On Family Feud:
Richard Dawson: "A number you have to memorize...."
Contestant: "7."
--via Bill... I love that answer.

Nostalgia of the Moment
I was surprised to see the headline story at CNN.com was the 25th anniversary of the Commodore 64 computer. It was an ok article, but saying that peopel considered its "graphics weak in comparison to the Apple II and Atari 800" was just backwards... they were right that it had the worst BASIC but graphic wise it was pretty clearly the best. (Not to mention the best selection of pirated games...)

turkey day photo roundupphotos

(4 comments)
December 8, 2007

So I finished up my class on Photographic Composition. The last assignment was "Thanksgiving" in general, here are the two photos I decided to show:


Self-portrait at Alewife. I think this reflects the weariness of travel (even if it is me at the end of a work week.)


Table shot from Thanksgiving with our cousins. I just like the macabre juxtaposition of a cartoon turkey (proudly labled Kirk) gazing on a plate of his massacred and delicious real-life cousin.

One of the other students in the class thought that I should have put up this image instead:
That's one thing I learned from the class: it's hard to judge your own work. I like the regular composition of it, but was worried it was a bit too "snapshotish"

That Sunday we went to a brunch they had at the Museum of Science. We caught the electricity show:
It is kind of funny how the twin Tesla towers look like a butt. "Remember kids it's all thanks to SCIENCE! Plus, watch out for lightning."

Finally, here is an animation of my mom:



The class was useful, especially in teaching me how to read shots. It also taught me that I approach photography different than most of the students there. They approach photography as more of a traditional studio art, often making careful arrangements at home and sometimes really getting into the lens type and focal length and all that jazz. My photography is a little closer to photojournalism, trying to document the interesting stuff I come across in life in as compelling a shot as possible.

is that supposed to be funny?game

(3 comments)
December 9, 2007


flywrench

flywrenchpong
So I spent yesterday afternoon writing a mashup parody of an obscure (by non-Indie standards, anyway) Indie game flywrench (you can see a teaser video here) and my own joustpong. It's called:
flywrenchpong
(I didn't embed it here on the page because it has an obnoxious sound track, kind of a bastardized version of the scratchy electronic music of the original, generated by slowing and "wah-wah'ing" the sound file I used to load my game into the Atari hardware during development.)

So, it's a joke that really only like 3 people should get (folks following both modern Indie gaming and Atari 2600 homebrews) but the author of the original said it was "amazing", so I guess no hard feelings.

In other words, I sent 120-odd Atari cartridges to a good home. I kept out the ones I really loved, and the multiplayer ones, but in a way it was a farewell to pieces of my childhood. But most of the games I can get in emulation, and at this point in my life, I need to separate myself from the Stuff that's taking up rent without paying me back.

Sentence of the Moment
"When I look at people that I would like to feel have been a mentor or an inspiring kind of archetype of what I'd love to see my career eventually be mentioned as a footnote for in the same paragraph, it would be, like, Bowie."
--Trent Reznor. Language Log has named a prize for "tricky embedding" after him for this linguistic feat.

ataripartyartvideogames

(16 comments)
December 10, 2007

So, I realized I spent a little too much time making the following graphic of running Atari 2600 characters yesterday:

It's kind of cool 'cause you can put it end to end:

(That's Berzerk's shootist, Burgertime's Chef, Donkey Kong's Mario, HERO's hero, Fast Eddie, Tron Deadly Discs' Tron, Jungle Hunt's Adventurer, Keystone Kaper's Kop, Mountain King's would-be king, and Pitfall Harry.)

When I thought back to what it took to make those, it seems a little crazy: Yeesh! No wonder it killed an afternoon/evening. It's quite a little Virtual Crafts project, but I get the feeling it somehow garners less respect than, say, knitting something would.

My housemate wrote about his irritation with people who say "You must have too much free time on your hands.". And while I agree with him, that's an absolutely rude, dismissive, and small-souled thing to say, in at least this case I could almost see their point.

I need to get some tools to automate manipulating animated GIFs, that would have sped things up.

Exchange of the Moment
Aunt Susan: "See? Aren't I just the lowest-maintenance relative you have?"
Me: "Well... there's my dad. We just have to mow over where he's buried! But I think we contract out to a guy for that."
--2007.12.09. Ah, macabre humor. My favorite!

Sports of the Moment
So the Patriots won an important game yesterday, with a dominating second half against the #1 Defense Steelers, and kept thoughts of a perfect season alive. In the week-long leadup, one of the Steelers was dumb enough to "guarantee" a victory, and Brady took special pride in burning him several times during the game.

Just for fun (and out of respect, not schadenfreude) I hit fansite "Stillers.com" (gotta appreciate the name) and read stuff like this article. That article and a few others rip on the Patriot's fanbase, not just for being fair-weatherish (not utterly unfounded, but I suspect most hardcore, longterm fandbases like the Steelers and the Packers put down roots in the rich soil of a phenomenal team run and accompanying bandwagon) but because the Red Sox are still first in the hearts and minds in the area.

To which I can only reply, neener-neener.

no reason to die all tensed up

(6 comments)
December 11, 2007

I'm finishing up Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane's "Riding Rockets", a pull-few-punches look at his time with NASA (including his own admittedly sophomoric humor, as well as a fierce criticism of the political culture there.)

One thing I had forgotten is besides the two tragedies, the Space Shuttle program has had many near misses. On his second flight, on Atlantis, heat tiles got knocked off the bottom-- they couldn't even tell qui how many until after they had landed-- and their chances about making it home safely were in doubt. His commander on that flight, "Hoot" Gibson, encouraged a casual stoicism:
"No reason to die all tensed up."
That's a pretty decent outlook to have.

Reading the book reminded me of my vague desire to go into space, though I'm not sure if I'd be able to afford it any time soon. But Mullane writes mostly about the spectacular view... I realize I'm more in awe of the idea of weightlessness. I figure the view I can get some idea of through wide-angle pictures, etc, but the physical sensation of floating, without the viscosity of water interfering with your movements... that's something you can't readily duplicate on Earth.

Maybe I should just try to go in one of those freefall "Vomit Comet" planes for 30 seconds at a time. Zero gravity is actually a bit annoying in the long term! (Especially in the bathroom department, another topic Mullane isn't shy about discussing.)

Link of the Moment
So, come to think of it, yesterday's "atariparty" GIF might have been inspired by this terrific website of C=64 Sprite Art. (I was googling after some kisrael comments about C=64 sprites... for some reason I had gotten to thinking that they were monochrome, and you had to double them up to get multiple colors. I stand corrected!

The skateboarder, from "Skate or Die", was one of my favorites. Overall I thought that game looked like it came straight from an Amiga. (And the NES version was much less impressive.)

PS it's more difficult than I expected to get a clear MP3 of the title screen music for Skate or Die... I don't think the emulation gets it quite right, and its sampled electric guitar and terrific simple drumwork just doesn't carry through.

wet and coolart

(12 comments)
December 12, 2007

Lovely day today, wet and cool, like early spring.

I've had a feeling as if it is getting brighter earlier, but according to that java toy I made, that's an illusion. Maybe I'm responding to the angle of the light at a certain time or something.

Nice to know that solstice is almost here.

Craft of the Moment


The bottom row is new, the top one is from the other day. Can someone tell me their relationship?

Game of the Moment
Cute gambeboy-looking physics-y game for Windows, Spout. Your little block ship has a thruster of pixels you can turn in any direction, so you not only have to use it to fly upwards, you have to use it to burn the blockage in your path, but without sending yourself back to the floor.

Quote of the Moment
"Seek simplicity, and distrust it."
--Alfred North Whitehead

sticky brain

(2 comments)
December 13, 2007

I'm almost concerned about how absorbed I've been by books lately -- sometimes the context switch -- from the mental landscape of the book to the approaching T station -- is quite jarring, and I really have to think about where I am and what I mean to be doing next.

When I was in sixth grade or so I was very hard to distract when I had my nose in a book, so I guess I shouldn't worry too much about this as a new sign of decreasing mental faculties, but still it can be disconcerting.

Wedding Video of the Moment
So this summer I went to Chicago for Lex's + Michi wedding. They're the wedding video of the week at their videographers, "fig media". (I have an offscreen cameo, Michi yelling "Hey Kirk! ... you're going in there--" from across the street... that was the day I was walking for miles in the hot Chicago summer in a black suit and bad shoes.)

I'm greatly impressed. It really beings you back to the event! For a while I'd been poo-pooing video in general, in part because it's less flexible than stills, but I think the bigger problem is so few people have any kind of production values when they do their home movies. Either you're looking at endless raw footage or just poor and arbitrary selections... clips with a good and meaningful soundtrack really make it!

So congrats again Lex + Michi...

Google Search of the Moment
Yesterday the top Google match for
"still crazy after all these years" analysis
was last year's Washington Post article Bin Laden Tape Calls Zarqawi 'Brave Knight' -- could someone have googlebombed this? Or there must have been a really prominent site using that as the link caption, because the literal phrase doesn't appear in the article at all.

snoooooooooooooooooooow!

(7 comments)
December 14, 2007

So there was snowing and shoveling yesterday.

It's that time of year that always makes me questions if these latitudes are truly fit for human habitation.

Yeah, sure, there's kind of "Kum Ba Yah" we all get, the smiles and friendly greetings we give each other as we pass as a shoveler and pedestrian, but really it's just a big mutual sympathy thing.

And then there's the people enjoying themselves on cross country skis on my damn street. Is there a polar (har-har) opposite of Schadenfreude? Suffering in the joy of others? 'Cause that's exactly what I get.

Accident of the Moment
--Yesterday morning (before the snow) there was a fender bender on the MBTA - the injuries weren't serious, but if I was in a neckbrace on a stretcher, the last thing I'd want to see is their "Charlie on the MTA" mascot giving me a big thumbs up...


Camp Stories of the Moment
Switching gears to more summery times, Felisdemens has a brilliant list of personal experience DOs and (mostly) DON'Ts For Girl Scout Camp (modeled roughly on The 213 Things Skippy Is No Longer Allowed To Do In The U.S. Army list that was making the rounds awhile back)

Here's a sample: She's like the Wednesday Adams of Upstate New York... so much cooler than my own YMCA camp rules.

juice

(3 comments)
December 15, 2007

So, sports talk is all about the Mitchell Report, about baseball players who were using performance enhancing drugs. (But is it sketchy that he's also a Red Sox director?)

I'm a little amused that the primary snitch is an ex-batboy/clubhouse employee named "Kirk". (Radomski, though I guess he has a nickname Murdock.)

One annoying bit was the assumption that if people now don't get on Roger Clemens' case they way they did on Barry Bonds, it proves it's all about personality, or maybe racism. I don't think that's fair... Bonds was going after more cherished records, and he was still working his way up to that after the scandal had broke, he was still grinding his way to the career HR title after everyone could see something was rotten in Denmark.

Another commentator was claiming HGH was not actually proven to enhance athletic performance, and that baseball was going to spend bajillions trying to come up with a test for something that doesn't need testing for.

Bad Idea of the Moment
A friend linked to this "Slave" Princess Leia costume for Dogs. As she says "several layers of wrong". Or as I said... "It's OK to collar your dog. Just don't... collar... your dog."

the total perspective atari vortexart

(6 comments)
December 16, 2007

I don't like this weather.

Joke of the Moment
A seeker has heard that the wisest guru in all of India lives atop India's highest mountain. So the seeker treks over hill and Delhi until he reaches the fabled mountain. It's incredibly steep, and more than once he slips and falls. By the time he reaches the top, he is full of cuts and bruises, but there is the guru, sitting cross-legged in front of his cave.

"O, wise guru," the seeker says, "I have come to you to ask what the secret of life is."

"Ah, yes, the secret of life," the guru says, "The secret of life is a teacup."

"A teacup? I came all the way up here to find the meaning of life, and you tell me it's a teacup!"

The guru shrugs. "So maybe it isn't a teacup."

--from Cathcart and Klein's "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes". I love this one, it's take on the struggle and possible futility of the search for Ultimate Truth.

Animation of the Moment
--An Atari Nightmare by Harveyjames, from this TGQ thread, based on my animations. Not sure if this thumbnail does justice to the full version.


raining, pouring, snoring

(2 comments)
December 17, 2007

So there's that old kid's rhyme:
It's raining, it's pouring
The old man is snoring
Went to bed
Bumped his head
And couldn't get up the next morning...
I was fascinated by this as a kid, the whole bed-going, head-bumping scenario. Except I learned it as "couldn't get up until morning" which isn't such a bad thing, come to think of it. It made it more of an understated tableau.

The "correct" version makes a little more sense, but at least the old guy is still alive, as witnessed by his snoring.

(Do people in comas, head-trauma-induced or otherwise, snore? Or does it tend to be a different style of breathing?)

Joke of the Moment
Two cows are standing in the pasture. One turns to the other and says, "Although pi is usually abbreviated to five numbers, it actually goes on into infinity."
The second cow turns to the first and says, "Moo."
--from Cathcart and Klein's "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes".

Accomplishment of the Weekend
I finally did the December issue of the Blender of Love. I made the little cartoon below but I'm not sure if it's clear that the tree itself is made of inverted hearts.

the blind kangaroomaker

(7 comments)
December 18, 2007

So "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar" also references David Hume pointing out the danger of analogies when describing something as unique as the entire universe. (I couldn't google up other references to Hume having this thought, but still.)

In particular, it's the trouble of the "watchmaker" analogy, where you say just like if you found a beautifully designed watch on the ground, you'd assume there was a skilled maker somewhere, rather than it just shake itself into being, a well "designed" universe implies a maker as well. But why, the book says Hume asks, pick a watch? Why not a kangaroo? Which is a complex and interconnected and organic system, much like the universe. In that case, our universe would have come from another universe, after that parent universe had sex with a third universe. So clearly, analogies are not always a way to definitive knowledge.

Excerpt of the Moment
I was about ready to say I think I better go down and see my mom now when she leaned forward and kissed me with an open mouth on the lips. It wasn't like with Jilly. Nothing could distract me, not even the living corpse of her father. She took my hand in hers and slipped it inside her shirt. It was more romantic than it sounds.
--Dirk Wittenborn, "Fierce People". (The "living corpse" is about her father in a coma.) Always weird when the book you've had on your "read this someday" pile for years was made into a move in the meanwhile and you didn't even realize. Odd book, set in '78 but with some anachronisms, I'd say, like tasers and diet coke, and turns of phrase like "the 'rents" for parents. It feels like an 80s child writing about the 70s but sounding more like the 90s movie Cruel Intentions (which in turn is based on a book from the 1780s)

get up get up get up now get down 9-11 was an inside job near your town

(7 comments)
December 19, 2007

Wow. On the bus this morning I think I was sitting next to a Real Live Crazy Guy, writing a letter in big sprawling block letters to Dick Cheney, telling him that 9-11 was an inside job, and that the Patriot Act was ready beforehand, and maybe something about Halliburton.

Advice to Crazy Guys: learn to type, your handwriting impresses no one. (Though I was mildly impressed that he knew that the office of the VP is in the Old Executive Office Building when he was addressing the envelope.)

Joke of the Moment
A man comes rushing into the psychiatrist's office, apologizing for being late because he overslept.

"But I had an incredible breakthrough in my dream," the man says breathlessly, "I was talking with my mother and she suddenly turned into you! That's when I woke up, got dressed, grabbed a Coke and a donut, and rushed to your office."

The psychiatrist says: "A Coke and a donut? You call that a breakfast?"
--from Cathcart and Klein's "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes".

Robot of the Moment
Cute little story about a jury-rigged "robot", a PC set up so its CD tray could hit the reset switch of another server. Melancholy in its own little way.

haggling on price

(6 comments)
December 20, 2007

One joke they drop in the "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar" book I've been snippeting this week is the old "'Would you sleep with me for a million bucks?' 'Yeah, probably!' 'How about twenty?' 'No way! What kind of gal do you think I am?' 'Well, we've already determined that, now we're just haggling on price.'"

Man, I hate that joke. Besides its misogynistic tone, it's a representation of moral absolutism extended to an absurd degree. To imply that the difference between a lifestyle-changing windfall and cabfare is merely quantitative is just plain dumb.

Image of the Moment
--This image makes me very happy. From ftw.generation.no, but there is a LOT of NSFW stuff there...


zoo be dippidy bop be dop doo DEEE dop*

(6 comments)
December 21, 2007

I feel a little more Christmas-y than usual this year, at least judging by propensity to whistle or scat Christmas-y songs as I walk along. Especially "Let It Snow", though lately there's a quiet ironic undertone that might just be detectable by the careful listener.

* "zoo be dippidy bop be dop doo DEEE dop" = "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" in scat speak. That's the nice thing about scat singing, it sounds jazzy and it's ok if you don't remember the words.

Funny of the Moment
"Here baby! Nothing but the best for you!"
"It's a gift certificate."
"For the best!"
"For twenty dollars."
"WORTH OF THE BEST!"
--Basic Instructions, How to Give Someone a Gift.

36 reasons why kirk is better than picard

(8 comments)
December 22, 2007

It is really great to have a sushi restaurant right next door. On my own after a grinding week at work, a few California rolls, a few Spicy Tuna rolls, some hot green tea, a book, all's a bit better with the world...

There used to be an Indian place there, but it always looked sad and empty-- elegant, but empty. (There's another, more lively Indian place around the corner, Punjab, that just moved into bigger and exquisitely decorated quarters with one of the few bars in the city.) So even though it feels to me like there's a glut of places to get sushi at this intersection, it feels like Manna Sushi is doing pretty well, I rarely see it empty.

Joke of the Moment
Two cows are standing in a field. One says to the other, "What do you think about this mad cow disease?"
"What do I care?" says the other. "I'm a helicopter."
--from Cathcart and Klein's "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes".

Gallery of the Moment
--36 of the Galactically Hot Women of Star Trek -- original Trek. Dig the 60s glam. More at the link!

what's nausea but a kind of -ausea?

(1 comment)
December 23, 2007

On the road for Christmas, minimal update.

So one final concept from Cathcart and Klein's "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes" that I've been milking so much this week... they quote William James, who was convinced that the feeling of cosmic knowledge that being on nitrous oxide provided might be worth investigating... but he would always forget those deep thoughts on the come-down. So he decided to write things down, and typical of what he was coming up up with was:
"Everything has a Petroleumlike smell!"
Deep, man. The thing was, he couldn't be quite sure if it was just the normal, non-high James who was deaf and blind to these cosmic truths, or if it was the high James who was just babbling.

I couldn't too many references to the Petroleumlike observation, but I did find bits like this:
What's mistake but a kind of take?
What's nausea but a kind of -ausea?
Sober, drunk, -unk , astonishment. . . .
Agreement--disagreement!!
Emotion--motion!!! . . .
Reconciliation of opposites; sober, drunk, all the same!
Good and evil reconciled in a laugh!
It escapes, it escapes!
But--
What escapes, WHAT escapes?
...well, as free poetry goes I've heard worse.

sisyphus and santa's dingle

(2 comments)
December 24, 2007

So, in Nyack or thereabouts for Family Christmas. (It's where my mom lives (in Salvation Army parlance "is currently stationed") but not really our hometown.)

This wind and rain is something else! I'm worried about an ice-slick future, but I'm grateful this wasn't some kind of major blizzard.

My mom's place has a sump pump which has been working overtime, sounding like a garage door opening every few minutes. Turns out the output of the sump pump probably isn't set far enough away from the house and it's likely repumping much of the same water over and over.

It's kind of tragic heroic in its own futile way, the Sisyphus of Sump.

Scandalized Childhood of the Moment
mouse over to pull string
This is a Santa Advent Calendar my family got when I was a kid, little scenes under the 24 windows. You pull the string and Santa does a little leap. My parents rehung it every year, even though obviously all the doors had been opened. For years I thought it was just a cute family tradition, but I was shocked, SHOCKED to find out that my parents fondness for it was based on their amusment on the idea of "pull Santa's dingdong and he jumps".

When I found out, I felt so dirty! But now my former shock is just part of the tradition. And through the magic of Javascript I can share it with you. Move the mouse over Santa to pull his dingle!

merry christmas!game

(7 comments)
December 25, 2007

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
sugardum - source - built with processing

back to bostonart

December 26, 2007
One final bit of silly holiday virtual arts+crafts:

It didn't scale down to small gif cinema standards so I decided to focus on the snowman:


dude wheres your feet lol

(4 comments)
December 27, 2007

Thursday already? Wow. The holidays really mess with your sense of time.

I'd like to start paying back some of my usual sleep deficit, but thanks (I think in part) to a cold I'm still getting up at 7.

Bad Comic Art of the Moment
--Bill pointed out The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings- Liefeld was this insanely popular artist in the 90s, but technically he's pretty bad. And cannot draw a foot, and seems to go out of his way to avoid drawing them, like in this example. I admit I wouldn't notice have the gaffs the article points out... maybe some of it works as a "style"?

Quote of the Moment
"I think it's much better to be a good cartoonist than a terrible minister"
--Charles Schulz. And Rob Liefeld is neither! ZING!

when pseudodyslexia strikes

(4 comments)
December 28, 2007

The letters "m" and "b" seem to be crosswired in my brain, especially when typing-- in particular I'll swap in the pairs "me"/"be" and "my"/"by". One weird side effect of this emerged yesterday, I'm updating the loveblender's "send in a work" scripts, and scripts that used to be called "addwork" are now "submitwork". It turns out "submit" is very difficult to type with emacs tab completion, I keep typing the first part as "subi". I must've done that like 10 times bouncing between files. I think I type "b" and my brain registers the "m" as done.

Video of the Moment
--Captivating, ain't it? (At least after 0:50 or so) I didn't realize that this part of the Kanye West song Stronger was a separate Daft Punk song. I do prefer the Kanye West beat and some of the lyrical deftness (err, with the klondike rhyme having a certain wistfulness for me) though after hearing a copy of the whole CD I'm not the biggest Kanye fan in general.

the patriots networks

(3 comments)
December 29, 2007

On my way to Rockport.

Some small bits of football history are being made today, if nothing else, the simulcast. With the Patriots having this much success of late, here's a page with a lesson on how hardluck the team has been historically speaking:
The Patriots were founded by Billy Sullivan, who was barely able to scrounge up $25,000 and hustle it down to the Mercantile Bank & Trust in Dallas to stake his claim to the eighth and final AFL franchise in 1959.

Which pretty much set the tone of his ownership. His son, Chuck, made his fortune the Steve Martin way: "How I turned a million dollars in real estate into twenty-five dollars cash!" Substitute Michael Jackson for real estate and you get the real story.
Good times for now, though, boy howdy! Do any of the networks carrying it offer a reason to watch on their channel in particular? Same announcer, right?

maybe they should call him "DUDEney"java

(7 comments)
December 30, 2007

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
wallpaper - built with processing
Wallpaper, an example algorithm from A.K. Dewdney's "The New Turing Omnibus", a bit of a fractal. You can use the mouse to adjust the three input parameters.

What makes this cool is how simple the main drawing routine is...
  for(int i = 0; i < 100; i++){
    for(int j = 0; j < 100; j++){
      float x = (corna + i) * side / 100;
      float y = (cornb + j) * side / 100;
      int c = round((x*x)+(y*y));

      if(c % 2 == 0 ){
        plot(i,j);  
      }   

    }
  }
It turns out corna and cornb are just the horizontal and vertical offsets, and "side" is acting as a zooming factor. (Those are the variable names Dewdney uses... I don't know why he doesn't use more descriptive names.)

I was actually able to knock the basic implementation off in about 10 minutes in Processing, though the sliders took a bit more work because I was trying to be cute.

2007 goin' to heaven

(3 comments)
December 31, 2007

So, 2007 winds to end.

I think years with "7" are underachievers. Maybe all years that end in an odd number are at risk, but "1" "5" and "9" kind of stake their place by proximity to the end, midpoint, or center of the decade, leave 3 and 7 as the stragglers. For some reason 2008 seems like it should resonate a bit better.

Anyway.

Patriots finished out an unbeaten regular season in grand, edge-of-your-seat fashion. Evil B used the game as an excuse to get an HD receiver unit for his TV to pickup the broadcast signal. It worked better than I expected it would! It seems odd to be drawing high resolution signal from good old fashioned rabbit-ear antennas.

Leaving aside those slacker Bruins, the 3 Boston sports teams have lost 3 games since the Sox regained their footing against the Indians... all 3 were basketball losses, two by 2 points, one 5-point loss in overtime.

This year we've been about the most blessed sports city on Earth!

SciFi of the Moment
Tersurus is the planet on which Chancellor Goth met the dying Master prior to The Deadly Assassin. It was also the setting of the Comic Relief spoof episode The Curse of Fatal Death. The spoof described the Tersurons as the most gentle, yet most shunned race in the universe, due to the fact that they communicated through carefully controlled "gastric emissions". They became extinct when they discovered fire.
--Wikipedia's List of Doctor Who planets