2008 October❮❮prevnext❯❯

hang on sloopy

Ohio politics has a lot not to like, but this is just great...

WHEREAS, The members of the 116th General Assembly of Ohio wish to recognize the rock song "Hang On Sloopy" as the official rock song of the great State of Ohio; and

WHEREAS, In 1965, an Ohio-based rock group known as the McCoys reached the top of the national record charts with "Hang On Sloopy," composed by Bert Russell and Wes Farrell, and that same year, John Tagenhorst, then an arranger for the Ohio State University Marching Band, created the band's now-famous arrangement of "Sloopy," first performed at the Ohio State-Illinois football game on October 9, 1965; and

WHEREAS, Rock music has become an integral part of American culture, having attained a degree of acceptance no one would have thought possible twenty years ago; and

WHEREAS, Adoption of "Hang On Sloopy" as the official rock song of Ohio is in no way intended to supplant "Beautiful Ohio" as the official state song, but would serve as a companion piece to that old chestnut; and

WHEREAS, If fans of jazz, country-and-western, classical, Hawaiian and polka music think those styles also should be recognized by the state, then by golly, they can push their own resolution just like we're doing; and

WHEREAS, "Hang On Sloopy" is of particular relevance to members of the Baby Boom Generation, who were once dismissed as a bunch of long-haired, crazy kids, but who now are old enough and vote in sufficient numbers to be taken quite seriously; and

WHEREAS, Adoption of this resolution will not take too long, cost the state anything, or affect the quality of life in this state to any appreciable degree, and if we in the legislature just go ahead and pass the darn thing, we can get on with more important stuff; and

WHEREAS, Sloopy lives in a very bad part of town, and everybody, yeah, tries to put my Sloopy down; and

WHEREAS, Sloopy, I don't care what your daddy do, 'cause you know, Sloopy girl, I'm in love with you; therefore be it Resolved, That we, the members of the 116th General Assembly of Ohio, in adopting this Resolution, name "Hang On Sloopy" as the official rock song of the State of Ohio; and be it further Resolved, That the Legislative Clerk of the House of Representatives transmit duly authenticated copies of this Resolution to the news media of Ohio.
So now I know why like every Middle School and High School Stage Band in Ohio played that song!
There's got a be people in Florida who attribute Tampa's recent baseball success to a divine boost after dropping the "Devil" from Rays.
<<Lose something every day. Accept the fluster / of lost door keys, the hour badly spent / The art of losing isn't hard to master>>

it's the great pumpkin ale charlie brown

Yay Red Sox! Wonder if they have LAA's postseason number as deeply as it looks?

Passage of the Moment
I like "Howl" a lot. Who wouldn't? It just doesn't have much to do with me or what happened to my friends. For one thing, I believe that the best minds of my generation were probably musicians and physicists and mathematicians and biologists and archaeologists and chess masters and so on, and Ginsberg's closest friends, if I'm not mistaken, were undergraduates in the English department of Columbia University.

No offense intended, but it would never occur to me to look for the best minds in any generation in an undergraduate English department anywhere.

Image of the Moment
--Cookie Monster slayer, via boingboing and laughing squid.

<<had it been another day / i might have looked the other way / and I'd have never been aware / but as it is I'll dream of her>>
Lionessque So when a turtle has that kind of problem, is it colloquially "the runs" or just like "the walks"?
Unabashed geekery: learning of "Levenshtein distance", a measure of how different two sets of characters are. And the Perl module for it.

you betcha! can I call you joe?

Watched the VP debate last night. Palin wasn't terrible-terrible, but her answering whatever question she had wished she was asked and general issue dodging was horrendous. (And the "I'm not going to answer the question, I'm here to talk to the AMERICAN PEOPLE" -- plbbt, that's what political advertising is for, you're in a DAMN MODERATED DEBATE, give the sloganeering a rest for 90 seconds.)

Like they say in Rolling Stone...
"The great insight of the Palin VP choice is that huge chunks of American voters no longer even demand that their candidates actually have policy positions; they simply consume them as media entertainment, rooting for or against them according to the reflexive prejudices of their demographic, as they would for reality-show contestants or sitcom characters."
The sad thing is this is kind of how I've been acting on politics for a long time. It's like this weird continuation of the emphasis of "self-esteem" in schools, 'til we have kids who rate themselves most highly in Math and do the worst. The red states in particular seem to dislike people who act like they might be smarter than them, even if they are, even if they're not snobbish about it. "Jus' Plain Folks" ain't the best way to run a country, in my book.

Quote of the Moment
If everyone wore my clothes, I don't think there would be wars, truly. Of course, then I would be the richest man in the world and most people would become bankrupt. My clothes are expensive. So maybe wars are better.

They say CSPAN is the best way to watch the debate with the split screen and all, but it was pretty freaky when the sound was out of synch.
Hm. Who was the last Prez or VP candidate to wear glasses at the debate podium?
katwinx More the cop from "Fargo"... I'm just waiting for her to talk about coming to a suspicious scene in the prowler...
<<fact is there's nothin out there you can't do / yeah, even santa claus believes in you>>

them, them, them

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Since I have to struggle so mightily to make this website not just me, I thought I'd post some art by other folks. In retrospect it is just possible that posting an image of me, a thing by my officemates out of my bricks, and a cartoon about my street is probably not making such big head way in losing the Kirk-centric nature of my website...
Jokes that were probably old 10 years ago: Tori Amos sings that she Crucifies Herself. Quite a trick, tough once you get the first arm up.
EB fixing door a worker broke:"can't blame a stupid person when they're stupid; and they do dangerous stuff for small pay" "They get paid?"

does she at least offer to throw beads?

News of the Odd of a Past Moment
Koko has been involved in a number of sexual harassment lawsuits. At least three female former employees have claimed that they were pressured into showing their breasts to Koko. They alleged that Patterson encouraged the behavior, often interpreted Koko's signs as requests for nipple display, and let them know that their job would be in danger if they "did not indulge Koko's nipple fetish." Koko has been known to playfully grab both male and female nipples without warning or provocation. Patterson claims that Koko uses the word "nipple" to refer to humans.

All claims of harassment have been permanently dropped as of November 21, 2005 after the foundation and the parties involved reached a settlement.

Jody Weiner, Koko's lawyer, writes about Koko and sexual harassment in the book Kinship With Animals.
Assuming this is more aobut Koko than Patterson, I wonder what it says about human's obsession with that area...

Quote of the Moment
All the world is not, of course, a stage, but the crucial ways in which it isn't are not easy to specify.
Erving Goffman

Man, Clifford the Big Red Dog could eat Marmaduke for lunch and have Howard Huge for dessert.
Totally leveling up my parallel parking ability. Realized the trick is to treat the streetside rear corner as a pivot. Scion squeezes in!

so funny i forgot to snark

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Still sticking with the sandals.

Quote of the Moment
Middle age is when you've met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else.
Ogden Nash.
I think Jeff Hawkins has a pretty decent neurological explanation for this. I find it happening when trying to recollect old coworkers, people I might have seen on a daily basis, but... well, they tend to get lumped into categories, sometimes in broadly physical or accent-y ways.

Links of the Moment
I felt kind of bad about enjoying engrishfunny, especially since I'm so gridingly monolingual, and I know how many Asian languages even spell themselves phonetically... but then I found Wordsplosion, delighting (or mocking, whatever) signs written by, presumably, native English speakers, so now I feel a little less guilty. (I think making it worse is how professional-looking print technologies has outstripped amateur proofreading.)
I hate national baseball broadcasters. They're smart but they have no soul.
<<if you smiling, that should set the tone / just be limber>>
Yimminy Crickets. 10,600 was once thought of as kind of a floor for the Dow, <10K is kind of freaking me out.
Explaining "Triangle Trade" to my Finnish coworker. Now he's excited, trying to figure where to get slaves, the tobacco from the local 7-11
Software User Interface Lesson: I guess sometimes half-assed is worse than no-ass-at-all because you ass-ume it's doing the right thing.
It's almost easy to think yeesh, maybe the Y2K guns-n-gold style crowds were right, but there's much ground twixt here and mad max.


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Yay Red Sox! We could get used to this.

Video of the Moment

--Making the rounds... a brilliant study in "Truth in Lyrics" -- and the singer does really well on the long high notes!

Quote of the Moment
Optimistic bias: People tend to be overconfident about their own abilities and the outcome of their plans. Something like 90% of people think that they are above average drivers less likely to get into an accident than the average joe. This is so pervasive that there is actually a scientific name for the few people who accurately assess their own future, their abilities, and what other people think of them: clinically depressed.
Really good writing there, I might need to add it to my regular rotation.
<<that's me stumbling away / slowly learning that life is ok / say after me / it's no better to be safe than sorry>>
I'm grateful that a stable diagnosis of mild astigmatism has my only vision issue for decades; I know some of my friends aren't so blessed.
Great neologisms: "thinkodynamics", Hofstadter's reason/excuse for thinking about thinking at a high level, rather than at the neurons etc.
I wish I could figure out rule for whether the first or second E line would be more crowded.
I wish I could recapture my childhood fascination with how two plus two and two TIMES two equals four.

that's the way the world keeps on happening. be interested in it.

Ugh, giving-a-damn-about-the-market fatigue.

Passage of the Moment
What you have to do, if you get caught in this gumption trap of value rigidity, is slow down--you're going to have to slow down anyway whether you want to or not--but slow down deliberately and go over ground that you've been over before to see if the things you thought were really important were really important and to...well...just stare at the machine. There's nothing wrong with that. Just live with it for a while. Watch it the way you watch a line when fishing and before long, as sure as you live, you'll get a little nibble, a little fact asking in a timid, humble way if you're interested in it. That's the way the world keeps on happening. Be interested in it. --Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - here a "gumption tramp" is something that straps your energy and willingness, and the "value rigidity" is when you assume you already know the answer or have ruled out a possibility.

Commercial of a Past Moment

This milk commercial always seemed weirdly Freudian. (2019 UPDATE - was https://youtu.be/4k6C-Yo362U with this as an "even worse" but I dunno)

Article of the Moment
5 1/2 years ago I touched on the similarities between "Red Dawn" and Iraq, except with the USA playing the role of the hamfisted and well-armed Russian invaders who are ignorant of the local culture and politics, and the Iraqis as the nationalist guerrillas, capable of great and foolish and bravery and taking out invaders with them. Anyway, Slate covers that same topic, but with more details and video clips.
<<by order of the prophet / We ban that boogie sound>>
my PC's CD drive is intermittently recalcitrant; took me way too long to realize it's fine if there's a disc in it, bad if not... but why?

oontz oontz

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I wish this market would just find a frickin' floor. Yeah, I guess the credit situation is a mess, but you probably knew that yesterday, right? Sheesh.

Quote of the Moment
I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect.
George Carlin
Guess he didn't know about finance.yahoo.com

Video of the Moment

--"Young Folks" by Peter, Bjorn & John. (This was playing two different times at Flann's (pub at the end of my street) -- I had hoped that this nifty iPhone app "Shazam", which is amazing at "listening" to and then identifying a song off the car stereo could tell me what it was, but alas the pub seems to be too noisy for it so I had to go to the old fallback of asking the bartender.)

Apparently the catchy whistling is based on the Oriental Riff, those 9 pentatonic-ish notes used to signify "Asia" in Loony Tunes and a dozen other places. The Straight Dope has a few thoughts on what might have originally inspired it and I also found Martin Nilsson's very deep attempt to chart its appearance through the decades.

Your third Guinness feels like less of a decision than your second.
I can't believe how great a movie "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind" is.
ESotSM's ?s: If you could erase the memory of heartbreak, would you? More: if you you could see the tragic end, would you start anyway?
With some exception it's been a poor week for getting into gear. Time to buckle down, straighten up, and fly right!
pentomino Took me a second to parse "e.d" -- so is that like, if this show continues for more than 4 hours, see a marketing specialist?
<<usually when things has gone this far / people tend to disappear / no one would surprise me unless you do>>
Lately I've seen so many people stumble on nothing as they walk towards me I'm starting to suspect I have a latent minor superpower.
I simply adore "OONTZ OONTZ OONTZ" to describe heavy electronica-- the onomatopoeia is just lovely, "human beatbox" deftly transcribed.
Realized I need to register to vote with my new address. Like how the rural area "indicate where you live" map example has "Woodchuck Road"
katwinx http://kisrael.com/2004/03/17/ "Paranoia of the Moment" - I made a friend snarf with the Judy Nielsen observation.
JIMMINY F'IN CRICKETS, here I was all thinking it was just another "ho hum, 150 points off the Dow" kind of day. Knock it the hell off!
NASDAQ had been a while playing in a range just a bit over half of its dot com numbers. I wonder what the new DOW playground will be.
Dow 36,000! 3,600. Whatever. (ok last one for a while)
http://tinyurl.com/4eq2pu - Obama to buy half hour on national prime time. Odd... feels more like a McCain "Hail Mary" ploy, hope it works.
iPod on streets & subway; don't think I like the disconnect. Seems graceless to try to be so insulated and isolated. (He texts, walking)
Odd, too, that I'm so preachy about iPods when all I want to do on the T is lose (or is it find?) myself in a book.

two decades on

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Twentieth anniversary of my dad's death.

I wonder what the rest of adolescence and then adulthood would have been like with him around. I wrote about his myriad interests and pursuits when I noted I had been alive for as long without him as I had been with him, and I wonder what would have caught his eye over the last two decades. His world was before the Internet, before the Cellphone, before clever-GPSes, before all these things that I think have really reshaped life... not (primarily) in the most important ways of love and friendship, but in a ton of other aspects, large and small.

And I wonder what he would have thought of me. My agnostic stance. My academic achievements. My marriage and divorce. Things I've written. Bands I played in. Websites I manage. My hobbies, my humor. I was so graceless at the time he was getting sick and dying. I guess there were glimmers of some of my potentials then, but also some outlines of my limits... and how would those limits have been different if he had been there? I know I'm very feedback driven, and so some of that has been cultivated in how I relate with my mom. Other relatives too, and teachers, and respected colleagues... but there's one type of approval I know I'll never really hear, and I wonder how that's changed my course, for better or worse.

I'll never look at him from an adult viewpoint, just over my shoulder in retrospect, and projection. I want to know what he would have made of this world, what he would have continue to make of himself in this world. Hell, in 4 or 5 years I'll be as old as he was when he died. Won't that be something!


October is such a bad month. Do other people get that too? Even apart from the current financial terrors, it just consistently seems to be an ugly season for me. A lot of the deaths in my family this time of year. Almost ten years ago today I wrote a note in my Palm Pilot's datebook to see if the young romance of Mo and I was still around, and it was around 5 years ago that she was deciding it wasn't what she wanted. just in general this time has a sense that things get worse, fortunes falling along with the temperature.

Can't wait for Halloween.

<<should i stand now where i've never been? / should i leave this place behind? / this old railroad car is loosening from the tracks>>
It's clear AT&T is compelled to charge 20 cents per txt msg even on unlimited data plans, because HEY SCREW YOU
pentomino Twitter's "Hot Topics" seem to be subject to whole lot of "hey guys, everyone Twitter on this!" manipulation.
McCain's really used "Fight With Me" as a slogan? I mean, I would, gladly, but it wouldn't seem super fair for him with his war injury etc.

got plenty?

Watched the Sox win last night. Tropicana field looks like such a grungy little place...

Video of the Moment

Tilt-shift time lapse by Keith Loutit, via boingboing. I wish I had a better intuition for what makes Tilt-shift miniature faking so convincing, if I just read a description of it I would never suspect it of being so evocative of tiny models as it is. (2019 UPDATE: might be different video.)

Quote of the Moment
For perfect happiness, remember two things: (1) Be content with what you've got. (2) Be sure you've got plenty.

I propose that the Klondike "choco-taco" is the finest ice cream novelty known to all 7-11kind.
Tropicana Field looks like such a toy.
<<a change would do you good / chasing dragons with plastic swords>>
I am alarmed and irritated at the # of "Kirk Israel"s (1 vice-versa) on facebook. Thank goodness I have as much google juice as I do.
Panflute guy at Topsfield Fair playing a cover of Abba's "Dancing Queen"... whatever happened to the Andean Pipers at Harvard Square?

boingboing irl


EB and me, Topsfield Fair. It's like Johnny Jump Ups for big people!

I am moderately proud of my double backflip presented here, less so of my odd, froglike sumo stance. Still it had a great dreamlike quality when you were doing it...tiring as heck though!
"870 Handy Home Hints" (looks like it might be one of those Home Depot mags) is almost disturbingly clever.
<<peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, i love you>>
Damn it, ANY word containing four letters is a four-letter word.

at the topsfield fair

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So, like I suggested yesterday, EB and EBSO and EBB and I went to the Topsfield Fair... TOMORROW: COMPARE AND CONTRAST WITH THE HARVARD SQUARE OCTOBERFEST AND "HONK" PARADE!

Not only working today but there's the regular all-division townhall meeting at 8:30... Nokia Finnish overlords know not from Columbus!
<<we've got a long way to go / it's beyond Martin Luther, upgrade computer>>
Listening to MP3 playlist versions of R+B mixtapes I made for my car in 1996. The 90s were a good decade for mixtapes.
"Now lets take it on home! 'Cause ummm.... we gotta go home!" --Marge Simpson, "Springfield Soul Stew"



<<the best thing you've ever done for me / is to help me take my life less seriously / it's only life after all>>
I got your four finger gesture right here, Steve Jobs!
SO ANGRY because of loops other coders go to do automagic form to model mapping. Screw that! "model.foo = formelem.val" ain't that hard!
"Eternal Sunshine" collectors edition box is oddly selfpromoting, embossed msgs like "Dazzling", "Profound", "Timeless"-for academy voters?
"let's hear it for the boy", modernized, would replace "watches every dime" with "is up to hid eyeballs in credit card debt"

snkes, why'd it have to be snakes?

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Oh, Red Sox. The curse is twicefold over yet you're on the verge of breaking our hearts again.

Video of the Moment

--Not for those squeamish about our beloved, legless reptile friends

Politics of the Moment
FACT! Barack Obama and sixties radical Bill Ayers were both associated with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a radical education foundation whose radical goal is to radically educate black children by educating them... while they are still black.
Wakefield preparing a wake for the Red Sox.
<<I almost ran over an angel / he had a nice big fat cigar>>


New Love Blender has been published.

In other things Kirk is up to, I think this weekend, from 5PM Saturday to 5PM Sunday, I'll join in 24 Hour Comics Day @ Millers. That should be interesting. If sleep deprived.

Ugh, Dow keeps sliding, I have no idea why IE and skype work on my laptop but Firefox doesn't, mild lower back soreness. But, like all things, it could be worse. (Also, I drew this pumpkin on that laptop. I wonder if I need to adjust for my tendency to draw on a slant on it.)

Blew off the debates last night for the chance to see the finale of Project Runway. I am a bad person.

Exchange of the Moment
Female customer: Does my ShopRite card work here?
Bored cashier: No, this is a Gristedes.
Customer: Well, I was just curious about their relationship.
Bored cashier: Like any good relationship, it's all about boundaries.

I GODDAMNN HATE VISTA. HATE HATE HATE. Firefox autoupdated, now doesn't load pages. IE works. Firewall claims to be off. W. T. GD. F!?!?!
<<there's not a word yet, for old friends who've just met / part heaven, part space, or have I found my place?>>
Feels like I'm getting that cold going around maybe. A hint of tenderness in the throat, a dab of drip. Just in time for 24hour comics day.
Mooning someone, mooning FOR someone-- different things! Who knew--

rally, cry?

Both Wall Street and the Red Sox had huuuge come-from-behind rallies yesterday. COINCIDENCE? Yes, probably. We'll have to see how both things go from here.

Video of the Moment
Boingboing pointed out that this old Batman debate seems vaguely familiar...

Slate's William Saletan had a good piece Safe, Legal, and Boring about Obama taking a technocratic-ish approach to the issue:
Obama's doing quite nicely in this environment. He's steady, practical, poised, boring. He's a technician. So Schieffer pops a question about abortion, probably hoping to start a fight. McCain does his part. What does Obama do? He technifies it.

Will a technical approach to abortion satisfy the country? The election hardly hangs on that question. But in the long run, the abortion debate itself probably does.
So I'm kind of amazed, on the one hand Obama is known for his inspiring stage presence, and ability to excite people. On the other hand, he's a great analyzer and soother. What a great combination!

As an Extremist Moderate, I feel that the nation needs more exciting moderate views. We've had enough rabble rousing.

Wonder if there'san inverse relation between bars on your cellphone and how immediately screwed you'd be if nukes started flying.
The Dow Jones blues..."been down so long looks like up to me..."

to not sleep perchance to make comics

So from 5PM tonight 'til 5PM tomorrow, I'm going to be largely dedicated to doing a comic. You're supposed to attempt 24 pages, or I think 100 panels if you work in a "webcomic" format, which I plan to, since that's how I've been doing so much of my doodling over the past years. (And to REALLY push the matter, I'm thinking it'll all be in good ol' MS Paint, the freebie program you get with Windows... but I'm a bit idiosyncratic in that I'll be using it with a tablet PC, not a mouse.)

Like the Glorious Trainwrecks monthly 2-hour KotMK (which I'll have to work around this time, sometimes when I do something in an aspiring amateurish kind of way, I appreciate having the time boundaries. I'm not sure if it's more of an excuse for my crapness at comics, or just the reassurance that it won't be a project hanging over me for a long time.

I'm weirdly optimistic that my half-assed art style will let me get this done even with sneaking in some sleep. (Though I'm not sure if completely avoiding sleep would even be an option.)

Comic of the Moment

--Speaking of comics and sleep, the Comics Curmudgeon posted this surprisingly existential Herb + Jamaal.

Quote of the Moment
I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.
Rita Mae Brown

Watching the Bee Gee lip synch in their old "Stayin' Alive" video... "Woman's Man, No Time to Talk", but yes time for girly falsetto?
<<for well you know that its a fool who plays it cool / by making his world a little colder>>
<<and then I ask you over again / you only answer / perhaps, perhaps, perhaps>>

young astronauts in love (1/4)

Wow. 24 hour comic day was a pretty amazing experience. Usually I'll get sleepy and drift off, especially if I'm doing something passive. I'm not sure if it was somehow finding just the right balance of sugar and caffeine, or just being highly focused on a mental task, or what, but I never felt sleepy, just weary and goofy.

Despite my valiant attempts to be funny on Twitter, Miller by far had the most detailed liveblogging of our mini-event. (Including "sleep deprived Kirk thinks he's funny" quotes) I hope he posts some examples of what he produced, by far he was exercising the most talent in terms of, you know, art that really looks like stuff and people, and also had an interesting story. He didn't finish but got significantly further than on previous attempts. (Also, he was a great host, with his signature pseudo-menudo and a lot of a lot of snackie goodness.)

Kate's had an intriguing shamanistic creation myth thing going, and when she decided her story was pretty much told around page 13 (short of the recommended 24-comic-pages or 100-webcomic-panels) she switched to this amazing artificial language puzzle game event thing she plans to utilize the story for.

Me, I doodle. But I finished! 100 panels, each individually drawn and then colored on my two Tablet PCs. On the one hand, it was kind of a shortcut to keep the narration under the art, and my style is what other people might call thumbnails. But I tried to polish pieces up the roughest spots, and I didn't duplicate art. And I got done, done, finalish webpage and all, right under the wire.

I'm so glad to have done this story. Ever since the goofy single panel I came up with 6 frickin' years ago, and then some test panels I composed 2 years ago, there have been some things I wanted to say through these intrepid explorers. I don't explain why no one is out of their spacesuit; in some ways it's always been a rough (and kind of obvious) metaphor for the extreme difficulty of really connecting to other people.

There's an almost retartedly blatant bit of drawing from some of my own experiences here, but it's an amalgamation. And it's so rough in parts... I'm terrible at plots, unable to resist the trop of the Tower-of-Babel like pursuit of a culture of group, and the people swept along in that. And that's before you get to the art.

So, after having gone on for way too long like someone had actually asked me for an aritst's statement, here is part 1 of 4 of Young Astronauts in Love.

chapter 1

space... the... frontier

not the final frontier, probably. but it's a frontier and it's pretty big

i'm an astronaut. always had been.

the academy was... pretty great actually

i got my degree, and my first assignment

i'm a federation technician, first class

my first assignment was on GHIBAL 3

GHIBAL 3 is the famous home of the ghibal anomaly

and ghibal city, set up for the scientists to study the anomaly and the corporations hoping to cash in.

it was even more of a happening place back then!

it was a long journey there

you can only ionski a few hundred times before it gets old

finally we were there!

unfortunately my assignment wasn't the city

or the suburbs

or that area surrounding the suburbs

it was an outpost. scanner outpost gamma-222.

a monitoring station, for technical reasons as far as possible from the city and the anomaly, the anomalyobverse.

little glitches were happening all the time.

that's why i was there! one of the most qualified technoplumbers in the history of humanity

i had a few small rooms, 'net connection, coffee maker, a GIANT PILE of spare parts...

it was lonely, but with minibreaks to the city and holocoms with old classmates, not too bad.

young astronauts in love part (2/4)

Ack, the Red Sox.

Boston is no longer long-suffering sports-wise (except maybe for hockey fans) but it would be nice if our teams continue to show long-term strength.

Ah, civic pride. "Our millionaire manchildren can totally kick your millionaire manchildren's butts!". Or maybe "Our coaches and business men make better use of their large sports market financing than nearly anyone!" which is better, but not much.

Young Astronauts in Love

chapter 2

The setup on GHIBAL 3 was kind of odd

There was so much we didn't know about the anomaly, it really kept the scientists busy, and some of the lawyers

sometimes they had to do research the outposts. there was a minilab for them, with its own coffee maker.

then, one day...

lydia showed up

lydia was one of the lab-scouts. THE fastest jetter i had ever seen

the scientist-scouts were the elite of the elite.

and lydia in the lab... her specialty was this unspace stuff i could just barely get the outlines of

didn't stop me from trying though!

techs are supposed to ask questions, and she was pretty patient

and so it rolled on... lab-scouts came and lab-scouts went.

my own work was pretty interesting, and i had a few side projects

for a while i had a theory she was showing up more often than her research demanded

it was tough to tell. her stuff was pretty obstruse. and it wasn't like i was the only lab she stopped at.

probably i was just projecting

women! or maybe just people.

compared to them, circuits were cake.

maybe her research was about the kind of complexity i'm thinking of

circuits:on, off, mu. you don't understand something, you set up testcases, you can isolate your assumptions and test them...

i've always been pretty easy to read

one time it was near the holiday break. we were talking schedules.

"had you noticed how often i'm here? i've virtually had to make up a new branch of anomaly wave dynamic to justify my trips here."

"i'll bet you say that to all the techs!" i said

no, she hadn't

When I write Josh, who lives in Japan, I oddly switch to more Japanese english stylings.. "please enjoy this book" for "I hope you enjoy"..
<<this is not Ibiza / this is not Cologne / this is not Osaka / this is not Lisbon>>
Hofstadter points out a thing that makes me say English is a bit broken; in most other languages conscious is the same word as conscience.
Filled with a kind of weary melancholy. Maybe I'm just tired.

young astronauts in love part (3/4)

Like I twittered the other day, when I write Josh, the American living in Japan I got to visit last March I find myself switching to more Japan-English stylings... I wrote "please enjoy this book" for "I hope you enjoy this book", and in general there's a deference thing going on.

I also like when encountering little bits of India English... today part of our offshore QA team asked me to "Please do the needful" for what an American would write as "Please do what needs to be done". The India version is more concise! Also, my Aunt has mentioned that she's had to learn not mark down the Indian phrase "According to me..." in places where an American would use "in my opinion..."

You wonder which of these things represent differences in outlook, and which are just arbitrary turns of phrase.

Young Astronauts in Love

chapter 3

those were some great times

we figured out how to schedule leave time together

cities look better when you're with someone

something about the bigness, the aspiration, even a medium university / corporate / federation city like this one.

i mean, small change compared to what humanity was aiming for with the ghibal anomaly

but like the old wisdom says, "the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion."

but it's the little things. knowing where to get a good raspberry lime rickey

touching hands at the theater

hanging out with friends as a couple

even the shamelessly goofy stuff. thanks to the anomaly, we were able to watch the sunset every direction at once

still, there was a lot of work to do. the anomaly obverse beckoned!

it was a long drive back. luckily, neither of us needed to actually drive...

time passed. she had to make her rounds, but gamma-222 was really becoming her base-away-from-base.

and my side project was coming along

actually, in retrospect, i think the project helped catch Lydia's eye, the months before

nothing too ground-breaking but I was proud of it...

it was looking to be the most advanced 'bot on GHIBAL 3, all made from my giant pile of parts,

finally it was time for the full AI/body connection and powerup...

something wasn't quite right...

"RUN!" I shouted.

luckily, lydia didn't need to run

back at the minilab there was a universal kill switch

guess i know why fed regs require the cutoff circuit... no one thinks they're building a frankenstein!

later the post-mortem revealed it was "anomalous" radiation and the virtual synapses.

actually, years after that lydia wrote her dissertation on the interaction.

Lovely but drafty stained glass windows by bed. Putting up that taut plastic sheeting... window condoms, basically, with the same +s and -s
(btw, self-medicated earlier with a choco-taco. like 7-11 brand prozac)
Hoftstadter says how the (cognitive) ability for a species to support a concept of Friendship may be a decent measure of soul/consciousness.
"FedEx Kinkos is now FedEx Office"?Aw, man... why would they change from an obscene clown name to sounding like a Microsoft ripoff?
My "Young Astronauts in Love" comic reminded mom of how "space medicine" was her 7th grd career hope(she willed herself not to get carsick!)
So my mom willed herself not to get carsick. And I willed my feet not to be ticklish. Are those pretty typical feats of willpower?
The Fat Boys did one of their "rap remakes" of "Sex Machine"?? And I was amused enough to rate it at >= 3 stars so it got on my iPhone???

young astronauts in love (4/4)

Concluding chapter of Young Astronauts in Love!

You can see the whole thing on one page at kirk.is/astro.

It's funny, I had been thinking that the original single panel comic had been inspired by the Lisa Nowak "stalker astronaut" story, except the original panel was 2002 and Nowak made news in 2007. (Heh, I had forgotten I made a commemorative Young Astronauts in Love Nowak cartoon then.)

Young Astronauts in Love

chapter 4

but just then the robot incident had left us a bit shaken

and quite a bit turned on

i kept making "robot buddies", but kept them dumb-ish, below the critical synaptic threshold

and lydia's research was deeper than ever.

for her birthday, i made her a robot pet UFO

i think she liked it

a lot. it followed her constantly!

her birthday gift to me was kind of harder to explain...

it was kind of a combination anomaly/holo of the two of us

it's unique, in a strict use of that word. i'm not sure you could make it anywhere besides the anomaly obverse!

during minibreaks, she showed me how to enjoy the planetside... nature stuff i'd never really looked at

at these times, i was happiest.

as far as i can tell, so was she.

but nothing gold can stay

she got her orders. assignment at tylon academy. the big leagues!

we took one last trip to the city

at the sodashop, we had a talk

"i don't know, jake... maybe it's the difference between you and everyone else."

"...the astronaut thing is so temporary for them..."

now, we still write and holo sometimes. she hasn't found anyone new.

so there's still a little hope. not a ton.

she left, but deployments in the federation are funny things, and the anomaly still has some unplumbed depths.

i'll say this, i learned more from lydia than all the other lab-scouts put together.

Peabody MA cop union wants 9/11 as a paid holiday http://tinyurl.com/ma911 . OK, but if it becomes "2nd Monday of Sept." I call shenanigans!
In Pac-Land the pre-eminent linguist / activist is NomNomNom Chomp-sky.
I do love Flann's, the Irish pub literally at the end of my street. A daily $5 special- often a serious bargain- and "they pour a good pint"
pentomino you should find "search" as a link cleverly hidden in the bottom of the page. (Heh, site scalability through obscurity?)

oh you lucky chip!

Finished Douglas Hofstadter's "I am a Strange Loop", a big study on how self-reflective systems are the key to understanding consiousness. It had this facetious passage:
"Oh, you lucky chip! If I eat you, then your lifeless molecules, if they are fortunate enough to be carried by my bloodstream up to my brain and settle there, will get to enjoy the experience of being me! And so I must devour you, in order not to deprive your inert molecules of the chance to enjoy the experience of being human!"
I went from being really excited about getting ready to read this book (when I was finishing up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), from worrying that it was recovering territory I'd seen from Hofstadter before, to really being touched by the turn it took, where he has excerpts from letters he was writing to Dan Dennett processing his grief over the sudden and tragic death of his wife.

Those letters cover an idea that I've been mulling over, his stance that people's consciousness might well live on in other people, and not merely in a poetic sense. To really accept this view, you probably have to have "drunk to kool-aid" about Consciousness as being largely a matter of pattern, and convenience, and that the typical, layman "sense of self" is rather illusory in nature.

I've drunk the kool-aid, via various books. Probably the most important was Dennett's "Conscious Explained". Another more recent one was Hawkin's "On Intelligence". Some of the concepts have also shown up in some science fiction I've read... Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep (SPOILERS, highlight to read:) which does a FANTASTIC job of describing a single individual consciousness "shared" by a pack of animals), Greg Egan's "Permutation City" extends some What-Ifs and Thought Experiments about being able to make accurate models of our minds in cyberspace, and where the people thus transfered were also more free to modify their inner makeups (you could make yourself content in any activity, one guy made chair legs for virtual decades, then rewired himself to get the deepest possible satisfaction about climbing an endless rockwall), and even Cory Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" explored some implications of being able to make a backup of your brain, which you could then throw into a newly cloned (and quickly matured) body. (The protagonist is assassinated, but was a little lax in making backups, so upon "resurrection" has "lost" a few weeks... he's a bit unnerved by watching security camera footage of himself, and his assassin, events he filled happened to "him", but... not.

I'm still pondering on this.)

Photos of the Moment
Some lovely behind the scenes photos of Obama.

UU group talked def'n of Home.Nice to say "the people" but-I've lived alone, with var.loved ones-its the stuff (esp. books) thats constant.
So Nokia announced austerity policy. Not nec. a prelude to badness, but- recruiters are still pretty active, tho, and I pre-hunker downed.
masukomi Hofstadter says "there is something it is like to be that machine" (on machine's inner life or lack thereof) is hard to translate
Has Google maps always had shadows for its speech balloon-like callouts? Kind of menacing, zoomed out its shadow is the size of Rhode Island
CNN:"[Greenspan] said he was 'shocked' when that system [of lenders being self-regulators] 'broke down.'" Shoulda been "shocked, shocked!"
I have been doing well at fending off the cold everyone is having. A small chance it's that "moderate exercise boosts immune system" thing?

vw ads from back in the day. ish.

Got not much of anything to say today!

I think I've posted some of this before, but the other day (thanks to this series of unpimp your ride ads I had missed that my coworkers were discussing) I got to thinking about all those great VW ads with awesome music:

I ended up buying a CD for each of these. But althe first two ads do such a good job of creating an emotional response, and the last one a visceral "wow, that's cool..."
Dow futures already down 500. We've gone beyond where someone needs to be holding its hair back; campus EMS should have been called.
"What was missing was a regulator who understood markets, rather than worshiped them."

Dear maker for my GPS... assuming I know if I want to search in "Amesbury, MA" or "Amesbury Twn, MA" is a bit optimistic, nu?


(1 comment)
btw, what's up with this whole bloomberg/city council thing? "hey guys, what do you say we let ourselves run for a 3rd term?" "OK!"
I feel a Jack-O-Lantern should use a pumpkin AS a head... when it is used as a general carving canvas, some kind of magic is lost.

castles don't have phones a**hole!

Went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show last night with Ariana and Jose. Goofy fun! I think the most amazing thing is just how many snarky MST-like lines there are to know.

Quote of the Moment
The same point is carried by an old story about Shankara, the great eighth-century Vedanta philosopher. Shankara was being challenged with regard to his teaching that the world is maya. "What would you do," the challenger asked, "if you were being chased by a wild elephant?" "I would run," Shankara replied. "Why would you run?" the challenger continued. "After all, by your own account, the elephant is merely an illusion." "I would run," Shankara retorted, "because I am part of the same illusion."
Disanto + Steele, Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Politics of the Moment

--Wassup 2008. Compare to the original.

"Voted with bush X% of the time" is a political bludgeon. It speaks to Bush's terrible rep, also zero-sum politics based on conflict.
Rams have a player named "Richie Incognito"? Sweet.
Why do we think of lasting love as the truest kind? What if love is intrinsically unstable and the long form is the abberation?
Great accordionist by Harvard Coop. Again, an underrated instrument: the chords and dexterity of keyboards + expressiveness of woodwinds

je suis malade avec un couteau!

Hey, the Phillies might win this thing!

I have a general rule that after Boston, cities I've lived in or near get the nod for sports loyalties. (Hence a bit of a soft spot for the Indians and the Browns.) And, lo and behold, I was born in Philly and lived there for like 3 months. So thtat trumps any "American League" or AL East loyalty I might otherwise feel.

Quote of the Moment
We conversed in French, a language alien to both of us, but more alien to me than to him. He said "gauche" for both "right" and "left" when he was upset, but when I was upset I was capable of flights that put the French people on their guard, wide-eyed and wary. Once, for instance, when I cut my wrist on a piece of glass I ran into the lobby of a hotel shouting in French, "I am sick with a knife!"

Olympy would have known what say (except that it would have been his left wrist in any case) but he wouldn't have shouted.

James Thurber, My World and Welcome To It.
Thinking about yelling "I AM SICK WITH A KNIFE!" in a terrible Clouseau accent is something I do with surprising frequency, but just the thinking, not the yelling. So that, plus the "on their guard, wide-eyed and wary" image makes this one of my favorite Thurber passages.

Link of the Moment
Famous Synth Sounds, those that became the mainstay of 80s and 90s pop. The page has lots of samples, unfortunately a mishmash of isolated samples and the use of the sound in famous songs.

<<I'm feeling very still / And I think my spaceship knows which way to go>>
Top 3 ToDos I've been angstily procrastinating on: * get "stem engine" project wrapped * try match.com and/or nerve * make apt. presentable
Guidebook to Zen and the Art of M'cycle Maint.'s survey of phil. analysis splits has widened my mind, lets me see other folks assumptions.

the time is now

Good gosh, it's only Tuesday?

Quote of the Moment
My fellow Americans, the time for running aimlessly through streets while shrieking and waving our arms above our heads is now. I understand that many of you are worried about your economic future and our situation overseas, and you have every right to be. Yet there is only one thing we as a nation can do in times like these: give up all hope and devolve into a lawless, post-apocalyptic, every-man-for-himself society.

Politics of the Moment
--"Hope", parody of Obama's Hope poster from this webpage of same.

Those neonazi scumtards wanted to kill 88="HH"="Heil Hitler"?? How inconvenient for them that the Nazis didn't say "Ave Adolf". Assholes.
Gary Kamiya:"[Bush] failed because he acted on the extreme right-wing ideas that Reagan only paid lip service to." http://tinyurl.com/5onas3
Didn't Jon Stewarts "America: The Book" jokingly have a grave reserved for the Dems by the Whigs, Bull Mooses party, etc? Cycles and cycles.
Software Cheapskate-ism is kind of killing software. The shareware model is much harder than it should be.
Of 20 cities only Boston and Cleveland had home prices rise; apparently people just want to live where I have over the last two decades.

my friendsmy friendsmy friendsmy friendsmy friendsmy friends

Got to play that new Little Big Planet game on JZ's PS3. It wasn't quite the "gotta buy a PS3!" game I had hoped for... the physics was nifty, there was an overabundance of wonderful small touches, but it wasn't the end all and be all I was hoping for... though maybe 4 players would have helped, or maybe it doesn't really shine 'til you get into building and playing custom levels. It was funny seeing them deal with some of the same problems with 2D physics engines that my team and the others faced in the OLPC Physics Game Jam.

Debates of the Moment

--The site 23/6 helps explain that little sense of deja vu the debates may have brought on.... creepy and mesmerizing!

Anecdote of the Moment
'I am a mystic,' [Sarah J. Vinke] once said to me at a faculty party when there wasn't much to talk about. 'You can't be a mystic,' I said, 'a mystic doesn't define himself as anything.' She thought about this and said, 'You're right. I am not a mystic.' She smiled a little, and that was the last thing she ever said on the subject.
Robert Pirsig in a May 3, 1987 letter to the authors of "Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

the angstorial college

(1 comment)
Ugh. Starting to get anxious about the election.

Just to further some thoughts I originally twittered...watched some of Obama's infomercial. Who was the last guy to try that, Ross Perot maybe? I hope it builds up people's familiarity with him. On the one hand it seems odd that McCain doesn't get a symmetrical rejoinder. On the other hand, McCain isn't trying to leap a racial boundary in American politics.

Watching the Philly's win I saw a McCain rejoinder commercial, spinning it "He's Not Ready...Yet". I love the subtext "C'mon, vote for me! I'm old! This is like my last chance! You can vote for him later!"

I went ahead and googled the full Joe the Plumber / Obama conversation. It's amazing how patient and detailed Obama is with this dork who's obviously looking for a scrap. Plus, the dude looks like a bad Mr. Clean impression. If it wasn't for the name "Joe the Plumber" I don't think he'd be thought of as representational of "Joe Sixpack" at all...

Video of the Moment

Quote of the Moment
The heart has its reasons that Reason doesn't know at all.
Blaise Pascal. Kind of the flipside of "My heart does not know from logic."

Watching Obama: lesson learned, "real americans" are kinda heavy.
Watching Obama. This half hour format is an interesting gambit, oddly asymmetrical 'cause McCain can't afford it. Is it like Ross Perot 92?
HAHA, McCain's counter ad "[Obama-] He's Not Ready ...Yet". He's having to Praise with Faint Damnation!
Congrats Philly, land o' my birth... and I gotta root for any cold weather city over any warm weather city anyway.
pentomino I was trying to think of the subtext- "Suresure, we'll have a black president, eventually. But this is this old dudes last shot!"

costumes through my ages

Happy Halloween!

I was pleased enough with the way my costume came together (suggested by EBSO at a Red Sox game) that I thought I'd try to dig up my best previous costumes...
Maybe the worst part of my costume is wearing sweatpants out in the world, that whole "I give up" feeling
I realize that I have a playlist ("psyched") where the central motif is "could be danced to by Jay in Clerks": http://tinyurl.com/jayclrk
Just read "A Clockwork Orange"- was nervous about the madeup lingo, but it was fun parsing in context, and catchy. Great Bolshy Yarblockos!

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