2008 December❮❮prevnext❯❯

india dreams

(1 comment)
Really odd dream, I was in some kind of Arcade game or Pinball competition, 3 rounds. I don't remember much about the first round except squeaking out a win... for round two my opponent was Warner Bros. animator Tex Avery, except he was a youngish Indian guy with braces. (In retrospect, this might be because of an Indian guy I knew in college with the sarcastic nickname "Tex") We were taking turns getting prizes out of some clunky old prize machine (Hmm, EBB's was looking at a educational toys catalog, one of the things was a home version of those old claw machines - this machine lacked the claw but did have the same little balls as EBB's Fischer Price Roll-a-Rounds.) It was pretty random, some of the balls were winner and some weren't, and it was luck of the draw, which I lost.

Video of the Moment

--Randomly following Youtube related links I found this bit of Commercial Bollywood Advertising. I just love the vibrant goofiness. (2019 UPDATE: not sure what 371jYBD3wGE was, but it may have been a Pepsi ad here)

Kirk's Observation of Corporate Office Upgrades: By the time the company actually gets to move in, the economy will have tanked.
Well-kempt genius that I am I managed to cut my forehead with a thumbnail while sleeping. Looks like I started a homebrew Harry Potter scar.
Unhappy with how I skip over my "overdue" ToDo list and get to "Today" which tends to be more real + pressing LOL IM DOIN IT WRONG
Hey Wall Street -- there's a recession! SURPRISE!
Thinking about what folks told me when I was Y2K fretting. Who said "whatever happens we're all in this together"? Rejected it then-but now-

the secret is the frog should know about the ocean but still be content in the well

(1 comment)
So yesterday I got around to putting a couple of hundred bucks in Beau's Virtual Christmas Kettle, for twitter I even made a tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/beaukettle.

You can pick if the money goes to Beau's neck of the woods (and I think the Harbor Light program work he's involved in) or something local to you. I kind of wish they didn't offer the choice, both locales have their points and needs, and I kind of prefer to think of it as one big fund...

So like I've said... this year, donations are at risk of going down, and the need is way up. These days everyone feels that they might be somewhat at risk, but I hope everyone who isn't experiencing work issues tries to be as generous as they can without impacting their Plan Bs and Cs.

Story of the Moment
One day, lumbering up from the ocean, a tortoise passed by a well.
"Hey, come on and sit for a while!" said the frog.
"Do you live in this well?" asked the turtle.
"Sure! And I live like a king here! When I leap into the water, it supports my weight and keeps me afloat. And when I dive beneath the surface I relax and let the mud massage my legs. And in the evening if I don't want to stay in the well I jump up here. I stretch out a chink in the side of the well, where I sleep and dream curious dreams. And in the morning I jump down and play all around the well. I am happy like this every day. I see crabs and tadpoles in the well, too, but I don't think they are as happy as I am. Well, go in and take a look."
"I can't fit, your well is too small."
"But it's so big, how can you say it's small?"
"If you want to talk big, the Eastern Sea is big."
"Bigger than my well?"
"The Eastern Sea is so big, that a thousand miles isn't enough to measure the distance across, and a thousand yards isn't deep enough to describe its depth. You know, there was a time long, long ago when nine years out of ten there were continuous rains and floods, yet the Eastern Sea didn't get any bigger. And another time, seven years out of eight, there was a continuous drought, and yet the Eastern Sea didn't get any smaller. Now THAT is big. Your well is nothing in comparison."
Zhuangzi says: "The frog was limited by his well just like people are limited by knowledge. Knowledge can make us great, but it can also make us small; so we have to go beyond mere knowledge."
"Zhuangzi Speaks", translated by Brian Bruya, but without the fun illustrations by Tsai Chih Chung.
Borrowing the book from EB, lots of classic Taoist naturalist lessons.

I'm not sure what to make of this story though. Maybe the frog is right; maybe he doesn't need that knowledge to live his happy frog life, and the turtle is wrong to show a sense of scale that just doesn't matter. Or maybe it's the frog who is the blissful idiot?

Some other translations make it clear it is the frog who should be abashed, but to my thinking, the frog has a more Taoist outlook. He does what comes naturally to his froggish ways, he seems in harmony with the Tao, and his environment provides for him perfectly. So I like that this translation turns it into a bit of a warning against knowledge for its own sake.

I think that the secret is the frog should know about the ocean but still be content in the well.

Just put a few hundred to my buddy's Salvation Army virtual kettle: http://tinyurl.com/beaukettle . *Rough* season; give if you got it.

quote of the moment

I am a deeply superficial person.
Andy Warhol.
Man, that's me in a nutshell, at least when it comes to wrangling with problems and interests. I'm not sure if I even believe in "deep", it's all just superficial layers piled on top of each other.
By appointing Arizona Gov. Napolitano to head Homeland Security, Obama may actually be jeopardizing our critical supply of iced tea.
"If you're dumb, surround yourself with smart people. If you're smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you"-go obama!
When I overhear someone speaking a foreign language and then break into English for a few words, am I hearing what English is better at?


In the comments for yesterday's minimalist entry, I got this:
I think your New Year's Resolution should be to not blog the entire year. I double-dog-dare you.
--A concerned individual
Whoa, whoa, WHOA there, you don't go straight to double-dog-dares!

Heh, well, "concerned individual" (oy, pseudo-anonymity is so odd) this week at least I'm concerned too, but mostly with how I've been so obsessed with this "Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts" building game... times I've legitimately ducked out of work for a scratchy/stuff cold, I've been wrestling with this games interesting set of building/driving challenges rather than resting... In fact, that obsession explains why some of the entries have been a bit more sparse the past few days, I'm not quite as thorough with my own daily web-browsing rounds.

But would a hiatus from blogging be helpful? Watching my mom browse I realize Twitter could potentially step in for letting folks know I'm still alive, and how I'm feeling, and captures some of what I think is funny. So the idea of pausing the site isn't as remote as it once was, though I think Twitter's message length limitations are a bit too sharp to fully stand-in.

But what would the benefit be? Would I focus more on the other parts of life, maybe do a better job of life-management in general? There are certainly many aspects of what I do that deserve more and more careful attention than they're getting, but I don't think they get less attention because of this site. Being a web-junky, yes. (Actually, that's a side benefit of my current short 'bout of hardcore game obsession; it's reminding me that I don't have to let myself be constantly distracted by the websites I like in order to keep up with them and the world.)

cmg followed up that comment with:
I don't think he could stand the fact that he might have to go without attention
But... seriously, that's not why I do this site as a daily practice. I mean it is, in part, but it's an extension of something I was doing with a Palm Pilot before I expected anyone to read it -- I want to bear witness to the world, from the meaningful and thought-provoking to the just plain goofy and fun.

I do ride the coattails of those people actually doing interesting things to show them to people who don't share my web habits, but the attention I receive is just icing. (And besides, except when people comment, online or in person, I have little idea of who or how many are actually following this page.)

Like I've said before, a central reason I blog daily is so that I can look back at the footprints from every day. I dig the site's "retrospect" feature on the sidebar, that shows me what I was thinking this date over the past decade or so.

Going back to the original suggestion, a better resolution for the year: no more damn muffins from Soup'r-Salad in the morning, the things aren't that great anyway, just convenient. Maybe I'll start this morning.

Exchange of the Moment
Takashi wrote:
shnozlak wrote:
shrugtheironteacup wrote:
It was fun to hear about this while trapped in Northern Idaho. You end up watching the coverage on Fox News all day while various relatives filter through your grandmother's house and share with you their opinions on why they think this happened, now.

My relatives have taught me that this happened because Obama.

That more things like this will happen because Obama.

That "the week before he's sworn in there'll be stuff blowing up all over the world."

Conclusion: Obama.
I dont follow.
I think the point here is
SO like ...Obomberman

Gave to the WBUR fundraiser, in part for the "Not For Tourists" Boston Guide, also so the nagging - while continuing - won't feel so bad.
Disliking the new embedded youtube search box... bad enough on the "click to play" screen, but why when paused or ff'ing? Sucks.
Way back when I used to think Shirley MacLaine might be a bit evil 'cause of the New Age stuff. (Now based on the wiki page, she was cute!)
Reviving old Iced Tea maker at work - no more 25 cent cans of diet coke for me - science lesson: ice can chill hot liquid in real time

what did you do to herman?

Found Poem of the Moment
Eric J. et al., from this Daily WTF Entry ("Worse Than Failure", ahem, an updated-daily blog of discovered IT weirdness.)
Eric J. found Thawte's Personal E-mail Certificates service had an odd quirk where if you put in the beginning of a "security question" it would fill in the rest with a question some previous user had entered. He then assembled a series of these found questions into a form that I found poetic.

The phrase "I could care less" actually makes logical sense if you assume an implicit "(in theory, anyway)" after it.
A while back I got Twitter closeout Sennheiser headphones. Are "normal" size, non-earbud, non-huge-DJ headphones now retro / 80s walkman-y?
so infatuated with cheap sound tech- mario sound drop from japan, fart fx pen, sound recording/varispeed pen, "that was easy" button...
Hey dorks waiting for your specific train on the greenline: standing like you're letting people exit and then not moving is not helpful.

kirk the greatest baron in all picardy

first name: Simply enter your first and last name here and our advanced nomenclatronic algorithms will compute the royal nickname that is specific to you!
last name:

The royal nicknames come from the Wikipedia List of nicknames of European royalty and nobility that gave me the idea for the project earlier this year. I wrote some scripts to strip out the names and take a guess at the "good" ones (ones that start "the" or "de", etc) You can see the full list of over 2000 nicknames here.

The names in that cleaned-up list are unique, but of course originally there were plenty of duplicates. Here are the 20 most popular royal nicknames:
the Great162 the Rich35
the Younger139 the Good35
the Saint119 the Wise32
the Elder76 the Blind30
the Old65 the Black29
the Young59 the Strong26
the Pious57 the Surety26
the Fat45 the Lame25
the Brave40 the Barracks Emperor25
the Red38 the Emperor of the Army25
You know, that's a few more Barracks Emperors than I thought history would actually need.

One (grudgingly admitted) advantage of winter: winter coats with big pockets, less of a need for the man bag.
http://tinyurl.com/6moyv3 , Obama citizenship "fight" Schultz:"These are scientists. They should all come to the same conclusion." HaHA!
Firefox 3 cares not for your pixel art.
Annoyed by how my To Read bookshelf consists of an ever increasing percentage of the tall books that aren't as subway friendly...

why don't you make like a tree and pine?

This morning went out to a pick your own Christmas Tree place, Oaknoll Farm. I guess these things aren't generally "cut your own" (liability being what it is, I imagine) but Emil, the proprietor, was good company and very patient with EB and co.'s selection process.

boston is not very warm right now

No snow actually in Boston, but SO FRICKIN' COLD.

I so threw myself at that game last week. Sometimes I wish I could selectively apply that kind of single-minded dedication and grind-ability for other things in my life.

I suppose in videogames, there's a certain kind of spoon-feeding that goes on. They're generally pretty good at putting new challenges just at the edge of your abilities, sometimes switching that with something that's pretty actually easy, so you feel nothing but egoboost.

Just like how in school it was the teacher's responsibility to ensure a project or test was feasible, a good game designer keeps the player engaged with tweaking the difficulty and reward structure.

Life in general lacks that kind of ego safety net, and I miss it.

Link of the Moment
This Old House presents Home Inspection Nightmares. I think what scares me most are the situations I wouldn't know enough to avoid myself.

Quote of the Moment
Not every story has explosions and car chases. That's why they have nudity and espionage.
Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum, Unshelved, 09-14-08.
Lately my backlog has been filling with more of these Quote of the Day service quotes...

Thinking about EB's idea that we sexually imprint in our early romances; is that where we get our "types" or is that mixing cause & effect?
masukomi You know, how a lot of people have their "types", that the people they date/are attracted to seem to fall in a set of categories.
I browse Drudge Report first, figuring if I can handle the current news at its most lurid and sensationalistically negative, I'll be ok
We went for an Indian lunch Buffet, they had some Bollywood going - possibly just clips - all singing and dancing and bright colors. Great!
Man it's cold. It's like Antarctica cold. Superman at the Fortress of Solitude couldn't take this kind of cold. --not Biloxi Blues, Boston

looking at my todo list in these case should be a WISE thing to do

(1 comment)
Musing further on my longing for gumption... (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance suggest this term for that combination of drive, focus, ability, motivation, and enthusiasm, and advises to learn to recognize "gumption traps".)

Last night I kind of consciously decided to not worry about the ToDos, to have a bit of supper with my Aunt and Uncle (some very nice leftovers of this chicken - potato - mushroom - tomato dish she made over the weekend), and then just crash, recover from my cold a bit, watch some football, and websurf. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and still reads pretty well, but I kind of regretted it the next morning... I should have stopped putting off cleaning up the apartment (still a bit off from the Thanksgiving Holiday and then that week of Banjo-Kazooing) and taking stock of what gifts I still need to purchase before the holidays.

My ToDo list is a mess. It brought to line that Steve Martin line from Roxanne:
I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream - and I hope you don't find this too crazy - is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a WISE thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, "Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!" That would be bad.
The realized I was at risk for living that the moment I thought "I should figure out what to do, but my Todo list is such a big pile of overdue stuff"...

Technology of a Lost Moment
Boingboing gadgets copied all the slides from a Logitech Slideshow of the Mice that Didn't Make It. I like the Frankenstein nature of this one... what's better than a mouse? TWO MICE GLUED TOGETHER! (Cause then it can do rotation and stuff, kind of like what the iPhone does now)

You know, the more I think about it the more I like it. It wouldn't have to be huge, just an optional "rotation" reading, though they'd have to do some math to get the movement right. (Also, you really can't expect human wrists to put up with more than 120 degrees or so of turn.)

I kind of like Hank Williams Jr's Monday Night Football song, even if he's wicked republican. (Are folks still kneejerk anti-Country music?)
Ugh, Facebook games. People are "throwing snowballs" at me. It feels like primate grooming social-bonding but with a corporate edge.
SpindleyQ Strategy is to reciprocate but not throw new ones. (Also, wish I knew what I was signing away when I grant facebook app access)
My ToDo app is clogged with stuff to be Googled, e.g. "perfidy" which sat there for a week. Good word, btw.

radio shack: you've got questions. we've got nostalgia!

I know it's just the neatness of photographs cropped to have a blank background, but I find the photos page of the Obsolete Technology Website to be compelling:
I was kind of bummed that they didn't have the specific model of my first laptop, the Tandy 1100FD. So that inspired some Googling, and I ran into RadioShackCatalogs.com. What a find! I had forgotten what a oddly huge impression the 1987 Radio Shack Catalog had left one me... the way kids can turn catalogs into these almost sacred relics, not just of consumer desire, but of trying to learn more about a the world of manmade objects, especially in that pre-Internet-age, when TV was about the only other alternative to physical stores for this kind of stuff.

The site has a funky "page-turn" interface... usually I hate that stuff, but here, revisiting material I'm surprised to find burned into my back brain, it's oddly effective, I can almost smell the distinctive newsprint they used...

So the Tandy 1100FD... I found it on page 21 of the 91 Tandy Computer catalog. I talked my mom into getting this for me right before I headed off to college (I was kind of amazed to see a laptop marked down to around $500) and put it to very good use, I was a painfully early adopter in using it to take notes in class. (The thing had an oversized-Gameboy style screen and no harddrive, but had a very decent text processor built right in, so after 3 seconds I was ready to take my ASCII-art notes.)

Heh, also in the 91 catalog, page 51: the toastersized cellphone + handset combo that I was entrusted with while working at Camp Happiness in Cleveland. What a beast!

So I submitted the Radio Shack Catalog site to BoingBoing gadgets, and they posted it-- that post then got mentioned on the main Boingboing site, which probably led to the site being slashdotted the other day (whoops) but it seems to be better now.

Quote of the Moment
There is something, that comes suddenly like a wind on a warm summer's evening. It takes you off guard, and leaves you without peace. It follows you like a shadow, and it's impossible to shake. I don't know what it is, so I can only call it love.
Yu Hong's Diary, from "Summer Palace".
Or maybe more like today, the strong, rain-pelting wind on a stunningly warm pre-Winter's day...

Gas stations disable the stops that let the handle stay by itself. Praise for my mad holding skills? to ensure if there's a fire I'm in it?
Glue-sticked that old wallet yet again; at this point it's beyond frugal, maybe beyond digging the slender construction; it's a challenge
Obligatory holy cats, what a nice day post: Holy cats, what a nice day!
And by "holy cats nice" I mean windy and sprinkle-swept, but WARM.
"Thank you for shopping at the iTunes Store" is Apple's subject line of choice - grabs attention, need to check it's not a receipt. Meh.
"Do people suck more, or do computers?" "Loaded question." "You're right. Maybe it's just the intersection that's awful" "Exactly right."
"I celebrate myself, and sing myself, 'cause damned if I can get someone else to do it for me." Hm. That sounded even worse than I intended.
Overused joke: whenever there's something bad in food, the chemicals of diet coke, dioxins in beef, saying that's what makes it delicious!"

last night i had a weird dream with the special wing of the space force who flew ships that looked like marshmallows and prayed rapidfire prayers to the aliens to keep them away

You know, it's funny how with Twitter taking most of my casual thoughts, more often than not I'm stuck with talking about the weather here. It's almost as bad as the filler I write for the Love Blender. Or a conversation with a stranger on an elevator.

Quote of the Moment
There is something, that comes suddenly like a wind on a warm summer's evening. It takes you off guard, and leaves you without peace. It follows you like a shadow, and it's impossible to shake. I don't know what it is, so I can only call it love.
Yu Hong's Diary, from "Summer Palace"
Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.
Alan Turing. I'll bet he doesn't even know if they're going to stop!

Link of the Moment
Speaking of Royal nicknames Wikipedia has a page of Honorific Titles in Popular Music: 3 Kings of Rock-and-Roll, two Kings of the South, the Godfather of Soul, 4 Queens of Pop... it's all in there.

Board games.. I guess ultimately I like, say, Pictionary + Taboo over Settlers + Fluxx. Ultimately it's more fun to be creative than smart.
http://www.slate.com/id/2206445/ - Obama smokes??

cubicle FAIL

Small problem with the planned office move:

Apparently my space had already been doubly assigned, me and Lot's Wife.

(This besides the skepticism felt for the new half-cubicles anyway...)

"Yoda doesn't sound like Miss Piggy" "He doesn't NOT sound like Miss Piggy" -me and FoSO on all of Frank Oz's voices sounding alike
JZ just shows me VMware Fusion's Unity mode, where a Windows window leaves the main emulation window and joins the other OSX ones- uncanny!
JZ suggested bowling... weird doing 10 pin after a decade of the regions candlepin- what other sport has balls with fingerholes??? SRSLY
Also JZ tends to get better through 3 games, I tend to get worse. Not sure what that implies.
Ah, unfathomable mystery of the greenline. Cold rainy morning? Lets just send 1 car instead of 2. You kind of hope there's reason, but what?
I should mention, the Bowladrome by Alewife is pretty great. Cheap drinks, automated scoring, Celtics on TV next to each scoring screen...
A bit annoying that the standard for non-laptop keyboard still has a numberpad on the side. Too few PC companies seem to like "compact".

duh. i wonder why i can't make her do what i want.

I'm not sure if I'm finished fiddling with it, but I finally got around to making the frontpage of this site smart enough to know if you're viewing it as kisrael.com or kirkjerk.com, and added a new graphic for the latter case:
It has kind of an "evil twin" vibe going, relative to the kisrael.com header:
Not sure if I should try to better coordinate the fonts or not.

Reading of the Moment
A long time ago I...well, kind of stole, but technically it's back in her brownstone... a book from my Aunt, Word of Mouth: 150 Short-Short Stories by 90 Women Writers. In trying to locate the source and phrasing of a quote (for this musing on Mario's "Princess 'Peach' Toadstool's hair and her role as object of sexual pursuit) I reread the collection once again.

The quote I was thinking of comes from the opening paragraph of "Animal Instinct" by Camille Norton:
She's more or less the blonde version of the French cousin, sparrow small, bronzed, all muscle and heart. There are, you say, two versions of the French cousin. You are the dark, lean kind, the sort that is mistaken for a boy, the sort that wears striped pullovers and sunglasses while running along wharves in Truffaunt films. You're the type who's always stealing something, she's the type who's always stolen or stolen upon. This is because she bleaches the crown of her hair, the animal sign for femininity.
Another great quote from the same work:
In graduate school, I learned that it is a simple thing to take coffee with people one neither likes nor trusts.

Another phrase forever stuck in my head is from "Soaring" by Marilyn Krysl, where a kind of post-hippy mom is defending her kids' education in both Non-Violent Protest and Karate:
"The human being is a very complex organism. They can handle contradiction."
(Also the kids are named "Sky" and "Ocean", and "Sky" is still near the top of my names-I-like-for-kids list.)

In "File 13" Jocelyn Riley plots her revenge on a office jerk who has been sexually harassing her:
Less than a year from now, a message will come up on Oscar's screen first, and then on everyone else's screens, that will say "Leslie was here." The dates of my employment will be right there before my name, like the dates on a tombstone.

Inside the box will be a drawing of a man, his arms draped around a computer monitor, his head resting on its top. He'll look down at the computer, not as though it were alive but as though he were afraid of it, "Duh," he will say in a little cartoon balloon, "I wonder why I can't make her do what I want." The computer blows off smoke.
I, you know, try to take it easy on the sexual harassment, but some days when the whole programming or PC configuration thing isn't going well, I feel just like the guy in that cartoon.

Finally Amber Coverdale Sumrall's "Siesta" has a lovely reminder from the young narrator's grandmother:
"That's why we're born, honeygirl. To learn how to love each other. And it takes all the time we've got. Some folks never get the hang of it."
In retrospect, I'm amazed to recognize how influential this book was on me, how much of my writing it influenced, how many concepts I (consciously or not) lift and massaged into my own short writing. Now I'm wondering if it doesn't strongly color my editorship of the Blender of Love, that I'm ok with poetry but what I'm really after is prose in this taut and emotionally loaded style.

"The Fall".... Princess Bride meets The English Patient, or maybe Pan's Labyrinth meets Wizard of Oz... visually lush, though, like The Cell
Is there a word for "writing-only dyslexia"? I need to chill and stop scouring my typos for signs of incipient mental degradation.
I can even debug the typos of my brain:"I amazed" I wrote. Of course, because with "amazed" you already have the m-sound, so why type it?
realized why I stopped at a combo long john silvers/ taco bell; faintest hope that someday USA can do fish fastfood like Nordsea in Germany

it's the hulk! fighting with some huge, one-eyed monster!

Yesterday I stopped at a combination Long John Silver / Taco Bell, in part because I hadn't seen that combination before. (KFC seems to be the usual Taco Bell pairing.) I realized I have this secret hope of finding an American equivalent of Nordsee, this brilliant German fastfood chain, offering a big variety of fish sandwiches on interesting breads.

Alas, it was not to be. Small Long John Silvers seem to offer just fish-and-chip variants and a few salmon or shrimp based dishes. I had a rice bowl with salmon and ginger, which was passable, but still.

(Of course I tend to fetishize any restaurant I liked but can't get; "wow, Little Caesars, that crust was great, and so cheap" (that one is still true for me) "Man, Subway-- where they bake the bread! Amazing" and even "Wendy's...wow, you can get like an actual baked potato, that's terrific.")

Funny of the Moment
As I've probably posted before, Superdickery has some great suff, but the caption on this Hulk comic panel (PG13) made me laugh out loud for like a minute.

Passage of the Moment
I read Scott Adams' "Stick To Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain" a few weeks ago, but there's one anecdote that keeps coming back to mind... he's stuck in a tiny, rarely-used dressing room, and keeps surprising AV technicians who duck in to use the bathroom, not expecting anyone to be in there. This happens three times, and the final guy tried the "just here to wash my hands" ploy... Adams writes
It made me wonder what I would have done in their situation. I think I would have gone for the hand-washing fake, possibly mumbling something like "Just ate an orange." This lends the suggestion of both cleanliness and fresh citrus to an otherwise awkward situation.

Sometimes that's the best you can do.
I think of this every time I eat an orange now, pretty much.

Had the sleepy logic thought that there weren't too many times I slept in a freestanding, owned home; apparently I forgot owning a house
Sometimes it's tough to admit that a quiet home office is better for focus, that TV/Radio would serve as a distraction seems like a failure

shoe bush shoe!


found on 4chan.org

Just put on a memory foam mattress top, gift from EB. Will it revolutionize sleeping? At least makes it feel like a more expensive mattress.
Now that's the kind of shoe bombing I can get behind.
Huh. Paul Graham et al talk about the advantage of web apps; improvements all the time. But iPhone and firefox do that through easy upgrades
stopping by the Japanese import market kotobukiya at porter exchange for a little nostalgia for my trip last march. plus, calpis.

what's shoe with you

Following up yesterday's entry, a host of related animated GIFs. It's a very... hmm, what's the animated/motion equivalent of photogenic?... event.

There is something to be said for the viewpoint that the same guy hurling a shoe at Saddam would have been killed, and that the ability to have that kind of expression is a positive sign, though I wouldn't say that justifies the last 5 or 6 years there.

BoingBoing also thought it was amusing to mock the articles pointing out that it wasn't a friendly gesture, but I'm not sure Americans get the symbolism I'm told is there.

Quote of the Moment
Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.
Soren Kierkegaard

Dumbest thing on my iPhone: a datebook entry, copied over from the old Palm, that today is the 10-year date-iversary with the ex.

more kirk than you require

A while back (October 1999) I started making the "kirkarchive", an HTML-ish way of keeping track of some stuff I didn't really have a use for but didn't want to lose.

For wont of something better to post today, I've decided to start making the kirkarchive online. And what better way than with these early 90s handdrawn icons I made when I was webmaster of Tufts' compsci department's domain...

Computer Engineering

Class Listing

Computer Science

Electrical Engineering


Students at CS

Staff at CS


link to Tufts (1)

link to Tufts (2)

link to Earthcom

link to ICCI conference

The leftmost green figure in "Staff at CS" is actually an almost-recognizable version of Professor Schmolze, who tragically died in 2006.

Some of the props seem kind of well-done to me, but I get better results these days by doodling larger and then shrinking... less pixel-y, and this isn't very good pixel art.

Quote of the Moment
Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff.
Frank Zappa

Good evening; dropped of 8-days-of-hannukah-ginger-beer, did a UU covenant group on holidays+meaning, celebrated at bar for friends new job
No matter how interesting the people in pictures from parties I threw years ago, I'm just as or more interested in the layout and decoration
So Apple made some nifty new bass-y earbuds. With a built in mic. But, technically, not for iPhone... volume control won't work etc. Eh?
Wow, $10 for 10 minutes of massage at Burlington Mall.... so damn worth it.

i <3 mark hamill

mark hamill on
the muppet show

Google for "penis". Wikipedia's "Human penis size" comes before plain old article for "Penis" which is probably rather telling.
Also: Wikimedia Commons: "Note: This gallery does not need more general home-made images of penises." So much for my public service plan.
"Will It Blend?" makes me happy. What an excellent way of selling a product.
Wikipedia quote of the moment: "The Merovingian king was the master of the booty of war"-far more amused by "booty of war" than I should be.
CNN headline of the moment: "No good way to tell kids they have cancer". Almost ripe for dark humor, but it might be too sad for that.
Interesting trying to explain "Yankee Swaps" to Finns, esp. when you're a little unclear on the rules yourself. Result: Sex in the City DVD.
Huh, googling it, we did a bad variation where you didn't get another pick if someone took your gift (but you got to unwrap before deciding)
Bldg Mgmt is giving us grief about handing out individual bathroom keys--having to ask the guard for the key is low-dignity all around.


(1 comment)
My office is almost deserted, and downtown is kind of empty as well...

The photographic negative of Boston's radar map weather from radar.weather.gov looks a bit like Pac-Man about to eat Boston...

It's like 495 is providing some protective barrier, at least for the time being.

Quote of the Moment
We live in a Newtonian world of Einsteinian physics ruled by Frankenstein logic.
David Russell

Video of the Moment
Embedding disabled, alas, but Pinball Collector Tetris is worth a quick peek.

Man, Back Bay and the office are both pretty deserted. That first flake is going to fall with a giant thud, echoing off the emptied blocks
Thinking about piercings... the urge to get a trinket installed on your body. Why not something practical, like a coin purse?

so fully packed

I get the feeling this Christmas week is going to have a lot of "Video of the Moment" and not much else.

Video of the Moment

--YIKES! Did not witness anything like this in Japan, personally. (Though given their commitment to the train schedule, things are probably even more urgent.)

Quote of the Moment
Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.
Alan Turing, math genius and computer pioneer.
(I contrast this with when a buddy at my college programming job posted John von Neumann's "Anyone who attempts to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." - he was playfully saying I blamed too much randomness in the results of my programming...)
Following Youtube "Related Videos" can be like running your own Dawkins' "Blind Watchmaker" program.

the navel of a firefly

More minimalist holiday season updates!

Made a Glorious Trainwreck and went to the company party last night. I guess it was good to dig out my car if nothing else. The party was decent enough, if excessively wedding-reception-y. "Semi-formal", which brought back all those memories of high school dances...

Video of the Moment
"What if Obi-Wan had used Force Speed?"

--Wow, I must be slipping with my Star Wars geek cred, I had to look up "Force Speed" (mostly from some of the video games, Jedi can sometimes move very fast.) Still, I laughed.

Quote of the Moment
You can take all the sincerity in Hollywood, place it in the navel of a firefly and still have room enough for three caraway seeds and a producer's heart.
Fred Allen
...another lame QotD, but I just love that he picked "navel of a firefly", as opposed to some other insect, because it subtly reflects the Hollywood glamor thing.
Holiday Party, a bit too highschool danceish for me. They gave us plastic bracelets, ala "ok to drink" ones from college.
Wow, 5 pieces of spam for Microsoft Office products snuck through gmail's spam filter... it's been a while.
Flann's, the local pub, has started adding fruit to most of their meals... something seasonal, like an apple. Kinda nice!
Obama's Brand: Marlboro Reds: http://tinyurl.com/9bfc4d (Yay Google!)

traveling music

Off to NJ... a little traveling music...

BoingBoing linked to Greg Fleischut and friends... they're like 15 years old in this.

Watching the Giants and Panthers go into OT, I can't stop thinking that the "first point wins" OT rule is kind of BS- college has it better

that's not very typical, i'd like to make that point

Ah New Jersey.

Remind me to never, ever trust my GPS for plotting the route from Boston to here. Yes, the George Washington Bridge gives you a nice view of Manhattan, and fills me with nostalgia for when my mom was living on the island (and I had my own little microstudio apartment - wah) but trying to cut through just after rush hour, not so much.

Video of the Moment

--Alas, a little too good to be true (though I guess in response to a real event), it's John Clarke and Bryan Dawe on the 7.30 Report about how "the front fell off". Still I admire the "Sportscenter" like pacing of it.

Quote of the Moment
I am not going back to that filthy decade without some Purell!
France in "American Dad", planning for some time travel to the 70s

Link of the Moment
Obama vs Putin vs Clinton '93: the shirtless battle.

Ah New Jersey, land of cheap, no-self-serve gas....
Even when not armed, the house security system announces every open door as "fault", eg "fault: front door" Couldn't it just say 'open'?
Yesterday I learned the value of windshield wiper fluid... ya don't miss it 'til it's gone. Or possibly frozen.
Hm. Maybe I should replace my PC desktop with one of my laptops. With an external monitor and kbd, I think this would be a better system.
Hard to remember that the rest of the world isn't stopped with you when you're on vacation.

"i dunno, alaska"

(1 comment)
Is it Christmas yet?

Video of the Moment

--Heheh, they got some of the weapons wrong but like Doktor Puppykicker says on mighty god king where I got it, "More pranks should end with police intervention."

Quote of the Moment
The winter sky of southeastern Alaska is a Talmud of gray, an inexhaustible commentary on a Torah of rain clouds and dying light.
Michael Chabon, "The Yiddish Policemen's Union".
Very good read. An appealing mix of Yiddish culture and Noir detective work, set in a present day that followed an alternate history where Israel didn't survive 1948, and the primary Jewish homeland is a special set aside in Alaska, due to revert back to USA control. It doesn't quite sustain through the whole thing, gets a little overwhelmed with the action elements, but still, one of the best things I read this year.

Doodle of the Moment

--"Didn't have enough coloring books as a kid?" asks my Aunt. Feh!

bad telemarketing: "Well what *part* of our resort literature weren't you interested in?" / "Next time you're having dinner, don't pick up!"
A ticking clock has a huge physical and metaphysical loudness, especially when you're trying to get to sleep.
Hoo-goddam-ray for the moneybag yankees. Hope the recession makes them choke on their stadium and their payroll.
caption removed from Young Astronauts in Love: "*burp*. oy, that's the thing about being a spaceman. you burp, you remember it for a while"
Man, I hate those OS / Graphics Card / Chipset / Energy Star stickers they slap on laptop wristrests, like a damn NASCAR racer wannabe.
Things I would not know about if not for daytime TV: the "Snuggie", a blanket with sleeves. Looks like robes for really, really lazy monks.
I think the real benefit to working on a PC rather than a laptop at a desk is less angsty walking to think about the next bit.

happy holidays!

(1 comment)

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com

snowno - source - built with processing

khaaaaaan-dy cane


--thanks trunkbutt

Quote of the Moment
The universe is simple; it's the explanation that's complex.

For Christmas my mom got me Klutz's "The Encyclopedia of Immaturity". Way to bring Coals to Newcastle, ma!
Welcome back to Boston! ...I think I just stepped in flattened dead rat.

the cowboy and the chainlink fence

Once upon a time I went to Germany and bought a VIVA ChartXpress CD (VIVA is the German music channel) It might have been a McDondalds promotional item. (I never go to McDonalds here, but it's an interesting cultural reference point when I'm trying to figure out what other countries are all about.)

Driving back from New Jersey, a song from the album, "Maschen-Draht-Zaun", bubbled up on the iTunes dump:

(2019 Update: this video actually gives more of a sense of the background than what I posted before...) Veronika said it meant "Wire Mesh Fence" and that it was kind of hard to explain. But now, Wikipedia expalains it all! A little meaner than I might have hoped, but still pleasingly random. (I have an inordinate interest in regional biases and stereotypes I have never heard of before.... also the German take on cowboys.)

Did the guy who made the sideart for the original Pac-Man arcade game actually play the game? Maybe he assumed was too primitive for "legs"?
Jam bands, like college a-capella, is (possibly) for doing, not for listening to.
Got "Strangers with Candy Vol.2". Great in a "wow they went there" way, but I think my fav. bit is the dance party w/ the credits every ep.
A lot of beautiful and melancholy torch songs are track 12 of their respective CDs.

photos of the season


Ha, Pats ahead 13-0, Cassell just punted on 3rd down and pinned the Bills at like the 2 yard line.

simply monstrous

At some point in the late 90s, I moved all of my CDs into 4 monstrous black folders, along with the booklets (and the card from the back of the jewelbox if it had a tracklist that the booklet lacked.)

The massive folders were divided roughly and labled by genre. So for 7 or 8 years, my music was sorted into So, when I actually wanted to locate a specific disc, I had to think about it in terms of this categorization.

I used this structure when I ripped all my CDs into iTunes. (Though I kind of overdid it in the folder structure...
C:\data\media\music\MONSTROUS\MONSTROUS 2 - rock rap novelty
is 2 or 3 levels too deep.)

I'm thinking about switching primary computers, and they say that it's much easier to keep the ratings I've laboriously applied to every song if I let iTunes rearrange the folders on its own. I'm oddly reticent to do that. I have this weird, nostalgic attachment to my old, hamfisted way of organizing my musical life, even though it hardly ever comes up when I'm using iTunes or my iPhone.

Information Nostalgia and Clutter! I need to fight it.

Chargers 8-8, in playoffs. Pats, 11-5, not in playoffs. Stinker! http://tinyurl.com/suxforpats
Can you break New Years Resolutions before you actually make them?
"I don't think you can have ambiance without setting something on fire." --Green St. last night

build this, punk

I put on pro-wrasslin' last night as background light and noise. Thinking about how my grandma liked to watch, and she picked it up from my Ohio cousins. The athletic stuff is kind of fun to witness, but man, all the standing (or lying) there waiting for the other guy to do something interesting. And the homoerotic vibe is a bit much at times, though on one of the "backstage" skits one of the wrestlers did a very decent impression of Will Ferrell's impression of Harry Caray.

Brilliant Product of the Moment
--P3te on b3ta.com. Brilliant! Makes the Nokia phone cradle I made at work yesterday look pretty penny-ante.

Sometimes I wish I had entrance music and video clips like a wrestler. (But the would probably be "Groove is in the Heart" - not so tough)
a business press that, between layoffs and the usual holiday vacations, appears short-staffed to the point of utter witlessness

You know, it's a basic enough bassline, but Britney's "Circus" has part that sound a lot like my Atari 2600 JoustPong title music.
The Smithers/Burns duet on "Simpsons Sing the Blues" - sounds like improv banter, but it's one actor! Multiple takes, or switching voices?

2000 already 8

Oh man, another year in the books.

Highlights and milestones? The Trip to Japan is a pretty obvious candidate, and of course the big shift to my Aunt + Uncle's brownstone. The downs and ups of the economies and finally, a centrist, technocratic, yet still inspiring president elect.

I think gradually I'm coming to terms with the flow of the years. I want to do a personal timeline project, though, just to see it all laid out.

Magic Trick of the Moment

The bowling alley sells used bowling pins for $3 each?? I'd TOTALLY buy one of they weren't sold out... it just seems like an amazing thing.
Resolutions I've already been acting on: stop second guessing and just hitting send on email, and eating better.
It's rough that thanks to the economic and global turmoil, we're all kind of expecting 2009 to suck - Happy New Year anyway...

2008 December❮❮prevnext❯❯