2009 February❮❮prevnext❯❯

memphis soul stew


--JZ is one of the few people who is really good at recommending songs I end up liking, this was one he mentioned recently-- or rather, same guy, same song, probably a different recording. (Actually I had heard the Simpsons' take on this, "Springfield Soul Stew" but never sought out the source material.

My Game Jam team had an epiphany; rather than rotating the rocketship maze to make the aliens fall out, you rotate to SAVE 'em- much better
An artist here, already hecka cute, seemed irresistable when I saw she had an ordinary rubberband as a scrunchy. Utilitarian w/ artsy FTW!
richvreeland Einstein Riddle?

teaser from my weekend


FLING - relaunching soon

http://klausler.com/cargo.html - the "American Cargo Cult". A bit facile, but some good points, esp. re: celebrity and "authority"
Sitting at "Jam N Java", a cafe w/ wifi in Arlington. Place is pretty hopping at 10:30! The semi-social aspect is nice, kind of new to me.

i am melon hear me roar


--Scariest Melon Carving Ever. Some other carvings, though none as visceral. via BB

Every man I meet is in some way my superior, and I can learn from him
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
I think that I've internalized this stance.
http://www.slate.com/id/2209166/ - Slate on the unappreciated vulture... they're nature's clever janitor! Get OVER that you're made of meat
You know, if your calendar starts on Sunday, this is one of the few months that only needs 4 rows for all the days. Plus, Friday the 13th.
http://tinyurl.com/abc63q - awesome timelapse of a nation twittering the superbowl
Work on web projects? Clean + declutter the apartment? Focus on job hunt correspondence? Tackle my usual Todo list (up to 19, now...) YARG!
Man, today's snow is more slippery than some of the ice we've seen. It's like Reagan meets Iran/Contra! (ZING!)
masukomi Well shucks and back at ya, Kate
It's a coincidence that my first week of not-in-office also has zero evening plans, but the empty iPhone datebook still looks bleak!
Man. I wish I had a show I liked to watch weeknights at 7PM, 'cause I'd be all like "Oh boy! Time to go watch that show I like!" right now.

is this real life?

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--Making the rounds, the trip home from the dentist...MAN, why can't I find a dentist who uses that stuff rather than then jabbing my gums with novocaine?
Does 13 years of experience plus 1 or 2 in college justify a 3 page resume? Or should I start ignoring or squashing the early stuff?
Man, my pixel art idea for a kisrael redesign looks like sheer crap. Sheer, pixelated crap.
"I thought the girl was charming"
Truman Capote (on Linda Lovelace in "Deep Throat")

Heh. My former manager set out a cancel notice for our weekly 1-on-1s with the following message body: :-(
Closeups of football players in HD during the SB national anthem were very stubbley. Disturbingly so.
The-well,a- trouble with angstily putting off email is you finally get to it all, feel great w/ empty inbox, then BAM- the replies come in.
It's funny that more people don't giggle at the term "windbreaker"
"Come at me like a panther 'cause you know yes is my answer" had to be the hottest Deee-lite lyric ever. Lady Miss Kier FTW

true love glances impatiently at its watch

On the dating site OKCupid I've been e-mailing with one gal who probably runs a bit more conservative than I do. She brought up some of the sex lessons that had been brought up in a youth group she went to: how blue clay and pink clay is inseparable once mixed, and if it mixes with too much just turns brown, the construction paper glued together that can't come apart without ripping. This is some of my response, it's been a while since I've monologued here, and also I wouldn't mind to know where other people are coming from with this.

Object lessons can be powerful, but ultimately they are just similes. I mean, lesbian pink clay would never get brown, no matter how much other pink clay it rolled around with! And I had heard about the glued construction paper bit. But people are - obviously - not pieces of paper, and once you get past simplified and visceral lessons for teens, I think it's worthwhile to think clearly about the underlying message -- and I'm not taking the stance that it's an incorrect message, just one that people don't necessarily think of deeply enough.

I've encountered two main themes in "true love waits" kind of messages; one is fundamentally Theological: sex and our bodies are sacred, marriage is an institution established by God. The other aims at being more pragmatic (and sometimes uses its pragmatism as support for the idea that it is Divinely mandated by a caring God); there are nasty viruses and unplanned pregnancies; youth in particular may not able to make mature decisions about who they do and don't sleep with; in the case of the clay and paper metaphors, that it is fundamentally wrong to achieve that kind of connection in a relationship that in all likelihood is not permanent.

(There's a great Garrison Keillor quote I couldn't quite find, but paraphrased it's "when I was young there was a fearsome raging river between us and the promise land of sex and only the church had the keys to the ferry boats; these days the river runs smooth and narrow and there are all kinds of rowboats and what not and at some places you can even wade across")

Historically, the Church had established a principle that only sex that was aimed at-- or at least not hostile to-- making babies was acceptable, that the pleasure that accompanies the act was a bit suspect, but maybe a gift from a God who urged us to be fruitful and multiply. This view is now only generally made explicit these days in certain Catholic quarters, so it's not necessarily fair to let it be used as a strawman for the views of pro-Abstinence type people, but I think it is fair to note that this kind of thinking still informs the "Pro-Traditional-Family"/"Anti-Gay-Marriage" and "Gayness is a Fixable Condition" groups.

So what are the arguments on the other side, for a more relaxed outlook? I see two main branches: the Hedonistic and the Hippy. The Hedonistic view points out the obvious; sex (can) feel really really good, and if we're creatures on this Earth only for a while, other factors aside more pleasure is better than less pleasure. (Though it's also reasonable to expect one to take a reasonably mature view of pleasure as a goal, and strive for a balance in that as in most things.) The Hippy view says that the traditionalists are right, that a strong connection IS made during sex, but the arguments for restricting that strong connection to a once-in-lifetime partnership are weak, that we should embrace the chance to connect to other people on such a fundamental and important level, and that that's part of the human experience.

So, that's where I'm at. I guess I'm at risk of becoming one of those "the way it happened to me is how it should happen to everyone!" - high school romances with fooling around but no sex, sex for the first time during a fairly important college relationship, and then as part of future relationships once they start getting "serious". I'll be frank, the last few intimate relationships I've been in, I think I've tended to be a bit of a slowing force in terms of how soon sex was part of the connection; between concerns about diseases and birth control and then even a bit of recognition of the fundamental connection-ness of sex (as probably being of greater import than the relationship might be having in its early days.) What I've found though is a woman who likes me enough to want for us to share our bodies like that is a bit impatient with my neurotic and post-Sunday School/"Hippy" yammering (and is possibly concerned it is cover for a rejection of her in toto) and my willpower ends up yielding to the moment. But I'd be reluctant to go the chaste "'kissing, hugging, holding hands' - all ok; anything else, not ok" point of view; I do think high school /college set my vision of the ideal; a ramp up to increasing levels of intimate contact, but sex still on more of a pedestal.

The impulse items next to the Microcenter check out lines is a geek wonderland...
http://fmylife.com - f*** my life, twitter meets a raunchier "curb your enthusiasm". Amazing reading-there's a french version, viedemerde.fr
"We're going to have to try to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town." --Obama on D.C.'s wimpy snow reactions. Great phrase!
Getting a strong visceral negative reaction to unknown phone #s calling me. I'm busy looking into personal contact leads; hate more pressure
Ugh, one of those "it's almost 2 alreday?" kind of days. Exercised, finished laundry... phonecalls w/ recruiter types are so draining.
AHA! The stupid scrolling widget that shows up when I mean to center click is Firefox specific: "autoscrolling" under Advanced Props- b'bye!
(Seriously, for me reading is jumpy, not gliding along at steady (if adjustable) rate - that firefox scroll widget was just annoying.)
Using my tablet PC's handwriting recognition. It's surprising how good it is. Weird to be handwriting a twitter.

ny ny it's a brick of a town


--MELM sent me a link to I LEGO NY, some very clever abstract lego scenes from the city. Lots of semi-insider jokes but I think there are only two of them I don't "get".

I have TNA Wrestling on in the background. They have a wrestler named Governor Palin. I can not tell you how amused I am by this.
At the South Station Au Bon Pain I just understood a German dialog! Man to woman about to spill coffee: "Achtung..." Her: "Scheisse!"
Note to future self: the MIT lot on Hayward St is thought to be available on weekends...

bimu! bimu!


--Maybe you had to be there back in the day, but hearing the "a capella" of the entire Mega Man experience for this level is kind of mind blowing, not to mention super cute. (more of these)
Watching Vicky Christina Barcelona. Is it me or does everyone in a Woody Allen movie sound like they're doing a Woody Allen impression?
Only unfufilled love can be romantic.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Is being out in direct sunlight supposed to be energizing? Do sunglasses diminish that?
Hearing about Lincoln on NPR makes me wonder if Mel Gibson is like the best John Wilkes Booth our era could come up with.
I had forgotten that the Little Engine That Could was female. SHE THINKS SHE CAN SHE THINKS SHE CAN



--Saturday I joined in with EBB and her set of watercolors (much more manageable than fingerpaints, points out EBB's mama.) It's tough to put aside my doodle-centric style, or at least try to meld it with the idea of putting color on paper.
A poem is no place for an idea.
Edgar Watson Howe.
(This might be why I like prose more than poetry.)

the lobstah and the buttah

--This Non Sequitur panel ("ask not what the buttah can do fah the lobstah, but what the LOBSTA can do fah the BUTTAH") stuck with me. It seems like a valid culinary point, besides the JFK reference (I find the JFK quote a little over-rated. FDR's "fear itself" quote seems a lot more useful to me.)

Doing that guy thing of reading about WW2 military vehicles. Sounds like the Sherman tank was the TIE fighter of the conflict.
http://www.speaker.gov/blog/?p=1683 - chart of job loss, the recessions of 90, '01, and now. Yikes.
Concept (and title) of the moment: "all cats have asperger syndrome"
I've "shazam"d 2 cool songs w/ chicken instrumentals: MIA's Bird Flu, Kraak+Smaak's Keep on Searching. Chickens: Not Just For "In The Mood"
Visited the Mapparium today, a goofy little Boston treasures, a 3-story-tall glass globe of the world- crazy fun acoustics. Recommended
http://tinyurl.com/cusswow - a half hour of every swear on the Sopranos in rapidfire succession. Hypnotic. Whew. I swear too much.

over does it

So I decided to hunker down and do the blog/twitter redesign I've been thinking of.

The overall goal was to bring combine the spontaneity that I had on my old Palm journal (and had rediscovered with Twitter) into the daily update and archive feel of kisrael.com proper. Twitter-as-sidebar was always a bit of a hack, I could display the last X entries, there was no way for a site user to comment on a specific tweet, and I've been realizing that relying on Twitter as a permanent archive is a very dicey proposition.

I mentioned Kate pointing out the tumbleblog format to me, and the similarities with my style here. I do link thinking in terms of having an "anchored" or "slantwise" tumbleblog, though given how few people know what a tumbleblog is, it's not all that useful.

So. Designwise I had two aims:
1. Give each daily entry its own "sidebar", with quick, random thoughts updated throughout a day.
2. Remove the current site sidebar as being visually confusing by tucking it into some dropdown menus.

So I worked and worked and came up with this: (click to view 'for real')

The problem is kind of apparent; if the main content or the sidebar content is much longer than the other part, there's a lot of ugly blank space.

I was pretty happy with the way the icons look, and the functionality of the dropdown menus (shown here - that's not what you see when the page loads) but still I despaired; the sidebar looks terrible, why couldn't I have just kept the old format entirely, just adding lots of "of the Moment"s throughout the day?

So this was my next idea:

I was relieved that this seemed to work fairly well! It would even make sense if either the "anchor" or the quick posts weren't up yet.

Ok, so now that I've learned quick updates go under and not to the side of the anchors, does the old sidebar have advantages in bringing potentially interesting content forward?


But I like my icons... they are pretty nice looking... maybe I could use them to bring more attention to the old "spotlight" stuff (half of which are technically other sites) while keeping the sidebars...


That's not too bad. Tucking the sidebar into the icons leads to a cleaner, almost minimalist site... having the sidebar out in the open shows that I've tried to put lots of neat stuff here, that it has content beyond the tumbleblog part.

So if you get the chance, click through, or just look at the screenshots, and let me know what you find most appealing, and why. I guess I'd ask to try to look with "fresh eyes", I know that the more icon-centric, no-sidebar designs might be at a disadvantage because they are unfamilar.

"We are not water resistant" --Catholic spokesman on the increasing phenomenon of non-celibate priests
It seems like sites and services (gmail, facebook, etc) are forgetting me more often. And with all of them I signed up with a different e-mail.
Wow. A Sugar Glider might not be what you think it is. But so cute! Worth googling.



--Watch Ali G Indahouse with JZ the other day. I guess Ali G is driving a Renault 5, which came to the USA as "Le Car". I had a matchbox one of those. (Which might not be too much smaller than the original, come to think of it.) "Le Car" wrote its name in big letters across the side. The only other cars I can think of that really do that are Hummers and this Porsche I saw the other day.
Woman almost strangled in car wash - JZ points out that with a name like "Carpluk" you're just asking for trouble.
I always kind of rolled my eyes at my uncle safety pinning pairs of socks pre-laundry... but I admit finding matches in my blue sock pile is getting old.
IP over Avian Carriers - someone actually did "ping over pigeon"! (55% packet loss) (tx jz)
In talking with Leonard over the weekend, I realized something: I LIKE spoilers. For me, stories mostly exist as "idea delivery mechanisms". If a work is executed well I'll read or watch to see how it does what it does anyway... big surprises and twists aren't a draw for me. Leonard took this idea further, and one bit of advice he has for writers is that big twist followed by an exploration of that twist is cooler than story with a big twist at the end. Picture Soylent Green as an exploration of the consequences of the product, rather than just Heston running down the street shouting...
gtalk automatically makes thumbnails for links to youtube? weird, disturbing.
I presented my teams's game jam game at the Boston Post Mortem Game Developer's meeting. I got utterly unsolicited job nibbles after, based on my work. This is incredibly gratifying. Maybe this is the time to take some risks and stop looking to write more boring business server software and something closer to my interests in life!

the bees of goonswarm

--The Bees of GoonSwarm. (Incidentally, you have to Google on almost that exact phrase to get this image.)

Here is the explanation of it that got me interested.

GoonSwarm is an alliance in the massive game EVE online (Sometimes I'm surprised I'm not into this, it looks a little bit like Wing Commander 3, one of my favorites from a decade ago.) They managed to use treachery to utterly undo another alliance, Band of Brothers (rivals, but who were thought to be cheaters and/or jerks in general.)

The description of the takeover is compelling. So is reading about GoonSwarm, legions of often newbies pilots recruited from the discussion forums at SomethingAwful. They use swarm tactics, and emphasize the importance of the small pilot, like you can see in this for the want of a nail like poster they made and this music video to the Bee-themed parody of "Let It Bee" --err, Be.

I know ain't none of it health food, but it seems weird that a Dunkin Dounts chocolate chunk cookie is almost double the calories of a Boston Kreme Donut.
See, you dump Republicans? The answer to cheaper gas wasn't "drill for more oil!" it was "turn the economy into a trainwreck". Duh.
almost forgot! HAPPY 200TH BIRTHDAY DARWIN!
Updating webpages I made when I used to do all my HTML in all caps (made it stand out a bit from the text, actually)
Oh, and Lincoln was born on the exact same day, 200 years ago? CRAZY
Watching some CGI recreations of the ironclads Monitor vs Virginia reminds me a bit of BattleBots.

it's the beautiful moms in their yoga clothes

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Judd Gregg is a total wuss. Republicans are the new "Dead-Enders". A lukewarm stimulus might be worse than no stimulus, in part 'cause Republicans can say "well we TRIED"
Times have not become more violent. They have just become more televised.
Marilyn Manson.
It's a good point. It also means that our stress can go up as other's problems become our own, and empathy fatigue can set in.
Tonight around 6:30 the unix timestamp will be 1234567890!
Pridential Center Gamestop sold the last copy of the game I frickin' pre-ordered to the guy in line in front of me. WTF GameStop? Just what do you mean by "preorder"?
more on today's Trader Joe ad
now wait a minute y'all- this dance ain't for everybody only the sexy people so all you fly mothers get on out there and dance, dance i say
http://www.moonmilk.com/ - ranjit is making an instrument a day. Nifty!

valentine's blender of love

--A watercolor I did (alongside EBB) for this month's Blender of Love, 2009 Valentine edition.

It bums me out that I'm not as good at multitasking as I think I used to be. I used to enjoy having a TV or radio on while working, more than I do now. (Some of it might be a working at desk vs working on couch thing)
ulillillia.us - this is a special site, in a few senses of the word. "Ulillillia" seems to have Asperger's, or similar, and his site is an unfiltered look into a way of thinking that is both familiar and alien.http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Ulillillia is a reasonably sympathetic (well, as sympathetic as ED gets) summary.
Just found out about the baker "Japonaise" in Brookline... rice balls and plain Calpis (like Sprite but creamy instead of carbonated)- the market at Porter Exchange only has the fruity versions. Sweet!

Love and stoplights can be cruel.
Sesame Street

Always a bit paranoid that I accidentally have an ethernet "crossover cable", not a normal, even though they're WAY out of vogue these days.
On an aggressively anti-Valentine date with cmg. Hooters, in fact. When did people start bringng their kids here?

águas de março


--So via a link I added to from that Trader Joe's ad the other day, I found out that the ad's music gets its tune and structure from Jobim's "Águas de Março"/"Waters of March"

Jobim wrote two versions, one in Portuguese, one in English. The former is about about the rains of autumn, which is what happens in March in Brazil, while the latter is about March in the Northern Hemisphere.

Jobim's "spring" English version has much in common with the direct translation of the Portuguese, but I'm more drawn to the haunting Autumn interpretation. I'm posting this video of Elis Regina performing it here, even though it has some skips in it... you can see same performance with no subtitles, but no skips either.

Not to sound too emo about it, but I find a lot of cover versions - including other bossa nova versions by Elis Regina - get it wrong by being more uptempo and cheery. And the English versions run even worse (including Art Garfunkel, WHO KNEW?) though I was happy to find an excellent cover by my favorite Holly Cole available for free at Amazon in a Jazz Sampler.

I made "mortality for skeptics" available at my domain http://mortals.be/ . Mortality: the good news is: nothing to worry about. Bad news: that there might be Nothing, to worry about
Youtube starting to crack down on download tools? Sucks, especially because it's going to be hit or miss what's available.
http://www.theroot.com/views/exit-interviews-my-exes - glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks about this stuff.
USA 00s as USSR 90s. Scary stuff, but so was Y2K. I think there's a resiliency here.
http://xtracycle.com/ - interesting (if very hippy) bikes for hauling.

from "vicky cristina barcelona"

Cristina: [Looking at a sculpture of Jesus] Are you very religious?
Juan Antonio: No, no, no, no, I'm not. The trick is to enjoy life, accepting it has no meaning whatsoever.
Cristina: No meaning? You don't think that authentic love gives life meaning?
Juan Antonio: Yes, but love is so transient. Isn't it? I was in love with a most incredible woman... and then in the end...
Vicky: Yes?
Juan Antonio: She put a knife into me.
Cristina: My God, that's terrible!
Vicky: Well, maybe you did something to deserve it.

I'm kind of irritated that I'm finding radio and TV as background noise more distracting; website hacking is a bit too solitary.

WOMEN KNOW YOUR LIMITS (harry enfield)

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and then by way of preemptive apology to my Aunt...

Dinner with Sawers + Felisdemens in town last night. Kate and Miller and I discussed what should be done in the event of zombie turtle attack... they're very hard to decapitate, see. If they're FAST zombie turtles, then a pizza spatula (for flipping them on their backs) wouldn't be enough. I figured out we needed to get Wayne Gretzky to slapshot them away.
California can wreck their constitution with 50% of voters, but need 2/3 of legislators to pass a budget. Yeesh.

osaka bang


--pretty cool but I wonder how many people didn't play along.... still I dig Osaka

If my brain is really busy, I don't need sleep for a while. I wonder if this is how Edison worked it.

buildings and boston sky


http://www.boingboing.net/2009/02/17/how-obamas-sentences.html - On Obama's sentences... "This may be the essential Obama gift: making complexity and caution sound bold and active, even masculine... "

ken starr is a seriously evil man


"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

via miller

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/200903/meltdown-geography - great Atlantic article on the crisis: diverse cities good, homeowning bad
At work, Nic reports VC guy says: ad-funded Web 2.0 out, small paid subscription content and games in.
http://dir.salon.com/story/books/int/2002/06/06/florida/index.html - interesting comparing that previous new Atlantic article to that old Slate one.
Not to count chickens or to miss blessings in "this economy", but damn, job interviews in rapid succession is its own kind of stress.
I know airports are cranky about cars waiting for arrivals... just found out about Logan's "cellphone lot". Good to know.

on totaka's song

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--So nearly every Nintendo game that had the composer Totaka working on staff has this little tune hidden somewhere in the game... this video goes into some of the details. (There's a Part 2 that finds it in a few more games and then Part 3 finally finds it in Luigi's Mansion.)

It's charming but in its own way a little creepy, like there's some kind of conspiracy, or some hidden meaning in the song beyond a cute little signature.

"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on."
Carl Sandburg

"In this modern age video games and TV get us to a trance state that used to be the domain of religion. That Pac-Man CE I played this morning was a prayer."

Went to pay lest respects at Circuit City today, felt more like a vulture. Many of the deals weren't. Got a UPS and a game.
If we weren't so used to them, steering wheels on cars would seem very strange, like a boat's wheel run amuck. They are effective, though.



click to play

heatseeker - built with processing
source: heatseeker chaser explosion player rotater

A 2- (cough) 3- (cough) 4-hour result of GloriousTrainwreck.com's KotMK 20. I had the basic toy working in just over 2 1/2 hours, than this morning I made it into more or less a proper game, thanks to Cossix and Dessgeega digging what I had put there.

I've wanted to make a version of this game for a long time, the original (page 1 page 2) is brutally hard and not much of a game, but still, the joy of its looping mechanic and trying to get missiles to crash into the ground stuck with me all these years.

The Job interview lose/lose/lose: bad feeling about job, maybe wouldn't want to take offer, wouldn't want bad karma of turning it down, don't want to NOT get offer.
@harveyjames I hated "Eyes Wide Shut"'s message of "if someone tells you not be curious and to stay away, STAY AWAY". Kidman is hot, though.
http://forums.selectbutton.net/viewtopic.php?t=19260 - a study determines that "empowerment" is more of a crucial factor than "violence" in violent games. I think this is what half of video games appeal is for me, the other half being "novel interaction".
Academy Awards: Is it a failure that I can't see "Hugh Jackman"'s name without thinking "Huge Ass Man"? Also, Sarah Jessica Parker boobies.
Academy Awards. I love the beautiful women in lovely dresses who act as the celebrity herders.

what did the snail say while riding on the turtle's back?

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Snails Go west ! Funny TimeLapse from www.time-lapse.fr on Vimeo.

Holy cow. What were YOU doing in 1997, when the Dow was at this level? Nearly unfathomable - that's when I was a year out of school.

hot tin roof on a cat

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--No Cats Were Harmed in the Making of this Comic. (Or the first time I made it for Tufts Zamboni in like 1993.)

Tax thoughts for new programs... A billion is a bit over $3 a citizen, $9 or $10 per taxpayer, or so. Multiply by 1,000 for a trillion.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1039130 - Catherine Bowman says the poet Jack Gilbert says it's only possible for a person to fall in love four times in a lifetime. Him reading "The Forgotten Dialects of the Heart" is lovely, lovely.
I might be stupid but I kind of don't get why the consumer confidence index dropped in Feb. Things are bad, but that much worse?

i can read movies!


--From a brillaint collection of fake but eerily authentic looking movie novelization covers.

Dentist this morning. Had a small cavity. Man, in an age before dentistry, tooth decay must have been a real object lesson in the corruption of this world.
Seeing a snuggling couple at the bar, each with ash Wednesday foreheads... kind of creepy in its own way.


A Crane Fail from Failblog.org ... I love how it looks like it's breakdancing.

OSX: why does "display date & time" (on the top bar) actually only mean "display day of week and time"? (without fiddling) Apple drops the ball in weird ways.

i don't like cricket


--The Mighty Boosh. It's kind of like a less cerebral descendant of Kaufman's Mighty Mouse sketch.

"Probably it's simply that stupidity more often takes the form of having few ideas than wrong ones."

Am using a Mac a bit. The instant suspend/resume is so lovely.
Messing with the Shangri-La diet. The hunger suppression is almost eerie, especially since I mostly associate this kind of lack of hunger with being sick... or other people who are REALLY sick.
http://myabortion.tumblr.com/ - oof. Like Nerve.com says: "if it's real, it's kind of amazing. And by amazing, we mean horrifying. We're pro-choice, but on this, we're conflicted. And if you're not, you're surer of your ideals than we are."
http://blog.ihobo.com/2009/02/why-you-play-games.html - why you play games, based on pleasure centers of the brain
Gmail's OSX notifier wants me to clear my inbox of unread stuff, lest it be this splash of red on a monochrome status bar.
1929 + 2007 had consumer debt = 100% GDP. I want to yell at everyone for living beyond their means but I know I've been so lucky salary wise

shangri lalala

So for a few days now I've been trying the Shangri-La Diet. I've lost a few pounds, though that's nothing special for the first days of any diet.

On its face, it certainly sounds like a gimmick diet: you consume a couple hundred calories of flavorless oil or unflavored sugar water (I think the latter is deprecated for blood sugar reasons) in a window of at least two hours of not having any flavors. (Not even toothpaste or gum.) And that's it: the thought is that this alone will lead to hunger suppression.

The rough idea is that your body uses the combination of flavors and easily digested calories to say "hey! This is a time of plenty... I should bulk up my weight for the lean times that's sure to follow!" I'm less clear on why then getting a chunk of calories in a flavorless way would lower that "set point" weight that your body "wants" to be at, but empirically, there seems to be something to it. Psychologically, I feel much less involved with food than usual. I still have the problems of socially-derived eating and portions I've always had (never being very hungry in the evening, but that being everyone's favorite time for fun restaurant meals.) but I don't find myself eating out of angst or boredom, and forego things I used to go for (like, just get get a small or medium iced coffee at DD rather than a large plus a flatbread sandwich.)

I lost some weight in 2006 (gaining about 1/2 or 2/3 back) on the Hacker's Diet, which really was nothing but calorie counting, a daily weigh-in, and some exercise. Because of this new scheme, I've been thinking about the Hacker's Diet hypothetic gadget the Eat Watch:
You strap it on your wrist, set it for the weight you want to be, then rely on it to tell you when to eat and when to stop. Whenever it says EAT, just chow down on anything you like until EAT goes out. Obviously the EAT indicator will stay on longer if you're munchin' cabbage instead of chugging München's finest beer.
But of course, I think most people do have an internalized Eat Watch -- The Hacker's Diet page says "Some people are born with a natural, built-in eat watch. You and I either don't have one, or else it's busted." but I think many people will eat at a certain level, consistently -- and for many of us, that level is geared to gain weight at a moderate pace. Some years it might only be 2-8 pounds, but it adds up. So what Shangri-La consists of then is utilizing that watch for eating, rather than enforcing discipline against acting on feeling hungry.

This news report/promo seems to do a reasonable job of presenting it...

The book is kind of cool when it goes into explaining why some other plans (like low-carb, or low-glycemic-index) work, as well as an assortment of otherwise mysterious lab results, like how rats fed bread gain more weight than rats fed the equivalent calorie amount of bread ingredients, or get fatter on the same food mixed with water (the old diet standby of lots of water - making food easier to digest - is not without its problems in this view) -- according to Shangri-La, it's all about your body associating delicious flavors and easy to digest calories with Good Times.

Well, wish me luck. Quaffing tablespoons of oil is not without its degree of gross! (Note: since I wrote this I've been floating the oil on cold water. Much easier to deal with!)

Saw Slumdog Millionaire. Man- either the poverty/roughness was over the top, or people live like that... either way, troubling. Fav word: "chaiwalla"!

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