playlist july 2013playlistart

(4 comments)
August 1, 2013

The songs I added to my regular rotation, not many this month so I kept them in the order I added them. 4-stars marked in red, interesting videos with a "!".
"Gas prices don't seem so bad once you realize you're buying explosive liquid dinosaurs"
--http://twitter.com/codemastermm
New "prime the canvas" technique in art class.





onr second every day1sed

August 2, 2013

--Another month, another Second Every Day. Still trying to think if it's better for me to make it personally significant (i.e. a reminder of what happened that day) or visually interesting. I think the latter.

a waterproof camera at a family reunionphotos

August 3, 2013










full(er) set on flickr

Blender of Love Digest

August 4, 2013
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/ - PoMan3D, a super simplistic 3D line drawing hack for processing.js
"The same people who decry handouts and social welfare are the ones who can't stop asking Me for free stuff."
--http://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod

thoughts on video games

August 5, 2013
I had forgotten what a superlative multiplayer game Super Monkey Ball 2 was; the quintessence of kart racing + sumo-ish fighting, and "Target" gliding was superb. (There was also a fun as hell dogfight game.) A shame it buries half of its multiplayer behind grinding the inexecrable single player mode.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz was a rushed-feeling Wii launch title with dozens of brave and brilliant controller experiments; about half failed though. I wonder if the "Motion Plus" feature would have helped, a lot of the minigames feel like they were based on what a designer thought the Wiimote should do before actually using one. (Holding the thing upright like a plane's control stick seems especially brilliant, and underused in flight games on the system.)

It also reminds me of how much I loved the first Mario Parties, and how later iterations lost their way, putting aside an emphasis on "retro-in-modern clothing" to focus on luck based board games. The first game had a stadium mode that understood the board game is useful to randomly select games and teams and give some meaning to someone playing well (as well as their being a little luck involved), the other games in the series I saw lost that, assuming letting players pick from a jukebox was about as much fun.

Anyway, playing with the old system with a young cousin reminds me how much I miss having quarterly-ish gaming get-togethers. I gotta come to terms with how the N64/GC era may be the zenith of my couch-gaming days.

For a wanna-be gamemaker, I don't usually have a good answer for "what's the dream game I'd like to make", but one thought is a framework for people to write their own Mario Party-like games would be awesome. (In practice, one big drawback is how difficult it can be to right good-but-not-great computer opponents for things.)


They say Time exists to stop everything from happening all at once. I'm not sure it's working.

alaskaphoto

August 6, 2013

Off to Alaska!
So it'll be Sales Tax Free weekend in MA? Does it count for that bullshit tax on software services? GET YOUR CODING IN THEN!!!

alaskaphotos

August 7, 2013

alaskaphotos

August 8, 2013

alaskaphoto

August 9, 2013

alaskaphotos

August 10, 2013

alaskaphotos

August 11, 2013

alaskaphotos

August 12, 2013

alaskaphotos

(1 comment)
August 13, 2013


"[Kirk has] an estimated 3.0% Neanderthal DNA, which puts [him] in the 92nd percentile among European 23andMe members."
--23andMe

...

August 14, 2013
bye, alaska

August 15, 2013

"You will displace about 2 buckets of water, regardless (of how dense you think you are)."
--Riana, speaking about the hot tub on Shelter Island.
Japanese Robots in space: Great Thing, the Greatest Thing, or a Scary Astroboy from Your Worst Nightmares?

"Every person is beautiful until proven otherwise. Then they are still beautiful; I just can’t be around them."
--Angel in Sabine Heinlein's "Among Murderers: Life after Prison"

August 16, 2013

(1 comment)
NEWSFLASH moving: still sucks.

August 17, 2013

"There is no god & murphy is his prophet" & that's why my back seizes up on moving day. I should have figured out how to my my damn old place.
Flexeril is my new old wonder drug. I was a little fuzzed but functional (i.e. not paralyzed in pain) all day!

August 18, 2013

(1 comment)
Made it through the day without more flexeril! But I had it on hand...

August 19, 2013

"You can do anything, but not everything."
--David Allen
"all the awkward ladies / all the awkward ladies / put your hands up / no... both hands / yes I meant now / nvm the moments ruined"
--http://twitter.com/TrinAndTonic
http://www.strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/ An explanation as to why decades of gains in productivity hasn't led to the 20 hour work week.

AK aug 6 - 3 flights, then wild berries and mushroomsphotos

August 20, 2013
I realized I was a bit remiss in not posting photos during my Alaska vacation, so I will be posting them in serialized form, one day per day over the next week. 2 weeks late but making good time!

The first day was 2 flights to meet Riana in Juneau and 1 more to get to nearby Gustavus via a puddle jumper.


Some lovely wispy clouds out the plane window.


Seattle had more mountains than I remembered.


I admired the ability of such a small plane to haul itself and us through the air.


The view from the puddle jumper - putting the aqua into aquamarine, or something.


The greenery next to the cabin we were at.


We were headed toward 'nagoonberry trail' but wild strawberries were the attraction for us. Riana had an amazing eye for path-side berries through the entire trip: strawberries, blueberries, thimbleberries, watermelon berries, raspberries, salmonberries... and of course the odd nagoonberry.


She also knows her trailside mushrooms. This is "chicken of the woods". It was a main course and a side dish for several meals -- texture and flavor, it basically IS chicken.


Near the path was glacier bay at low tide, with interesting (and super mushy) tidal streams.

click for fullsize
Panorama of low tide.


Ah, moving's peculiar existential silver lining… Life may be short, but (with Amber's help, maybe) there was certainly time enough to accumulate all this stuff I am taking to Goodwill.
Vine is an underrated medium:

AK aug 7 - glacier tour and river hiketravel

(3 comments)
August 21, 2013

This day we took a boat tour of Glacier Bay on the Good Ship St. Phillip (A "Jet Powered Catamaran", technically.) None of the wildlife photos really came out, but there were sea lions, eagles, mountain goats, whales, and lots of interesting birds including puffins.

After we took a hike. (Where we met a small(ish) Black Bear also taking a hike)


The dock at Glacier Bay National Park


Alaska is beautiful.


Natural waterfall. St. Phillip was also dropping off and picking up teams of kayakers out for one- to two-week camping/kayaking expeditions.


Margerie Glacier. That's a fullsized cruise ship there, for contrast. It is nearly impossible to get a sense of scale of things in Alaska; things are so often much farther and much larger than they appear.


KERPLUNK! A future iceberg calves off of Margerie.


After the boat ride we hiked the Bartlett River trail. GO HOME TREE YOU'RE DRUNK.


I forget the name of this plant but it was vibrant! (PS it's "horsetail")


Pausing to reflect.


The temperate rainforest was so lovely.


Bartlett River -time for skinny dipping! I admired the planks-covered-with-netting they had out for some of the muddy parts of the trail.


Scalia is a disgusting troll, a "strict originalist" only when it's convenient to him and people like him. Disgraceful. (Another good view on this kind of strict constructionism )
Fun Quora about common knowledge at your place, astonishing everywhere else The Software Engineering one wasn't 100% right, but wasn't too far off.

AK aug 8 - sea kayaking glacier baytravel

(3 comments)
August 22, 2013

It was the only overcast and rainy day I had in Alaska-- most years, that would be atypical, but it has been a sunny summer there. Perfect for kayaking Glacier Bay since we were going to be wet anyway.


The dock in Glacier Bay, near where we departed from.


Things were prone to rising out of the mist.


The photo doesn't show it well, but bull kelp is really interesting... its vines are like tough thick tentacles.


The rock where we had lunch. Tide was coming in; when we sat to eat, the waterline was a good couple of meters away.


I didn't get good photos of the wildlife that we say: otters, and an inquisitive sea lion that kept checking us out, lots of sea birds, porpoises, whales in the distance... still this is a pretty shot.


Fog rolled in. Water and sky kind of merged.


I was nervous since we couldn't actually see the shore when it was time to make our crossing but stalwart navigator Riana was pretty reassuring.


This handsome boat told us we were near the dock.


Grateful to see the dock! A ranger came down and asked who we were, the kayak company had given them a heads up. (We were an hour later than officially due back, but an hour earlier than the latest time we were told.)


It wasn't a good hair day for me, honestly.


Back to the cabin. Wanted to give a shoutout to the borrowed Subaru that made life a bit easier in terms of getting to the park and back.


The only thing can stop a bad guy with a gun is... Antoinette Tuff is amazing.
"My Halloween costume is gonna be Slutty Howard Taft. Oooo, ooo, someone help, I'm stuck in this hot, wet, sudsy bathtub, ooo"
--http://twitter.com/Iron_Spike

AK aug 9 - hiking and biking in gustavustravel

August 23, 2013
A day with a bit of hiking and biking in Gustavus before heading back to Juneau


Like the punch line to one of my favorite jokes: "Some dew!" "I don't!"


Biking around. Riana bikes everywhere anyway, so she had to hold back so I could keep up.


There were some interesting ruined things in Gustavus - shell of an old truck


Shell of an old boat


An old outhouse


There was a donkey next to our cabin.


Pretty flight back to Juneau.


Disheartening things about directing movers alone for big stuff, then spending day on dregs: 1. aloneness 2. too much big stuff 3. too many dregs. I'm so far removed from a minimal kind of way I( think I)'d prefer to be.

AK aug 10 - hiking mt. robertstravel

(1 comment)
August 24, 2013

Mt. Roberts is a mountain directly behinf Juneau's downtown area. It has a steep tramway you can ride to a decent visitor's center 1800 feet up -- but taking the tram up would have been too easy and insufficiently nature-y...


Wait... Blockbuster still exists?


I stopped huffing and puffing long enough to take this photo- nice light!


View from the viewing platform. That's a fullsized, many-story cruise ship down there.


But Riana pushed on to the next set of peaks, there she goes!


I didn't want to hold her back so I just kicked around, enjoyed the view, and read a bit.


Composite scene.


Am digging unwinding from moving with Saints Row 4. GTA meets Hulk Ultimate Destruction via Crackdown and Bioshock.

AK aug 11 - mendenhall glacier and fallstravel

August 25, 2013
We hitchhiked for the first time in my life to and from the glacier (shh don't tell mom -- but it feels much safer to do so there than most places, in part because the roads of Juneau aren't connected to any larger highway system.) Saw the glacier, admired the falls, touched some icebergs, and saw salmon there to spawn and (from the viewing platform) a bears that was snacking on them.


Again, it's so difficult to judge the immensity of the glaciers (or anything) in Alaska when you're there, never mind capture it in a photo. This is a shot from later in the day from a walking trail that at least shows off the glacier and the nearby nugget falls.


This earlier shot shows some the icebergs. The glacier had calved underwater a week prior - time lapse video of that - most of the rangers around and in the information center were pretty chill, but this one ranger sounded SO psyched about the "multiple calving event".


Soon after we first got there, I waded in and picked up a tiny tiny iceberg that had drifted near shore.


Alas, poor iceberg, I knew him, Horatio. (I also tasted it. Very fresh, but salty from the bay)


Trying to get some of the sense of scale of the icebergs... a group of 4 were on these interesting pontoon rowboats, a beach-looking chair mounted on frame with 2 pontoons. They seemed maybe even more agile than kayaks, able to scoot forwards, backwards, and pivot.


Also, a sense of scale for nugget falls. There's an easy walk to a beach immediately next to them.


Riana takes a moment. Mist rainbow!


On the way there we had seen some salmon in the dappled water...


And from a viewing platform, a young bear...


Bear meets salmon. It doesn't turn out well for the salmon. (Riana snapped this one.)


I didn't want to leave you on that visual, so here is a (badly exposed) panorama from the nearby "Trail of Time" Of course the news is even sadder than a bear having a snack - the glacier is fairly rapidly retreating... less than a century ago, this platform would have been under ice, and there are major changes even from the 80s and 90s... like Nugget Falls used to cut THROUGH the glacier.

AK aug 12 - museumstravelart

August 26, 2013
A more chilled day, taking in some museums.


Riana has major food from the woods mojo. We had a couple terrific meals of that Chicken of the Woods mushroom and kale she had from her friend's garden.


The Alaska State Museum had an exhibit of local artists facing various developmental challenges. These birds were by Maryann James. Her placard said, in part:
The birds have stories. Birds say "tweet, tweet" and drink water.
Tell them [people coming to the show] that I say "water", "owl", "shark", and "heaven".
I like when people say "good job".



The state museum also had a lot about the Tlingit who were in this land way before white folks. I liked this frog hat.


Lighthouse Fresnel lens. I took some footage for my "One Second Everyday", and accidentally had the camera light on, and it came out really cool:



Finally, a big piece of machinery at the Last Chance Mining Museum. I took in the place and chilled while Riana went on another very vertical hike. Later we went to our B+Bs social hour and then the jacuzzi.


With EB and his two daughters yesterday-- we followed the fine Rockport tradition of going down to the waterfront and sketching and painting. I'm not sure if I've ever tried to do a landscape before... moderately pleased with the results.

Photo of the same scene:

AK aug 13 - final day ziplining and kayakingtravel

August 27, 2013
For the final day, we decided to do a little ziplining in the morning, then Riana went on one of her vertical hikes and I took on a spot of touristy kayaking with a bunch of people from the cruise ships.


Excited for the ziplining


Wheeeeeeeeeee!


They also had wobbly bridges.


The whole ziplining thing was over an old failed mine, and there was still some cool hardware around.




Again, cruise ships are SO BIG.


All geared up for kayaking


Finally, a Tlingit mural in the city. I also found a Pacman Battle Royale while wandering on my own but didn't have 3 other people to play against, just a computer opponent.


"We're basically the descendants of nervous monkeys."
--Bill Duane, meditation teacher for Google, in a Wired article on the popularity of meditation and mindfulness in Silicon Valley.
"As the crickets' soft autumn hum
is to us
so are we to the trees
as are they
to the rocks and the hills."
--Gary Snyder
"My hand is able to touch things only because my hand is itself a touchable thing."
--David Abram, "The Spell of the Sensuous"
"It was as though after the demise of the ancestral, pagan gods, Western civilization’s burnt offerings had become ever more constant, more extravagant, more acrid— as though we were petitioning some unknown and slumbering power, trying to stir some vast dragon, striving to invoke some unknown or long-forgotten power that, awakening, might call us back into relation with something other than ourselves and our own designs."
--David Abram, "The Spell of the Sensuous" on our factories and vehicles constantlu pouring out their exhaust into the air

seven things i might have learned in alaskaramble

(2 comments)
August 28, 2013

  1. While global warming means many coastal areas have to worry about the encroaching sea, Alaska generally has the opposite problem: relieved from some of the massive weight of glaciers, that part of the world is rising, and sometimes at a surprising clip.
  2. I say "I'm worried that..." way too much, and worry too much.
  3. In the town of Gustavus, almost universally drivers and pedestrians do a little finger wave in passing.
  4. I am much, much, much, much less of an athlete than Riana. She bikes everywhere including work and swims every chance she can get, I ... don't. But she was taking on big sloped hikes and even when I joined her, what was a stroll to her was leaving me sucking wind.
  5. Juneau has a streetcleaner running at around 4:30-5am that sounds like a banshee.
  6. I start a lot of sentences with "Man...", or at least I do around Riana, who started pointing it out by saying "M, A, N!" when I did so. But it's a useful phrase for expressing wonder or irritation.
  7. Southeast Alaksa is clear skies and warm 7 days out of 8! (This is probably not a safe bit of knowledge to walk away with, but it's rather more true this summer than most years.)
This trip to Alaska was an experiment for Riana and me, sort of a more concentrated version of what dating is trying to figure out in general, or if she needed someone with a more profound need to be in nature, and similarly for me if we were pop-culture compatible.

Like any good scientists, we had to acknowledge when the experimental results didn't match our hoped-for hypothesis, and so-- we're not dating any longer, but it's very friendly. She needs a full on partner in driving to get out there and hike and camp, and I need someone who, like once a week or so, would be with me to chill and unwind with some movie or video or something on a screen, and that's just not her. Put another way, she's too much of an outdoor cat and I'm too much of an indoor cat.

(Which isn't to say I had an amazing time in Alaska... EB's mom pointed out how animated I was bringing her through the photos.)
Syria. Jeez-loweez. There's so much hubris here, in terms of, humanitarian and WMD-use concerns or no, if we thought Syria could really strike back at us in our homeland, there is NO WAY we'd attack.

We're playing policeman for the world, but we're kind of corrupt.

August 29, 2013

(1 comment)
http://www.theonion.com/articles/so-whats-it-going-to-be,33662/ The Onion nails it: Editorial by Bashar Al-Assad. No satire in it besides the setup.

more info

August 30, 2013

(1 comment)
For a few days there's been an older man sitting on the benches around the Kendall Square globe fountain, panhandling, holding his sign with some tremor. This morning there was a second sign offering a camera "with disk" for sale, saying they got it for $90, would like $60. (I think maybe even saying something about 3 payments of 20?) Anyway somehow that detail broke my heart.
(Went back to give him a bit more money... wasn't 3 payments, but it was something about helping paying for PT)

Notes by HP Lovecraft...
"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

"Sorry, I don't really follow American hip hop."

"It's a quote from Macbeth."

"Sorry, I don't really follow Scottish hip hop."

--Zinyak and The Player, Saints Row IV. Just finished it. What a game... if Saints Row the Third was GTA dialed up to 11, this is GTA dialed up to 14 or 15.

August 31, 2013

"I THINK WE SHOULD JUST GET RID OF COMMENTS AND BRING BACK GUESTBOOKS"
--http://twitter.com/daphaknee
Now, two weeks after my friends helped move all my small stuff (allowing me to move in) and a week after the movers wrangled "the big stuff" into my apartment, I feel like my desire to live in a stable environment is trumping my moral compunction that "nothing gets put away unless I know I really want it in my life".
[On FB Elio suggests Craigslist Free stuff] Yeah, I put 2 media stands and a recumbent exercise bike on it... in theory I might have been leaving money on the table with some of that, but probably not as much as I think, and the combination of karma and convenience makes up for it. The problem is more these little, fiddling things; books or small gadgets or just misc supplies that aren't likely to be worth anyone's time to come get, are iffy for being in a good will bundle, I have liberal guilt about putting in a landfill, aren't necessarily recyclable, etc. Sometimes too there's an element of "I want to get to that", like old video tapes (video yearbooks etc) I's like to transfer and not just chuck.

Also so much is literally unreplaceable -- which isn't the same as I need it or want it, but if I got rid of it and changed my mind I'd be hard pressed to get it back (though sometimes that's tempered by foreknowledge of "out of sight, out of mind": there' sa good chance I'll just forget about it. Which is sad for me in its own way, too.