2013 December❮❮prevnext❯❯

December 1, 2013


advent day 1

It's pretty much a rule that when you are straightening up and come across a hat, you have to wear it for awhile, right? Otherwise I'm wearing this courtesy yarmulke for no reason.

December 2, 2013


advent day 2

Interesting seeing Twitter's design evolution over time, especially the changeover 2008-2009.
Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue... Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.

'You're like an onion--so many layers'
'Yes, but you peel off one layer and you find another very similar layer'
-@improvboston Jam

December 3, 2013


advent day 3

Do you ever get bogged down with nervousness or small insecurity?
Do you have any tricks or habits that let you find courage?

December 4, 2013

(1 comment)

advent day 4

Thinking about the power of mindfulness. It seems greatly empowering to be gatekeeper of one's mind, letting good thoughts hang around and linger and dismissing the distractions and negative ideas. Trying to think of why it scares me a little though, and I realize it's because of past frustrations with people who are very contentedly ensconced in a particularly arbitrary mindset or faith or belief system, and utterly unassailable to logical debate of what they're believing. I... don't want to me one of "them".
Don't Start a Company, Kid - interesting counterpoint to the usual ra-ra-entrepreneurship thinking.
The dramatic oversimplification of one of the longest studies ever: "Happiness = Love. Full stop."
Playlist November 2013:

Taking over some Java Swing UI code... compared to HTML5/js, it feels SO WEIRD to try and build your nouns via a series of verbs...

December 5, 2013


advent day 5

It's really awful to see what has happened with a century of people trying to say "THIS dog goes up to ELEVEN"
"I love to take in the good whenever I eat an orange. I have at least two a day, so I get an opportunity to experience this moment often. As I break through the skin, I gently close my eyes and breath in the sweet scent. I hold that pleasure in my mind and think about how I'm the first person ever to see inside this orange and taste its fruit. Although this experience takes less than a minute, it has an enormously positive effect on my mood and energy level. I look forward to it throughout the day."
Man quoted in "Hardwiring Happiness"
The image, especially the part of the privilege of being "the first to see inside", has stuck with me.
Man, all this international McDonalds looks amazing.

blender of love

December 6, 2013


advent day 6

So last night I kinda took a chance and only used my iPad for art class... I'm still learning how different virtual pens work, and sometimes I veer into the gimmicky, but I was happy with some of the results

December 7, 2013


advent day 7

December 8, 2013

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advent day 8

December 9, 2013


advent day 9

Only a fool trips on what is behind him.
Just heard it for the first time, on some NFL Xbox ad. It's a little trite, but I like it as a more concise version of the story about the monk berating the other monk for having broken taboos by carrying a woman across a river, and the other monk asks "I set her down at the river bank; why are you still carrying her?"
I remember being so impressed that gmail was smart enough to figure out "reply" doesn't generally mean "reply to myself", even if the last message in a thread was also by you.

December 10, 2013


advent day 10

At the risk of falling into the MRM/Men's Rights Movement sinkhole, I think this article brings up some important and unfortunate truths. I'd say it's a side effect of being at a halfway point in real gay acceptance; young straight men are fine with having gay friends etc, but HEAVEN FORBID anyway even think they might be a bit gay themselves.
I think different demographic groups do better and worse at this.
Ever take a nap so long that it feels like a death test drive

December 11, 2013


advent day 11

Admiral Grace Hopper, computer pioneer, on Letterman. Awesome to see her hand out her nanoseconds, and kudos to Letterman's Late Night (albeit in the 80s) for having her as a guest!

A flowchart to find the game right for you.
The Grolier Poetry Book Shop is a landmark of the Harvard area.
Happy 20th Birthday DOOM!

December 12, 2013

(1 comment)

advent day 12

So the second and sixth dragons
decided to help
and to demonstrate the correct way
of making things.
But everything somehow came out men and women.
And the world was in real trouble.
Jack Gilbert,Verse VI of "A Poem for the Fin du Monde Man"

A man said no person is educated who knows only one language, for he cannot distinguish between his thought and the English version.
Jack Gilbert

Love is not refuted because it comes to an end.
Jack Gilbert

December 13, 2013


advent day 13

Pretty good piece on the laugh track... even though I have a dislike of shows with laugh tracks (from a typical "they need to tell us when to laugh?" viewpoint) ever since I heard about its humanitarian mission against loneliness, I've had more sympathy for it as a concept.

Always wanted to travel back in time to try fighting a younger version of yourself? Software development is the career for you!

An overview of paradigms of living with the web: http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/2013/12/from-information-superhighway-to-web-to.html

December 14, 2013


advent day 14

December 15, 2013


advent day 15

I think snow-shoveling mornings are some of when I feel being a single guy the most, with neither the camaraderie of two people out there against the elements, nor someone welcoming you back in and maybe handing you something warm to drink.

December 16, 2013


advent day 16

Ever have a month where you just want to curl up and listen to "Long December" on infinite repeat? (Sorry to sound like I'm emo'ing out... it's a long story, or at least 3 or 4 medium length ones.)

December 17, 2013


advent day 17

EdX and the trouble getting employers to take online education seriously. This strikes me as sad. The modern university system is such a high bar.

from National Geographic
The genius of Star Trek is that it is about us, but we're probably the Romulans.


December 18, 2013


advent day 18

You know how there's always that lifehack "bet you never noticed that Reynolds Wrap foil has a place to push in the ends of the box to hold the roll!"? Turns out that it looks to be perforated, but is actually THE FRICKIN' STRONGEST PART OF THE BOX.

Well played, Reynolds.

December 19, 2013


advent day 19

My housemate and I decorated the Tuba for Christmas this year, plus I used my traditional family folk-artsy tree-- with a piece of art my mom just rediscovered, a wooden board with a cool magazine advert of Santa my dad and his cousin shellacked to it...

No I won't stop 'screaming obscenities in your baby's face.' The first amendment is too important

December 20, 2013


advent day 19

How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to offer themselves up individually for a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go.

I enjoyed this:

*affixes a second leash to a hot babes dog while shes tying her shoe* would you look at that. we have the exact same dog. this is incredible

Boston is an oasis in the desert, a place where the larger proportion of people are loving, rational and happy.
Julia Ward Howe

December 21, 2013


advent day 21

Oh man they just released GTA:San Andreas for IOS. So much for a productive holiday break- suspect I will like GTA:SA more than GTAV.
Man, UPS sucks. They left a "sorry we missed you" tag, but we THINK it's the package that got handed off to some neighbors and got to us fine... but the "InfoNotice" number on the tag just isn't recognized on the website. And then the "livechat" feature on their website is closed. For the weekend I guess? The weekend before Christmas? Way to go, guys. You win at internet.
Plus, trying to click Lowes' "Make This Your Store" on their Store Locator leads to "You have attempted to execute an action which our server has flagged as malicious." Genius! Now I don't feel so bad for all the stupid things I've done as a (cough) professional software engineer.
Baby Got Back: An Oral History

December 22, 2013


advent day 22

One reason I'm wary of Libertarianism: when stuff like the FDA is restricted from doing its thing, stuff like this happens-- the market does not autocorrect to prevent harm to people.
Koi @ Tropiquarium in Ocean Township, NJ

Going through old files (from back in the DOS days, I think) I found this file called "ERASEME" that I am now turning into a prose poem:
  1. Who are you?
  2. Do I know you from somewhere?
  3. Why do you care about my feelings
    for the Waltermire's car?
  4. Is there anything wrong with me
    admiring this red Ford?
  5. What are your feelings for this particular car?

Moral of Cinderella: Intentionally leave some of your shit at his place so he'll have to return it.

As a rule, I try to keep my "bucket list" small. I'm all for having extraordinary experiences, but to be irritated or disappointed with yourself on your deathbed because you didn't touch the Taj Mahal or drive a fire engine -- that's no way to live.... err, or to die.

But as a kid, I've always wanted to go to space, to slip these surly bonds of earth and be unencumbered by gravity. The Kid's Whole Future Catalog ( http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/tag/kids-whole-future-catalog ) kind of implied I'd get that chance, but things don't seem to heading that direction. BUT - I did get to "Gravity" in IMAX 3D, and to be honest, I feel like that gave me panorama. And now, for my 40th Birthday in March, I just bought myself a ticket from The Zero G Corporation, https://www.gozerog.com , the folks who fly those "Vomit Comet" flights on parabolic arcs and let civillians have little 20-30 second sips of weightlessness. The price is a bit on the exorbitant side, but hell -- if this soothes my midlife crisis instead of buying an expensive car, I'll practically be SAVING money!

So between Gravity in IMAX 3D (which, to be honest, kind of made me feel safer about not going all the way to Low Earth Orbit) and this, I hope my inner child will see I've done the best I can to experience space, and not done too bad a job of it.

December 23, 2013


advent day 23

December 24, 2013

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advent day 24

Chief O'Brien at Work - kind of a "Chris Ware"-ish take on life on the good ship Enterprise.

December 25, 2013


advent finale

I love the repurposed "Simon"

December 26, 2013

TIL: Frogger has otters.

December 27, 2013

Le Sigh.

December 28, 2013

I lost a biscuit in my cup of tea and tried to get it out with another biscuit and now my cup is full of biscuits.

Bible Prophecy and Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Seriously, our nation's addiction to the Book of Revelation, besides screwing with our foreign policy, even means stuff like the Target Credit Card theft will keep happening, because people are too nervous about "The Mark of the Beast" in their wallets. (And are too addicted to the convenience, financial and otherwise, of credit cards and debit cards to just use cash.)

Not to try and be hipster-er than any of thou, but I really think The Exploding Voids should be wicked famous. This song is fantastic; watch the video, then play it again, and just listen...

holiday snaps


December 30, 2013

http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2013/12/25/were-the-good-guys/ Thoughtful, non-hyperbolic piece on the new American Exceptionalism in the CIA and elsewhere.
For Plato, contemplation was the highest form of human activity. A similar view existed in ancient India. The aim of life was not to change the world. It was to see it rightly.
John Gray in "Straw Dogs", via Ken Baumann's book on EarthBound.

I've been thinking about how focus matters in photography, spurred on my shelling out for my first DSLR. (grabbing a "fast 50" lens, inspired by this article )
Shallow depth of field, where only one part is in focus, is probably appealing because it's how our vision work, our eyes (and consciousness) pick on one thing to really look at. Similarly, the "tiltshift effect", where something looks just like toys simply because only one part of it is in focus, is astonishingly effective; focus is a lot more important to our perception of the world than non-professional photographers tend to realize.
I had a Spiderman suit as a kid that I wore and wore and wore until it didn't fit anymore and the crotch split and you could see my tiny balls hanging down whenever I climbed walls/trees/shelves. That's actually the perfect metaphor for comic book fandom.

Oh, man. Walking home from work I just started to get these crazy flashes in my eyes.... I've always had some "floaters" but these are much larger and flashier, and have last for 10-15 minuts now. This is not not scary.
(followup-- technically I am waiting in the ER but the symptoms passed after 20 minutes or so, most likely "ocular migraine" but need to investigate chance of retina damage of some kind, at the suggestion of my PCP)

December 31, 2013

(1 comment)
At my old church in Cleveland, we'd often have men from a local rehabilitation center over for Sunday evening meeting. Many of them would share a Testimony that lead with "I thank God for waking me up this morning". This morning I thank Everything for waking me up this morning, and with my vision seemingly intact.

I mean, I wasn't TOO worried, and I still have a trip to the opthamologist to arrange later this morning, but still, a reminder for gratitude after last night's flashin' floaters incident.
I just finished GTA: San Andreas on my iPad. Overall, better than GTA5, though apparently the Scottish view of Western US is lots of lonnnnng drives...

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