2014 May❮❮prevnext❯❯

May 1, 2014

New on my devblog: I really admire the design of the door handles at work...
20 GOTO 10

BASIC was so important to me growing up, and the whole 80s culture of encouraging kids to be proactive in their interaction with computers.

playlist april 2014

Few in number, not bad in quality, last month's songs. Arranged in descending order of "I really think you should check this out"

May 3, 2014

Two amazing things happened in my life today, Saturday May the Third 2014. One was I went on that Zero-G "vomit comet" flight. It was exhilarating, exuberant, and viscerally ridiculous. Two is: last summer friends of mine, a lesbian couple, asked if I would help them add a little one to their family, and also inviting me to play an extend-family, "virtual uncle" role if I so choose. Today Cora is born. And I so choose.

Life is amazing and lovely.

May 4, 2014

I just realized Spaceballs has more women than Star Wars. And more black people.

Two endless irritations of old gaming: the PS2 only had 2 controller ports, the Wii menu NEEDS the sensor bar, even if the game doesn't/

May 5, 2014

My April, one second at a time... I liked April 4th where I took out my iPhone with a well-aimed nerf dart, and the 12th, where I am knee deep in an outdoor pool I'm helping scoop out.

When citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as a members of one faith or another. And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines.

slipping the surly bonds of earth

Saturday i went on a Zero G Flight -- parabolic flights over the ocean in order to get legitimate doses of zero gravity.

This is the modified 727 they use... seats are removed from everything but the back, and the rest is lined with mats, kind of like the wrestling room in gym class.

The first few arcs are acclimating Mars then Lunar low gravity. You can do one-armed or one fingered pushups with ease.

You might notice the socks. They break the group of 30 or so into 3 groups: Gold, Silver, and Blue. (I was on Team Blue.)

Finally: Zero-G!

I was clearly very proud of my Blue Lego Astronaut T-shirt...

Each arc only last 15-30 seconds, and there are about 15 of them in all.

This kind of thing is also called "The Vomit Comet", though one of the reasons they make it a relatively short trip is so that no one gets sick.

Eventually, you come down with a bit of a thump.. (they yell "feet down, leveling out" or some such, and you have to quickly get your feet oriented correctly.)



They also have each team do a "superman" group shot, I made the series of photos into a GIF...

So overall, it was an exhilarating and amazing time. To be completely honest, If "space travel" wasn't on my bucket list (my inner child thought he was going to see casual space travel, but this plus "Gravity in IMAX 3D" is gonna have to suffice) it might not be quite worth the sorta of exorbitant cost, but still, recommended if you got the cash and the dream!

UPDATE: A Video:
My friend David H on FB said "dude! That is awesome. Describe what it felt like?"
My answer was:
"it's... short! And intense. And fun and disorienting. Suddenly the world of gravity you've known is gone, and you can push and shove and every direction is kind of like every other direction and people in jumpsuits are laughing and yelling and flying every which way and jostling and you can grab a bouncy wall and go into a fun spin like a ice skater and pull your arms in and go faster and try to find a grip again and then look for the little water blob or candy the your group leader released and then "FEET DOWN! LEVELING OUT!" and you have just a second before you come down to the floor with a thump and you lie down to wait for the heavy gravity, focus on a point on the ceiling to help prevent motion sickness, and then a minute later you do it all again...."

May 7, 2014

She left, and I wandered the streets for hours, crying tears of release. All the while I thought on the truth of Bashaarat's words: past and future are the same, and we cannot change them either, only know them more fully. My journey to the past had changed nothing, but what I had learned had changed everything, and I understood that it could not have been otherwise. If our lives are tales that Allah tells, then we are the audience as well as the players, and it is by living these tales that we receive our lessons.
Ted Chiang, The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate
Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.
Ted Chiang, The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate


Like I mentioned, the other big adventure I had this weekend was meeting and holding my umm-niece, a new little girl I helped her mammas make.

Here very first photo-- I love the light in this one.

Getting to hold her...

After a while she seemed a bit skeptical of all these photos...

May 9, 2014

"I've prepared a PowerPoint presentation that will cover the basics of what I wish to discuss with you," Lucifer begins, opening up the ThinkPad.
"Stop," Billy says, "PowerPoint?"
"It's my preferred medium," says Lucifer.
Jeremy P. Bushnell, "The Weirdness"

Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.
Gustave Flaubert

The illusion of life from cento lodigiani on Vimeo.

http://twentytwowords.com/what-clients-really-mean-when-they-talk-to-a-web-designer/ I always dig this kind of rule-of-thumb simplification.

May 10, 2014

An Italian by the name of Francesco is working on a "fan translation" of http://soyouregoingtodie.com/ into Italian. Recently he asked for clarification on one of my typically meandering sentences, and I really like the analogy he buttered me up with:
"Your whole writing style has this watery consistency which I find aesthetically exquisite and perfect for this comic but a p.i.t.a. to translate nevertheless."

good morning to all you mothers out there

INVENTION: Happy Mother's Day!
NECESSITY: Thanks dear.
INVENTION: I made you something!
NECESSITY: (sighs) Yes. I figured.


the concept and tradition of "passive aggression"

On Mother's Day, the extended family conversation got around to the concept and tradition of "passive aggression". The canonical example for my family was my grandmother's "You've got me so worried and frustrated I'm back to smoking again!" My mom reminded me of engaging in that by exercising my disinterest in going to grad school right after college in the form of doing nothing and letting the deadline for applications slip by. I had forgotten all about that.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have under my belt, other times I'm hard pressed to think of a justification of the expense in terms of money and time and focus.
More rambling and griping about Angular on my devblog. I guess it's a good thing that I've been posting so much there... usually that's a sign that I'm learning more at work.
I got 99 problems and they're all red balloons.

May 13, 2014

Just had a dream about the Passion of the Christ being re-enacted with bottles of fruit juice by Android-phone enthusiasts. Pontius Pilate was played by a bottle of premium Cranberry Juice.
Learning to Pole Dance: Expectation vs Reality made me laugh, out loud, twice, so I'm reposting it here.

the planet doesn't care if we die

My Zero G flight video:

"Let me ask you something -- do you ever get the sense that your wife feels that she could have done better?"
"God no. Nah, She's the luckiest woman on earth. I mean, if anything, I could have done better. The noises that come out of that woman at night? It's like she's that black guy from Police Academy."
[Phone Chimes] "Oh, speak of the devil... message from my wife, not the black guy from Police Academy. Oh that'd be so awesome."
"Yeah, that'd be neat."
Modern Famliy

Jolly Time 100-calorie Kettle Corn packs are much better than the Orville Redenbacher's. FWIW.

hi fry

Last night I got to meet Ben Fry (co-inventor of Processing, the language/API/toolkit i do so many of my toys and games in) after a lecture he did about infographics. He was moderately impressed that my business card now has a little Processing program on the back.
http://rampantinnovation.com/2014/05/13/design-is-about-intent/ Pretty good piece about Apple and its sense of design

seven nation steamboat


Comcast as the Enron of the Information Age.

May 16, 2014

is there anything more capitalist than a peanut with a top hat, cane, and monocle selling you other peanuts to eat

Therefore abandon all thought of self. But since there are deeds and since deeds continue, be careful with your deeds.
The Gospel of Buddha, as quoted by NAVMC 2616 "Unit Leaders Personal Response Handbook", a Vietnam-era publication of the US Marine Corps, now available online.
It's a book about fitting in with the culture of Vietnam, and trying to win permanent allies there, emphasizing principles of common humanity- but it also covers a difference in outlook caused by an Eastern view of time as circular, with less need for hurry and less fear of missed, one-time-only opportunities. (I found the book when staying with Leonard and Sumana during my Zero-G minibreak -- they have a cool rotating stand for trade paperbacks, like you might see at a bookstore.)
Just saw an electronic billboard for the new 2015 Audi- They know what year and month it is, right?

i'm *very* fast

I enjoyed this.

There's a whole series of them.

May 18, 2014

Extent of my ambition today:
1. Finish the "comfort food" gaming I've been playing, "Saints Row the Third"
2. Watch Godzilla in IMAX

Two Luchador-related thoughts on SR3:
1. Hulk Hogan did the voice of "Angel de la Muerte"? His flat, underacted reading is kind of perfect.
2. Eddie "Killbane" Pryor (the Luchador main villain) has multiple references to a nickname "The Walking Apocalypse" which is a great bit of poetry.

May 19, 2014

When I consider what would get me to justify buying a nextgen game console, "Photorealistic Katamari Damacy" tops the list.
So, I fail to see how femininity is weak when masculinity can be defeated with something as simple as painted fingernails on a dude.

http://explosm.net/comics/3557/ -- such a good thought about the "I $*@$in' Love Science" crowd...
from the NY Times -- What You Learn in Your 40s

verbs and icons and my dad

My mind seems to be wired in terms of verbs: the roles things play, versus an essentialist notion of "what they are". This is a powerful way of thinking about the things, but it can have some odd side effects. For instance, I am surprisingly slow at recognizing certain icons and associating them with the software functions they go with.

To the right is my OSX Dock at work. Most of the images are relatively associate with their function: Sourcetree looks like a file tree, Stickies looks like post-its, Terminal looks like a terminal window. A few others, like Chrome and and Vidyo (the isomorphic cube) make up for the lack of use-association with great big hunks of color. (Finder I remember because it's always at the top of the list - that's the same kind of positional memory I rely on in iOS. Again, it's not that I can't hunt and find icons, I just don't want to have to for the icons I use the most.)

This little guy has always proven problematic:
It's for the (very good, and free) "Komodo" Editor, and I guess it supposed to be a dragon or lizard head. I don't use it as much as I used to, though.

But lately, my recognition nemesis is this guy:
That's for IntelliJ by JetBrains (hence the J?) the editor I spend most of my coding time in these days. But that icon... though the other day (and I'm chagrined at how long it took me) I realized I could use another hook. Those are the initials of my dad, Jim.

Obviously, there's no particularly strong natural association between my deceased father and a code editor, but in this case the other connections I have are stepping in and making me think of James Israel when I sense myself hunting for the right icon... I actually enjoy the little tribute of it, as weird and idiosyncratic as the connection is.
I don't think you have to believe the Bryan way in order to be a strong evangelical. But this is Bryan College, and this is something that's important to us. It's in our DNA. It's who we are.
Stephen Livesay, president of Bryan College
He's defending its decision to double down on literalist theology by viz a viz Adam + Eve, so the irony of him citing "DNA" is almost palpable. The real issue is literalism and fundamentalism; this point is it's just a way of drawing culture war lines, you could certainly be a non-Genesis-literalist Christian.

May 21, 2014

I regretted that I hadn't done more. Not good works, necessarily: I did my part for the homeless, the alkies, public radio, various losing liberals, an open school, the Save the Spiders Foundation, the Home for the Moody, the lower-spine association, the Suspicion Center, some others. I regretted never having played the accordion, seen New Mexico or Maine, learned to dance the fox-trot, met Victor Borge, read Moby Dick or Don Quixote, eaten supper in the Oak Room at the Algonquin, fished Rainy Lake, known a little physics, talked to my dad about his father.

I regretted some bad shows I did.

I regretted having hurt some people.
Garrison Keillor, "Regrets"
from "We Are Still Married", a brief essay about thoughts he had while waiting for his commercial flight to dump fuel after an engine explosion. I'm surprised I hadn't transcribed this before, because it comes to me from time to time.

May 22, 2014

Gilbert Gottfried is booked for this year's Gathering of the Juggalos.
The first word spoken on the moon was "Okay."
Hmm. Cleveland wins on a 13th inning, bases loaded balk, sweeping the Tigers, who just got done sweeping the Red Sox. Baseball!

May 23, 2014

Boston's Seaport area feels a lot like the city from an open sandbox videogame. Finite size, bounded by water and bridges, sparse but diverse buildings on a rather square layout.
Don't be a jerk, Amazon.

May 24, 2014

That's not going to get better.
Doesn't seem so.
Bad way to go. Haven't you had enough?
Of what? ...I know. Time to go. Take matters into me own hands. The thought has occurred to me.
So why go on?
Nothing could be worse than this.
Maybe nothing is worse than this.
Nothing isn't better, or worse, than anything. Nothing is just nothing.
Game of Thrones, "Mockingbird", when Arya and The Hound meet an older man, griveously wounded and bleeding out through his belly

May 25, 2014

Forgiveness is the number 1 trait linked to happiness in humans.

Staring into the fire was the original looking at your phone

May 26, 2014

'And nine rings were forged for the lords of men, who above all else crave power.' '--NOT ALL MEN

May 27, 2014

Yakkety Tuba

Believe it or don't, I dug this up looking for "Tom Traubert's Blues".

May 28, 2014

Seemingly paradoxically, I think the path to some improvements to my life might be *more* time in front of a computer: namely, using my desk + monitor, sitting upright, and not just reclining in bed to surf etc... both in terms of focusing and getting stuff done, and also that whole "blasting yourself with blue-ish light right before bed isn't the best for sleep" thing. Having a laptop as my main machine is relatively new to me, and it's a great luxury, but I get the idea the old sitting at a desk routine might be better for focus.
How Pop-Tarts are made:

from this fascinating series (despite the captions lamely trying to generate extra enthusiasm.) Manufacturing has gotten so good, it's difficult to remember how much thought has to go into the physical reality of the products we enjoy.
Some find irony in the fact that a study of our brains revealed to us not the secrets of the past, but what ultimately awaits us in the future. However, I maintain that we have indeed learned something important about the past. The universe began as an enormous breath being held. Who knows why, but whatever the reason, I am glad that it did, because I owe my existence to that fact. All my desires and ruminations are no more and no less than eddy currents generated by the gradual exhalation of our universe. And until this great exhalation is finished, my thoughts live on.
He's such a good author!

May 29, 2014

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133.html So the religious right as political force came not from pro-life but pro-segregation.
http://www.zagat.com/b/50-states-50-sandwiches Man. Sandwiches are the best.
I am increasingly amazed at the Listicle-sites having great big, flat-color, inviting arrow buttons by all the ads, and little tiny "next" buttons to get through the content. The makers of those will be first against the wall when the revolution comes.
So some companies have N.I.H. syndrom, "Not Invented Here", a reluctance to use pre-existing code from outside groups. I certainly suffer from that sometimes, because coding things is fun, and generally my homebrew solutions are compact and focused and you can understand the codepath without having to know how it tries to solve 8 other dudes' problems as well. But sometimes I think my company suffers a bit from N.I.S.E...
An article supporting that view, a bit: http://prog21.dadgum.com/158.html

May 30, 2014

But this talk of secret courts and wiretaps is a little bit misleading. It leaves us worrying about James Bond scenarios in a Mr. Bean world.
Though in weird ways I'm less uptight about privacy and more uptight about the possible "house of cards" aspect of a lot of companies I like to use or might want to work for someday...

May 31, 2014

There's a lot to be said for lack of communication and so many problems we can't talk about simply go away after a while, such as the problem of mortality, for example, but a writer's duty is to keep trying.
Garrison Keillor

Now, of course, young people cross over into the land of bliss pretty much whenever they want to. There are bridges, there are islands in the river, and the water is so low that in most places you can just wade across, but back then the river was wide and deep and fast and the church owned the boats. The church ferried you across to the land of bliss and you stayed there for the rest of your life with the one you went across with, or so we believed. Marriage was a fact, immense.
Garrison Keillor

When you're a little kid, your heart is open and tender and a harsh word can go straight in and become part of your life.
Garrison Keillor

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