2014 September❮❮prevnext❯❯

September 1, 2014

August One Second Everyday... some pretty shots of Boston and Baltimore, Bouncy House on the 9th, ALS Ice Water on the 20th...

http://boingboing.net/2014/08/31/frank-sinatras-february-196.html I share some of my dad's kneejerk dismay at anything that glorifies mafia culture, but Sinatra's strongly stated-- Deism? Agnosticism? Whatever -- impressed me.

august 2014 new song playlist

Last month was oddly dominated by hiphop for me.

With everything listed in descending order of MAN you really gotta hear this, five things that I think are intriguing: And the rest:
Once or twice a year, I'll get a nice email thanking me for http://mortals.be/ and/or the comic I need to get off my but and find a publisher for. Sometimes I engage further with people who are still wrestling with angst of being mortal by nature, and finite in impact. Today I wrote this:
I suspect ultimately there will be no way to come to terms with the non-immortality of even our finest acts, and the corresponding "lack of significance" vs what our imaginations can posit, that of something eternal and everlasting, except by personal contemplation and reflection.

One thought I had... we want to be significant and remembered outside our "reference frame", the people who know us, and then MAYBE culture as a larger whole, and then, somehow, the space time continuum (I think I'm misusing physics terms like "reference frame" here). In a way, this seems as misguided, as at odds with the makeup of reality, as desperately longing to have an impact outside of our "light cone", that somehow we should be able to make an impact that would resonate instantaneously across all space and time, rather than propagating at the slow speed of light.

I think that's just the inversion of the same problem; we want to resonate not just instantly, but forever, and, ultimately, everywhere. It's a natural desire, and frustrating that even B-list celebrities will have a "bigger" impact than we will (as my friend Dylan put it, "it makes me said that cartoon character Dilbert will has more influence on this world than I do"), but even Elvis has a reference frame he will never transcend, never be known outside of.

25 Years Ago Today, I played tuba in the marching band for the first nationally broadcasted high school football game... it's kind of weird to think that I've been blogging daily for over half that time.

September 3, 2014


Editors are frustrated writers, and writers are... frustrated writers.
Dylan, F.W.

September 4, 2014

TIL My Kevin Bacon Number is a healthy 2, because a boss at Alleyoop was an extra in Footloose.

September 5, 2014

I don't understand this enough to do much with it, but http://wavepot.com/ , where you can make sounds and tracks via math in real time, in the browser, is amazing.
At work, HR scheduled me to conduct part of an interview right during the big Apple product announcements.

It is probably a little off that my annual rhythm is anchored on Game of Thrones in the spring and the new Apple phone announcement in the fall.

September 6, 2014

Volcano Shockwave. I think more CGI specialists should do that "pushes away the cloud thing"; I don't remember seeing it much, it seems like it would be pretty easy to render, and it really conveys the power of the shockwave!

white water on the penobscot

Yesterday I went White Water River Rafting with some coworkers on Maine's Penobscot River with Northern Outdoors- their final rafting day of the year, which is too bad because it was GREAT! Here's a montage (crudely iMovie'd-- cripes, what a frustrating UI'd program) of the "One Second Everyday" footage I took with my waterproof Canon.

Highlights of the day included M. getting swept out of the boat on the very first (admittedly Category 5) rapids, gentle life jacket swimming, shooting numerous rapids and getting lots of water in the face, an excellent lunch with a choice of "river" chicken, steak, or salmon, getting flipped trying to "surf" (getting the raft to stay in one place on an Eddy - it's great, reminded me of staying on a bucking bronco), a fun plunge down a small waterfall (hauling the raft back up some rocks for repeated trips), an awesome prolonged "surf" in that same area, again leaving the raft to do some bodysurfing down the "waterslide", then using oars as crude sails, pushed along by a tailwind from stormy weather behind us.

A set of photos from the day, cunningly arranged to imply a totally misleading story:

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. [...] Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you. If you find reason to believe there is a God, a consciousness that you are acting under his eye, & that he approves you, will be a vast additional incitement; if that there be a future state, the hope of a happy existence in that increases the appetite to deserve it; if that Jesus was also a God, you will be comforted by a belief of his aid and love.

A+W makes, like, the worst, weakest Diet Root Beer. At least until you realize that it's Cream Soda. Then it's pretty good, actually.


5000 days - a foolish consistency!

Today represents my 5000th entry on this site as a blog! I started in the final days of the year 2000.

(As usual, I used my Date Toy tool to count the days for me. Man-- 5000... I remember celebrating my personal 10,000th day in 2001, I had a little party, "K10K". Crazy to think I've been doing this site for half as long as that.

Yesterday I did a search, and found I had only missed 5 days (each of the 5 now have placeholders) -- 2011.07.07, 2013.03.16, 2013.05.04, 2013.05.08, and 2013.05.13. (Not sure why last May was so rough!) Of course, I had missed previous entries, but had already backfilled them, generally within a day or two.

I wish I had something bigger in mind to celebrate the occasion. Like it would be a perfect time to bring it to a close, or maybe move it to tumblr. (The homebrew nature of the digital underbelly of the site is amusing to me... it's pretty good, actually, I drag and drop images to upload things to my edit tool and everything.)

The site (then http://kisrael.com/ ) had existed for a while before, but I decided to jump on this whole new "blog" bandwagon I'd been enjoying with other people. Some of it was moving the quote journal I kept on my old Palm Pilot (remember them?) to a place it was more readily shared.

For a while, in the mid-2000s, this place was a little online hub for some of my friends and family. I think FB sucked the air out of the room for that - it's difficult for one site by one person to be as compelling as a site that will stitch together a single page from LOTS of friends and family. And then spammers came and overran my humble little homebrew comments system, and I've since shut it down.

In that same era I alwso enjoyed a guest-run sidebar -- first Dylan's Sidebar, then Dylan and Sarah's, then The Sidebar of the People.

Over the years the content changed as well... the current site is (usually) less chatty than the old days. Early on I started using the "of the Moment" framing for individual things, which I guess got dropped a while back when I started putting twitter/tumblr like "short form links and quotes and images" in a special "of the Moment" box. The "real entry" / "of the Moment" dichotomy still exists, but it doesn't mean very much anymore.

I sometimes wish I had a tag system or somesuch to separate the wheat from the chaff here- make it easy for me to pick out my personal projects and "good photo days" (or special theme days like monthly musical roundups or One Second Everydays) and rambling essays from all the days of random quotes and links. I guess that's what I was doing with my Best-Of page, but it hasn't been updated for years.

One reason I've been slow to switch to tumblr, with its laudable community sharing culture, is giving up feeding this site's retrospect feature, where I can see what I posted on this date going back over the years. It was awesome 4 or 5 years ago, but now I admit the view is long... 14 plus years of material (it covers the 4 years or so of my Palm Pilot journal as well) is a bit too much.

So I dunno. I guess I'll just keep on keeping on, regardless of a nagging suspicion how my Foolish Consistency with it reflects a psychological disfunction, that changing course would reflect a rebuttal and rejection of my former self... I wish I had an easier time embracing the concept of personal change and growth. On the other hand, I still enjoy having this blog, and I refer to it quite often, and am grateful how useful it is for digging up half-remembered anecdotes and quotes and links.

5000... yeesh!

September 9, 2014

Haha, just bought a cd from some buskers and now I don't know if I have anything to rip it with! (Come to think of it, I just installed one of those cd-slot phone mounts for my car, so I can't even easily play it there either...)

September 10, 2014

I liked this video a lot. It's made by the same guy who put into Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and both have a good use of both digital and non-digital "effects" to communicate a certain nightmarish vibe.

(note to my future greping self: this might be the video you thought was for "Where Do I Begin", the "Can't even focus on a coffee cup" one)
Here's what the USA should do every time ISIL releases another "british sounding dude in black executing a journalist" video- get our hollywood and meme-making best and brightest and produce a pitch-perfect parody... like the knife or whatever jumps out of the killers hand, and then the journalist in orange leaps up and starts chasing the would be killer around Benny Hill style, Yakkety Sax included. Or it morphs into an action movie. Or a Monty Python skit.

I know people would think this is disrespectful to the slaughtered, and to their family, during all too tragic and serious times. But we give way too much power to these monsters, letting them gain status, look bad-ass to their target demographic, and goad us into actions that may or may not be the correct approach. The power of parody could dilute this, utterly. ISIS would be forced to change their video presentation template, and we'd follow suit. Eventully they couldn't make a video like this without the masses wondering what hilarious spoof would follow.
Spider man
Spider man
How do spiders control a man?
Down the throat
Behind the eyes
Walk among us spreading lies
Oh god.
Run from spiderman

September 11, 2014

Dietzler's Law for Access:
Every Access project will eventually fail because, while 80% of what the user wants is fast and easy to create, and the next 10% is possible with difficulty, ultimately the last 10% is impossible because you can't get far enough underneath the built-in abstractions, and users always want 100% of what they want.
I think this law applies to build systems and javascript frameworks as well, as I outline in my devblog post about it.

September 12, 2014

TIL MC Hammer's real middle name is "Kirk". (Thanks Bill)
The point is this. Caballero is really smart, so when he puts your obesity in a larger context, accept that what he's saying has some real weight (pun not intended) and that you are not 'fat' but 'evidence of a landmark accomplishment by our species.'

Fatness is a byproduct of the leisurely life your hard-working ancestors and the greatest minds of the Western world have been working to create for millennia. They wanted you to have a life of plenty, a life without backbreaking work. Your great -great-great-grandfather would weep with joy at the sight of you half-conscious on a couch, having just shoveled a pile of fried noodles straight out of the takeout carton into your mouth after a busy day organizing the office's fantasy football league. Surely my descendant has become a king!

Yes, our overweight society is, by the standard of the ancients, a utopia. You've relished it, taking full advantage of your ability to eat like a devout hedonist at an all-inclusive resort while neglecting to tax your muscles with arduous labor. Of the billions of people who've ever lived, you have it easier than almost anyone. History congratulates you.

Martin Cizmar, "Chubster: A Hipster's Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool"

Gluttony is not a secret vice.
Orson Welles

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/09/ghostbusting-lovecraft Nice view of Ghostbusters as a commentary on the Lovecraftian outlook
That physicality is interesting... Lovecraftian horrors are sometimes surprisingly vulnerable to, say ramming by a boat (see "The Call of Cthulhu") and Ghostbusters showed that these beings are not transcendent, just powerful, and playing by some different rules.

September 13, 2014

There are more than 3 times as many new mobile apps released per day (~2400) than the total number of unique games made for NES ever (~800).

September 14, 2014

Oh well. She also says, "We aren't put on this earth to be happy."

Not your kids, anyway, mom.
Everything that's sexy-- mussed hair, straps that fall off the shoulder, a sweaty glow on the face-- is a bit askew , yes, but touchable.
If you really want to promise something worthwhile, try this: I will stand by you even if I no longer love you. Now that's a promise. That really means forever.
Charlotte Roche, "Wetlands"
This was the most disturbing book, viscerally and emotionally, maybe that I've ever read. There aren't many books I've read that are so wrenching or squicking that I have to put it down and come back to it later.
After around 10 months of "5/2 Fasting" (600 calories twice a week, no other particular restrictions) I think I need to switch gears.

The first 4 months or so were pretty effective, but I've been more or less plateau'd since then, and still recovering from some indulgence over the summer.

My new inspiration is Chubster, a very down to earth book. It's technique is good old calorie counting - which, in the form of The Hacker's Diet ( https://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/ ) was responsible for some of my most notable weight loss - though 10 to 15 lbs seems to be my limit for any particular plan.

The good thing about my time with 5/2 Fasting is I'm less afraid of being hungry than I was, better at being mindful, mentally acknowledging the feeling, but not being compelled to fix it immediately.
[...] the frankly villainous dictum that all is fair in love and war.
Ambrose Bierce, An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge

September 15, 2014

The truth is, we know so little about life, we don't really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.
Kurt Vonnegut, "A Man Without a Country"

I don't know about you, but I practice a disorganized religion. I belong to an unholy disorder. We call ourselves "Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment."
Kurt Vonnegut, "A Man Without a Country"

5 Tragic Reasons Why the World's Largest Theme Park Stands Abandoned in Ohio. Dear old Geauga Lake park-- when I left Cleveland it always felt like Cedar Point's little cousin, I had no idea it had had such a radical expansion and merge with Sea World. So sad, in any guise that place was fun, and now when I see the aerial footage of where it stood... same kind of deal as the ghost malls in the area.

September 16, 2014

My favorite from a series of post-Soviet ruins:

I made Yet Another 7-minute workout guide page This one's gimmick is that it talks more than most, announcing the next exercise, counting down "3 2 1" at the end of intervals, and playing a note at halfway points. More details at my devblog.

My coworkers and I are using it daily!
I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!
General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

September 17, 2014

For survival in this world, it's to an animal's great advantage if Humans think you're cute.

At 230 calories, a bottle of Guinness Draught and a Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle bar makes a helluva nightcap for a dieter like me.

September 18, 2014

Sometimes I wish I had more characteristics of an Ayn Rand character, that by sheer force of will I could make things happen: specifically, turning myself into a better me; I know my "fixed mindset" background makes me swing too hard the other way, into strategies that avoid pointing out my deficiencies on the micro level, but make be less capable in the macro sense.

One trick I've heard lately is to replace "Oh, I really shouldn't do ___" with the thought that "I'm the kind of person who doesn't ___"; swap the verb for the noun, so to speak. In the same way that the physical act of smiling can lead to a legitimately happier mood, this might be a little con game we can play on our own self, for our own benefit.

I look at the things that tend to clog my todo list, often items I feel a little intimidated by: work on my "lowLag" JavaScript library for sounds (I took a swing and a miss at an annoying IE-related issue), finding a publisher for SoYoureGoingToDie.com, a stack of stuff at work for my team's new assignment on technologies I honestly am not super enthused by... I am the kind of person who pushes through this crap. I have a decent track record of things I've done, and the potential to get through many more.


"Look Deep Into My Eyes. NO-- DEEPER"...

[On why is there something rather than nothing.] "Beats me, actually; but who doesn't love the Universe?"
John Updike

[We] skate upon an intense radiance we do not see because we see nothing else. And in fact there is a color, a quiet but tireless goodness that things at rest, like a brick wall or a small stone, seem to affirm.
John Updike

September 19, 2014

Marget's nurse in earlier years, said God would provide. But she said that from habit, for she was a good Christian. She meant to help in the providing, to make sure, if she could find a way.
Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger"

"Not a sparrow falls to the ground without His seeing it."
"But it falls, just the same. What good is seeing it fall?"
Ursula the Housekeeper and Satan's nephew in Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger".
This book (a recommendation embedded in Vonnegut's "A Man Without a Country") is terrific: humanist, humane, and subversive.
Why I Hope to Die at 75. Thought-provoking piece. Via Next Draft, which is the best email newsletter I've ever subscribed to.

September 20, 2014

Found out at a Cambridge DD - I think it's a study of the letter "P"

"Looks like a person with boobs"
For pete's sake, why the hell does ios convert PNG files into crappily compressed JPGs when uploading via webform? What a waste. Why would they do that?

September 21, 2014


September 22, 2014

Back to "Lazy Iced Tea" (just throwing a teabag or two into the Large Dunkies Iced Coffee cup I use for water during the day.) Work offers unlimited soft drinks, but those recent study results are making feel iffy about how artificial sweetener might be fooling my gut bacteria.

Plus, chai iced tea is super tasty washing over an atomic fireball.

September 23, 2014

http://www.buzzfeed.com/xtinehlee/i-had-a-stroke-at-33 Amazing "Momento"-like, or maybe "Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" story, but the insiders view.

I loved detailed, subjective accounts like this, and also thinking about the parts I can feel-- empathy(?) -- parallels with. Sometimes I feel like I can sense the faintest of faint "shadow syndromes" of a variety of conditions: Tourette syndrome, dyslexia, Asperger syndrome, etc. But I'm always aware I might be mistaken, or fooling myself, any seeming parallels might be absolutely surface, and certainly they're nothing to coddle myself about, because they're all absolutely manageable (to the extent that they're present at all.)

The homophones/typo thing -- a trait shared with the author of this story during her bad times -- really bugs me sometimes, though, and the swapping of "m" and "b".

Partyism Now Trumps Racism - but some of my best friends are Republican!
Thanks for everything. I had a wonderful time.
A vision of what a pet would say to us when it's time to say goodbye to them... via 22words

2022 follow up: 22words has kind of dissolved into pop celebrity mess, but I think this is the comic in question, beautiful, about when it's time to bring the end to a pet:

Dr. Bigelow: So you took a chance on being happy, even though you knew that later on you would be sad.

Louie: Yeah.

B: And now... you're sad.

L: Yeah.

B: So... what's the problem?

L: I'm too sad.... Look, I liked the feeling of being in love with her. I liked it. But now she's gone and I miss her and it sucks. And I didn't think it was going to be this bad, and I feel like, why even be happy if it's just going to lead to this, you know? It wasn't worth it.

B: You know, misery is wasted on the miserable.

L: What?

B: You know, I'm not entirely sure what your name is, but you are a classic idiot. You think spending time with her, kissing her, having fun with her, you think that's what it was all about? That was love?

L: Yeah.

B: THIS is love. Missing her, because she's gone. Wanting to die.... You're so lucky. You're like a walking poem. Would you rather be some kind of a fantasy? Some kind of a Disney ride? Is that what you want? Don't you see? This is the good part. This is what you've been digging for all this time. Now you finally have it in your hand, this sweet nugget of love, sweet, sad love, and you want to throw it away. You've got it all wrong.

L: I thought this was the bad part.

B: No! The bad part is when you forget her, when you don't care about her, when you don't care about anything. The bad part is coming, so enjoy the heartbreak while you can, for God's sakes. Pick up the dog poop, would you please? Lucky sonofabitch. I haven't had my heart broken since Marilyn walked out on me, since I was 35 years old. What I would give to have that feeling again.... You know, I'm not really sure what your name is, but you may be the single most boring person I have ever met. No offense. Give me my dog. Come here. You.... Don't fall down.

saul to rebecca, from the illuminatus! trilogy

This passage has been rattling around my brain lately, though its been a few years since I've read the book. This bit is a great explication about sex, set in an enthusiastic bit of action. Unfortunately I'd say some parts are maybe a bit racist or otherwise distasteful, but in the balance I think the general terrificness of the passage outweighs the negatives.

You see, darling, it all revolves around sex, but not in the sense that Freud thought. Freud never understood sex. Hardly anybody understands sex, in fact, except a few poets here and there. Any scientist who starts to get an inkling keeps his mouth shut because he knows he'd be drummed out of the profession if he said what he knew. Here, I'll help you unhook that. What we're feeling now is supposed to be tension, and what we'll feel after orgasm is supposed to be relaxation. Oh, they're so pretty. Yes, I know I always say that. But they are pretty. Pretty, pretty, pretty. Mmmm. Mmmm. Oh, yes, yes. Just hold it like that a moment. Yes. Tension? Lord, yes that's what I mean. How can this be tension? What's it got in common with worry or anxiety or anything else we call tension? It's a strain, but not a tension. It's a drive to break out, and a tension is a drive to hold in. Those are the two polarities. Oh, stop for a minute. Let me do this. You like that? Oh, darling, yes, darling, I like it, too. It makes me happy to make you happy. You see, we're trying to break through our skins into each other. We're trying to break the walls, walls, walls. Yes, Yes. Break the walls. Tension is trying to hold up the walls, to keep the outside from getting in. It's the opposite. Oh, Rebecca. Let me kiss them again. They're so pretty. Pretty pretty titties. Mmm, Mmm. Pretty. And so big and round. Oh, you've got two hard-ons and I've only got one. And this, this, ah, you like it, don't you, that's three hard-ons. You want me to take my finger away and kiss it? Oh, darling, pretty belly, pretty. Mmm. Mmm. Darling, Mmm. MMMMM. Mmm. Lord, Lord. You never came so fast before, oh, I love you. Are you happy? I'm so happy. That's right, just for a minute. Oh, God, I love watching you do that. I love to see it go into your mouth. Lord, God, Rebecca, I love it. Yes, now I'll put him in. Little Saul, there, coming up inside you, there. Does little Rebecca like him? I know, I know. They love each other, don't they? The way we love each other. She's so warm, she welcomes him so nicely. You're inside me, too. That's what I'm trying to say. My field. You're inside my field, just like I'm inside yours. It's the fields, not the physical act. That's what people are afraid of. That's why they're tense during sex. They're afraid of letting the fields merge. It's a unifying of the forces. God, I can't keep talking. Well, if we slow way down, yes, this is nicer, isn't it? That's why it's so fast for most people. They rush, complete the physical act, before the fields are charged. They never experience the fields. They think it's poetry, fiction, when somebody who's had it describes it. One scientist knew. He died in prison. I'll tell you about him later. It's the big taboo, the one all the others grow out of. It isn't sex itself they're trying to stop. That's too strong, they can't stop it. It's this. Darling, yes. This. The unifying. It happens at death, but they try to steal it even then. They've taken it out of sex. That's why the fantasies. And the promiscuity. The search. Blacks, homosexuality, our parents, people we know we hate, Saint Bernards. Everything. It's not neuroses or perversion. It's a search. A desperate search. Everybody wants sex with an enemy. Hate mobilizes the field, too, you see. And hate. Is safer. Safer than love. Love too dangerous. Lord, Lord, I love you. I love you. Let me more. Get the weight on my elbows, hold your ass with my hands. Yes. Poetry isn't poetry. I mean it doesn't lie. It's true when I say I worship you. Can't say it outside bed. Can only say love then, usually. Worship too scary. Some people can't even say love in bed. Searching, partner to partner. Never able to say love. Never able to feel it. Under control. They can't let us learn, or the game is up. Their name? They got a million names. Monopolize it. Keep it to themselves. They had to stamp it out in the rest of us, to control. To control us. Drove it underground, into background noise. Mustn't break through. That's how. How it happened. Darling. First they repressed telepathy, then sex. That's why schizos. Darling. Why schizos break into crazy sex things first. Why homosexuals dig the occult. Break one taboo, come close to the next. Finally break the wall entirely. Get through. Like we get through, together. They can't have that. Got to keep up apart. Schisms. Always splitting and schisms. White against black, men against women, all the way down the line. Keep us apart. Don't let us merge. Make sex a dirty joke. A few more minutes. A few more. My tongue in your ear. Oh, God. Soon. So fast. A miracle. Whole society set up to prevent this. To destroy love. Oh, I do love you. Worship you. Adore you. Rebecca. Beautiful, beautiful. Rebecca. They don't want us to. Unify. The. Forces. Rebecca. Rebecca. Rebecca.

Midweek, every 2-3 weeks, MBTA Alewife @DunkinDonuts runs out of large straws. You'd think that'd be a pretty easy logistical fix, eh?
"But only the Christian civilization has scored a triumph to be proud of. Two or three centuries from now it will be recognized that all the competent killers are Christians; then the pagan world will go to school to the Christian-- not to acquire his religion, but his guns. "
Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger"
I really enjoyed this book, even if there was some question about it being hacked/faked by later editors. The Devil Goes Down to 1600s Germany, and the result works on so many levels; humanist to its core, implicit digression into the implausibility of true free will in a "foreseeable" Universe of cause and effect, even as pure strategy its take on what omnipotence and pure amorality might look like to us mere puny humans is way ahead of its time.
this weekend I saw some of the future of the webz let me show you them

September 25, 2014

current status: i want to eat coffee beans like cereal

Scholastic's "Dynamite" magazine sometimes had a bonus magazine when you flipped it over, about videogames, called "Arcade". This is a comic I think I remember... corny, but written by R. L. Stine...

Desert Golfing is my new Go-To mobile game. It's like an endless, zen-like calmer Angry Birds.
"I have friends who smell their kids' hands to make sure they washed."
"That's a bad idea."
"Why? Because it shows distrust?"
"No, because if my mom had tried that, I would have made her regret it immediately."
"You'd have put something stinky on your hands just to bug your mother?"
"I wouldn't have had to. I'd have just acted a little too happy about her smelling them. 'Yes! By all means! Which finger would you like first?'"

September 26, 2014

I was almost persuaded to buy a PS4 last night, but couldn't justify it - still no killer app, though my buddy tried to pitch their "Playstation Plus" program as a way of getting exposed to some neat indie-ish stuff. Any thoughts? I think the new Saints Row 4 expansion is going to be on 360 too, so...

September 27, 2014

This just in: Yahoo to Discontinue Yahoo
Man, I wonder where I can get a clip of Homer Simpson saying "Lousy minor setback! This world sucks!" I use that as a mantra, sometimes, to remind myself that I'm crazily over-reacting to whatever little inconvenience is irking me just then, like a broken escalator. ("Mantra" is the wrong term... what's the word for a cross between a catchphrase and a koan to set one's thinking on a better path? Sort of a catchprahse wrang-wrang, to use Vonnegut's bokononism terminology.)
I really feel like a better person, empowered and creative and capable, when I take time to sit and hack in an environment I'm fluent in, especially sitting in front of a big monitor rather than just grabbing time on the subway. Between a techie conference, helping friends in need, a band gig, and various social fun stuff, I haven't had a solid morning or afternoon or even evening for that for weeks.

I wonder if this feeling is anything like what people who get nurtured by being out in nature feel when they go camping. I mean, different, obviously, but deeply resonate and restorative nonetheless.

(And the "environment I'm fluent in" is critical, which is why my dayjob has not been a joy for me for a few years, even though my new gig has a fun group of people in proximity to me in a way that was lacking at the job before.)

September 28, 2014

My weight since 1999:

I made a new diet graph tool and put it online at kirk.is/diet, in part because I was sick of always hunting for the raw data when it was time to update it. I crudely made it a continuous curve - I like the look of it, though of course if read literally it implies my weight sometimes goes back in time. (Generally, time periods I don't have much data for get a little wonky, but I'm ok that graph visually reflects that uncertainty)

(I used to laugh when the marketing guys would use the catchphrase "up, and to the right" for what they wanted to see on their number charts, but now I get it!)
Applaud your neighbor; admire his style
That grates upon you like a sawtooth file.
His trespasses resemble yours in kind;
He too is being crowded from behind.
Don't kill; or if you must, while killing, grieve.
Doubt not; that is, until you can't believe.
Don't covet Mrs. X; or if you do,
Make sure, before you leap, she covets you.
John Updike, from "V. Conclusion"

Next giant need for Siri: a sophisticated way to correct the speech-to-text mistranscriptions, but also via voice. Getting her to understand the word "rum" is nuts. Rama? Rob? Walmart? such an infuriating almost-there technology.

September 29, 2014

Homer Simpson -- "Lousy minor setback! THIS WORLD SUCKS!"

From I Am Furious (Yellow)
(as I said the other day: I use "Lousy Minor Setback! This World Sucks!" as a mantra, sometimes, to remind myself that I'm crazily over-reacting to whatever little inconvenience is irking me just then, like a broken escalator. ("Mantra" is the wrong term... what's the word for a cross between a catchphrase and a koan to set one's thinking on a better path? Sort of a catchprahse wrang-wrang, to use Vonnegut's bokononism terminology.))

requiem for an umbrella plant

So, my mom informed that the "Kirk Tree", an umbrella plant that was planted when I was born, is no longer with us. Here we are in 2008...

It had been struggling lately, with only a few leaves at the top.

I admit I'm bummed, even though I had foisted care and feeding of it onto my mom lo these many years, it was a cool thing to know was around. It's not like it was my picture of Dorian Gray or my horcrux or anything, but as a bit of a plant sibling of mine, I feel its loss.

Poem of the Moment
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, "Spring and Fall (To a Young Child)"

Overheard at Alewife just now: "There's a Dunkins - We're saved!"

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