December 1, 2014Growing up, "Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals" was very important to me and my dad. It teaches kids that they can make animals of all types just by drawing letters and symbols that they already know how to make.
This year, I decided to make an Advent Calendar for the Days of December, 25 in all. Each day has an animal that Ed Emberley taught me to draw and that I taught a computer how to make- but each is also a little puppet that bobs and weaves or interacts with the mouse some other way.
A new animal puppet is unlocked every day!
"All the hip kids are streaming music. They'll be like 'I'm not going to carry around a hard drive full of music, like a caveman!' 'But it's all on solid state memory now' 'I'm not going to carry around an SD card full of music, like a caveman'"
--Me in a dream last night
Q: It's about white people adjusting to a new reality?
A: Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it's unfair that you can get judged by something you didn't do, but it's also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn't work for.
--Chris Rock in this interview
December 2, 2014
Artistically not so great, but a fun try out of my new iPhone's slo-mo.
(Elio shared this editorial about how Star Wars was terrible for Sci-Fi, with a comment saying he kind of agreed. I started a comment but it kind of turned into a 5 paragraph mini-essay so I'm promoting it to this...)
Kindred is certainly an excellent book, but a LOT more literary and less what most people think of as "sci-fi", despite time travel elements; not that I'm the "sci-fi" police, but it feels a bit more like real-history-centered fantasy.
Star Wars brought a lived-in future look that nothing else had before; even 2001 was a bit sterile (though still astounding in its world building.) Alien/Aliens probably duplicate that feel best, later. It also had a sense of myth making, and that was a (semi-) conscious attempt to give culture epic stories to refer and relate to. And it worked.
Yeah, RotJ got back into duplicating the points (daring rescue, big death star destruction) of earlier stuff, and the prequels horribly shrunk the galaxy even more than it was when "oh btw Luke Leia and Darth are family". Still the core movie brought something new.
I think the main problem with it is that it hurt a 70s culture of smaller, less noisy and more personal films. I'm reading "The Secret History of Star Wars", and it talks about how desperate the studios were, how Easy Rider pointed the way to cheap films that could appeal to the new cultural sensibilities, but that stumbled, and then Star Wars and Jaws introduced the concept of giant blockbuster.
The other thing that book mentions is at one point Lucas had the idea of semi-annual Star Wars films, with a variety of directors and stylistic imprints. Empire happened, but was a combination of so fraught for Lucas, or something, that he retook control, and then started making his own "oh yeah I had this planned out all along" BS-myth. I have hopes that this JJ Abrams-led thing, and some set of spin-offs, might actually be more true to this spirit of neo-serials than what Lucas came up with later.
December 3, 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbvZdYAu_4g Looking at some pictures from NYC circa 1999, saw a billboard for this. Anyone remember it? In retrospect it looks like a low-rent Archer.
weirdly starting muted :-/
December 4, 2014
So the Eric Garner strangler is either lying about using a chokehold, or the man needs to stop watching so much MMA.
"'@kcbeerminx: Kid Rocks looks like he would smell like stale farts & cigarettes'. Pff, more like fresh farts - and CIGARS."
--Kid Rock on Jimmy Kimmel's Celebrities Read Mean Tweets. I enjoyed every instance of it.
December 5, 2014
http://kotaku.com/how-jackie-chan-creates-action-that-is-also-funny-1667150671 Thinking more deeply about how Jackie Chan does his thing!
Reading my first dead tree book in a while, essays by Alan Lightman. Given that I now do the lion's share of my reading on e-readers, I'm troubled by reports that claim retention and what not is said to be better with paper, and trying to get a feel for why that might be. One thing is: a page read and then turned in a real book exists, whereas a screenful of text is gone. You can reconstruct it, but even then it very well might be off by a few lines relative to the page you read, thanks to the vagaries of pagination.
On the one hand, I'd like to think maybe I'm less thrown off of my game by electronic texts, in part because it suits my fast paced reading strategy of "grab the gist, go back for the tough stuff." Conversely, in other parts of life I'm aware of how critical the physicality of information is for me, how I employ my body to recall the layout of a week, or how I prefer sticky notes (virtual or otherwise) to mere lists of things. So I'm left with a vague worry I'm missing out with all the e-reading I do.
Charting kayaking's movements - from http://www.boredpanda.com/kayaking-long-exposure-light-painting-photography-stephen-orlando/
A great example of simple curves combined into lovely and complex ones
Just finished reading "The Secret History of Star Wars":
"Getting her was a lot more fun than being here."
--Marcia Lucas, film editor, and then-wife of George Lucas on their life near the end of the marriage.
"I have an innate ability to take good material and make it better, and to take fair material and make it good. I think I'm even an editor in real life."
"In fact my suggestion for the title was The Other Shoe Drops instead of Revenge of the Jedi which is a misnomer."
--Mark Hamill. I remember reading that in the the old Star Wars fan magazine "Bantha Tracks". What a horrible, horrible name!
"I always tie the shoelaces together of the dead. Cause if there is ever a zombie apocalypse, it will be hilarious."
--Sixth-generation funeral director Caleb Wilde
December 6, 2014
December 7, 2014
The other week I was doing bachelor boy shopping at the Porter Square Star Market and they had Progresso Soup that was marked down from $3 to $1 per can, so I stocked up a bit but probably not as much as I shoulda! (And its been a nice switch up from my usual low cal bachelor boy dinner of popcorn, at not too many more calories.) I've been lucky enough in life that I've never had to be much of a coupon clipper (and distracted enough that I didn't want to be) but is there a good system of alerts out there, when certain stuff is cheap at certain places?
RIP Ralph Baer, father of video games
It wasn't a bad month for music, but nothing really jumps out as great.
- The Devastator (Stormy) Funky! Heard it on a Kia / Lebron James car
- Hula hoop pjs (Gap Art Films) I ripped the music from this 18 second ad. I wish I knew a longer version!
- NDN Kars (Keith Secola) (Not this version, but this live version is cool) I like the meld with Indigenous music.
- Cocaine's Gonna Kill Me (Damn Tall Buildings) These fine blue-grassy folks played at a JP Porchfest Fundraiser.
- Don't Stop Believing (Josh Knowles and Aaron Fried) Cello and violin cover, from some buskers.
- Comet Bumblebee (Koosha + Comet 67P) Koosha noticed the Comet 67P sounds matched well with Flight of the Bumblee...
- BO$$ (Fifth Harmony) I guess this is a group from "X Factor", but I love the big percussion and dig the horns in this one.
- Left Hand Free (alt-J) Kind of an awesome modern southern sound, though I guess they're from England. Dig the video of rural fun
- Shake It Off (Walk Off the Earth) Terrific acoustic cover of this overplayed song.
- Take On Me (Sara Bareilles) This is lyrically and sonically an amazing song, and I think this version brings out further beauty in it(some friends of mine preferred this ukulele cover)
- Hey Mami (Sylvan Esso) Sweet mellow song
- Ugly Boy (Die Antwoord) This is not an easy group to concisely describe. This song is about shmaltzy beauty under the ugly.
- Jay's Chant (Clerks) Quote from the movie. Was surprised to find the soundtrack on iTunes; I thought Kevin Smith talked about it going away.
- Violent Mood Swings (Thread Mix) (Stabbing Westward) I always liked Jay's Dance in Clerks. (What the video is of, actually)
- Chewbacca (Supernova) Also from Clerks.
- Lapti Nek (Ladycréme mix) (Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band) This song has been expunged from Return of the Jedi, replaced with a much inferior and corny Jedi Rocks in the special edition. The funny thing is maybe Lucas tried to make it a real world hit.
"We'd like to show you a picture of our office, but we actually are never in it. BECAUSE WE ARE TOO BUSY HUSTLING RIGHT NOW. BRING YOUR RAIN COAT!CAUSE WE ARE TRYNNA MAKE IT RAIN IN Q4!"
--Detroit Team for Millennial Media
December 8, 2014
December 9, 2014
At least you don't have to shovel rain.
Harvard Business School Professor sounds like a big jerk.
This Kulfi Cardamom-Malai bar at Apple Cinema's (in Fresh Pond) Bollywood movie night may literally be the best ice cream treat I've ever had.
Wow, the Alewife Greenway Bike Path was COMPLETELY flooded, like 4-8" at least. I've never seen that happen before.
December 10, 2014
"The ambiguities and complexities of the human mind are what give fiction and perhaps all of art its power."
"When the cosmos was smaller and denser, the universe itself began as a single, giant atom, whose gradual disintegration into smaller and smaller pieces formed nebulae, stars, and finally cosmic rays."
"The universe of ideas is just as little independent of the nature of our experiences as clothes are of the form of the human body."
"Our entire much-praised technological progress, and civilization generally, could be compared to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal."
I wonder if doing the "Daily Jumble" might help with some of the problems I have with inelastic thinking.
Boston Christmas Cavalcade for the Homeless I'm going to be playing at this thing! Chandler Travis likes me as a backup tuba. Who ever thought I'd be playing Johnny D's???
Woodshed-ing stuff, getting ready for Johnny D's -
Damn it feels good to be a tubist.
At least a ton better than a "guy who used to play tuba".
December 11, 2014
Lots of cool and accessible analysis of 30 years of David Letterman Top-10 Lists. My only argument is I've heard that the final #1 entry for each list, while often indeed the zingiest, is often not meant to be the out and out funniest, they often go for the biggest laugh around #4 or #3. Or so I've heard; it's probably too subjective to really analyze.
An interesting way to bring up kids with video games...
Interesting argument in favor of the Harvard Jerk Lawyer and the $4 chinese resturant overcharge.
Edelman's blog does seem to have a legitimate consumer protection angle but still... unless you argue that this kind of nuttiness is the only way of getting the attention of a small business, it was too much zero compromise.
December 12, 2014
Three things I learned playing at Johnny D's:
1. The "musician's entrance" there is knocking on the door of their kitchen, and if you need to you can stow gear in the corner there.
2. For this kind of event, music stands and charts are ok. And "charts" is the cool word for "sheet music".
3. If you need to mic a sousaphone, just drop a mic down the bell, fishing-line style.
"That is the greatest fallacy, the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful."
December 13, 2014
"More wine and madder music."
12-13-14; last one of these for a while!
December 14, 2014
December 15, 2014
Why can't I shake this image of a person with one of those zen garden desk toys, furiously scraping the tiny rake through the sand, shoving around the little rocks and muttering "Peace! Tranquility! Peace! Tranquility! GAH!"
December 16, 2014
I liked the question-centric and true-to-life nature of this video about roommates. (PG13)
December 17, 2014
"The gulf between words and thoughts is unbridgeable, and yet we must bridge it constantly."
--Nicholson Baker, "The Way the World Works"
"The New Yorker is one of the three great contributions the United States has made to world civilization. The other two are, of course, Some Like It Hot and the iPhone."
--Nicholson Baker, "The Way the World Works"
"In wars it is the minorities that are generally right."
"The mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small."
"You know the music, time to dance."
--Orbital Drop Shock Troppers, in "Halo 3, ODST", as quoted by Nicholson Baker
Reading the terrific comic "Andre the Giant: Life and Legend".
I had no idea Hulk Hogan's character's name in Rocky III was "Thunderlips". That's... kind of hilarious.
December 18, 2014
December 19, 2014
Enjoyable and very aware take down of the word 'classy'
Listening to 80s holiday themed hiphop as I rap presents. Wonder if anyone ever formed a Sucka MC support group.
December 20, 2014
Fantastic. My life needs more narration.
It was a lovely show (with one of the finest pilot episodes produced) but I'm kind of amazed memories of "Cheers" still keeps dedicated tourist stores alive in Boston.
December 21, 2014
"Thanks again for driving me, Jay. 'YOU'FF ARRRRRIFFED AT YOU-RE DEST-ONATION.' Geet it? Because ve're in a jherrman car!"
"I have lived a long full life. I will drive us into a wall."
--Phil and Jay, 'Modern Family'
December 22, 2014
After an indulgently late night of a video game, I was kind of hoping to sleep in more but my upstairs neighbors (The McStompersons) are apparently in training for the national pacing competition. Dang!
December 23, 2014
Seems like 2014 was a pretty good year for videos of people doing things:
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/2014/12/modern-web-tricks.html - I did a run down of all the techie stuff I did just for the launching page of my advent calendar...
A few years ago I guess I wrote these, than totally forgot about them:
I saw mommy shaking Santa Claus' hand / but in a meaningful way
Jingle bells / jingle bells / jingle at least most of the way
Frosty / the Snowman / was inert
Rudolph / the damp-nosed reindeer / had a rather damp nose
Bittersweet contentment to the world!
O the weather outside is frightful / I hope the g*****n furnace guy gets here soon
I'm dreaming / of a ... Christmas / without so many wolves in it
Silent night / shut up.
It came upon the midnight overcast
I'll be home for Christmas / that's what "house arrest" means
December 24, 2014
I enjoyed skimming through the book "The ESL Miscellany". Stuff like "List 8: Human Relationships": Nouns (admiration, affection, antagonism...), Verbs (admire, befriend, cooperate...) People (acquaintance, antagonist, associate...), Human Qualities and Stages (aloof, artistic, attractive...), Stages (adolescent, age, aged...), Idioms and Expressions (have an affair, blind date, breaking up...)
To give you a sense of size, think of one of your own trillions of human cells, or a solitary amoeba or single-celled alga, as the size of a small city. Then a typical bacterium or archaean would be the size of a football field and a virus the size of a football.
--Edward O. Wilson, "The Meaning of Human Existence". Holy Crap, I have approximately zero chance of successfully visualizing this kind of smallness. (And even a virus is ballpark half a billion atoms.)
"Parasites, in a phrase, are predators that eat prey in units of less than one."
-- Edward O. Wilson
December 25, 2014
"On this most unholy of nights, the outer god Yahweh set distant worlds to die in a blazing supernova to signal the birth of his flesh form."
December 26, 2014
I just read the graphic novel "Andre the Giant: Life and Legend". Great read! This image isn't from that but for some reason I saved it earlier Cool Video with Carl Sagan voiceover What should every person be knowledgeable about or be proficient in by the age of 20?:
- How to cook 10 good meals
- How to dress like an adult and not a teenager
- How to get enough sleep on a daily basis
- How to manage your tasks, projects, and calendars so that you never miss a date or forget anything important.
- How to read 100 pages in a day with the same comprehension you would experience if they were spoken to you.
- How to relate to the opposite sex without objectifying them or being afraid of them.
- How to break arbitrary addictions: soda, Facebook, TV, video games, tobacco
- How to pay bills on time and not spend more than you can afford
- How to be comfortable in your own skin, without constant need of affirmation, showing off, sounding smart, whatever.
Related, from Basic Instructions How to Take Stock of Your Life:
"You've made mistakes, and people have suffered for it, but you've never deliberately hurt anyone."
"That's true. I always mean well."
"If there were a classification for what you are in Dungeons and Dragons, it'd be something like 'incompetent good.'"
--from The Top 50 Tips of 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMli33ornEU&feature=youtu.be Quake on an oscilloscope. Shades of "Take on Me", somehow.