2015 February❮❮prevnext❯❯

February 1, 2015

Starts slow, has some decent stuff in the middle. Fun windy days, the stop action rock wall on the 12th, bathroom rainbow on the 16th, game jam on the 25th, snow shoveling on the 27th, and fun with video in video on the 28th

Most of us view the world as more benign than it really is, our own attributes as more favorable than they truly are, and the goals we adopt as more achievable than they are likely to be.
Daniel Kahneman, "Thinking, Fast and Slow"

Hate how my pulse is racing, and I know I'll be extra cranky or extra happy, all 'cause of this silly game.

But, Pats just went ahead by a TD before the half, so.
Sometimes it feels like the end of these games is the result of voodoo priests rooting for their respective teams, battling it out. That crazy Seahawks "I'm on my butt but I'm juggling and catching" vs their "I feel compelled to throw right now" -- just the latest chapter in stuff like the Circus helmet catch and the Wes Welker drop in previous SBs.

january 2015 new song playlist

January was a low quantity, high quality month for new music finds

****: ***:
We were on defense.
Bill Belichick in his post-XLIX interview, when asked to second guess Pete Carroll's final play call.
Even when goaded with the "hypothetically", he's all "we're different teams".

February 3, 2015

the perfect video game 'feel' requires the ever-increasing imaginative and physical involvement of the player to stop somewhere short of full bodily immersion. After all, a sense of pleasurable control implies some modicum of separation: you are apart from what you are controlling.
Salen and Zimmerman (via Jones and Thiruvathukal "Codename Revolution: The Nintendo Wii Platform")
Welcome to the Information Superhighway! A land of beauty! A land of science! Philosophy! Architecture! Fan fiction! Everything you see, from the water to the leaves are made from sweet free flowing information. See if you can catch some information on your tongue! Of course . . . the whole place was abandoned years ago. This must be all that's left.
World of Goo (ibid.)
FWIW, I also made a few notes about the book in my devblog...

February 4, 2015

I lost my hat so yesterday I took the chance to get some cheap XLIX gear- the best swag until 2025 when it'll be Super Bowl LIX proper. I like that this is probably a pre-victory hat and doesn't announce the winner...

I don't believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet. We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology.
2019 UPDATE: these days I'm worried about "old Norse Gods" as the center of white power ideology...

review: "the life-changing magic of tidying up"

I just finished the book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo - it seems to be kind of trendy at the moment. There's an explicit overtone of Shinto animism to it that I enjoyed ("Express your appreciation to every item that supported you during the day" she suggests and she means it quite literally -- speaking out loud, or at least in your head... also "Greet your house every time you come home.")

The core of the book is "we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of" and what we keep should are things that give us a palpable "spark of joy" when we physically touch them. She argues
To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful. Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a closet or drawer that you have forgotten its existence? If things had feelings, they would certainly not be happy. Free them from the prison to which you have relegated them. Help them leave that deserted isle to which you have exiled them. Let them go, with gratitude. Not only you, but your things as well, will feel clear and refreshed when you are done tidying.
Later she starkly triages our options:
There are three approaches we can take toward our possessions: face them now, face them sometime, or avoid them until the day we die.
(My mom has explicitly referenced a similar concept; she has some memorabilia from trips that bring her pleasure to have around but wants to make sure that I don't get hung up on keeping once she's gone.)

Kondo suggest a specific category-based order for tidying (and her repeated use of the word "tidy" and "tidying" is charming, or rather, almost starts to take on charm-like properties.)
Start with clothes, then move on to books, papers, komono (miscellany), and finally things with sentimental value.
The books thing is interesting. Prior to this I was second-guessing myself in terms of thinking that maybe books were unfairly targeted because of their bulk, when really they can be stacked quite neatly. But maybe they are a fair-target, when using the "spark of joy" rubric:
Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled only with books that you really love. Isn’t that image spellbinding? For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?
And on the point of books:
Their true purpose is to be read, to convey the information to their readers. It’s the information they contain that has meaning. There is no meaning in their just being on your shelves. You read books for the experience of reading. Books you have read have already been experienced and their content is inside you, even if you don’t remember.
That's a lovely and forgiving footnote - "even if you don't remember".

And on my burgeoning "to get to" pile:
If you missed your chance to read a particular book, even if it was recommended to you or is one you have been intending to read for ages, this is your chance to let it go. You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it by now, the book’s purpose was to teach you that you didn’t need it .
Of course, I have to square all of that with my vision of "oh, I might want to show this book to someone someday" - or the even more ego-centric concept, that my big shelves full of books help convince people of my intellectual bona fides. Amber had me go through one deeper than usual purge a few years ago, and I guess I'm grateful in retrospect.

Things are slightly more complicated because I share a space with Miller... in fact, 5 of my bookshelves are in "his space". I would love to minimize that and arrange a few other things so that I could bring them into my own spaces, and/or swapping for the contents of two bookshelves he has in the common hallway.

Kondo's book is a brisk read. It goes on to suggest some specific patterns of tidying; besides the order of categories recommendation, the recommended technique is to gather everything in that category in one place, so that the laying of hands/spark of joy litmus can be properly conducted. (It's a bit pathetic that when I think about what currently most clearly provides that spark, it tends to be Apple products. But they're physically and virtually so well-designed, providing gateways to people I love and information I find critical or fascinating, as well as helping me keep track of my day-to-day life, that I shouldn't beat myself up about that.)

Another important concept, then, is the end goal, why tidying is so important. In the author's opinion, it clears the physical and mental space that will let us get closer to the life we want... practicing discernment in what gives us that "spark of joy" is critical rehearsal for finding that out in the rest of our lives, and acting accordingly. (In practice, there can be a "first world problems" aspect to the process; one has to recognize that being able to pare down and eliminate redundancy is a luxury... if you're fortunate enough to have money, you can keep your backup supplies in the store until you need them.)

Anyway, recommended.

February 6, 2015

Aargh. I agreed to catsit for a coworker's cutie Persian kitty for 3 weeks. She and her person got here via Uber late last night, I drove the person home... I have not seen said kitty since.

I was vaguely uptight about not seeing her on my return, but just went to bed (I feel like at some point I felt her walking on the bedcovers, but wasn't awake enough to confirm.) And now I'm worried. My housemate and I have done a reasonably thorough "look in everything" tour with no luck and I don't know what to do now, left out some food and am trying to remember how it looks so I can tell if it gets nibbled at.

Either she is freaked out and very good at hiding (probably the most likely scenario), she zipped out with an open door (though we've been watching) or she found some exit from the house (which in someway is a variant of the first scenario)

Ugh. I feel horrible but also not like there was much I should have done differently.

Frickin' cats.
Kitty has remerged!
Two final ways for Patriots fans to savor last Sunday, and then "We're On to 2015": 1. this photo - I am amazed at how Ricardo Lockette looks like a tumbling bowling pin in that shot. 2. Bill Simmons grantland piece is some of the most detailed and energetic football writing I've ever seen (I don't catch like half the references) recapping the 3rd quarter (I missed how the ref TOTALLY got in the way of the Pats Defender on that Doug Baldwin TD with the poop-the-ball celebration) and then doing detailed play by play. The final analysis: as much as the would be smart fans think BB shoulda called a timeout, there's a chance his experience with the crazy pace of big game endings led him to think that making a stand had a better chance than trying to drive for the FG.

Listen to music off the "Broad City" music pickers playlist, trying to decide if I like "Azealia Banks - Desperado"... I realize that my "3 Star and Up" criteria for adding songs to my music collection has a direct correlation to "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" concept of "spark of joy".

February 7, 2015

Man. Conceptually brilliant video: riding away "at the speed of light" from the Sun, and all the way out past Jupiter 3/4 hour later. I guess it makes me sad because compared to the distances involved, light doesn't seem all that fast.
It's so weird seeing interplanetary motion put in such human-relatable visual terms. Of course, if you could get up to those speeds, much less time would seem to have elapsed, and there are other reasons this video isn't "accurate". Still, sometimes I think sci-fi that projects us moving inward (to VR) rather than outward (to space) might have it right.

Riding Light from Alphonse Swinehart on Vimeo.

You know, a decade ago I saw some water marked with a Kosher sign, and it got me wondering how it could possibly not be - I mean how far away from "don't cook a calf in the milk of it's mother, that's cruel" do we have to get? Well, thanks to a reference in "Broad City", now I see a better justification! NYC water is imbued with seamonkeys, basically, and so is not Vegan and maybe not Kosher...

February 8, 2015

"Dad? ...There's no, like, real magic in the world, right?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know, like elves and stuff. People just made that up."
"Oh, I don't know. I mean, what makes you think that elves are any more magical than something like... like a whale? You know what I mean? What if I told you a story about how underneath the ocean, there was this giant sea mammal that used sonar and sang songs and it was so big that its heart was the size of a car and you could crawl through the arteries? I mean, you'd think that was pretty magical, right?"
"Yeah. But, like... right this second, there's, like, no elves in the world, right?"
"... ...No. Technically, no elves."
The Movie "Boyhood"

Love Blender!

I'm thinking it's time for a real bed. (One side effect of my big breakups seems to be that for a while I use some weird ass bed - an air mattress in 2003, and then this daybed for a few years now. In twin bed mode it's too small, pulled out it's too big for the space. One mattress is firm, the other is memory foam.)

Thinking about one of those Caster or Leesa mattresses. I went mattress shopping with Amber in 2012 or so, and really don't want to go through that crap again. I sort of really hate the pressure to know what kind of mattress I want.

Anyway, the daybed is probably up for grabs. It's gonna need some deconstruction to get out of there, but it's a pretty awesome conception for a daybed - slightly rustic looking, but with pillows would make a fine couch, and side by side it's a very decent sleeper, with room for mattresses etc under.

February 9, 2015

Time lapse of hundreds of sunsets

Are we all gonna be climate refugees?

February 10, 2015

I gotta say, my little Snow Joe Snow Thrower (battery operated, even) is doing me proud, and even though it wasn't cheap, probably worth it in keeping 3 vehicles worth of space and some sidewalks clear. Some stacks (especially the high wet slush from 2 or 3 lanes worth of Mass Ave, at the mouth of the driveway) have to be done in two parts, but this thing is keeping me sane through these days.

On Scandinavian Happiness Some thoughtful analysis on how it can and can't be a model for the USA.

February 11, 2015

Thought my iPad Mini case might not hold a sticker, so I grabbed a sharpie...

Also I just realized this printer/scanner Amber stuck me with (Lexmark freebie with a Mac she bought, perpetually out of ink) makes a darn fine footrest!

February 12, 2015

I believe that Ronald Reagan will someday make this country what it once was. . . an artic wilderness.
Steve Martin - that seemed funnier to me 15 years ago!

Of course, the player can't entirely dismiss the possibility that by trying to be Mr. Hero, he's hurting more than helping. The Humanoids might want to be mutated, as they haven't even evolved enough to work out how to build houses.

I'm helpless. I'm helpless. I'm helpless. I'm powerful.
Rob Fulco on Pac-Man and related games.

Here's my IF desk, and here are my IF papers and my IF cup and I'll drink out of it.
Jeremy Douglass, in "Get Lamp"
The quote is on a (sometimes unfortunate) tendency for Interactive Fiction authors to recreate their own local environments. Decent little video but I wish it came out later and/or had something to say on Twine games.

February 13, 2015


He began with the first, serving up a long soliloquy about life, marriage, journalism, why we're here, why we die, why things begin, why they end. As someone who had also been through a divorce himself, making a few unscheduled stops in hell before coming back, he was impassioned. He explained that everything -- every relationship, every person, every job -- has its time in life, and then, as he noted, all of a sudden it doesn't. He told me I could feel sorry for myself that something was ending, or be excited and appreciative that it had ever even existed. He talked about his wife and daughters as an example of the good things life throws at you.

It's easier to put on slippers than to carpet the world.
Stuart Smalley

February 14, 2015

http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/2015/02/programming-atari-2600-part-ii.html - I wrote up the experience of programming an original game for the Atari 2600 over the weekend of the Global Game Jam Oliver​ Winnie​
Watching Ben Wyatt be an enthusiastic goof ball at the "Donna & Joe" wedding/episode of Parks & Rec I kind of want to be an unending fountain of enthusiasm and positivity.

Does that get old after a while? Can you do it without losing rationality and/or being annoying?

February 15, 2015

I kind of like the "Hothworld" descriptor I've seen floating around, even if the Star Wars geek in me pegs that as a bit redundant.

February 16, 2015


"God! Throw this shirt! You've had it since we were dating. It's covered in holes!"
"You don't understand. The shirt is cursed. It grows older. I stay the same age."
"No you don't."
"I mean emotionally."

Trying to live "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up"
This morning got rid of a big snow-thrower box worth of clothing, and now can live with a small closet, things hanging in a wardrobe, and a skinny chest of drawers.
Next on the plan comes books. "Put everything on the floor she says". Yikes!

I hope to go from 5-6 book shelves to 2-3, and out of the living room that is pretty much Miller's space and into the hallway and my own room. Much less "look at my massive intellect with all these books!", not even "Oh yeah I remember reading that"... the goal is just books that carry a spark of joy for m. Like Marie Kondo says:
"Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled only with books that you really love. Isn't that image spellbinding? For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?"

I suddenly had the thought - last purge, didn't I go and index all the books I was getting rid of? Like put it in Good Reads? But then, the idea that I had to think about if I had or not and still wasn't 100% sure is a sign that maybe that doesn't have to be a critical part of letting go.

That said, I think making a list helped Hannah​ and a few others pick some titles that they wanted. And right now I'm hedging a bet in that direction by not closing the cardboard boxes and making all the titles readable from above.
So weird putting a book in a box, thinking "I may never think of this book again". But I guess acceptance of that is part of the process.

February 17, 2015

Seymour, a British designer who has known Ive for years, recently referred to his friend's "emotionally warm modernism." Clive Grinyer, a friend and former London colleague of Ive's, said, appreciatively, "He's always been a bit bling." Paola Antonelli, the senior curator of design and architecture at MOMA, who has added many Apple products to the museum's collection, praised an innovation that indicated when a closed laptop was in "sleep" mode: a light glowed on and off twelve times a minute, like a restful person breathing. "Jony knows that I was transfixed," she said. "They had to abandon it because it kept people awake when it was on the bedside table." (Apple disputed this explanation.) "It was round and pulsating and it was just amazing."
I believe it though - I always thought that feature was cute but overhyped, exactly for the reason cited.
Good explanation of why mirrors flip left to right, not up and down... basically it's not really flipping X or Y, but Z...
You don't have to be smart to laugh at farts, but you have to be stupid not to.

Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you are thinking about it.
Daniel Kahneman, "Thinking, Fast & Slow".
Glad to finally be done with this book... it was more like "Thinking, Fast and Slooooooooooooow".

I also like the sample applied quote
You are thinking of your failed marriage entirely from the perspective of the remembering self. A divorce is like a symphony with a screeching sound at the end-- the fact that it ended badly does not mean it was all bad.
Combined with the idea of how do you feel about having a good or bad experience that you know you then don't remember, to what extent does it matter? That's a real thought-provoker for me.

February 18, 2015

from MB(ecket)TA - snow shots overlayed with Samuel Becket despair and absurdism...

NERDALERT For some reason this grails error made me laugh out loud:
InstallWarController.groovy: 29: expecting anything but ''\n''; got it anyway @ line 29, column 21.
Was it the bourbon or the dye fumes that made the pink walls quiver like vaginal lips?
Darcey Steinke, opening of "Suicide Blonde".
A book I am not keeping in part because all I remember about it is this line.

February 19, 2015

The ($4,000 if rumors are true) Apple Watch Gold edition reminds me of that $999 "I Am Rich" app you could get that did nothing but demonstrated your wealth and willingness to pay to flaunt it.
Poem of the Moment
Seven hundred ten
Seven hundred eleven
Seven hundred twelve
Haiku by a Robot by Nathan Beifuss, Age 9
(via plated jeans' Kids Say the Darndest Things)

February 20, 2015

Max Headroom on Sesame Street:

a farewell to books

A Farewell to Books! The one box with M.C. Esher Popups is claimed, I have a labeling system such that if anyone seems a must have in there they can put in a request over the next few days... I of course feel a little guilty about book purges, as is natural, but I think it's for the best. Having 2 tall shelves of stuff I really love is terrific. (Basically, I realize it's akin to my music collection; in iTunes only 3 stars and up get onto my device, but here the cut off for physical presence is 4.)
You know, just because I didn't like that ridiculous comedy you did with Goldie Hawn did not mean I did not love you. That's what you always do. You confuse love for admiration.
Sylvia in movie "Birdman"

February 22, 2015

Notes from my well-meaning but not entirely helpful past self: "for un-assembling: do 5 dowels, avoid hope w/ 2 sides--that's for hex thing then 2 screws on front"

February 23, 2015

An 8 year old girl feeds crows and here are the gifts they leave her:

Math has proven the existence of God, because it is absolute and without contradiction; but the devil must exist as well, because we cannot prove it.
(paraphrased in "The Housekeeper and the Professor" by Yoko Ogawa)

February 24, 2015

Practicing Islam in short shorts... As always I think the struggle is best seen in terms of fundamentalism vs being more balanced. I guess I worry about faith in general is that it feels like its potential to help fundamentalism can outweigh its more general benefits to humanity.
On some level I kind of appreciate that my company's first aid cabinet contains a small shaker of Morton's Salt. (Or is it just me who thinks of "salt in the wound"?)
One of my favorite parts of the Oscars this year were the (sometimes animated) title cards made up -- here's their story

February 25, 2015

"There was so much time spent on finding anything to do but actually writing. One of my favorite examples of this is when we were all sitting on the couches in the writer's room looking at a photo album on the projection screen of us just sitting on the same couches the day before. Mike came back from editing and saw what we were doing and sighed and went into his office. It was quiet and then I think Alan said, "He doesn't even know this is our second time looking at this album.'"
Man, sounds like the writing process was kind of a microcosm of the show itself... I am going to miss it so much.

February 26, 2015

You know, just because I didn't like that ridiculous comedy you did with Goldie Hawn did not mean I did not love you. That's what you always do. You confuse love for admiration.
Sylvia in "Birdman"

February 27, 2015

dat dress

Just posting this for posterity; http://www.wired.com/2015/02/science-one-agrees-color-dress/ if you've somehow not heard.
Slate's Explanation
RIP Leonard Nimoy.
I suppost it's illogical to be sad about someone who had such a long and prosperous life, but also very human.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
Leonard Nimoy's final tweet

February 28, 2015

excellent 5 seconds turned into 3 1/2 minutes... and a great song:

unconditional rebel - siska from Guillaume Panariello on Vimeo.

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