2016 May❮❮prevnext❯❯

May 1, 2016

A lot of music, and some animals, and some quiet moments.

The contrast between people swimming in Austin's Barton Springs on the 4th and the wintry Arlington street on the 5th is pretty striking...

Chelsea Ruscio's Photos of School of Honk May Day Dance Party


It turns out the knack for selling 'luxury' to people with no concept of value is the same as the one for selling 'liberty' to people with no instinct for democracy.

Heh, Liz Ryan who throws together a marching group for Boston Pride asked me to record a little bassline I made up last year, to supplement the cadence the percussionists were doing.

It's meant to be easy on my jaw, 'cause it's kind of a long parade!
I just now noticed Iron Man and some of the better folks from Game of Thrones share the name "Stark".
From "The Book of Honk", the School of Honk bass section:

april 2016 new music playlist

An uncommonly good month for music, with me puting the first four listed at 4 stars.
"Not less than three times in his or her life should everyone read Don Quixote, in youth, middle age, and old age." said Aubrey Bell (I thought there was a longer version of this quote that compared it to viewing a lovely building in the morning, afternoon, and twilight but I couldn't find it.)

Anyway. I started reading Don Quixote, again.

Sigh :-D

May 4, 2016

Last night So, You're Going to Die got a Best in Category (Small & Self Publishers Illustrated) from the 59th Annual New England Book Show, the longest running book fair in the country.

Thanks to my sweetie Melissa who was my date and a great hypeman on FB, Stephen Cartisano (a member of the Book Builders, and a great encouragement for both printing and submitting the book) and of course James Harvey, who actually gets the lion's share of the credit. (Though the judges did complement the skull endpapers I generated.)
The most disturbing part of freedom, Woodfox says, has been the dawning realisation since his release that in America in 2016 there is very little sense of political or social struggle. When he entered prison in the 1970s the country was on fire with political debate; now, as he puts it, "everybody seems to be 'Me, me, me, me, me.' It's all about me, what I need and how I'm going to get it."
He sounds pretty sane, considering.
My stripper name is 'good grief cover that up'

May 5, 2016

Slate on The To-Done List - I know I've been doing a lot of this over the years, especially in terms of books read / media consumed (one downside it kind of "game-ifies" it, and I start getting worried about the numbers.) I also started a list of big projects done - I really wish I had done that over the years.
Alas, after a certain age every man is responsible for his face
Albert Camus
In every real man a child is hidden who wants to play.
Friedrich Nietzsche
"When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory."
Friedrich Nietzsche.
All 3 of these quotes from Daniel Klein's "Travels with Epicurus", a brief tome about dealing with being old philosophically.
The UI of Star Wars. Love this stuff.


May 6, 2016

I like everything about Dinosaur Comics' take on airplanes.
BWAHAHA, Republican politics have a LOT of trouble with the phrase "I support Donald Trump".
I've been fooling around with some test panels for a possible remake of Young Astronauts in Love. I think the shading works pretty well... maybe need to think about this to deal with shadows...

May 7, 2016


May 8, 2016

My second favorite time-playing video of all time:

Sometimes love is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Jesse Lex

Blender of Love

May 9, 2016

How did the U.S. become so much more conservative than other Western democracies? I thought there was some thoughtful discussion here. I've been thinking about what the USA does better and does worse than some of its peers, and why...
Alanis does Ironic 2016
"Old Jon Snow knew nothing. Existentialist Jon Snow knows nothingness."

There's a big difference btw knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is something you can glean by Googling. Wisdom comes from Googling for years.

Played tuba with my super niece yesterday...

May 10, 2016

Who's Older and Younger Than You Sigh. Potentially mildly depressing interactive chart ahoy! My consoling thought is I don't really I was me 'til like early/mid in my high school years...
I had a dream the other day that had a dump truck, but with rocking chair runners instead of wheels.

May 11, 2016

mid-re-siding, my house looks armor plated.

Remember when we cried as kids and our parents said that they were going to give us something to really cry about.
We thought that they were going to hit us, but instead they destroyed the housing market.
Scott Richards

May 12, 2016

Last night a typeface saved my life.

(well, not really.)
If you stand back to back with someone, you're standing face to face, only as far away as possible (on Earth).

I think it must be Luke - your guess is every bit as good as mine
John Williams on Rey's Father's Identity, 2016-05-12.
Got to see him and Keith Lockhart conduct the Boston Pop for movie night - great seeing the composer conduct Star Wars...

May 13, 2016

If you get the least bit bored, just flick the nudity switch and remember that everyone around you could possibly get nude at any moment.
Bruce Hainley, via the very friendly German indie porn film "Schnick Schnack Schnuck" (Rock Paper Scissors)

Buchanan, if you ever hear of a group getting together to stop X, be sure to put your money on X.
Lots of interesting potential parallels to 2016.

May 14, 2016

Supercut of ElectroBOOM, one of the bravest electrical hackers on youtube....

May 15, 2016

Some nice footage from Joe Mac of JP Honk at the Jamaica Plain Open Studios juried exhibition last night:

JP Honk

A video posted by @jmceachern36 on

I really liked Cracked Against Trite Inspirational Memes. Especially the stuff about travel; I've done my fair share, but I think it's easy to get hung up on "I want to be the kind of person who travels" vs actually absorbing the experiences -- I know my interest is usually more in getting a feel for the differences in mundane day to day life stuff.

May 16, 2016

On the visual design of SNL's opening over the years.

May 17, 2016

My portrait in the style of James Harvey's Alien Bill, via deepart.io
Want to pay an actor to burst into my funeral in an astronaut costume and say, 'Oh my God, I came back too late!'

May 18, 2016

Albert Camus is known to most as an existential writer and philosopher. But to me, he was much more. To me, Camus was the best damn table magician that ever lived. When I watched Albert handle a deck of cards, roll a franc across his fingers, or vanish a Gauloise, it didn't bother me that we were living in a random, godless universe. As a matter of fact, I liked it.
Penn Jillette, "Kamus, King of Cards"

Kind of hip to be in 2 of the 10 Bands to Checkout at Somerville Porchfest (w/ Rev Dave at Porch-i-oke, and School of Honk) - now if I can successfully help the Somerville Art Council to keep their map site alive through the day I'll have a three part triumph.
Delightful Robot Heist puzzle game that I helped playtest.
when you feel sad just remember that the English language has a dedicated verb for sending people links to a Rick Astley music video

May 19, 2016

Trying to figure out why my page for the Somerville Porchfest was looking wonky - the "Music Genre" selector was stretched to an ungainly degree. Apparently, up 'til now we haven't had "genres" such as "definitely not 'country' per se - but instead classic country" or "post MAN-o-pause-al rock super group"

Note to self: bands are bad at taxonomy.

RIP Guy Clark
Trying to read ancient literature (such as the older strata of the Hebrew Bible) without retuning our minds to lower-spectrum settings is a plain mistake--like listening to an old recording at the wrong speed, or watching a movie at the wrong frame rate, in the wrong aspect ratio, that's been dubbed. The brain doesn't change over the centuries, but the mind does, subtly, as habits of thought and the qualities of consciousness we cultivate change.
David Gelernter, "The Tides of Mind".
This harmonizes well with what I read from Karen Armstrong (see http://kirk.is/2009/11/05/ ), her points how in earlier centuries, religion kind of hitched its wagon to science, but when science pulled away religion doubled down on being literally factual, which is just nuts.

Gelernter also mentioned the child development researcher's koan "Is milk bigger than water?" which is kind of stuck in my head.

lena dunham's new book and the snippet journal form

Lena Dunham just released a very brief kindle book, "is it evil not to be sure?", selections from a short-form/snippet journal she kept as she started college. In the introduction she writes
If I could be didactic about just one thing (though I hope to God that limit is never imposed upon me), it would be my belief that young people, young women in particular, must commit their experiences to paper. If for no other reason than this: only you will ever have these particular experiences and we won’t want to have lost them after you go, or forget, or grow up and get terrible snow boots.
(this after mentioning her moms Oscar Wilde-ish penchant for the devastating bon mot, like when she told her shrink she could never take advice from someone with such awful snow boots)

It's a good mandate. Here were some of my favorite pieces of the book:
This was the first time I’m realizing that snowflakes are actually shaped like snowflakes. I always thought it was an abstract thing like drawings of hearts.
A boy shared his umbrella with me and I got his name wrong and I loved being able to feel powerful in those two ways.
I've taken to walking around the dorm in slips.
Its terrible to ride a bike in the cold.
we’re dunk on the floor in the dark. I say “your breath smells like babies.” You say “that’s because I just ate a baby.”
I’m learning that just because someone is smart, funny and good in bed, it doesn’t mean they’re nice
ocean meeting shore and the wet spot between
the French word he messaged her has a very specific meaning: to patch something up, but quickly and probably badly
we’ve nearly nicknamed him “hey, you can’t just throw my legs over your shoulders or wherever you please.”
I'm really fond of this genre... young and precocious and observant, mostly in the present tense, and usually romantically longing, so often written to an absent "you". I think of a spiral bound journal with a red cover a friend let me post excerpts from once upon a time, also some of Sandra Bernhard's books ("Lips kissed for the first time are kissed forever." is a good line, and once the entire content of a chapter was "I wish you had, but I'm glad you didn't.")

I guess I kind of dabbled in that form in my "Palm Pilot Journal" in the late 90s, http://kirk.is/khftcea/ , especially the early entries. I hadn't set out for it to be public, but EB kind of barged into, and my hope for attention or posterity has always been stronger than my sense of privacy. (I have a visceral memory of the device, transcribing that romantic moping and of course quotes from all over, using the scrawny little stylus on the spinach green monochrome screen.) In retrospect the 3 or 4 years I spent on it are dwarfed by the time I've been blogging since, but there was something beautiful in writing that way, and I kind of miss it, or maybe miss being the person who would do that.
I am glad the new Ghostbusters trailer seem so solid... the old one got such guff, I think for sexist reason.

But I am totally onboard the Kate McKinnon fan club. So many expressions.
Man, I can't even do a proper riffle shuffle.

Actually I can't think of anything I do as well as these guys do card manipulations.

May 21, 2016

I don't do TOO too much political meme-ing, but:

Won't somebody think of the children?! Except, you know, on all those things you're thinking of the children too much about.
I survived two gigs and the SAC porchfest website weathered the storm for the first year ever. I call that victory! Now see how my 20th college reunion that I'm walking to now turns out.

May 22, 2016

Porch-i-oke by Sari w/ Rev Dave and the Reprobates was a lot of fun!

Teenage logic leaps swiftly and without fear.
Daniel Nester, "Shader"

May 23, 2016

http://www.dadgum.com/halcyon/ - hadn't thought about these great interviews with early video game designers for a long time... also I really dig their editor James Hague's programming blog, http://prog21.dadgum.com/

May 24, 2016

Been back on the diet path, starting a few weeks ago, having coming dangerously near the "200" mark that's my self-appointed trigger for action.

So the plan is what tends to work for me: nerdy calorie counting (See: The Hacker's Diet, the book "Chubster"), carefully monitored yet still almost daily small indulgences (Hello, free Good Humor freezer at work! Talk about a "Frenemy"), lots of salads, gum and atomic fireballs. If I have an early enough lunch, I'm ok with just having iced coffee for breakfast, and that gives me another 200-400 calories to play with.

Also, semidaily weigh-ins are crucial for me. I know they aren't for everyone, but I find it much easier to cope with the frustration of the noisy data, spikes and dips and all, than to be rudely awakened when a week hasn't been nearly as close to plan as I had imagined; it's SO much tougher to claw back from that week than it is to buckle down for a day or two.

So it's going well, albeit slowly, one 1900-calorie day at a time. I guess some social event days become inadvertent "cheat days", but I try to be more strict in the daytime when an uncountable meal is coming in the evening. (And a few times I really impressed myself with sticking to a single slice of pizza...)

diet.kirk.is/ is my 16 year graph - Actually I'm proud that I haven't been above 200 since mid-2013; its taken mindfulness to keep me there.

I've been wondering what could keep me in the 180-190 range (or even sub-180, though that might be a pipedream) - I'm starting to wonder if I should be calorie counting every day, like forever, except again on those social days when I don't. I've actually come up with a kind of stupid mantra, "Every Day I'm Dietin'" (sung in the stile of LMFAO's shuffling refrain )

At the moment the "Every Day (Forever)" seems encouraging and empowering, rather than miserable, I suppose in a kind of "eating disorder / sense of control" way, but (I'm trusting) significantly less intense / problematic.
Yarr.... kids, remember: the sea is a cruel mistress. But Medford is worse, so you'll be fine.
The Old Sea Captain from the Simpsons...
Tufts had Hank Azaria as its 2016 commencement speaker, he ended channelling advice from some of his better known Simpsons voices.
[The Copernican Principle is] sometimes badly stated. A lot of history and philosophy of science covering the Middle Ages gets the Middle Ages very wrong. For instance, you'll find most astronomy books stating that before Copernicus, people thought the Earth was the center of the universe; then Copernicus showed it was just another planet, as if this was a demotion. And that's completely wrong. In Middle Age cosmology, the Earth wasn't the center; it was the bottom, the worst place. All the other planets were exalted above it. So when Copernicus said it was just another planet, this was in fact a promotion.

May 25, 2016

Star Wars IV as an infographic. Kind of amazing! And long.
"I know a life of crime led me to this sorry fate...And yet- I blame society. Society made me what I am."
"That's bullshit. You're a white suburban punk, just like me."
Repo Man (via Daniel Nester's "Shader")

For writers it is always said that the first 20 years of life contain the whole experience-- the rest is observation.
Graham Greene

If only this movie had the charm of a Warcraft unit who's been clicked too many times.

May 26, 2016

from Kids Are a Special Kind of Weird:

Actually, I think it's a good deconstruction of the limitations of previous cosmological models of the physical universe.
For nostalgia purposes I ebayed an original palm pilot; I was thinking about the journaling I started doing on one in 1997. there was something oddly intimate about scratching out words letter by letter with the stylus (and in that almost regular writing but not quite alphabet) Taking a photo of it with my current device (at "casa verde" which I located using the same device) feels a bit like "slum tourism". Still, it was such a perfect device in its way, the same thought as behind a Game Boy, but for personal information rather than fun...

May 27, 2016

I never really got into Seinfeld (though I like it conceptually) and had no idea that the slap based theme was customized on a weekly basis, to go along with the monologue...

More kottke bits: Tesla's SUV is faster while towing another car than an Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. In other words, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider being towed by the Tesla wins the race vs its brother that's just being driven.
I'd really like to talk with the people who do the AI in the Mario Party series... having computer opponents who can play the same role as a human player, in an ok but not perfect way - and in so many games - is really impressive.
Catching up on http://memebase.cheezburger.com/webcomics/ ...

May 28, 2016

View from Kimball Castle

May 29, 2016


Melissa wanted to watch Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, so we are. (She had watched the old series some but not the movies) So far the hardest thing to explain is McCoy's pants in this scene.

May 30, 2016

Red Sox are doing pretty well so far this season... here are some Infrared Photos from Spring Training, including this one:

May 31, 2016

Slate makes the Libertarian Convention sound like a fun time.
Why do birds
suddenly appear
everytime you are near
confirmation bias

Because of this article on "Frog and Toad" (books I didn't grow up with, but helped some kids with a jigsaw puzzle of them a few years ago) I went back and read some of the titles. I'm not sure if my head is in the right place for it though, because I couldn't stop thinking "how the hell do these guys make a living?"

2016 May❮❮prevnext❯❯