2016 October❮❮prevnext❯❯

October 1, 2016

I was thinking about doing 24 Hour Comics Day, but decided to divert my gumption elsewhere... to make myself feel better about that I recreated a roughly 10 year old comic I made.

October 2, 2016

Less isn't more; just enough is more.
Milton Glaser, via O'Reilly's "Understanding Industrial Design"

Also via O'Reilly's "Understanding Industrial Design", Naoto Fukasawa's clever tea bag marionette:

This concept comes from the motion of dipping a tea bag in hot water, which reminds him of a marionette dancing. The handle on this human-shaped tea bag looks like a marionette handle too. When the bag is dipped in hot water, the leaves swell to fill the bag, creating a deep-hued roll. Repeating the dipping action, the user is engaged in a wondrous world of puppet play. Thus, design intrigued with the unconscious emerges through the medium of an action.

October 3, 2016


The Viagra commercial says 'make sure your heart is healthy enough for sex'. That's a really deep question if you think about it in a more metaphorical way.

september 2016 new music playlist

Pretty decent month. 4-star stuff in red.

October 5, 2016

Ten years ago - to the day - I posted about the song "99 Red Balloons", and hypothesized that the balloons were some kind of invading force, capable of triggering and then *surviving* a nuclear conflagration, as we hear in the song's final verse.

In retrospect, I should have realized the 1956 film The Red Balloon represented a small scout force, and the malicious treatment of the title character may have sealed humanity's fate.

At any rate, in this Apple commercial -- THEY'RE BACK

PS - oh, yikes, in 2001 I scoffed at a Fox News headline "BALLOONS: Why are they so DEADLY" but they were right... THEY WERE RIGHT

hold please

Finished Nicholson Baker "The Fermata" - I've always liked this author with his extreme sensitivity to the details of the inanimate objects of our life... and some of the animate one. Penn Jillette gave him a shout out in his book on his diet, so I picked this one up. It's the perviest thing I've read in a while, using the same scifi trope later presented in the film Cashback, both being about a young man who can gains the power to freeze time, and uses that poewr to undress women. Both justify it to themselves and their audience that they do it to see the women's hidden beauty, and take care not to not have the women alarmed once time restarts.

(Baker dabbles a bit more into the technical details of what such a power might actually be like, and why and how the whole rest of the universe isn't absolutely static, plunged into darkness with photons stopped in their tracks, etc... it reminds me of H.F. Saint's "Memoirs of an Invisible Man" that did the same for invisibility... the title character has to take care eating transparent food (broths, clear gelatin, etc) since the food doesn't share his invisibility until he digests it...)

Anyway, some nice quotes:

Women are much more in touch with the backs of themselves than men are: they can reach higher up on their back, and do so daily to unfasten bras; they can clip and braid their hair; they can keep their rearward blouse-tails smoothly tucked into their skirts. They give thought to how the edges of their underpants look through their pocketless pants from the back.
Nicholson Baker, "The Fermata"
I had not been aware before that moment of the straightforward erogenousness of a ring: it suddenly occurred to me that the sides of the fingers are sensitive in an upper-thigh sort of way, and that the singling out of that fourth vulnerable shy finger, the planet Neptune of fingers, which otherwise gets no unique treatment in life and does very little on its own except control the C on the high school clarinet or type the number two and the letter X, to be held and gently stimulated forever by an expensive circle of gold is really quite surprisingly sexual.
Nicholson Baker, "The Fermata"
I wanted to tell Joyce these dreams. But she wasn't my lover, and lovers are the only people who will put up with hearing your dreams.
Nicholson Baker, "The Fermata"
(Fingertips are so durable. They don't even explode when you use them as temp shoehorns; they just tingle for a second as your impassive heel forces itself past.)
Nicholson Baker, "The Fermata"
I guess I had simply forgotten that there is no satisfactory autoerotic substitute for a kiss.
Nicholson Baker, "The Fermata"

October 7, 2016

First, the good news, that I'm at the lowest weight I've been for around 14 years. (Admittedly only half a pound below my lowpoint in 2014, and then I gained back about a pound a month for a year.)

Then the bad news, courtesy the NY Times: This Is Probably the Least You'll Weigh All Year. Sorry.

Still, with a bit of an exception in 2013, I've been under 200 since 2012. Which is pretty good considering 2005-2010 was above 210. (http://diet.kirk.is/ for the graph)

For 2014 and 2015 I see the cycle the NY Times describes, but 2013 I kept losing weight through the holidays and winter, so there's hope. And I've switched to seeing nerdy but not obsessive calorie counting (the only weight loss program that's worked for me over the past decades) as something I'll have to do even when I'm at a weight I like.

October 8, 2016

"Live by the foma [Harmless untruths] that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy." --Bokonon (via Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle)
A few weeks ago I was talking about trying to apply more radical forms of empathy in some of the small, mostly anonymous interactions of my life - someone cutting me off in traffic, say - to somehow be happy for the other person, rather than focusing on my almost neglibly small, yet still annoying, "loss".

In the meanwhile I've tried to apply another, rather Eastern (or at least Western Hippy) metaphor to it; that somehow I and the other person are part of the same body, and so while the situation, or even their actions in the situation, my frustrate me, I can still get a sense of a common good being shared. I can get frustrated with my lower back when it twinges, or annoyed that my elbows will get all patchy if I don't attend to them daily, or wishing my vision was perfect, or that there wasn't a part of my subconscious out to fatten me up at every opportunity, but still there's a shared sense of togetherness that keeps my anger and irritation in check.

I recognize that this view doesn't hold up to some kinds of scrutiny; that one of the defining factors of a singular being or body is there's a specific someone/something driving the show and defining the overall purpose, and that's not really a stance I hold now. Actually, a workable, morally useful metaphor, not 100% grounded in physical reality, is part of the definition of most religion, I'd say. And by acting on this kind of outlook, we make ourselves vulnerable to people who take unfair advantage of our view (I mean, the whole history of evolution is, in part, the story of cooperators vs cheaters.)

For all its parts, good and bad, I find the bodily metaphor useful, and am gonna run with it.

(Heh, JP Honk used to have a "shared skirt" we'd being to events, where 5 or 6 people could wear the same garment... I see a parallel in that skirt and this philosophical lens, I think...)
Hm. So I'm looking forward to marching in the parade with JP Honk and then some stuff tonight and tomorrow with School of Honk, but I know in some ways I'm not taking full advantage of all the HONK! fest greatness. I mean I'll be having fun with the horn, but could it be said that I'm... Sousaphoning it in?

Ok, sorry for that one.

October 9, 2016

I've been doing a ton of scanning lately, indulging in a bit of digital packratting so that I can let go of the physical items. Here are some "candid" photos of Euclid High's 222nd Street Jazz at the Lakeland Jazz Festival

October 10, 2016

Donald Trump's own daughter doesn't want a kiss from that loathsome man.

via Jezebel's Donald Trump Got Curved by Both His Daughters Tonight
tomorrow, we are all going to wake up and try and go about our lives with some measure of normalcy... but please, take a moment to remember that tonight, in front of the entire country, the republican nominee for president said that he would use his office to persecute and jail a citizen... allegedly for a crime of which she has already been investigated and found free of wrongdoing, but probably, more likely for daring to be his political opposition.
Javier Grillo-Marxuach

Such a busy weekend at Honk!

Photo by Candace Esslinger - this was the clear Saturday before the Drenched Sunday
Man, iTunes store search is so pathetic. Supposedly a while back they had a power search mode, but now it's just keywords. You can't search for just a song title, for instance, you're going to get any artist or album who has the same name. Even better - their version of "All Results" cuts off at 100. So if there are over 100 non-title matches for a song you're trying to find a good cover of, and the song's title is later in the alphabet, there's no way the song you're looking for will show up on the list.

Even more insulting is the message after those 100 items:
"Less relevant items are not displayed. To narrow your results, use more specific search terms."

I would if you'd let me, jerky.

October 11, 2016

mid-Honk subway micro-jam; bassline is "Chas Jammer":

Quando pensei que o HONK tinha acabo, entro no trem pra ir embora e...pá!#honkneverends#honk2016#honk

A video posted by Rafaella Marinho (@rafabellam) on

Go Pro Hot Wheels are pretty keen!

October 12, 2016

I know you're going to be stunned by this, but I listen 4,000 times a day to WINS news radio. I have radios, they're on that station, and everything I have to do something that doesn't occupy my mind, like a chore, which is five million times a day -- to me a chore is also, you know, pouring a glass of water -- I turn it on. As far as breaking news, they are the best. And the other great thing about them is that they repeat the news every 23 minutes. It doesn't matter how horrible the news is: the fifth time you hear it, it doesn't sound that bad.

Trump Voters aren't dumb. But they are thinking to break the system that's not working for them. As a moderate, I don't think they realize how bad things can get.

blender of love

October 13, 2016

devgeeks, Is the ratio of care and feeding and general fragility of tests and QA environments to the actual code always much, much greater than one, or have I just been unlucky?

October 14, 2016

<3 Carrie Fisher - this GIF set of an interview with her is gold. Loved her writing ever since this diary entry as she wrestled with a crush on Harrison Ford (and who wouldn't crush out on Harrison Ford)
"I've got to stop getting obsessed with human beings and fall in love with a chair. Chairs have everything human beings have to offer, and less, which is obviously what I need. Less emotional and intellectual feedback, less warmth, less approval, less patience and less response. The less the merrier. Chairs it is. I must furnish my heart with feelings for furniture."

Wow, Spy Pond is less than a mile from me. SPOILER: it ends up ok-ish.

UNEDITED: Bystanders rush to help woman after she accidentally drove vehicle into Spy Pond in Arlington Description from John Guilfoil Public Relations on Vimeo.

October 15, 2016

I admit I was bummed Toyota was given up on its youth-oriented "Scion" marque, especially since my beloved '04 Scion xA is still doing pretty well. And now, when the Trump "brand" has become so tarnished that his kids aren't going to use it for the branding of a new batch of hotels, that's the name they chose to use, "Scion"? Very mixed feelings :-D

October 16, 2016

Three photos (from School of Honk's trip to Georges Island) by drummer Lilia Volodina

I love the sky in the first one.

October 17, 2016

Dream Thought: With great power comes great responsibility, but considering my main power is flaring my nostrils at will vs inhaling them closed...
[face pressed against the glass case in the butcher shop] This is a bad zoo

After the Titanic sank, rich people got their revenge by spending the last hundred years melting all the icebergs.

In Search of Basho is an intriguing webcomic- sort of Maus meets A Softer World -- they just posted a guest post they asked me to write for them:

In 2000 I had some terrible anxiety about the prospect of dying. I did a lot of thinking, talking with people, and reading, and I came up with some ideas that I found helpful and soothing and consoling – so much so that I haven’t had a recurrence of those sleepless nights since.

I put those thoughts in the form of little essays on a website. More recently I put those essays in the form of a comic (you can see the rough original version at http://mortals.be/comic/ or the result after I hired a real artist to draw it at http://soyouregoingtodie.com).

I put these ideas in comic form in the hope of reaching people who have similar fears.

Now, I have a new idea, and I’m planning a new comic.

But I’ll tell you that idea now. Its formulation comes from Nietzsche, of all people, and he calls it amor fati, the instruction to “Love Your Fate”. He wrote:

My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary—but love it.

But why should we love fate? I mean, sometimes our situation kind of stinks, doesn’t it?

Is it searching for silver linings to whatever dark clouds? That’s part of it. There’s almost always something wonderful to be found in any circumstance we find ourselves in. If nothing else, we have the rare privilege of being “sitting-up mud”, the small bit of matter in the Universe that gets to bear witness, to be part of the process of the Universe figuring itself out.

Is it because we might as well choose to be happy, at least as much as we are able to make that as a choice? Sure; feelings of love can increase our happiness, and so the more we can get there, the more content we can be.

But more than those, I think we should love THIS fate because it is THE fate. The Circumstance. There is no other. Our monkey brains will make us miserable thinking of alternate realities; maybe worlds just like this one but THIS STUPID TRAFFIC IS MOVING!!! Or one like this one but where we didn’t just slam our toe into the bedpost. Or one where the beloved didn’t get away, or where our job pays 50% more and has half as much work. 

All of these worlds, these fates, these circumstances, these timelines, can be interesting to think about, and maybe even inform our present choices as we look to our future creature comforts but… they don’t exist. Our past is fixed; we are here, and it is now. If we can love this moment, we will be better people. It is one of the best philosophical practices I can think of.

Tomorrow I’ll be adding a rough paraphrase of this philosophy (loosely translating “AMOR FATI” as “THIS FATE” - I feel more true to myself sticking with the one language I know) to the one small tattoo I already have. I want this message to be part of my bodily self.

October 18, 2016

Had a small shindig, an unbirthday-ish thing... Melissa bought Pac-Man cupcakes which Chasity + Karen's lil girl Cora seemed to dig very much

photo by Rebekah
Amused that Wendy's is hyping the return of the Taco Salad. It (or possibly its near descendent, the "Baja Salad" that added a dollop of guac) and atomic fireballs were at the heart of one of my best weight drops, 15lbs in 6 months in 2012 - the chili made it really satiating. I was surprised when I went back to Wendy's last year and it was off the menu.

Now I'm all about Sweetgreen and sometimes Panera, but when the Wendy's what was on the block at work, the Wendy's is what I got.
Here's a post I made on the JP Honkband Page on FB:
WE WANT CANDY!!! We're gonna revamp this song for our Halloween Gig on Dunster Road, but lets give it some sweeter lyrics... Here's some verses:

I want candy, that is the truth-
Butterfinger, Twix, or Baby Ruth
Candy that can make my day,
Twizzlers, Rolos, Milky Way

(I Want Candy / I Want Candy / I Want Candy / I Want Candy)

Pop-rocks, they are so bizarre
So break me offa piece of that Kit-Kat Bar!
Packed with Peanuts, Snicker Satisfies -
But why you call one inch "fun size"?

(I Want Candy / I Want Candy / I Want Candy / I Want Candy)

M+Ms or Reeses? I can't choose!
So maybe go for Charleston Chews --
But you know you better sign a waiver
If you try to give me that NECCO wafer

Wanna suggest a verse? Here are some well known names we didn't use:

Wrigley's Gum, 3 Musketeers, Almond Joy, Hubba Bubba, Skittles, Reese Peanut Butter Cup, Hershey's Kisses, Bit O Honey, Caramello, Hershey's Bar, Milk Dud, Sweettarts, 100 Grand, 5th Avenue, Chunky, Clark Bar, Heath Bar Crunch, Krackel, Mars Bar, Mounds, Mr. Goodbar, Nestle Crunch, Nestle Milk Chocolate, Nutrageous, Oh Henry!, PayDay, Toblerone, Whatchamacallit

October 19, 2016

Conservatism never fails. It is only failed.
Rick Perstein explaining how any failure by a conservative is always reframed as "they weren't conservative enough."
(from Slate's Conservatism Never Fails: How the GOP Will Explain Away Trump’s Disastrous Campaign)
New poll: Agree personally immoral politicians can still fulfill duties.
White evangelicals:
2011: 30%
Now: 72%
(summary via this tweet - larger source cited is this page )


Frickin' hypocrites.

October 20, 2016

A while back Winnie Gong sketched me as the mythical Unicorn full-stack developer...

October 21, 2016

If you can dig up Kate McKinnon's outtakes from “Ghostbusters”... She is a treasure.

October 22, 2016

via slate:

Yup pic.twitter.com/vDf6G8bRmZ

— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) October 20, 2016

"Look at those teeth. The downturned lips. The clenching of his jaw and the rage in his stubby fingers as he rips that piece of paper out of his legal pad."
An artist should play with your paint, be happy over it, [and] sing at your work."
William Merritt Chase, from the current MFA show

October 23, 2016

Online I found a cleaner version of a cartoon I clipped from the March 20 2000 New Yorker...

October 24, 2016

"Reddit user Noerdy rearranged leaves around the base of a tree in order to make it appear to be glowing."

On the fourth floor tower two trophy cases--each empty. Doesn't Barron at least have a snow globe collection that he could stick in one of these? There's another case on the fifth floor that showcases a perfectly lit....nothing. Seriously, this building is like a giant metaphor museum.

Harvard Square classic Cafe Algiers closing forever Sunday after abrupt announcement
Well, that sucks. Bright side: room for more ATMs and maybe another CVS? Viva Harvard Square.

October 25, 2016

Happiness is a skill. Skills must be learned.
Matthieu Ricard

Happiness is a skill. But cookies come pre-packaged as cookie dough in various flavors with easy-to-follow instructions.
Elio Maggini

October 26, 2016

"Was the switch to direct public nomination a net benefit or drawback? The answer to that question is subjective. But one effect is not in doubt: Institutionalists have less power than ever before to protect loyalists who play well with other politicians, or who take a tough congressional vote for the team, or who dare to cross single-issue voters and interests; and they have little capacity to fend off insurgents who owe nothing to anybody. Walled safely inside their gerrymandered districts, incumbents are insulated from general-election challenges that might pull them toward the political center, but they are perpetually vulnerable to primary challenges from extremists who pull them toward the fringes. Everyone worries about being the next Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader who, in a shocking upset, lost to an unknown Tea Partier in his 2014 primary. Legislators are scared of voting for anything that might increase the odds of a primary challenge, which is one reason it is so hard to raise the debt limit or pass a budget."
. Sometimes it's tough to respect some of the early Founder's fears about "King Mob" without sounding like an elitist jerk, but for a guy with some "Extremist Moderate" impulses like me, it's tough to like such local politics.
This is a pretty good summary of the narrator Robert P. Jones' book "The End of White Christian America" that I recently read.

I think it's easy for lefties to demonize "White Christian America" in the same way the right tends to over-idealize it. There are some very good qualities to it, and as a nation we need to find a moral center, one that doesn't presume a skin color or belief in a particular supernatural explanation for the universe and to back its sense of morality.
Continuing today's theme of trying to understand American politics, and even with empathy to the "other side": What a liberal sociologist learned from spending five years in Trump's America

These Louisianans are so convinced that government is the problem - their environment gets racked and ruined but government environmental regulation must be worse. Many rely on governmental assistance, but for them government is still the problem.
Completing today's links: I forgot to post Cracked's How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind (or as the title seems to originally have been, 6 Reasons for Trumps Rise that no one talks about.) It is one of the most sympathetic views of the Trump supporting red states, and what they've go through, that I've seen.

October 27, 2016


I do suspect my sight-reading skills aren't as sharp as they once were, but my by-ear is better than it was in my previous tuba life.

October 28, 2016

Oh, cool, Republicans up and down the ticket are both idiotically racist and disrespectful of military veterans.

Tammy Duckworth herself is a purple heart veteran who lost both legs co-piloting a helicopter that was attacked by an RPG in Iraq. Her father's side has an American military tradition going back to the Revolutionary War, but Mark Kirk thinks he can go for the jugular by pointing out she's asian, and of course those people didn't fight with George Washington. Such commanding snark!

(Full Disclosure: I've disliked Mark Kirk ever since his apocalyptic-minded middle east policy actions made him show up on Google searches for my name...)

October 29, 2016

Sarah Leadbeater's annual pumpkin carvening... my two in front, script Pumpkin and this years tumblr favorite mini face

alas poor vine
No matter who wins the World Series (and my heart's with Cleveland even though I'm not crazy about the name or the Wahoo) it's an echo of Boston's 2004 + 2007 wins; Theo Epstein is President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs and of course, Terry Francona for Cleveland...

October 30, 2016

A buddy mistakenly thought flutes weren't woodwinds, I think in part he was conflating "the reeds" with "the woodwinds" - easy enough mistake if you didn't grow up in symphonic groups. Yamaha implies a definition of "woodwinds" as "the non-'lip reed' wind instruments" - i.e. you don't buzz your lips to make a sound.

The term "lip reed" seems a bit ridiculous, tho.

quotes from "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates"

Peeple of zee wurl, relax.
Tom Robbins, "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates"
This is what a parrot says, I think it's a reference to the work of Joe Brainard that I need to check out
(Switters's granny, by contrast, wore an outsized, owlishly round, horn-rimmed pair that made her look rather exactly like the late theatrical agent, Swifty Lazar.)
FWIW I'm pretty sure Swifty Lazar was the inspiration for that old Six Flags commercials with the dancing old man Mr. Six -
"But what about self-esteem?"
"Heh! Self-esteem is for sissies. Accept that you're a pimple and try to keep a lively sense of humor about it. That way lies grace--and maybe even glory."
Tom Robbins, "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates"
Tennessee Williams once wrote, "We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it." In a certain sense, the playwright was correct. Yes, but oh! What a view from that upstairs window! What Tennessee failed to mention was that if we look out of that window with an itchy curiosity and a passionate eye; with a generous spirit and a capacity for delight; and, yes, the language with which to support and enrich the things we see, then it DOESN'T MATTER that the house is burning down around us. It doesn't matter. Let the motherfucker blaze!
Tom Robbins, "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates"
"I know what you're saying. But it isn't because words are inadequate. I won't go that far."
"Certain things words can't convey."
"Oh, but they can. Because those things you're referring to are . . . well, if they're not actually made of words or derived from words, at least inhabit words: language is the solution in which they're suspended. Even love ultimately requires a linguistic base."
Tom Robbins, "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates"
but the poet, Andrei Codrescu, once wrote that 'Physical intimacy is only a device for opening the floodgates of what really matters: words.'
Tom Robbins, "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates"
The Syrians in general are sympathetic people, nice people. It is only the Muslim Brotherhood that makes the problem for Christians, but, then, fundamentalists are the same everywhere, are they not?"
"Yeah. Their desperate craving for simplicity sure can create complications. And their pitiful longing for certainty sure can make things unsteady."
Tom Robbins, "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates"
"Et tu?" she asked breathily. "And you? Are you sure?" "I'm sure I want every youness of you," he answered,
Tom Robbins, "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates"
You only live twice: once after you're born and once before you die. --Basho
Tom Robbins, "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates"
"I love myself," he said. "But it's unrequited."
Tom Robbins, "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates"

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