May 1, 2017

Let's see, I play weekly or so with The Jamaica Plain Honk Band, BABAM - Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians, School of HONK and the more irregularly with Porch-i-oke and Reverend Dave and the Reprobates (and it doesn't get much more irregular than that.) And I think for Somerville Porchfest I may be joining in a pickup Dixie land band.

Maybe someone should stage an intervention?
"He said, there's no reason for this. People don't realize, you know, the Civil War, you think about it, why? People don't ask that. But why was there the Civil War. Why would that one not have been worked out?"

ladies and gentleman your tax dollars at work!

i mean even apu on the simpsons knows that one

May 2, 2017videogames

Earliest Bowser and Donkey Kong arcade drawings



via SupperMarioBroth

May 3, 2017poemhistory

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- 
I took the one less travelled by, 
Tripped over a branch, and broke my nose 
--
I hear America singing, and doggone 
if someone's not flat. One of the tenors, 
I think. 
--
Open here I flung the shutter, 
when with many a flirt and flutter
Traversed that curs'd bird from the week before
I shot it dead, and then it drop upon the floor 
Now, the Raven 'nevermore' 
--
Two roads diverged, 
but the one I wanted to take had a detour sign on it, 
dammit to hell. 
--
A rock sat in the woods, thinking, 
for many years, of many things. 
Realized God and His plan 
How to perfect life for plant and man 
but it was a rock, and rocks can't speak 
so it had to keep it to itself 
--
an ant crossed the sidewalk 
in its busy little industry 
i saw reflected the laws of 
god and man 
'enough of this' I thought 
and crushed its tiny head 
--I had been searching through old scanned school papers for these, when I found them in a one of the PalmPilot journal entries I slapped on my website, in a 1997 memo called "Old Poems", so I think they date back to college or high school.

I'd been thinking of the rock poem a lot. One way of framing arguments I have with my conversation sparring partner is that I tend to focus on the surfaces things, or more specifically the interactions they can have, while to me he seems obsessed with how things really are through and through, in a deep interior way. It's interesting that as far back as 25 years ago the idea that interactions and communications are what give interior lives meaning.

That sparring partner also trotted out the psychological figure of the puer aeternus, eternal adolescent. The fact he considers the label absolutely damning while I think it's, I dunno, incomplete but descriptive, and with it's pros and cons, speaks to the other parts of the profound differences in our outlooks.

(Also looking at the latin phrase it reminded me of 1997 The New Yorker reviewed the Blender of Love (there really was a lot less going on on the web back then) and I had to look up what "puerile"meant when describing my editorials. I was mildly offended, but hey, it's The New Yorker and they cut it with "somewhat".)

May 4, 2017

"You are welcome on my lawn."
--PopeRatzo's .sig on slashdot. I love the sentiment!

May 5, 2017

From Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander":
A gentle push from above heeled the Sophie over, then another and another, each more delightfully urgent until it was one steady thrust; she was under way, and all along her side there sang a run of living water.
---
'The only feelings I have--for what they are--are for men as individuals; my loyalties, such as they may be, are to private persons alone.’
‘Patriotism will not do?’
‘My dear creature, I have done with all debate. But you know as well as I, patriotism is a word; and one that generally comes to mean either *my country, right or wrong*, which is infamous, or *my country is always right*, which is imbecile.’
---
There was great activity aboard her: there was great activity aboard the three other vessels of the convoy –men racing up and down, shouts, whistles, the distant beating of a drum –but in this gentle breeze, and with so little canvas abroad, they all of them moved with a dream-like slowness, quietly following smooth predestinate curves.
---
‘THERE ARE TIMES,’ said James quietly, ‘when I understand your partiality for your friend. He derives a greater pleasure from a smaller stream of wit than any man I have ever known.’
---
‘What a romantic creature you are, to be sure,’ said Stephen. ‘A ball fired from a privateer’s cannon makes the same hole as a king’s.’
‘Me, romantic?’ cried James with real indignation, an angry light coming into his green eyes.
‘Yes, my dear,’ said Stephen, taking snuff. ‘You will be telling me next about their divine right.’
‘Well, at least even you, with your wild enthusiastic levelling notions, will not deny that the King is the sole fount of honour?’
‘Not I,’ said Stephen. ‘Not for a moment.’
---
I really liked the phrase "smooth predestinate curves."...

april 2017 new music playlistplaylist

May 6, 2017
Pretty good month for music, 5 star stuff in red....
I skipped yoga this week, but I did assemble two largeish IKEA pieces (with help from Liz) in relatively small rooms with lots of boxes... that's kind of the same thing, right?

May 7, 2017tuba

Quote from Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love":
"There is no old age like anxiety," said one of the monks I met in India. "And there is no freedom from old age like the freedom from anxiety."
---
Maria thinks that in a civilized society one should be able to rely on such things as the post office delivering one's mail in a prompt manner, but Giulio begs to differ . He submits that the post office belongs not to man, but to the fates, and that delivery of mail is not something anybody can guarantee .
---
Learning how to discipline your speech is a way of preventing your energies from spilling out of you through the rupture of your mouth, exhausting you and filling the world with words, words, words instead of serenity, peace and bliss.
---
"To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life."

Talking with Liz the other day, she asked if I had always worn glasses- yes, ever since 4th or 5th grade or so, with a brief unfortunate attempt at contacts in high school. So glasses are a part of my face, and I'm pretty comfortable with that. But I wasn't at first, which is funny- back around that time I tried to pretend that I liked classical and jazz because that's what smart people did and I was a smart person, but somehow I failed to make the same, perhaps even more obvious, leap for eyeglasses.
I still do like PostSecret...

Stood in with Prone to Mischief today on the Vietnam Memorial Bridge in Western MA - photo by John Bell

May 8, 2017

So, people don't like "passive-aggressive" behavior, though I think it's often preferable to "active-aggressive". Also, what about the "aggressive-passive" activities? Like, furiously hammering water?

May 9, 2017

"Clouds are not something to moan about. They are, in fact, the most dynamic, evocative and poetic aspect of nature.”
[...]
“to tune into the clouds is to slow down. It’s a moment of meteorological meditation.”
[...]
“We are part of the air. We don’t live beneath the sky. We live within the sky.”
--Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society - here's a NY Times long article about it.

I've always appreciated clouds - I remember coworkers at the patio bar after work asking what the hell I was looking at - and a google image search for cloud site:kirk.is shows plenty of photos I've taken.

The article was posted at Lost in Mobile, webkeeper Shaun McGill liked my comment

If there was only one place on earth where clouds gathered, could you imagine how much people would pay to travel there? And how in awe they would be, and how many photos they’d take?
Great stuff, and I'm the newest member of the Cloud Appreciation Society!

May 10, 2017

My friend Rebekah loves her 10-key but this is ridiculous
"now that there is no fbi director we can finally make copies of vhs tapes"
--/u/iamnosaj . I have to admit it's kind of a masterstroke; dems hated him spoiling a close election, reps hated him for not persecuting more, Trump gets to put off the Russian investigation... the only loser is the sense of this country not being a Nixonian Banana Republic.

May 11, 2017

I was thinking about the allure of Facebook. Previously I attribute it's dominance to a combination of "stream/wall" (ala Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram) with real identities, a strong bias to guide you to connect with people you know in real life vs anonymous internet strangers. But there's something else: the "also commented on X's post" notification. I just now posted a second comment on friend's post on feeling blue and the seemingly masochistic desire to watch or listen to sad stuff there, two passages relevant to the topic (this passage and the Mr. Blue thing it links to) and it feels great that I know people interested in that topic will get a nudge and probably see what I put there. Old school web forums have this feature but they don't have the stream that brings content front and center, or the "real world friend" aspect. (Heh, I remember when I would read Usenet on an old academic account, I had a perl script that would scrape and find me continuations of threads I had participated in.)
gerrymandering: the game

May 12, 2017fav

The past doesn't go away. It keeps calling to us from the woods, and at vulnerable moments, at twilight on a fall day with a Chopin étude playing, it can be almost overwhelming. Those old voices weeping and whispering. I have my ghosts and you have yours. Tell me about it. Meanwhile, the day passes, we eat dinner, we put the dishes in the dishwasher, we clean up the kitchen, we pick up a book, life goes on. I believe that

All of the lovers and the love they made --
Nothing that was between them was a mistake.
All that we did for love's sake
Was not wasted and will never fade.

A friend of mine told me a few weeks ago: "You can't regret all of the things you went through in order to get to the happiness where you are now." The old love prepared you for this new one. The tortured and exhausting 10 years with him is a crucial part of your education and can't be separated from the rest and burned. It's quite reasonable to still miss him after only two years. You're not imprinted with him, though, and you know that. You've moved on. You're only enjoying a little sweet sadness. What would an autumn night be like without it? What an inhuman life a person must lead to never experience such feelings.
--Garrison Keillor, writing as Mr. Blue on Salon. (repost here)
100 Lessons from the masters of street photography. Apple's how to shoot great photos with iPhones is good too.

May 13, 2017


Jeez I love these. "Nice catch Blanco Nino. Too bad your ass got -- sssssssaaacked". Fenslerfilms = genius, and now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

May 14, 2017

Happy Mothers Day!

I had weird, fever-y nightmares last night, dark and cyberpunk-ish.

There were these side-by-side black-on-black two dimensional maze squares, menacing integrated circuits magnified for human inspection, full of activity like an isometric ant farm.

But they weren't circuits, they were logical and contractual pathways being tweaked and restructured as the two entities jostled for an advantage, looking for loopholes, trying to trap the other in non-stop competition.

Somehow it was desperately important for me to understand the proceedings, but I couldn't; by design they were beyond simple human summary. They were relics of a dark world where everyone was given the advice of "make sure you have one of those virtual advocate programs fighting in your side!" So I was feverishly (literally) running this fool's errand, trying to work it out.

Later, dreams shifted gears, and I saw the connection between those contractual labyrinths and softer human/computer interactions, like when people would check in with four square or whatever, or little "earn virtual currency for logging in every day!" type stuff, and Amazon-Echo style virtual assistants.


RIP MP3 the article links to a weirdly ghostly of "what audio (and video) is lost to compression" of Tom's Diner (the acoustic original not the club version) - I managed to find the minimalist video the ghostly video is shadowing- hadn't seen that before.

I guess audio compression doesn't bother me unless blatantly horrific, in the same way my eyes don't feel better or worse using a Retina vs a Non-Retina screen; it's the kind of nuance I just don't have a knack for picking up.


Blender of Love

I don't dig this lingering intermittent moderate fever but damn if I don't enjoy getting everything quantified via digital thermometers. It's gamification for feeling like crap!

May 15, 2017

This Eurovision guide is great, and as far as i can tell pretty much accurate despite it's goofy webspeak nature.

Ever since Lena Meyer-Landrut's Satellite I try to watch each year's recap with snippets from every song...

This year my favorites were the Rap Yodeling :


and this really incredibly sweet song, Martina Bárta - My Turn (Czech Republic)

Makes me misty!

But then again, remember I've had a fever for a few days.

May 16, 2017

what doesnt kill us make us stronger. except polio, maybe. but i don't think this fever is that.

At least I had half a good day :-/

May 17, 2017

I used to (still do I guess) dig guidebooks to tabletop wargames, even if I never got around to doing the miniatures or actually playing the dang things. Probably the best was the old Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader - the amount of world building and menacing flavor text was immense. Humanity is a dispersed galactic empire, and while the tech can make ours looks stone-age, most of it is surrounded with gothic religious trappings, leading to sidenotes like this:
Strike the first rune upon the engine's casing employing the chosen wrench. Its tip should be anointed with the oil of engineering using the proper incantation when the auspices are correct. Strike the second rune upon the engine's casing employing the arc-tip of the power-driver. If the second rune is not good, a third rune may be struck in like manner to the first. This is done according to the true ritual laid down by Scotti the Enginseer. A libation should be offered. If this sequence is properly observed the engines may be brought to full activation by depressing the large panel marked "ON".
That lept to mind when I saw this photo and caption:

Russian Orthodox leader sprays holy water on government computers to stop WannaCry virus
"The occupational hazard of making a spectacle of yourself, over the long haul, is that at some point you buy a ticket too."
--Thomas McGuane
Dean be like, it so hot im ded

May 18, 2017

I forget if I knew Thomas "Biff Tannen" Wilson played tuba:

Also if you have any questions for Tom Wilson:

May 19, 2017

Excerpts from "Selfish, Shallow, an Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids"

To be ridiculously sweeping : baby boomers and their offspring have shifted emphasis from the communal to the individual, from the future to the present, from virtue to personal satisfaction. Increasingly secular, we pledge allegiance to lowercase gods of our private devising. We are concerned with leading less a good life than the good life. In contrast to our predecessors, we seldom ask ourselves whether we serve a greater social purpose ; we are more likely to ask ourselves if we are happy. We shun self - sacrifice and duty as the soft spots of suckers. We give little thought to the perpetuation of lineage, culture, or nation; we take our heritage for granted. We are ahistorical. We measure the value of our lives within the brackets of our own births and deaths, and we're not especially bothered with what happens once we're dead. As we age -- oh, so reluctantly ! -- we are apt to look back on our pasts and question not did I serve family, God, and country, but did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat? We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but with whether they were interesting and fun.
--Lionel Shriver, from"Be Here Now Means Be Gone Later"

I stress this because it's often claimed that having kids makes people more conscious of the kind of world they're creating or leaving for their offspring. That would be why, in London, a city with excellent public transportation, parents have to make sure they have cars. Many of these cars come speeding along my street on their way to the extremely expensive private school on the corner. You can see, from the looks on these mums ' faces as they drop off their kids at this little nest of privilege, that the larger world -- as represented by me, some loser on his bike -- doesn't exist, is no more than an impediment to finding a parking space. Parenthood, far from enlarging one's worldview, results in an appalling form of myopia. Hence André Gide's verdict on families, "those misers of love."
--Geoff Dyler, from "Over and Out"

Of all the arguments for having children, the suggestion that it gives life "meaning" is the one to which I am most hostile -- apart from all the others. The assumption that life needs a meaning or purpose ! I'm totally cool with the idea of life being utterly meaningless and devoid of purpose. It would be a lot less fun if it did have a purpose -- then we would all be obliged ( and foolish not ) to pursue that purpose.
--Geoff Dyler, from "Over and Out"

Who could blame anyone, child or adult, for wanting to enrich his experience by sharing it with a friend, a caring witness? We all want that. We all want someone to say, "That thing you love is so interesting and worthy that I have to love it, too." Children's needs and desires are not so different from adults ' needs and desires; the only real difference is that, unlike adults, children are not yet bridled.
--Rosemary Mahoney, "The Hardest Art"

Reproduction as raison d'être has always seemed to me to beg the whole question of existence. If the ultimate purpose of your life is your children, what's the purpose of your children's lives? To have your grandchildren? Isn't anyone's life ultimately meaningful in itself? If not, what's the point of propagating it ad infinitum? After all, 0 × ∞ = 0. It would seem a pretty low - rent ultimate purpose that's shared with viruses and bacteria. The current human population is descended from a relatively low number of ancestors after a series of population bottlenecks in the late Pleistocene. Most human beings back then presumably felt their lives to be just as important and meaningful as we do ours. Is their existence negated just because they left no descendants?
--Tim Kreider, "The End of the Line"


Yeah i know the animals were problematic but I am straight up bummed Ringeling Bros Barnum and Bailey is hanging it up, glad I got to see The Greatest Show on Earth

May 20, 2017

Really cool thing where you can doodle help a bot learn how to recognize basic drawings... how to be a guesser at Pictionary, I'd say! The pile of image reminds me of some stuff I did http://kirk.is/2004/07/17/ http://kirk.is/2009/11/13/ and then in color http://kirk.is/2010/07/10/

May 21, 2017

Via Lamebook--

I'm not sure if it's bad for me to enjoy his cheerful acceptance of clueness white folks intersectionality as much as I do

May 22, 2017

Geek news, very glad that a recent Supreme Court judgement means East Texas should no longer be a Patent Troll Haven.
Melania slapping Trump's hand away... I mean no wonder, she's wearing white, getting Cheetos dust all over your hands would be pretty dangerous...

OUCHhttps://t.co/XaPL1AbCm5 pic.twitter.com/zpZGkQxDFP

— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) May 22, 2017


"Say you're driving down the road and see a car crash. Of course you look. Everyone looks. The internet interprets behavior like this to mean everyone is asking for car crashes, so it tries to supply them."
--NY Times paraphrase of Twitter co-founder Evan Williams

May 23, 2017

Jokes

May 24, 2017

May 25, 2017photos

Later, [poet Patricia Lockwood] falls in love with the man who will become her husband when he emails her some of his verses and, amid many lines about "the majesty of canyons, arroyos, and mesas," she finds "one good image": The milk bottles burst like scared chickens.
--from The Atlantic review of "Priestdaddy"
Here Comes SkyNet! Thanks, Google. I remember wondering in the mid-80s when Bill Gates was going to write the computer program that writes the computer program...

May 26, 2017

It is moving to read about people who take the death with dignity way out. To be able to throw your own wake is really something special. We need to push for the right to make this decision.

Also this song video was referenced in the article:

Got James Harvey's latest "Mouth Baby". Besides the book I liked the stamps the package came with.

May 27, 2017

teaching a robot to make those goofy color names. I thought it was pretty good, actually! Especially "Stoner Blue"

May 28, 2017

Been thinking about "Not my circus, not my monkeys...." I really like how it slots with the dual relation of "this is not my problem" and "this isn't my fault and/or I can't do a lot to fix this", like the circus/monkeys split represents the whole scene vs our role with it.

May 29, 2017

On the one hand, it's probably horrible karma to laugh at people who are A. scared B. may or may not have english as their first language C. seem to have "Ask Yahoo" as a primary medical care reference in a time of declining women's healthcare, especially for poor people. But still...

May 30, 2017

"Thousands have lived without love, not one without water."
--W.H. Auden, "First Things First"
This... really happened? Ivanka Trump suggesting "Make Champagne Popsicles for Memorial Day"?

Ah, the Trumps. The dumb guy's version of what rich guy life should be.
anyone know what this tool is for, it came in a little useful when hanging pictures but I'm not quite sure what it's intended purpose is

May 31, 2017

50 Best TV Theme Songs Glad to see Barney Miller and Sanford and Son there.
The New Yorker on Heroin and small town America.

Man, what is going on.

A decade ago I thought heroin was just that thing from Trainspotting.

I guess drugs can be one answer to existential crises, but a damn destructive one.