2018 January❮❮prevnext❯❯

January 1, 2018

It's only now, as an adult, I realize: they're always homeless! They're homeless vagabonds!
Melissa as we ring in the new year with a 3 Stooges Marathon...Happy 2018!

Continuing my annual (and, err, daily) tradition of one second of video footage every day.

Long year. Still lots of bands, and lots of protests.

december 2017 new music playlist

New music from the last month of 2017 (4 star stuff in red) A lot of this month was holiday tunes... Other songs....

annual media roundup

My annual Media Wrapup, mostly all the media I consumed fully during the year. Disappointing stuff in grey, Stuff that met expectations in black, really good stuff in red, really great stuff in red and bold. (Each category name has the count and then how the count differed from the year before.)

Movies at the Cinema (4 (-2))
Wonder Woman, The Dark Crystal, Blade Runner 2049, The Last Jedi
Always surprised to see how rarely I get to the cinema. Seeing "The Dark Crystal" on one of the last 2 70MM prints was amazing, hadn't seen it before.

Movies on Video or Streaming (33 (--))
What We Do in the Shadows, Raise the Red Lantern, Mistress America, There Will Be Blood, Make Happy, Backbeat, The Third Man, Henry and June, The Commitments, Dave Chapelle: Age of Spin, Louis CK 2017, The Matrix, Old Baby, Get Out, Rory Scovel Tries Standup for the First Time, Ladyhawke, Enter the Dragon, Immigrant, Whisky Tango Foxtrot, Quest for Fire, Bringing Up Baby, Ghostbusters, Iron Sky, Blade Runner, Baby Driver, Arrival, Trolls, Chappie, Atomic Blonde, Dr. Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, The Maltese Falcon, Stooger Things
"What We Do in the Shadows" and "Baby Driver" are stronger than average 4s, and it was nice seeing some of my all time favorites "Backbeat" and "Henry and June" with Melissa.

TV Show Seasons (10 (-2))
Black Mirror Season 2, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Better Off Ted Season 2, Girls Season 6, Better Off Ted Season 2, Drawn Together Season 1, Difficult People Season 1, Black Mirror Season 3, Game of Thrones Season 7, Rick and Morty Season 3
"Black Mirror" is the real standout here; it's like the twilight zone for our time. Rick and Morty has some greatness too it as well, and for similar reasons.

Books (32 (-24))
Dangerous Visions, The Alchemist, This Is It, Predisposed, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, Norse Mythology, Front-End Developer Handbook 2017, Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, Capek: 4 Plays, Master and Commander, Giggling Into the Pillow., The Doors of Perception, Taking Care of Red, eat pray love, Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, Consciousness Explained, Bull, Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design, Priestdaddy, Kingdom Hearts II, Soft & Cuddly , Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002), The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, Breakout: How Atari 8-bit Computers Defined a Generation, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Disrupted, Men Without Women, Essays After 80, The Old Soak and Hail and Farwell, Insanely Great, Bhagavad Gita, Quotes Every Man Should Know
Less reading done this year, though I made up for it a little with the new Audiobook section... I reread "Consciousness Explained" - it wasn't as jaw dropping as it was in 2000 or so, but it still gets nod as one of my top 5 ever books... "Bull" is a great retelling of the story of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, worth checking out. "Priestdaddy" was excellent as well, and Sedaris' "Theft by Finding" stuck with me.

Audibooks (12 (+12))
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, Staring at the Sun, From Bacteria to Bach: The Evolutions of Minds, The Righteous Mind, Nothing to be Frightened Of, Talking It Over, Making Money, Love, Etc, Malagash, The Brothers Karamazov (abridged), Vacationland, Down and Out in Paris and London
So here's where I made up for my lack of books - and I actually think the format led me to take on some heavier tomes than I might have otherwise. "Staring at the Sun", with it's tales of therapy and dealing with mortality, really reintroduced me to the "theraputic hour". I'm going to lead a discussion group on "The Righeous Mind". Speaking of mortality, "Nothing to Be Frightened Of" and its dealing with the subject keeps it as one of my top 5 books and me fall in love with Julian Barnes' writing, which lead to "Talking It Over" (and its sequel "Love, Etc". "Malagash" by Joe Comeau, about a precocious coder teen coping with the impending death of her father by trying to write a computer virus that can act as his virtual ghost really stuck home.

Comic / Graphic Novel (10 (+1))
Vision 1: Little Worse Than a Man, Vision 2: Little Better Than a Beast, Deadpool Killiistrated, Deadpool Kills Marvel Universe, Punisher Kills Marvel Universe, Misc Star Trek comics, Mouth Baby, Boy's Club, Michael Rosen's Sad Book, Great Lego Sets: A Visual History
James Harvey's "Mouth Baby" is disturbing and genius and great.

Video Games (9 (+8))
Lady killer in a Bind, Star Fox Zero, Wario Ware: Smooth Moves, GTA: VC, Ghostbusters (2009), Super Mario Odyssey, Desert Golfing, Mario Party: The Top 100, Blaster Master Zero
I made a deliberate effort to play more games this year. It was great showing Smooth Moves to Melissa. Super Mario Odyssey was brilliant- really getting into the physical kinetics of stuff, which is why I play games. Blaster Master Zero was a satisfying retroromp during Christmas break.

Turns out Intel Inside is a threat, not a promise...

January 4, 2018

Helpless rage is a major cause of falls in the home.
"Don Giovanni" (by Garrison Keillor)
I've been thinking of this quote a lot lately, as I play with the idea of if it's ok (meaning, compatible with the kind of moral life I want to live) to keep my dismay at events cerebral, rather than deeply emotionally processed.

It's balancing a desire for a healthy sense of equanimity against the idea that without emotion, there is no motion; that every action we undertake happens when our emotional elephant gets the impetus to move, our rational rider just trying to guide the elephant as best it can (and then take credit for it with post-facto rationalization, its true talent.)

In general curating my own emotional landscape might be more of an option for me than some because I have an almost-OCDish history of justifying and rationalizing myself, and some practice letting my rational side preempt emotions it thinks are invalid.

Also, the option to do so might be coming from a place of privilege - but maybe not as much as it first appears. An existentially bleak universe and set-point theory of happiness, if valid, would be available to almost everyone regardless of privilege.

"Textese" and code-switching or why a period at the end of a text message sounds harsh. Often, good messages in a dialog trail off, inviting further reply. This makes me feel a bit better about all the smilies I use. (And slowly I'll be less aghast at "u" and "r" showing up so often.)

January 5, 2018

I guess Republicans are all for states rights and small business and jobs except when they have a chance to overturn something Obama's administration set up.
I <3 b3ta.com

All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.
Ernest Hemingway

January 6, 2018

I guess I've been meaning to post this forever... (found on tumblr)

Last night my company had its semi-fancy dress holiday party and I found out that dress rentals for women is now a thing. (and maybe new-ish, like the past ten years or so.) This makes a tremendous amount of sense to me. (I mean there's still a lot in what our culture expects women to wear that doesn't, but still.)

January 7, 2018

I am the very model of a Very Stable Genius.
I have a mighty button and no problems with my penius.
I have no time for television, golf, or social media
Since my brain is way way better than the best encyclopedia.

In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.
St. Augustine.
Francis S. Collins, who was big in the human genome project, cites this, saying it's Augustine sorting through the seeming self-contradiction when Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are taken together and more-or-less literally. (Did humans or plants arrive first?)

I think it points to a major problem of religion in this country: some strains of Christianity hitched their wagon to science a long while back, and a in world after Newton but before Darwin, that kind of explanation made more sense. But when science started veering away from things that Christians clung to as "this must be true, and not just in a poetic and moral sense", some flavors of Christianity decided to double down and claim a validation in the scientific view of empirically observable facts on the ground that becomes harder and harder to justify. Augustine shows that it doesn't have to be that way.

chappelle on truth and reconciliation and #metoo

And I feel bad. But I just feel like this is all happening for a reason. And ladies I want you to win this fight. Ten years ago I might've been scared but you know, I got a daughter now; so if you win, she wins, so I'm rooting for you. And I agree with you.

At least ideologically I do. I don't know if you're doing it just right but I mean who am I to say... I don't think you're wrong, I just think that you can't make a lasting peace this way. You got all the bad guys scared. And that's good. But the minute they're not scared anymore, it will get worse than it was before. Fear does not make lasting peace. Ask black people.

And that's what it is. What this city really needs, without irony, I'll say this: the cure for L.A. is in South Africa. You motherf***ers need truth and reconciliation with one another. 'Cause the end of apartheid should have been a f***ing bloodbath by any metric in human history, and it wasn't. The only reason it wasn't is because Desmond Tutu and Mandela and all these guys figured out that if a system is corrupt, then the people who adhere to the system, and are incentivized by that system, are not criminals. They are victims. And that he system itself must be tried. But because of how the system works, it's so compartmentalized as far as information, the only way we can figure out what the system is, is if everybody says what they did. Tell them how you participated.
David Chappelle in "The Bird Revelation".
I saw Melissa cringe with some of his views, but we laughed a lot and I think there was some wisdom there in seeing some parallels in the history of dealing with racism and sexism. The Truth and Reconciliation idea stuck with me. That might have a lot more legs than truth and retribution. I'm not sure if it can work though; in part because men aren't always embracing the truth aspect. Also, the end of apartheid was the end of a minority rule (20% or less) and had just about the whole world condemning it. If it's demographics, men are about 50%, and it's going to be that much tougher.
This weekend I found out Jackbox Games (who made "You Don't Know Jack" under the Jellyvision brand back in the 90s - those were WAY ahead of their time in terms of production values) is making some awesome games - they leverage the fact that so many folk have a smartphone with a web connection these days (or can borrow a tablet) and they can be a great tool (using a simple 4-letter code to hop intoan active game on the website, and then using the shared TV or monitor screen for common information) -- Fibbage is a great game of bluffing, Quiplash is like Cards Against Humanity but people actually have to use their own imaginations, Drawful is a pretty solid Pictionary-ish spin off... good stuff.
Pshaw, our vaunted "stealth" bomber, captured by some dude in a Cessna 206? Sad.

(More on this amazing photo)
Interesting - a Football player and Computer Guy from Tufts might be one of Belichick's secret weapons...

January 9, 2018


By Jen Sorensen. It reminds me of a term Dave Chappelle uses: "Tiki-Torch Whites". I think that term captures what Hillary Clinton was meaning with her disastrous term "deplorables", but it's less likely to be misinterpreted...
Trump doesn't know or has forgotten half the words to the National Anthem. He seems to do the "bombs bursting in air" pretty well (of course) and the big finish, but for the rest he reminds me of my friend EB trying to sing along to a Beastie Boy song he only sorta knows. (The trick I use there is to do what the Beastie Boys do and just shout-reinforce the final, rhyming word of the line)
Dunkies Dumbing Down their menu. Already missing the flatbread. But the steak and egg stuff seemed really hit or miss already, in terms of availability...
Retronauts Podcast New Years Special covering '78, '88, '98, '08. It reminded me that classic Space Invaders had a "destructible environment" that's still a big feature these days - in fact, blasting through your base to make a little gunport was a big strategy. I guess that's the power of 2D gaming...
At work we have a Slack channel "#stupid-idea-buddies" where people propose ideas and no negativity is allowed. (I know some other workplaces have followed our lead - I'd recommend it for any office using shared chatrooms) Here's my latest:
#1593 Make years start on March 1. This will have 3 big advantages:
1. meteorological seasons now line up year - starting with March/April/May spring, June/July/August summer, the school year starts with Sep/Oct/Nov Fall, and then Dec/Jan/Feb Winter
2. September and October now fall on their appropriate Latin numbers (7 and 8)
3. NFL season is no longer this weird ambiguity springing from regular seasons and playoffs of one "season" being in different years
I hate the word "sanguine"

January 10, 2018

npm and new cities for trojan horses A slightly more interesting than average post on my developer blog.
Great comic essay on How WW2 nostalgia plus 9/11 let conservatives erase what we learned in Vietnam.

January 11, 2018

From my devblog - Dunno if anyone will find this useful, but geeks on macs who want to add simple captions to a series of images and then make a PDF from 'em might find it a decent solution...
If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life - and only then will I be free to become myself.
Martin Heidegger

Huh guess it's ok to write "shithole" without asterisking or anything on news outlets now. Thanks Donald!
Why is it usually drawn as science vs religion when there's philosophy to split the difference?

January 12, 2018

You stand at the window.
There is a glass cloud in the shape of a heart.
There are the wind's sighs that are like caves in your speech.
You are the ghost in the tree outside.

The street is quiet.
The weather, like tomorrow, like your life,
is partially here, partially up in the air.
There is nothing you can do.

The good life gives no warning.
It weathers the climates of despair
and appears, on foot, unrecognized, offering nothing,
and you are there.
Mark Strand

bad artists copy


from badartistscopy.1
I tried to replicate the much more compelling effect of Line Girl by Low Sugar Eye Candy, who has a lot more practice at it than I do.
I think people are missing the point of the shithole comment.... Trump fans are ok with a vulgarian raging asshole in the white house, so long as he's not liberal or AT ALL likely to make them feel dumb, and probably agree with the tweet "If they aren't shithole countries, why don't their citizens stay there? Let's be honest. Call it like it is."

These same fans are too "AMERICA NUMBER ONE WOOOOOO" to get the obvious counter, as another tweet put it 'Norwegians: "We have health care, free college, a living wage, and great social services. Why would we move to your shithole of a nation?"'

I wish we had a full transcript, because I think the real bit of dumbassery, besides his brutally inhumane lack of understanding of "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses", is that he thinks immigration is just a kind of proactive thing by the target country. The context was the immigration lottery, about limits on people from "the shithole countries" and he's all like we'd like to see "more people from places like Norway". Besides the likely racism guiding his country preferences, besides the history of US meddling that helped make those nations into "shitholes" 'cause we had some money to be made and some political agendas to followup on... well, to give him the benefit of the doubt, he'd love to "Make America Great Again" enough that we'd be appealing to Norwegians, but unless they're big fans of wealth-oligarchical kakocracies, they're going to stay away.

I know it's only half an hour ago, but I'm surprised Hawaii's false alarm to cellphones ("Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill") ain't bigger news yet.

Related: awaiting reports of a sharp decrease in sales of laxatives on big island of Hawaii.
Forecast for Sex By 50 When You Are a 46-Year-Old Black Woman This is sweet and brilliant. It reminds me of all the great African-American literature I got to read in college. (Admittedly I was initially driven by looking for double credits for my English major and my school's "world cultures" requirement, but it was great stuff.)

Life is a hard battle anyway. If we laugh and sing a little as we fight the good fight of freedom, it makes it all go easier. I will not allow my life's light to be determined by the darkness around me.
Sojourner Truth

The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. His phone rings. "Hi, this is Rachel from Card Services calling about your credit card account..."

January 14, 2018

I wrote a very short story:
Charlie Brown looked at his ten year old son, still wiping the tears from his eyes. He knew what his son was going through, he had been through it all before. He wanted to tell him everything he had learned over the years, that sometimes people let you down but you can never let that stop you from trying. That kids can be selfish and mean, but if you let others define your self-worth, you'll never be truly comfortable with yourself. He saw his son looking up at him, eyes wet and open, searching for any comfort that his father could offer him
"Wah-Wah," said Charlie Brown, tromboningly. "Wah Wah wawaWAH, Wah wah wawa"

January 15, 2018

Why is F***, Marry, Kill (or its clever hipster variations like "kill, betray, have on your zombie apocalypse team") even a thing? What kind of dumbass triage is that, even? Like either the answers, based on the given choices, are obvious, or you're having to say you kill something you probably like well enough or marry something you hate.

Can someone point me to one that was funny or insightful?

January 16, 2018

I posted this link to the Consolation of Philosophy webcomic a year ago. Man, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal really gets me. Like, REALLY gets me... ""There's so much stuff that matters, but so little of it matters to my well-being!"
The bad UI that scared the bajeebers out of Hawaii

Trying to remember you is like carrying water in my hands a long distance
Stephen Dobyn.
What an image! I love metaphors that reveal further parallels as you think about it more.
[during lull in conversation] maybe people who say the earth is flat are thinking of maps

Fake News, and Meta Fake News.


There was a survey out with a some disturbing results about "Fake News".

The WaPo headline is "Study: 42 percent of Republicans believe accurate -- but negative -- stories qualify as 'fake news'"

But the paragraph I see at Politico says
Asked to rate "Accurate news stories casting a politician or political group in a negative light," Democrats said 26 percent always, 50 percent sometimes, 22 percent never, while Republicans replied 42 percent always, 46 percent sometimes, 10 percent never.
That 42% to 26% is still something, but a lot less than the headline might suggest. And complicating that is this line from WaPo:
Four in 10 [or 42 percent of] Republicans consider accurate news stories that cast a politician or political group in a negative light to always be "fake news." [The corresponding figure for Democrats is 17 percent.]
So reading the damn PDF -- Politico is attributing to Democrats what the chart in the PDF says is Independents??? The numbers for Democrats are 17% always, 55% sometimes, 25% never

Yeesh. So I'd say WaPo is more accurate. And while 17 is too damn high, it's significantly less than 26 and ESPECIALLY 42. It is pathetic and sad that this is all lumped under "FAKE NEWS" when "BIASED NEWS" would do the damn job. (In my Morality OCD, objective truth is CRITICAL even as I understand that the presenting and withholding of facts can add a lot of bias.)

Be Warned: Your Own Trump Is Coming Pretty good Cracked piece on what the Left-Wing-Trump will look and sound like....
Man, that was cool

via animatedscreenshots.tumblr.com

January 18, 2018

For the longes time I had a Sticky note on my Mac desktop "enterprise volltron - dream of".... I guess it would look something like this:

Don't "Help" by stacking plates at restaurants
I sort of hate when people rip on Beats headphones assuming it's just a branding thing, and also that you can truly tell the quality of headphones by pure audio fidelity.

Bass is emotionally resonate, so a pair of headphones that emphasizes that may well be better for many people: see Pump up the music -- especially the bass -- to make you feel powerful and Here's Why People Love Deep Bass Sounds In Music

Of course, I think modern Beats headphones aren't as over the top in bass as the first few years of 'em.

Then again, I am a tuba player, so take it with a grain of salt.

January 19, 2018

Today's random playlist shufflefruit:

"Papas Fritas" (Spanish for "french fries", also a pun for "Pop Has Freed Us") was a pop band from Tufts, their drummer Shivika was in a poetry class I took. This song was also used in a Dentyne Ice commercial.
First, you need some water. Fuse two hydrogen with one oxygen and repeat until you have enough. While the water is heating, raise some cattle. Pay a man with grim eyes to do the slaughtering, preferably while you are away. Roast the bones, then add to the water. Go away again. Come back once in awhile to skim. When the bones begin to float, lash together into booms and tow up the coast. Reduce. Keep reducing. When you think you have reduced enough, reduce some more. Raise some barley. When the broth coats the back of a spoon and light cannot escape it, you are nearly there. Pause to mop your brow as you harvest the barley. Search in vain for a cloud in the sky. Soak the barley overnight (you will need more water here), then add to the broth. When, out of the blue, you remember the first person you truly loved, the soup is ready. Serve.
Dean Alan, RIP. I missed him back in the day but online a lot of people I dig really dug him.

rereading slaughterhouse five

Re-read Slaughterhouse Five. Forgot what a brisk read it is. The view of time is so striking
The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist.
It's hard to figure out if that stance is profound or delusional; but it reminds me of "Still Life with Woodpecker" pointing out that it's a little prejudicial to care about something only because it's animate; there's that hint of shinto-esque animism, that just by having design and purpose and reflection of human intention or desire, there's a bit of a life there.

From a typical western point of view, both views are absurd; a moment in the past is a nothing, just an idea that has fundamentally dissolved, the curtains of steadily moving time having firmly come down in front of it, in fact an ever-moving series of heavy curtains slamming down. And of course we favor the animate; anything animate is more our cousin than anything not - hell, if that weren't true would there be any there there from which to do the favoring?

And yet.

Two other passages that stick with me:

And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.
And also the story of stealing a spoonful of vitamin syrup meant for pregnant women:
Billy thrust [the spoon] into the vat, turned it around and around, making a gooey lollipop. He thrust it into his mouth.

A moment went by, and then every cell in Billy’s body shook him with ravenous gratitude and applause.
Sometimes I've felt a hint of that, like when I hit on a vegetable that my body seems to be craving... it just feels so right.

January 21, 2018


Blender of Love

January 22, 2018

I came to the city when I was twenty and became a fruit seller. It's allowed me to build a house in my village. I feel healthy. I get to eat. A lot of people don't get to eat on time. So I've gotten everything I wanted. The minute you think: 'I have a lot'--that's the moment your spirit is at rest. My spirit is at rest.

I've been using "Google Translate" to help facilitate with Omar, leader of "Banda de Paz", a group JP Honk partners with. My own high school and college spanish is so unreliable... so far my favorite observation is if you translate "rehearsal" into Spanish (ensayo) and back, you often get back "trial" or "test". That makes me think that many people rehearse harder than I do.
Did I mention I was born in Philadelphia?
What I wanted was an image of Trump's first year that would stimulate the imagination without paralyzing the will. The writer Deanne Stillman put it best, I think, when she wrote on Twitter that Trump is luminol, the chemical that police spray on crime scenes to reveal traces of blood. Stillman was responding to a remark I had made about the astonishing profusion of secrets, tensions, lies, and dirty deals that have been exposed since Trump took office -- I was thinking of racial crimes, sex scandals, acts of espionage, political tricks, even the outlandish CIA plots, real and contemplated, that were disclosed in the JFK assassination files. It felt as though the country had been laid out on a slab for a giant inquest, an autopsy of the remains from a mass grave.

Trump had to be the cause. I could find no other. But how the process worked was harder to figure out. What had he done to lift the lid off the coffin? Why had all the bloodstains started glowing? I'd heard it said, for example, that Trump's alleged sexual assaults were the trigger for the #MeToo movement. That may be part of it, but there was something else going on, something bigger: a realignment of power. Many of the men accused of sexual misdeeds had enjoyed protection from the very institutions -- the political parties and media organizations -- that were partly leveled by Trump's election. Silencing women who had been sexually harassed or assaulted was business as usual for the Establishment. But Trump was not allied with the TV networks that employed such once-untouchable figures as Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose. He owed nothing to Harvey Weinstein's Hollywood, which conspicuously advertised its ties to Democratic causes and candidates. Trump's election shook the confidence of the wrongdoers within the Establishment, and their accusers sensed that, I suspect. Had Clinton won, Weinstein, an old friend and donor, would almost certainly have been partying at the White House, which might have given his victims pause. With Trump as president, though, no one knew what the new order would look like.

This is not a defense of Trump. Nor is it an apology for him. It is merely an acknowledgment that Trump breeds chaos, and chaos upends everything. It has ripple effects and unforeseen consequences. Conservatives are so afraid of chaos that they tend to oppose even thoughtful, reformist change, lest it spin out of control. Now they have a true maniac to deal with, and things are certainly out of their control. Over at the State Department, Trump's contempt for tradition and expertise has proved devastating. Morale is down and early retirements have jumped. Meanwhile, the NFL, the consummate fraternity, can no longer count on politicians' support. The league used to do its business quietly, behind the thickest of closed doors, but now its owners' thoughtless comments are leaking to the public: one of them recently compared the players to inmates in a prison. The same anarchic forces that dissolved the elite boys' clubs of the media are destabilizing these other entities that depend on school ties, teamwork, loyalty, and handshake deals. Gentleman's agreements, for good or ill, the ones that oppress and the ones that foster stability, need gentlemen to maintain them, after all. And Trump is not a gentleman.

Any other fellow computer nerds out there subconsciously bugged that a trombone slide held all the way in is "first position" and not "zeroeth position"?

Actually, for my School of Honk'ers that might be curious about the pattern valves have -- I don't know if sectionals run this by new members when they start, so apologies if everyone knows it :-D (For School of Honk, this mostly is about the trumpets and tubas, though or baritone friends we get sometimes play the same too)

Most brass instruments with valves work the same way - pressing down more valves is like moving out the slide on a trombone, the air goes through that tube, so overall the instrument is "bigger", in terms of more tubing = slower vibration = lower sound. (Of course it's more complicated than that, since you have to learn to adjust your lips to buzz at a different "partial". Or it could be simpler than that- with a bugle (or heaven forbid a Vuvuzela) and no valves- in which case you can play nothing but partials. Bugle calls like "taps" and "reveille" make their music out of that- a trumpet player can play all those songs without pressing any valves, or just keeping one down all the time)

ANYWAY, the middle, "second" valve moves you down a half step, first valve a whole step, third valve -- 1 1/2 steps. Which seems pretty weird! I think it's meant to put the more-used whole step on the stronger pointer finger, maybe? And you can combine valves to lower more steps (you might have noticed the third valve is more-or-less the same as first plus second.) Some big horns like concert tubas will have a fourth valve, which will put you down 2 whole steps, and so is about the same as pressing 1 and 3, but lets you dig even lower beneath that.
from The Guardian's 'Trump hasn't just done a good job, he's done a great job' – the view from Muncie, Indiana:
The first is that every Trump voter I speak to thinks he is doing a good job. Since only one of them voted for him in the primaries, they cannot be written off as core supporters. Among achievements cited are cutting taxes; deregulating; putting a conservative on the supreme court who will oppose abortion rights; defeating Isis; and presiding over jobs growth and a record high on the stock market. "I don't just think he's done a pretty good job," says Ted Baker, executive director of The Innovation Connector, which provides office space, advice and support for local entrepreneurs. "I think he's done a great job. It's not easy when you have the mainstream media in your country battling you all the time."
I think us leftists need to look at this. Yeah, I understand these are people for whom white nationalism and privilege isn't a thing for, who will never be Pro-Choice, who haven't seen what will happen to health care, that everything positive Trump has done has almost been an accident or an inheritance from Obama's economy, and that once the Winter Olympic-driven North/South Korea we'll see what the hell happens there, but Next Draft was also right in pointing to McSweeney's parody article I've Been Asking Trump Voters Every Couple Seconds If They Still Support The President.

They're aware of many of the faults of our pussy-grabber-in-chief, but they're willing to chalk it up him being like your drunk racist uncle, but who still gets things done, and some things they care about. Cobert-ian "Truthiness" reigns supreme, expertise can be poo-poo'd, they thought health care sucked before anyway, hey look at Isis, and what the f*** do we care, we're white and Cis. Actually we don't even know what Cis-means hahaha!

January 23, 2018

If you're a Patriots fan, then congratulations on the dynasty getting dynastier. [...] Rob Gronkowski, a Pacific Rim Jaeger piloted by a litter of golden retriever puppies, has long been one of the league's most notable personalities.

RIP Ursula Le Guin. Loved "Lathe of Heaven"

random therapy-ish thoughts

TL; DR: are our emotions as truly us as our thoughts??... also... are our inner children all Tommy Pinball Wizards?

1. Lately I've been trying to chart down my willingness to be a bit of a martyr; I think it has some roots with my "OCD about being 100% factually reliable" (i.e. making it very clear how definite or unsure I am of any simple fact.) Subconsciously I feel as if my personal preferences have zero weight in the world, or at least, they have zero ability for self-justification; so if there's an (objectively reasonable) sacrifice I can make to stop an external, observable situation from going to shit, I am morally obliged to make that sacrifice.

2. Somewhere I've honed abilities to curate many emotions... so that they inappropriate or not-completely-objectively-justifiable feelings get weeded out very early. Other feelings (especially around fixed-mindset/ego-protection "better to not try and not succeed than swing and miss and lay bare my limitations") are more resilient, sadly.... along with impulse control for sweet and tasty things

3. That brings me to thinking about my "inner child"... Or to use another metaphor, the Elephant of my subconscious, emotional, movement life vs my Rational, narrative self. Since my 20s I've tried to grow beyond thinking of my inner-voice, narrative self as "me" but I don't know if I fully believe it, if I really grasp every subconscious process as being as "truly me" as my ability to recollect and consciously decide thing. Or - this just occurs to me now - I act as if my EMOTIONS aren't as valid, nor as "truly-me", as my THOUGHTS.

But maybe some of the problem is that "inner-child" is living a bit of a Helen-Keller world? Like possibly it doesn't have full access to the sensory input my narrator-self does - or maybe just lacks the linguistic framework to hang ideas off of, and so lives in a much less finessed world. (Reminds me a bit of Tommy the Pinball Wizard, that Deaf Dumb and Blind kid sure plays a mean pinball!) This kind of thing might be why affirmations seem so dumb and repetitive, that that's the kind of training and communication an inner-child needs because of those sensory gaps.

4. Finally... reading about Sweden's lifestyle philosophy of moderation called Lagom. Lately I've been thinking about how little in the West- especially the USA, I think - encourages moderation and balance for its own sake. If something is good, then why isn't cranking it up to 11 better? In practice, many people find their own moderation in, say, religion - but I think it's a serious loss that my evangelical heritage really doesn't stress that as a property - this life can feel like an admission exam for heaven or hell, so how can any earthly pursuit truly matter? That's why I built up my ability to objectively rationalize, I think younger me hoped he could lawyer is way out of hell...

FOLLOWUP: On Facebook Dachary said:

The inner child musing reminds me of a tool a therapist gave me ages ago. Because it’s sometimes difficult to surface subconscious thought processes, he had me use a journal and write out questions with my dominant hand and write responses with my non-dominant hand; the theory being, the other brain hemisphere is getting a chance to communicate directly.

I will say it surfaced a lot of things I wasn’t really aware of. The therapist had me write responses with my dominant hand, and “care” for my inner child - I.e. acknowledge thoughts and concerns, respond to them in a loving way and sort of try to rationally reach out to these subconscious knee-jerk types of things. At the very least, it helped me better respond where some things were coming from, and I believe it helped me resolve some things with my inner child.
It all reminds me how much of what I wrote is covered with Freud's Id/Ego/Superego division. (Also this point from the Wikipedia page on it: Figures like Bruno Bettelheim have criticized the way "the English translations impeded students' efforts to gain a true understanding of Freud."by substituting the formalised language of the elaborated code for the quotidian immediacy of Freud's own language." - the original German is more like "The It", "The I", "The Over-I". Latin gets in the way.
So beautiful....


"When you don't have money, but you have #Lego, imagination and determination."

January 25, 2018

My definition of a free society is where you can spend a week without thinking about the person who's running the country.

January 26, 2018

Our awareness is all that is alive and maybe sacred in any of us. Everything else about us is dead machinery.
Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

I started using Grammarly a bit, the free version (well assuming having all your text read by a machine still counts as free) Man... Grammarly loves it some commas.
I think honesty is the most important ethical commitment that we can make, really. I think it's the first that you commit to that then closes the door to every type of horrific misbehavior that destroys relationships and reputations (or in another parallel universe, does destroy reputations, apparently it's not here)
Earlier he was speaking of Trump: "It's the naked expression of power over truth. 'I'm so powerful, and I'm so just riding the right wave at the right moment, that there's no consensus reality can stand in my way'"

January 27, 2018

"A Dad's Advice to His Daughter":


you stupid darkness!


via "You stupid darkness"” and 29 other Peanuts quotes for everyday use

January 29, 2018



January 30, 2018

Thanks to Liz for a surprise gift of socks! Nice thick "Happy Socks" with a great Escher-like tessellation...

I've always tried to keep my eyes open for a better way to describe what I like in music - I listen to a lot of genres, but most of what I like has certain rhythmic things in common - stuff like Bowie or most guitar rock I'll only ever appreciate with my head, not my heart, in part because the primary musical focus is not in the drums, it's just a steady background to build on.

I've called the type of percussion I respond to "funk-tinged rhythm" or "high contrast" (since it is so often that interplay of bass sounds and higher snare-ish noise) but I'm not sure if that quite captures it.

Maybe I could say, the stuff I don't dig just uses the rhythm as an even floor, for steady pace walking, but I want the irregular floor, where you have to dance a little to walk it...

Bleh. Guess I'll keep looking.
Cleveland Indians removing "Chief Wahoo" from their uniforms and stadium.

I would say they go back to the name "Cleveland Naps" (the name they had before, from 1903-1914) but I'm sure someone would pretend it's just as racist as Indians, except against French people... But mostly I would endorse being so pro-nap, as a matter of principle.
Lisa Rocket and her beau Harper shot some fun footage of BABAM's performance before and after the Women's Rally - fun stuff!

Ah, Trump. Putin and the Oligarch's man in the Whitehouse, happy to overturn even a 517-5 vote in the legislature.

January 31, 2018

For my devblog, I got to thinking about the difference in information flow of, say Twitter or Tumblr vs Reddit: The Stream vs The Froth.
Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it.
Swedish Proverb.
(Been reading up on "Lagom", the Swedish concept of "just enough".)
TIL: Brett Favre's first NFL pass was to himself.

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