2018 July❮❮prevnext❯❯

July 1, 2018

Great comic on Frankenstein and his "Monster"
Read a thing on Tumblr the other day about how 'punishable with a fine' means 'legal for rich people' and it's lodged in my head firmly.

Watched "Oceans Eight" with Melissa this afternoon, saw a preview for a film about literary forger Lee Israel. Really weird to see my idiosyncratic last name out there like that :-D

june 2018 new music playlist

Am I getting to be an old softy with the stars? Lots of 5s and 4s this month.

5 Star

4 Star 3 Star
"Rules are made to be broken!"
"Ees exact OPPOSITE of what they are for!"
Deadpool and Colossus in Deadpool 2

July 3, 2018

The Unveiling

Instead of a pebble to mark our grief
or a coin to ease his passage
you placed a speaker
at the top of his head
and suddenly a drumbeat
came blasting out of the grass,
startling the mourners on the far side
of the cemetery, clanging the trees,
scattering the swifts
that had gathered around the stone
like souls of the dead,
souls that were now parting
to make way for a noisy spirit
rising out of the dirt.

July 4, 2018

Thing I actually predict will happen this year: TLJ-hating Star Wars fans declare the official canon illegitimate and build a new canon from pre-Disney stories and their own shitty right-wing fanfic

Good luck: and believe me, dearest Doc -- it's better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.
Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's
Many compliments accompany our sunset return along the red clay road to town; but my friend is sly and noncommittal when passers-by praise the treasure perched in our buggy: what a fine tree and where did it come from? "Yonderways," she murmurs vaguely. Once a car stops and the rich mill owner's lazy wife leans out and whines: "Giveya two-bits cash for that ol' tree." Ordinarily my friend is afraid of saying no; but on this occasion she promptly shakes her head: "We wouldn't take a dollar." The mill owner's wife persists. "A dollar, my foot! Fifty cents. That's my last offer. Goodness, woman, you can get another one." In answer, my friend gently reflects: "I doubt it. There's never two of anything."
Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory
"My, how foolish I am!" my friend cries, suddenly alert, like a woman remembering too late she has biscuits in the oven. "You know what I've always thought?" she asks in a tone of discovery, and not smiling at me but a point beyond. "I've always thought a body would have to be sick and dying before they saw the Lord. And I imagined that when He came it would be like looking at the Baptist window: pretty as colored glass with the sun pouring through, such a shine you don't know it's getting dark. And it's been a comfort: to think of that shine taking away all the spooky feeling. But I'll wager it never happens. I'll wager at the very end a body realizes the Lord has already shown Himself. That things as they are " -- her hand circles in a gesture that gathers clouds and kites and grass and Queenie pawing earth over her bone -- " just what they've always seen, was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes."
Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory
That last passage might be a little heavy handed but overall I enjoyed Capote's stuff very much, especially the short story "House of Flowers".
good twitter longform on all the wacky video and time editing done by low level parts of our visual processing system:
In my 40s, I feel like my ears are struggling valiantly to compensate for decades of not being a hairy guy.

I mean, WHAT is going on? It's like it could be styled.

inner child psychology

"The first rule of child psychology is that it applies throughout all of life."
I try to think of the right model to understand the part of me that procrastinates, seemingly intimidated by relatively innocuous tasks , and the part of me that makes it tough to consistently control my eating. Jonathan Haidt "The Elephant (and the Rider)" is one metaphor that covers it. But also it feels like an inner child, or maybe a hungry dog - a dog that knows what it wants and can be extremely clever about getting its own way,

I think the other thing to remember is whatever it is, it's a system that's a bit deaf-blind (ala Helen Keller) possibly not enjoying the same rich sensory input that our rational selves have, nor the framework of language to help make choices about it, but rather is responding to the bodies response to its immediate environment. So you have to be so careful about how you train it! Run away from a challenge, and this system "learns" that it's a challenge worth running from - super scary (however minor it 'actually' is) and so lets crank up fight-or-flight. Or food is delicious, and the future unknowable, so lets frickin' eat...

That's some of what the quote is about - in practice, gimmicks we use for kids might work all thorough our lives.

Expounding on this topic for a Letter for Future Cora:
Some people use the "Elephant and the Rider" metaphor - the Elephant being our emotional self that provides all the energy, and honestly, may be where all the capacity for pleasure and enjoyment is, vs. our intellectual/rationale/linguistic "Rider" that THINKS it's running the show, because it's SO good at making explanations for what the Elephant decided to do, but it's not, it's usually just holding on for dear life, albeit with some capacity to urge and coax the elephant to where it knows the two should go.

Anyway, it's tough to train this elephant, and like a kid it's prone to picking up cues and the "wrong" lesson. Like, if there's a minor task at school or work or whatever, and it seems a little scary - you're worried you might not do a good job (and if you have "fixed mindset" like I do - the feeling that intelligence and other traits are something you have via genetics or whatever, not something you can grow - not doing a good job might be pointing you're a fake! A Phony! A fraud!) and you back away from the task, go do something else for a bit... well your elephant learns "man, that's a scary thing worth running from, I better get all systems ready to run next time". (An elephant's fabled feeling about mice comes to mind...) And lately I've been thinking how the elephant might not be seeing the world through my eyes, or having the framework of language to build its "thoughts" around. So, like, it doesn't see the delicious snack available at work, but it sees the rest of my body and my rational mind noticing the delicious snack at work, and accordingly launches a campaign to get me to eat it...

Want to hear a hot take?

Despite what modern core nihilism will tell you, the accidental nature and inherent meaninglessness of life as a biological phenomenon does not mean that our efforts are pointless but instead allows us all to determine what we personally desire out of life. It means we are free to pursue what our hearts desire, and so enables each of us to find our own unique meaning.

Also love is real.

And the majority of people in the world are inherently good-natured.

July 6, 2018

Have you heard of the term "Being Washed"? Not quote -up or -out... anyway it was new to me.

Great panels of Superman and Batman's mutual admiration society:

via Kottke on Batman's Wedding
the chrono, the wall, the stream, the froth - this here is a personal blog entry pointing to my devblog referencing a kottke entry about a neat piece on how early blogs mighta killed the web as it was then. Basically different views from the quirky handcrafted homepage to the tool-produced blog to the streams of FB and tumblr and twitter to the "can never take it all in" froth of reddit...

jpporchfest today!

Here's a little embed I made:

July 8, 2018


Photo by Jonathan Richmond
More photos here (on FB, but works even in an incognito window)

July 9, 2018

I didn't realize until today that 'Weird' Al was a parody of normal ('Norm' Al). I'm 31 years old.

"You can tell when a film was made by how its hero handles a hat. Actors from a hat generation tend to take off their hats on the appropriate occasions, and if they don't, there's usually an implication, like an implication of purpose."
"Whenever an actor from a hat generation sets his hat on a table or a chair, he does so with the crown facing down, so as not to bend the brim. Whenever an actor sets his hat brim down, crown up, I can tell he's from a no-hat generation, I can tell he's young, and I get depressed. I don't like being reminded that an actor's an actor."

Via work Slack, Lara Hogan on First One on One Questions
Is it impossible to imagine a loud noise so well that it hurts your ears?
My comment on this tumblr post (I hardly ever comment on tumblr)
Having true AI and knowing if we should give it the rights we give other sentient creatures is going to be problematic! Such a big chunk of the assumptions we make about where the value of human life comes from will likely not be true (like a being is unique, and can't be duplicated; a being is mortal; a being takes a lot resources to make and to sustain and therefore is a "sunk cost", a being is somewhere in this bell curve of general problem solving intelligence...)

July 10, 2018

Two of the drummers sitting in (well, marching along?) with New Magnolia on the 4th were Berklee students really into death metal - listening to and making it. I guess while Boston's jazz scene is stumbling (RIP Johnny D's and Ryle's) other local scenes are thriving, which was good to hear.

I admit, I can sort of get what people like in most genres, but this is possibly furthest from my own tastes. Just raw gut energy, with so many dials turned to 11 (and a few others turned all the way to zero) In particular, the percussion - the ratatatatatatatatatat snare - it's so far from the interplay of bass and snare I dig in funkish things that it's a territory I'm completely lost in.

jp honk at jp porchfest

JP Honk @ JP Porchfest 2018 doing Mercy Mercy Mercy -

from a playlist of six videos from new member Sam

July 12, 2018

At work, we've started a UI reading group and our first book is Edward R. Tufte's (pronounced so it fits the rhyme of Humpty Dance") Envisioning Information.

Unrelatedly, I live in Boston. I always claimed the geometry of the streets was "non-Euclidean", since at the end of Route 2, you can decide to turn left and drive to Harvard Square, or you can decide to turn right and drive to Harvard Square. (I said it jokingly, but someone pointed out, if you define "non-Euclidean" as "the shortest path between two locations ISN'T a straight line" I'm not wrong!)

(Also only semi-relatedly; I used to live in Euclid, Ohio.)

Anyway, Geoff Boeing made this lovely infographic showing the cardinal orientation of streets in major cities:

So good. You can see what a mess Boston and Charlotte have made of themselves.
Security code for work.

Sleep is your body having had enough of you and wanting some time alone.

July 13, 2018

flexible beyond belief:

The Wii is now as old as the Nintendo 64 was when the Wii was first released

July 14, 2018

Remember, the end is nearer.

BRIDE: (QUIETLY, TEARFUL) Ladies and gentleman... I'm afraid there won't be a wedding after all. Because, you see... my fiance has... has died.

proud of my mom

Read this "Thought from the Shower" the other day and it startled me as being such an excellent point:
Sometimes, your parents just want to know you're just as proud of them as they are of you.
So, disconnected from any holiday or birthday, and know I'm to sure to miss or gloss over many admirable things my mom has done: I'm very proud of my mom.

As the nickname (bestowed early by her younger yet more worldly sister) "Betty the Good" suggests, she has led such a highly moraled and principled life, mostly obviously in the context of The Salvation Army.

I don't know that much about her early life, but some of it involves working her way through University with less financial aid than she deserved because her folks were shy of opening their finances to institutions. (And I know she made the decision to go to college rather than straight to The Salvation Army's "seminary", the School for Officer Training, on the advice of elders in the 'Army - a lesson in what it means to be a well-educated and informed person in the world)

And then she became a Salvation Army Officer! That's a life-long commitment, and a job that extends beyond the 9-to-5 - not to mentions insisting you give up deciding where you're going to live, and when you're going to move, and requires vast swaths of dedication to both God and your fellow Man.

Later my view switches to my partnership with my dad. Family lore is that achieving pregnancy took some effort, so obviously I'm grateful for that and proud of whatever persistence that took.

She and my dad had a neatly symmetrical relationship both in their ministry and in the domestic sphere, modeling a kind of feminism-friendly balance that has stuck with me even now. But even with assignments at some very challenging 'Army churches, she managed to find time for local musical theater, always a pleasure for her. And the way the two of them became fixtures in their communities - especially Salamanca - was striking.

Later, she displayed huge courage through my dad's illness and death. And then had the resiliency to go back to school for her master's degree, all while being a single mom. Of course, since I was such an angel in high school it wasn't quite enough challenge so through AFS she hosted *another* 18 year old boy, Marcos, through my senior year.

It was interesting that while I could beat my mom at almost any randomly selected Atari game, with the ones that caught her interest (Bugertime and Pengo come to mind) I couldn't touch her scores. A good lesson in focus and perseverance, there.

(Dang. There's so much past tense in this, it sounds like a eulogy! And it's not meant to sound that way - but it makes me think that the concept of singing someone's praises while they can still hear it shouldn't just be reserved for the elite getting "lifetime achievement" awards or whatnot.)

Back to The Salvation Army. While I think it's a great charitable and religious organization, living its Heart to God Hand to Man slogan (and, encouragingly, seems ahead of the curve on gender roles and racial equality) my mom's politics run reliably a bit to the left of its core, and I appreciate the grace she's shown in those circumstances - and how she's done that and learned to service in NYC, and London, and also many less glamorous places.

Or I think back to her helping me on move-in day at college, when my new hallmates flagged me over just say "Kirk, you know, we really love your mom!" That was typical. Mom seemed to love everyone and often the feeling was returned.

And so even now, my mom is at best able to achieve a semi-retirement, and is as continually active in church work as the regulations allow. I'm proud of that too! (Also, if it's not too impolite to point out, the success she and my aunt have had with sticking to their diet/eating/exercise programs is pretty amazing to see as well and I'm grateful 'cause it means they'll be around that much longer!)

I'm also proud of the room she has given me. I mean one thing I've learned is that parents generally try to avoid re-creating the problems they had with their own folks - and not to speak ill of my Nana, but I know she wasn't always the easiest to be with - exemplified by her application of the classic "look, you've got me so frustrated/worried that I've had to take up smoking again" guilt-trip.

So my mom made it her mission to steer clear of that kind of that kind of pitfall. And even when I shifted into being a bit more of a freethinker, where I went through the adolescent questioning of why on God's Green Earth where there so many religions, she was patient and kind through all of that and confident enough that my upbringing still taught me well and set me up to be safe and morally well-grounded.

Or the conversation we had once, when I confessed I felt, you know, guilty that my course wasn't one of being an uncle-figure and not a dad, and so not presenting her with a grandkid, her reassurance that yeah, while it was a bit of a bummer for her, it was also true that if I lacked the convictions to make family-making and dad-being that kind of number one goal and priority of my life, her strong preference was that I would have steered clear.

Anyway, so inspired on a random quote from social media, I just wanted to say all that.

(I also want to say I'm proud of my dad, but I've written about his achievements already - written when I was 28, on the day I was twice as old as I had been when he died. I'm also proud of my Aunt Susan, who is now the other "folk" I mean when I say I'm going to New Jersey to "be with my folks"... her journey in education from "Assistant to the Dean" to "Assistant Dean" is amazing.)

"French star Kylian Mbappe gives a member of Pussy Riot a high five" during a pitch invasion protest
At work I'm surprised that everyone uses laptops, and many people use external monitors, but I'm an outlier for using the laptop keyboard and trackpad- it's a lot more common to use an external keyboard and then a mouse or "magic trackpad". I understand preferring a mouse, but a trackpad off to the side seems weird to me, at least once you're used to having the trackpad RIGHT there. I guess with external keyboards you don't have to worry about heat if the laptop is running hard, and if you're using the laptop as a second or third monitor you can prop it to a more ergonomically friendly spot, but I still love the arrangement of a laptop with a larger monitor above it, in part because it minimizes the difference from using the laptop in standalone mode.

Any thoughts? Any external keyboard/trackpad/mice users know some other advantage I'm not thinking of?

Blender of Love

down the tubes


Melissa and Me in a view from inside Alicja Kwade's TunnelTeller at The Crane Estate in Ipswich- took the tour of the great house and rambled around the grounds yesterday, with Kristin and Dave and her mom Nancy who took the photo. You could easily recreate the James Bond gun barrel opening!

July 17, 2018

from What Aliens, Blade Runner, Jurassic Park & Terminator Would Look Like As Anime

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
Isapo-Muxika (Chief Crowfoot of the Siksika First Nation)

July 18, 2018


via tumblr

Moon over Lake George. You know I don't think I'd ever watched a moonset before this (in fact, I had sort of forgotten that it does that.)

July 19, 2018


via tumblr

July 20, 2018


via the-ice-castle
Marshmallows aren't this good [referring to chaos around marshmallows and the fire pit] I wouldn't walk five feet for a marshmallow.
Dr. Dan

July 21, 2018


Median number of views a YouTube video had in 2007: 10,262
In 2017: 89
Harper's Index

When we gittee back from de funeral, tain nobody in de house but me and Seely. De house was full but now it empty. We old folks now and we know we ain' going have no mo' chillun. We so lonesome, but we know we cain gittee back de dead. When de spit goes from de mouf, it doan come back. When de earth eats, it doan give back. So we try to keep one 'nother comp'ny and be happy.
Cudjo Lewis, last known surviving man to have been brought to the United States from Africa as a slave, describing losing his two children in quick succession. Interviewed by Zora Neale Hurston in the just recently published "Barracoon"

July 22, 2018

Besides having a kickin' opening theme, Barney Miller was one of the staples of my youthful TV watching. This one guy from the episode The Blizzard stuck with me- he was convinced a new ice age was upon us, and was arrested for assaulting people to try and get their attention...

In viewing the episode I was surprised how little he shows up in the episode, relative to how much he stuck in my head. Later two of the detectives, Nick Yemana and Dietrich are talking about him:
"Hey Dietrich - it's snowing heavier than ever. You don't think he's right, do ya?"
"Well a new ice age can't happen overnight. However, scientists have been detecting disturbing changes in weather conditions, which theoretically could lead to a calamity, such as an ice age in our lifetime."
"I didn't know that."
And then later, Nick, Grodin, and Barney are talking, as Grodin is being released:
"It stopped snowing, Barney."
"You're not serious?? [...] I don't understand went wrong - there was research and study, measurements and observations. Could it be all wrong?"
"Maybe it's just premature, Mr. Grodin."
"It's turning to rain."
"A flood! Maybe that was it. It does make sense from a theological point of view."
"Never say die, Mr. Grodin..."
Interesting to see climate fears back then. I know some deniers are like "huhr huhr we used to think it was an ice age and now we think it's gonna heat up?" but for decades we'd known that adding energy and gasses to our climate system was going to add to some big things to the mix...

July 23, 2018


"At 975x1273 pixels, this Big Bob-omb sprite from Paper Mario: Color Splash is the biggest individual sprite from any Paper Mario game." - via SupperMarioBroth twitter - didn't realize this existed off of tumblr!
BABAM in the Globe, front page of the Metro section.
Here's an interesting fact: no other animals can keep a beat as well as humans can. From drumming to dancing to marching in time, humans have a unique knack for synchrony – repetitive, rhythmically entrained, social behavior. Researchers have found that keeping the beat together makes people more cooperative, friendly, and well-disposed toward one another. It's like a built-in switch for social bonding.

July 24, 2018

On muy Devblog, bad ux is a misdemeanor against humanity redux - ios settings search and calendar
"They've politicized and in some cases monetized their public service," The White House press secretary Sarah Sanders claims.
That's chutzpah!
This side of "Tart Cherry Limeade Sparkling Polar" is making me angry. Would it have killed them to line up the text and the lines? Are they trying to trigger people's OCD? "Thanks" Liz.

lake george 2018


July 26, 2018

Take it easy, but take it.
Woody Guthrie

July 27, 2018

The tattoos, from a woman who was possibly a high ranking person of the Pazyryk nomadic people, were quite striking and surprisingly similar to some modern stuff.

More in the Siberian Times.
Inspired by this tumblr gets deep:

Not going to lie I feel a little judged.

July 28, 2018

Republicans, especially Trump, tend to like the simple state by state coloring of the last prez election map, because if it was acres who voted, it would be even further from the "other candidate had more people voting for them" result than what we got. This Wired piece about Ken Field's alternate maps. The pointilism approach makes a lot of sense...

July 29, 2018

Fun Weekend with the PPLM crew in NH - the grounds with the bog and toads, the petting zoo, the dramatic rain, and Top Gun...

Open Photo Gallery

(retroactively publishing these in 2023...)
I feel that the smile in this CGI render of Toucan Sam is not with the eyes, and therefore might not be truly sincere.

July 30, 2018

According to Mario Pei, more than half of all words adopted into English from Latin now have meanings quite different from the original ones. A word that shows just how wide-ranging these changes can be is "nice", which is first recorded in 1290 with the meaning of stupid and foolish. Seventy-five years later Chaucer was using it to mean lascivious and wanton. Then at various times over the next 400 years it came to mean extravagant, elegant, strange, slothful, unmanly, luxurious, modest, slight, precise, thin, shy, discriminating, dainty, and – by 1769 – pleasant and agreeable. The meaning shifted so frequently and radically that it is now often impossible to tell in what sense it was intended, as when Jane Austen wrote to a friend, 'You scold me so much in a nice long letter ... which I have received from you.'
Bill Bryson (via James Harvey).
This feels like it justifies my descriptivist leaning that knowing latin roots can tell you interesting things (recently in "The Serve" I read how "secretary" is one privy to "secrets" which I had never noticed before) but true understanding is found by observing usage across many contexts.
I have not stopped thinking about this Red Sox fan getting a gift - "I don't know anything, what it is. I don't LIKE it now though, I don't think that I like it because you don't film me when things are 'nice'"
Are any of my buddies a semi-expert on phonetics and the related physiology? I noticed that many of my typos seem like they're "mouth position based" - especially the m/b swap, but those two are generally categorized very differently. Looking at the video diagrams on this app - it seems to back my belief that they are still pretty similar. (It feels like the usual "one is a stop, one is a nasal" split is thinking of "m" at the middle or end, not at the start of words)
in response to a friend complaining about misuse of Excel at work:
I hate excel but for some people it's the duct tape for everything - leaving sticky gummy mess wherever it is applied

Camel Racing, from the best drone photos of the year

What Musical Conductors are doing...
Yeah, we're dumb as fuck over here [in England]. All our words are borrowed or loaned from other cultures except "mud", "blood", "rock" and "stick", which gives you some insight into what we were doing before the Romans showed up.
James Harvey

July 31, 2018

From How America Uses it Land:

A kid who actually was Mr. Roger's Neighbor

2018 July❮❮prevnext❯❯