2019 January❮❮prevnext❯❯


I have mixed feelings about New Year' Resolutions. Looking back, a few good things have come from them for me, but not many.

Here's what I'd like to do:

1. On a DAILY basis I'd like to do at least one thing for Mind (like read a chapter of a book), Body (there are some exercises I've been neglecting that might help get past a recurring but minor arm ache) or Spirit (there's a meditation app I've had languishing on my phone for months)
2. On a WEEKLY basis I'd like to revive my 2001 resolution of "catch up with one person I'd like to stay in contact with a week". This might have been too ambitious when I thought it meant "in person", but if I include email or call contact, it might be good.

(For both of those it helps to have a good Todo app with recurring items - my favorite being "2Do", which handles multiple sublists better than any I've seen.)


3. Continue being less angsty and procrastinatory when tasks are triggering insecurity. I tried to make this comic panel with an appropriate quote:

(I'd like to make a sequel of sorts to, or maybe rather an anthology including So, You're Going to Die, with all the best ideas I've encountered in my 40-odd years here, though I wish I had an advisor/editor whose taste I trusted, to help me how to make best use of the tools I have available (both intrinsic and external) and to figure out if I should commission an illustrator who has worked at honing their craft, or if there is enough charm in my doodle style to carry the day - and if the latter, which of my gimmick styles works best.)

Worth reposting:

annual media roundup

Heh, I was trying to figure out why I couldn't find notes on my procedure to take stuff from my media log database and make the annual writeup, but then I realized I had turned it into a one-button process on the database page. Thanks past self!

Disappointing stuff in gray, great stuff in red, really great stuff in red and bold. The +- after the number is how it compared to 2017.

Still feels weird to think about how I am sort of gamifying my media consumption - plowing through a book I'm not digging just so I can put in a notch as "done", but hey.

Movies at the Cinema (8 (+4))
Black Panther, The Princess Bride, The Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Ocean's Eight, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Bohemian Rhapsody, Aquaman
Not much to say here, though "Into the Spider-Verse" would probably have been a better bet than Aquaman, which was way too "lets make sure we hit every trope, hard". I guess I tend to go for big spectacle films in the theater.

Movies on Video or Streaming (37 (+4))
Dave Chappelle: Equanimity, Dave Chapelle: The Bird Revelation, Sarah Silverman: Speck of Dust, Thor, The Avengers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Slaughterhouse-Five, Snatch, Lady Bird, MST3K: Prince of Space, Thor: Ragnarok, Kingsmen: The Secret Service, Dr. Strange, Captain America: The First Avenger, Ant-Man, Breakfast at Tiffany’s , Jupiter Ascending, Top Gun, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Blazing Saddles, The Disaster Artist, 2:22, The Little Hours, The Shape of Water, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Touch of Evil, Stick It, Life of Brian, Pirate Radio, From Russia with Love, The Big Lebowski, Bad Moms, Seven Samurai, Apocalypse Now, Ready Player One, O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Looking back, "Dr. Strange" has really stuck with me - the reality warping is similar to "Inception", and the way Dr. Strange wins the final battle is quite striking. "Pirate Radio" would have been better if it hadn't been expurgated. "Bad Moms" had a surprisingly kicking soundtrack. Towards the end of the list, I start getting into films I'm watching because of that "100 Films You Should See" scratch-off poster I bought; I was sort of gratified that I was already 2/3 done when I got it - the ones remaining all seem worthy, though some are challenging.

TV Show Seasons (8 (-2))
Black Mirror Season 4, Wild Wild Country, Archer Danger Island (Season 9), Marching Orders, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 12, Monty Python Season 1, Disenchantment, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 13
When "Black Mirror" hits, it really nails it, finding the philosophical implications that good sci-fi has always drawn out. It's been interesting seeing "Archer" reinvent itself and play with the "characters as tropes/characters" bit. I was hoping "Marching Orders" would be a bit more like "Drumline" but it was kind of reality TV.

Books (32 (--))
Life, God, and Other Small Topics, Slaughterhouse Five, Lagom (not too little, not too much), Truly Tasteless Jokes, Letters (Kurt Vonnegut), 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design, Pastoralia, The Orange Girl, The Compassionate Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety, How to Survive the End of the World (when it's in your own head), 12 Rules for Life: an antidote for chaos , Breakfast at Tiffany's, Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, In Cold Blood, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Yearnings, A Closed and Common Orbit, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), Of Mules and Men, My Favorite Shorts, Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, Katamari Damacy (Bossfight Books), Creative Quest, The Complete Fables (Aesop), Envisioning Information, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Cherry, Time's Arrow, Play Anything, YT-1300 Milleniim Falcon Owners’ Workshop Manual, Fire Sermon
Slaughterhouse Five suggestion of what time might be puts it as my second favorite Vonnegut book, behind only the incomparable "Cats Cradle". "The Swerve" introducing me to classical Epicureanism - the idea that maybe seeking personal gentle happiness and pleasure can be a moral good (especially if you have a baseline of 'I'm happier when I act in accordance with solid principles of morality I was taught") might end up being very important to me in the long run. Bell hooks' "Yearnings" broadened by mind on American racism, and with "My Favorite Shorts" I was glad to discover Spider Robinson. Martin Amis' "Time's Arrow" exercise in a life felt and observed (but not lived) in reverse, with poetic swaps of cause and effect, was also striking.

Audiobooks (11 (-1))
Watership Down, So My Dad Wrote a Porno Season 1, So My Dad Wrote a Porno Season 2, Consciousness and the Brain, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, So My Dad Wrote a Porno Season 3, The River of Consciousness So My Dad Wrote a Porno Season 4, Retronauts, The Talk Show, Waking Up with Sam Harris
I guess I moved away from Audiobooks, preferring podcasts (and deciding to mention the Podcast I consistently listen to). "So My Dad Wrote a Porno " makes me laugh more than almost anything else I listen to.

Comic / Graphic Novel (9 (-1))
Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, Star Wars: Dark Force Rising, Star Wars: The Last Command, Mooncop, Step Aside, Pops, I Never Liked You, The Hic & Hoc Illustrated Journal of Humor, Batman: White Knight, Woman World
Discovered "comics on large iPad" which is kind of pleasant.

Video Games (15 (+6))
Florence, Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, Zelda Breath of the Wild: The Champions' Ballad, WarioWare Gold, Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars, Crackdown, Monument Valley, Forgotten Shores, Ida's Dream, Picture Cross, Monument Valley 2, I'm Ping Pong King, Just Cause 4, It Is As If You Were Making Love, The Farmer's Daughter
It's kind of funny that "Florence", a delightful little poem of a mobile game, gets the same rating as the new "Zelda", a truly sprawling and amazing epic, but such is gaming life! Ditto replays of games from a few year back, "Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars" Wizard of Wor like handcrafted gaming fun with "Crackdown", a truly stupid and violent yet engaging adolescent empowerment fantasy. Monument Valley is a lovely little IOS puzzle game I finally got to finish, and "I'm Ping Pong King" was a study in the small. "Just Cause 4" should probably be a little higher, since it's assuredly a more fun game than Crackdown, but since it was somewhat inferior to 3, eh.

Olives are the perfect snack for anyone who loves the taste of drowning at sea

Jerry Falwell Jr:
There's two kingdoms. There's the earthly kingdom and the heavenly kingdom. In the heavenly kingdom the responsibility is to treat others as you'd like to be treated. In the earthly kingdom, the responsibility is to choose leaders who will do what's best for your country. Think about it. Why have Americans been able to do more to help people in need around the world than any other country in history? It's because of free enterprise, freedom, ingenuity, entrepreneurism and wealth. A poor person never gave anyone a job. A poor person never gave anybody charity, not of any real volume. It's just common sense to me.
You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!
Mark 7:9

A Hippo is faster than a human both on land and in water, so the bicycle is your only chance to beat it in triathlon

december 2018 new music playlist

4-star in red.
"Coco" is a really fun Día de Muertos film. Always remember: hide in the tuba.

best photos of 2017

A year late but making good time...

Open Photo Gallery

Butterfly. Dig the texture!

Not 100% I took this photo at Cambridge RiverSing but I should have...

BABAM Boogying at Pride with Elizabeth Warren!

Boozy photo by Candace...

I am bad at eating pickles.

Cora looks skeptical.

Always fun looking through art with a beloved one.

Row of horns from HONK!Tx

Pretty leaf...

Big horn, little person.

Lots of dots.

Cozy Christmas!

[I] am rarely happier than when spending an entire day programming my computer to perform automatically a task that would otherwise take me a good ten seconds to do by hand.
Douglas Adams
Reminded of that quote after posting this devblog entry

second best photos of 2017

talk about a day late and a dollar short - the second best photos I took in 2017...

Open Photo Gallery

I love the inverse-rain-shadow my tuba made - unfortunately you have to look closely to see it.

I was fascinated by the criss-cross light at Cora's watertable.
Dramatic shadows at the office.

Lego Giraffe at Assembly Row

Tubas in Texas

Melissa's Best Little Buddy

Valentine's offering. Somehow it's the texture of the cloth that makes that one.

Big sky at Asbury Park

Somerville tends to run its Trum Fields fireworks a week early, and you can see them from our windows.

This photo rocks.

My horn Scheiny and a little friend.

The world in Melissa's shades...

You don't own the atoms in your body. It's just your turn to use them.
(reminds me of the quote from the movie Avatar: "She said all energy is only borrowed, and one day you have to give it back" )

best photos of 2018

My favorite dozen photos from 2018. Some I find visually compelling, others are a bit more about what the content is.

Open Photo Gallery

Moonlight Kayaking with Essex River Basin Adventures in September led to this sunset beauty...

Jon Batiste (from Colbert's Late Show, and much more) was playing the Sinclair in Harvard Square, and a small group from School of Honk decided to "crash" between sets, playing "I'm From Kenner", a song from one of his bands that we play - turned into an invite to come in and meet him and then close out his second set with him, making a parade out the door.

Big rainbow at Union Square

Just horsing around at the Jodoin's photography studio.

Played some funerals and weddings this year with New Magnolia

Melissa got me, for the first time in my life, to get up early to go catch the over-ocean sunrise in Ocean Grove

A goofy mid-parade selfie to figure out "oh, just how badly is my underlip bleeding?"

Melissa works a few floors down and made up a surprise message for me...

Haven't skinny dipped for decades - but I have posed for pretentious artsy shots more recently!

That last one and this was at Lake George, perfect lake trip with Dylan...

...and with Sarah

Finally back to Ocean Grove, I really liked this shot with just a bit of Melissa in it...

you: hey
them: what's happening
you: everything
them: cool
you: literally everything is happening
them: cool cool
you: somethings, like stones, are happening slowly
them: ok
you: other things like love or weather are happening faster
them: well, good to see you

Melissa and I have "Iron Man 3" on in the background on SyFy. Commercials are a weird alternation: Pizza, Fitness, Pizza, Fitness, Pizza, Fitness....

January 7, 2019

The author writes about renunciation, says that when you give something up--alcohol, drug, person--it leaves a void inside of you that something else will rush in to fill. Augustine's God-shaped hole. But some people, she says, realize the emptiness itself is God. That a Zen master once described enlightenment as Lots of space and nothing holy.
Jamie Quatro, "Fire Sermon"

Brain scans show believers react with less stress to their mistakes than atheists. Regardless of where one is on the metaphysical vs supernatural feeling of what God is, feeling like something is in control seems to be a useful point of view.

January 8, 2019

Louis CK is a good reminder that when people with power ask for respect it's called "civility" and is sacred, but when people without power ask for respect it's called "political correctness" and is the butt of jokes

all wireless headphones look kind of goofy to me... Normal headphones end up looking like earmuffs, and AirPods have that weird Star Trek Uhura vibe. I favor BeatsX- the behind the neck loop is kinda like what a librarian would use to keep glasses dangling from her neck, which is a slightly better look IMO. But wireless somehow lacks dignity.

January 9, 2019

All these random things with USB charging cables are coasting on a decade of smartphone upgrades leaving the little "wall outlet power to USB" cubes behind
Backing a tanker truck up to my house and pumping 80,000 litres of custard into the loungeroom because it sparks joy
that was in response to @figgled's
Start of cleaning: I am a calm minimalist earth goddess
10 minutes later: Marie Kondo can suck my left titty I love my numerous towers of dusty junk that have given me depression

TIL: my 20-something coworkers are unfamiliar with the phrase "jumped the shark". How old am I? That's like a... 90s reference, right? (though to a 70s show, but I knew "jump the shark" before I knew it was a Happy Days reference...)

January 10, 2019

Grief, I’ve learned, is really love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot give. The more you loved someone, the more you grieve. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes and in that part of your chest that gets empty and hollow feeling. The happiness of love turns to sadness when unspent. Grief is just love with no place to go.

I'm probably late to the party on this, but Monster Factory (as recommended by Movies with Mikey) is so far up my alley it has its own onramp - LOL funny in the original sense.

Basically, slam the best of Mystery Science Theater together with video games (ideally open-worldish ones with extensive 'build your own characters') and this the result - where MST3K is limited to being a frame for a static piece of work, Monster Factory leverages the inherit feedback loop of games where the player can interact with and change the course of the action, beyond merely interpreting.

The only one I've fully watched is Saints Row 3:

Part of the shtick there is their monster child creation is against crimes, so they play a bit of that "try to do the game obeying all laws" thing, but Saints Row, even more so than GTA, really isn't that kind of game...

In general I love "make your own game within the game" My favorite personal example was in Mario Double Dash, where the Dry Dry Desert has a wandering tornado hazard. One time my estranged buddy EB and I decided not to finish, but instead invented a game where you get as close as possible to the twister without being sucked in. Of course, parking just outside the danger zone was just an invitation to be nudged in by the other player... I should make that idea into a multiplayer game.

Never, ever give up. Don't give up. Don't allow it to happen. If there's a concrete wall in front of you, go through it. Go over it. Go around it. But get to the other side of that wall.

January 11, 2019

For a second time I sat in for a practice with "Art Crimes Unit", a casual little band my buddy Johnny drums for. It's nice to be able to slot into a group as a suitable replacement for a different bass player - not just in an all brass band or as a novelty "hey it's a tuba!"... I have a way to go but I've built up a certain set of "by ear" skills and can usually put down a decent groove. (It's a bummer there's wasn't more by-ear training when I was growing up, but I've heard the trend is to emphasize is it more, along with traditional "play what's on the chart in front of you" skills.)

January 12, 2019

Kind of beautiful seeing a timelapse of weather over the continental USA-- Like Kottke mentions , try using youtube's "Speed Up Playback" feature...

January 13, 2019

My response to a "challenge" going around, where people post a picture of themselves from like 10 years ago

In 2008 I liked turkey legs. In 2017 I preferred pickles. Also I have a short beard.

PS what is this challenge all about anyway? it feels like some weird "build raw data to improve our facial recognition algorithms."


My holiday-season product finally reached fruition: Timelines:

Its my best attempt so far to make sense of the decades I've been around, and clear out some of the natural fog of memory.

If anyone wants to make one of these for themselves I'd be happy to help them.

On my devblog I go over all the drafts that lead me to the final design.

One of those cases where I wish I had better channels to get it to even more people - at one point I had pipedreams of making this a product, but I recognize a lot of people don't have the raw dates or photos at hand, and maybe they are less interested in their history as I am in mine.

January 15, 2019

RIP Carol Channing! I got to see her on Broadway in a 90s-era revival of Hello Dolly! - special stuff.

January 16, 2019

I posted this link to the Consolation of Philosophy webcomic two years ago, and then reposted it last year. Maybe I will start a January 16th tradition... "There's so much stuff that matters, but so little of it matters to my well-being!"

I feel like "Don't Get It Twisted" is a more LGBTQ-friendly way of saying "Get It Straight"

January 17, 2019

RIP Mary Oliver... admittedly I hadn't heard much of her stuff but she seems to be really important to a lot of people--

January 18, 2019

A while back Kottke wrote on Jason Fried's "I've never had a goal". That's a stance that comes naturally to people with fixed mindset; even back in middle school I was pushing back mightily against my mom's proposal for me setting goals for grades, preferring to promise to put in a good effort and see where I ended up.

I mean, I know that's as much "failure avoidance" as anything positive, but still, interesting work gets done. I still have a lot to learn about leaning into those challenges that are intimidating me and challenging my ego about being wikkid smaht and triggering my fear in feeling incompetent, but I'm not sure "goals" is the answer.

What about you? Where does goal-setting fit in?

January 19, 2019

trebek: late summer, nighttime, before the internet, giant trees ushering you home, bugs in the porch light

contestant: what was lost

rally before the Boston Women's March

January 20, 2019

someone was making a software version of the #10yearchallenge, with the wayback machine I had a little amusement making a 20-year challenge for two of my websites.
them: follow your heart

your heart: smoke crack, eat little debbies, date coworker, shop online, retaliate, sulk, waste resources, be vague out of fear, look at phone at all times, mistake pity for love, assume everyone feels like you do, seek distinction, rage at generalities

when you have a bunch of white kids screaming 'build the wall' at indigenous folks it's very apparent that 'the wall' has nothing to do with border security, it's simply a monument to white supremacy
Calvin Stowell on "Students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky wearing #MAGA hats mocked an elder at the #IndigenousPeoplesMarch on the national mall."
Clarification: reports seem to be that there was a scene with those MAGA-wearing kids and some Black Israelites, with the drummer moving to intervene, with chants of the wall being earlier in the story. I think the smirking disrespect is still pretty clear tho. As is the concept that the wall is more of a symbol than a practical response.

It's possible to have action without emotion, just thinking. Spock was f***in' right as balls.
Melissa and I were talking about any silver linings of anxiety, like buying extra detergent ahead of time because you're worried you might run out...
She wanted me to record my response for posterity, after reminding her that in theory you can plan calmly ahead of time, and maybe that could have the side benefit of reducing the anxiety
Patriots/Rams Superbowl? Guess it's time to party like it's 2002.

January 21, 2019

James Harvey pointed out Olivia James is killing it on Nancy:

Unfortunately Tom Brady is the QB Maroon 5 fans deserve

fruit of unknown monstrous geometries

I was on a quick grocery run yesterday when I ran into this in the produce section - on FB I posted this picture and asked "What is this Lovecraftian fruit?"

"Elder Thing Fruit", "Dagon fruit", and "Cthululemon" were all good answers but probably the most accurate was Jessica saying "its citron, also called buddha hand. really good complex citrus flavor."
Why can't we use Thoughts and Prayers to protect the border?

It's what we use to protect our schools.

Sigh. Egghead.io's "Learn React like your career depends on it." is certainly a bit of an earworm for me.

a strong mare you could ride on without giving it a second thought

We made love with a violence and ferocity I had almost forgotten after so much sailing in the ship of the gentle blue silk sea. In that chaos of sheets and pillows, clasped in the living knot of desire, screwed into each other to the point of fainting, I felt I was twenty again, and happy to be holding in my arms this bold, swarthy woman who didn't fall apart when you got on top of her, a strong mare you could ride on without giving it a second thought, who didn't make your hands feel heavy, your voice hard, your feet gigantic, or your beard too scratchy, but someone like yourself, who could take a string of bad words in her ear and didn't need to be rocked with tender arguments or coaxed with flattery. Afterward, sleepy and happy, I rested awhile by her side, admiring the solid curve of her hips and the shudder of her snake.
Isabel Allende, "The House of the Spirits".
This passage stuck with me from when I read it in college, but I couldn't find it in Google Books search - (I was trying to search for "horse" not "mare") and so I listened to the audiobook during holiday driving. (FWIW, the "gentle blue silk sea" is his estranged wife's extravagant bed covers, and "her snake" is a serpent tattoo on his lover Tránsito's abdomen.)

An excellent book and its retelling of the atrocities in Chile when a fascist military dictatorship overthrew the democratically elected socialist president reminded me of the fears some of my Latinx activist allies live with.

January 24, 2019

Whoa. WHOA. It is EASY TO FORGET that Mars is THREE LIGHT-MINUTES AWAY from Earth. Here is a scaled-in-space (but 1:1 in time) video of light traveling from Earth to Mars.

That is super mind-blowing. And - if you'll pardon me playing fast and loose with my layman understanding of physics - in some ways, stuff outside your light cone effectively hasn't happened yet. Seemingly common-sense concepts such as "events happened simultaneously" (Fnarr Fnarr) are not well-defined - and even in something as "small" as our solar system (A snapple cap I saw today: "There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on earth") you can "see" the effect of lightspeed not being instantaneous.

Hell - I'm sort of glad we can see relativistic effects, like where atomic clocks orbiting the earth drift in terms of time, because otherwise I'm not sure I'd really believe that time is less of a "thing", more of a byproduct, if you know what I mean. And if you do, please explain it to me.

(Kottke has some more views of light moving and our planet)
It was on the outskirts of this city that she saw the butterfly. A single white butterfly, wings folded on a reed bed, one November morning. No butterflies had been seen since summer, where could this one have been hiding? The air temperature had plummeted in the previous week, and it was perhaps on account of its wings frequently freezing that the white color had been leached from them, leaving certain parts close to transparent. So clear, they shimmer with the black earth's reflection. Only a little time is needed now and the whiteness will leave those wings completely. They will become something other, no longer wings, and the butterfly will be something that is no longer butterfly.
Han Kang, from excerpts from "The White Book" published in Harper's Magazine

January 25, 2019

Not sure if this should be my band outfit tonight (theme being 70s/80s) but I have been looking for an excuse to wear my varsity jacket (I lettered in "Band") so maybe I'll try it today. The way its little cape turns into a hood is amazing.

Not shown: my name in block letters on the bottom right border  

Also "222 Street Jazz" was the name the stage band gave itself, and that's what i decided to put on the back.

Some memories of Papa Sam (grandfather) who bought it for me. Those things weren't cheap! (Warm tho!)

January 26, 2019

It would be pretty cool if it turned out that amputees can use their phantom limbs to kick and punch ghosts.

January 27, 2019

I [suspect] that we are throwing more and more of our resources, including the cream of our youth, into financial activities remote from the production of goods and services, into activities that generate high private rewards disproportionate to their social productivity. I suspect that the immense power of the computer is being harnessed to this 'paper economy', not to do the same transactions more economically but to balloon the quantity and variety of financial exchanges

For a long while I've had this idea that my preference for a "point of humanity" was the creation of "non-trivial novelty" - or categorical novelty, whole types of stuff that wouldn't be in the universe if it wasn't for us.... this smbc gets pretty close to that idea...

Awesome Interactive Choir Toy (worked better for me in firefox than chrome) - great use of semi-photo-realistic real time art and sound processing.

January 28, 2019

Saw this on pleated-jeans and it made my day 4% happier.

Good site but it may make your laptop sound like it's trying to take off for flight.

January 29, 2019

I realized today that I don't really associate sneezing with being sick. My mom and I share a thing where dairy (or something) might provoke a series of like 5-10 sneezes, but as I think about it, I can't recall a time where I was sick and a predominant symptom was sneezing. Stuffy/clogged nose, sore throat, fever, aches, sure... but not really sneezing.

Do some people's sinus cavities make sneezing more likely? Or something? Or am I an outlier?
"He's the kind of guy who would listen to his meditation guidance podcasts at 2x speed."
At Arlington's Capitol Theater to see "Into the Spider-Verse":
[reaches for popcorn]
"For a second I thought you were going to put your arm around me--"
"Can I even reach the popcorn that way?"
Melissa + Me

January 30, 2019

Since you are one of the few living creatures your house pet sees daily its entire life, you are likely the star of the majority of its dreams.

January 31, 2019

Closeness Lines by Oivia de Recat:

2019 January❮❮prevnext❯❯