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January 1, 2019
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

January 2, 2019
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

January 3, 2019
4-star in red.
"Coco" is a really fun Día de Muertos film. Always remember: hide in the tuba.

best photos of 2017

January 4, 2019
A year late but making good time...

[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.

second best photos of 2017

January 5, 2019
talk about a day late and a dollar short - the second best photos I took in 2017...

You don't own the atoms in your body. It's just your turn to use them.
u/Prof_Alchem (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

January 6, 2019
My favorite dozen photos from 2018. Some I find visually compelling, others are a bit more about what the content is.
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
k_morrissey (in response to @figgled's "@figgled 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."


January 14, 2019
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.

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