2020 February❮❮prev

February 1, 2020

Ws listening to Terry Crews on Marc Maron's WTF podcast. They mentioned all his Old Spice commercials, I found this compilation:

Of course those were used so well by Youtube MowtenDoo remixing it with Super Mario Bros:

I am guess the original Old Spice commercials were inspired by the beautiful madness of Powerthirst:

Melissa and I enjoyed the first half of Rick + Morty Season 4. Like with "Black Mirror", there are these brilliant episodes doing a great job of sci-fi's coolest job: taking a single idea and then riffing on it and exploring the details of what it would mean if that event happened or if that technology or culture existed.

Anyway I thought the Netflix Executive in "One Crew over the Crewcoo's Morty" was about as much of a Rick and Morty version of me as I'm gonna get.

"Is it art or landscaping? Look for a plaque!"

February 2, 2020

Why Britain Brexited While I don't think Brexit is a good thing (not to mention the lies told to drive it) this article goes into how over the past half-century the issues of control (internall) vs influence (externally) involved have come up in different forms...
Happy Palindrome Day!

Regardless of if you write the date DMY, MDY, or YMD, the date will still be a palindrome (02/02/2020 or 2020/02/02). This (a palindromic date on the Gregorian Calendar regardless of date formatting) won't happen again until 12/12/2121 on the Gregorian Calendar.

On top of this mathematical palindromy, today is the 33rd day of the year with 333 days left in a year. This "super palindrome" will never happen again on the Gregorian Calendar
Aleksandra Love

Best Photos of the Month - January 2020

February 3, 2020
I admit, I don't think this was my best month for still photos...

january 2020 new music playlist

February 4, 2020
Huh. Either it was a really good month for music or I'm getting soft in my old age - only a few songs were less than 4-stars, and one was even 5...

Problem 99 (Jay-Z vs. Ariana Grande)
Best of Bootie mashup - a lot heavier on the Jay-Z side... really started growing on me.
End of a pile of Best of Bootie I set aside.

F-cking Boyfriend
The Bird and the Bee
Frustrated pop...
Found while looking for Again + Again by the same folks.

Rosie the Riveter
The Four Vagabonds
Sweet little bit of patriotic a cappella... I was kind of happy such an early culturally important song was known for its performance by African-American artists... also love the "Rrrrrrrrrrr" sound effect.
Referenced at the WW2 Museum in NOLA.

The End
The Beatles
My Beatles lore has some odd holes, especially their later stuff.
Referenced in Every Sample from Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique"

Jimmy Buffett
I'm not in much danger of becoming a Parrot-head but I appreciate the middle aged fantasy narrative of this one...
They had a singalong of this on a live podcast of "My Brother My Brother and Me"

Franny London
I'm always a sucker for female-vocalist covers, of a disco classic in this case...
Heard on the animated series "Big Mouth"

Underwater Temple, Underwater Monk
Ollie's Sonic Emporium
Goofy little joke hiphop piece, but catchy.
Via this tumblr entry
Hump Day
Miss Eaves
Super-direct and raunchy hiphop homage to women flickin' the bean...
Ending credits of "Big Mouth"

Compared to What
Roberta Flack
Beautiful lowkey jazz protest song. Great light percussion and bass.
My fellow activist bandmember posted Les McCann & Eddie Harris' version... more uptempo, and I love how you can see the musicians communicate in the video - but I love Roberta Flack's version, which is also a bit more concise.
No One Kisses Like a Tuba Player Can
Brett Harrington
"You ain't been 'til you kissed a tuba player, no one kisses like a tuba player can..." Corny hayseed music... makes me ponder on the cultural artifact of "kissing booths"...
Some youtube recommendation...

Talkin' out da Side of Ya Neck
University of Washington Husky Marching Band
Marching Band cover of hiphop. I dig the chanting.
The national champion LSU Tigers have a Marching Band that plays this, and there were articles about trying to get students to stop singing a dirty version of the lyrics... different Marching Band here tho.

What a Man
Linda Lyndell
The original that Salt N Pepa borrowed from...
I might have been looking for a version of Lena's cover? But like with "Shake Yo Thang"/"It's Yo Thang", I'm grateful for Salt N Pepa covers introducing me to such great songs...
In the Pines
Lead Belly
Old Blues. Known covered by Kurt Cobain, later.
Don't know where I heard about this, but it's interesting some versions are "My Girl" but the original might be "Black Girl", which has a different feel.

Low-key protest song about mass-shootings; the video is kind of an amazing pun that doesn't come out as much in the song.

Unchained Melody
Lykke Li
Lovely soft cover of the song we shmaltzily dance to in high school. (The one thing is the weird repetition of syllables (rivers flow, rivers flow, rivers, to the sea, to the sea, to the sea) - is that even in the original? ))
from the movie "Booksmart"

The Monkey
Dave Bartholomew
More blues. Interesting which verses the Dirty Dozen Brass Band version leaves out.
The "Fabulous Thunderbirds" cover was on the credits of Silicon Valley.

Bad Blood (feat. Clara C)
Kina Grannis
Really sad breakup song.
"Big Mouth" again.

Middle Age is the era of life where you've been doing everything for like at least 5 years, even the stuff that feels new...
Few situations are so bad that they couldn't be worse, which is cause for both thanks and alarm.

from "Getting Over Homer"

February 5, 2020
Two decades ago I excerpted a lovely bit from "Getting Over Homer" by Mark O'Donnell, a funny, wistful short novel I just reread- I can imagine seeing so much of my mid-20s, only-semi-requited-lover self in it, and its story of gay men either dying or being hyper vigilante about AIDS is poignant as well.

Anyway, here are some bits that are either terrific, or weirdly stuck in my head for decades, or both...

Crawford joined us. "That Deco poster is very valuable. He shouldn't hang it where the sun is going to bake it like that. It'll fade. Red is the most fugitive color."
"Fugitive, it flees. It's the color that fades quickest with time." I thought of the ads in the window of the candy store where Dad was shot. True enough, the ice cream and potato chip images, and the smiling, outdated teen faces adoring them, had been sunburned to unappetizing, faint blues and grays.
For some reason "red is the most fugitive color" has really stuck with me.
I think of a story Sean brought home from CYO camp, about an Indian brave so in love with a maiden from the tribe across the lake he tries to swim over to her and drowns. The punchline is, And from that day to this, it has been known as Lake Stupid.

Life is a traffic jam of crosses to bear.

It was a little clammy in his darkling living room, but Sean sat without turning on a light.
I did not realize "darkling" was a word - "growing dark or characterized by darkness."
"Your eyes are different, too. Like if you had been kidnapped and raised by a different tribe." I heard that. Life may be a river, but more exactly it's a river delta, and every branch you choose or are swept into changes your course. Some jostling in the womb, a few minutes between births, a few playroom power struggles, and we who were one were already on different tributaries.
Spoken to the narrator by his twin brother's fiancée.
I like that description of "the butterfly effect"
"Well ... You know what they say, Blooey. Experience is the ability to recognize a mistake--when you make it again!"
An oldie but a goodie...

The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence.
Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.
Carl Sagan
Whoa, they kinda chopped off an important part...
I know I'm more of a in-the-family, fair-weather fan of the Red Sox than a die hard, but This Mookie Betts thing sucks out loud.

February 6, 2020

RIP Kirk Douglas. Here's a chart plotting the rise and fall of the name "Kirk" against his five biggest movies... James T. not withstanding, I think he was the true King of the Kirks...

February 7, 2020

I'm taking Facebook off my phone, I think. Not as a grand repudiation of the site, as problematic as it is (-it's unfortunately about the only place a small-time blogger-wannabe can get eyeballs and feedback...) but just as something that doesn't need to be quite so available to fill idle moments.

February 8, 2020

John Hopkins Coronavirus map tracker.
David J Prokopetz wrote
Wonder bread guy is out; that guy on Twitter who has his own personal murder chamber where he builds elaborate murder machines out of plywood and kitchen knives and then just uses them to pop balloons is in.
When asked to explain:

of course hipster that I am I was doing that over a decade ago:

mini-adventure day w/ cora

February 9, 2020
Mama C has had some surgery so it seemed like a good time to make an mini-adventure day for Cora and Uncle Kirky...

from the collection "Exhalation"

February 11, 2020
I just finished Ted Chiang's short story collection "Exhalation" - about half of the pieces I had already read, but he is truly a master at what I love about science fiction - exploration of the human by looking into what would be different if just a few parameters were changed - a new technology, or a belief system discredited in our world turning out to be true. (At their best "Black Mirror" and "Rick and Morty" pull the same trick.)

Chiang is especially interested in issues of free will and consciousness...

Experience isn't merely the best teacher; it's the only teacher. If she's learned anything raising Jax, it's that there are no shortcuts; if you want to create the common sense that comes from twenty years of being in the world, you need to devote twenty years to the task. You can't assemble an equivalent collection of heuristics in less time; experience is algorithmically incompressible.
Ted Chiang, "The Lifecycle of Software Objects"
The story is about people raising virtual creatures - basically digital toddlers, with similar capacity for learning. He talks about this idea that it might always take a few decades to grow a mind in the "Story Notes "section. I think some sense of human value comes from the way so many years of effort goes into raising it. But of course, humans have the additional "value" that unlike software they can't then be trivially duplicated... Update: my coworker Scott Schmitt, who mentioned this collection, read my comment on human value because of unduplicatibility (and hence, scarcity) and suggested:
I would say, trivially duplicated or reset to an earlier state. Once experience is in us, it never really goes out.
Great quote (the concept of "rolling back to a previous state" gets a lot of play in the story.)
As he practiced his writing, Jijingi came to understand what Moseby had meant: writing was not just a way to record what someone said; it could help you decide what you would say before you said it. And words were not just the pieces of speaking; they were the pieces of thinking. When you wrote them down, you could grasp your thoughts like bricks in your hands and push them into different arrangements. Writing let you look at your thoughts in a way you couldn't if you were just talking, and having seen them, you could improve them, make them stronger and more elaborate.
Ted Chiang, "The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling"
Cool story drawing parallels with a oral-tradition culture learning European writing and hypothetical future tech that would let us quickly jump into any moment we had livestreamed (and which might then replace our regular ways of remembering things...) and what that has to do with our sense of truth and meaning. (Another quote that struck home for me: “Fine,” she said. “But let’s be clear: you don’t come running to me every time you feel guilty over treating me like crap. I worked hard to put that behind me, and I’m not going to relive it just so you can feel better about yourself.”- the ran parallel to some pushback I've gotten from exes as I try to evaluate what the hell happened...)
Lord, perhaps you don't hear my prayers. But I've never prayed with the expectation that it would affect your actions; I prayed with the expectation that it would affect mine.
Ted Chiang, "Omphalos"
Deep dive into "What if the physical evidence for a Young Earth was there?"
I'm pretty confident that even if the many-worlds interpretation is correct, it doesn't mean that all of our decisions are canceled out. If we say that an individual's character is revealed by the choices they make over time, then, in a similar fashion, an individual's character would also be revealed by the choices they make across many worlds. If you could somehow examine a multitude of Martin Luthers across many worlds, I think you'd have to go far afield to find one that didn't defy the church, and that would say something about the kind of person he was.
Ted Chiang, story notes for "Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom".
See also some quotes from The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, a beautiful, Tales of the Arabian Nights tinged study in the only kind of time machine that might be vaguely possible, a portal connecting to different eras (in the story notes he mentioned he took on Islamic trappings because there seems to be an acceptance in those cultures of Allah preordaining everything.)

don't do crimes!

February 12, 2020
Two things rattling around my head.

One is the use of the verb "do" for crimes. (Vs "commit", I guess) Is this a new thing? On Gruber's podcast he was using it in a discussion on encryption (specifically how Paul Manafort thought he was being clever using WhatsApp to communicate for his illicit activities, but the backups were still available to authorities - so like "if you're going to do crimes, don't use WhatsApp to talk about what you're doing.")

"Do crimes" (Or adventures) does sound kind of cool, I admit. Is it a sort of new construction? In other words, are people using it feeling like they're being a little amusing and deliberately avoiding the older fussier and more traditional "commit crimes" or worse "criminal acts"

Secondly, the quote I put in this comic continues to gain gravitas for me.

I'm still wondering if I could somehow improve the comic I made for it- I think the first panel does an ok job of showing the threat feeling amplified, but maybe not increasing the danger. (Or maybe it is a lot more dangerous to have your back to an alien dog...)

But still. So often I can be bullied by the dumbest ass little tasks on my todo list. Like maybe I get anxious that a band I'm in won't be able to pull together a big enough group for a gig... like that possibility is what it is, but letting the email from the person looking for a group stew in my inbox helps nothing - in fact it reduces the chances of finding a good plan B or making a pitch to my bandmates if I think it's a really important thing.

Or, dozens of other tasks that might bruise my tender ego by not being as easy as they should be, or just might go wrong in general.

So that pile of email and undone todos grows and grows and makes it hard to do anything, and even easy but time sensitive things get lost. Churchill was right, I could have halved the danger! (Rather than just self-medicating with social media or pursuing web esoterica, like a junkie nodding off in an opium haze...)

If it's not Mitchell's, get back in the truck!

February 13, 2020
"You and Greg were having a little..."
"You and Craig... so you weren't talking to Greg about this."
"No... what?"
"It's a relief, just because I know, I mean..."
"No I said Craig."
"Fine, if it's Craig it's not as much of a problem."
"Why, what's ...wrong with Greg?"
"Just me and Greg, we've been having a little bit of a..."
"About what?"
"A contretemps."
"About what?"
"He's the easiest, easiest man to get along with that I think I've ever met in my entire life"
"Well, that's the thing. He's almost a bit too easy going, isn't he, and um, started to rile me a little bit, basically I was having lunch with him and my wife, and um, he was just being SO easy going... that um...you know I picked him up on it. And he responded to THAT by... carrying on being easy-going. And at that point I had to leave, I was absolutely... I was in a red fury."
I sort of aspire to being that kind of easy-going...

This is a rather young podcast, mentioned on Beef and Dairy Network Podcast - both are these great and FUNNY, improv-feeling British comedies, really playing in that space of keeping a stiff-upper lip through all kinds of madness and/or personal irritations, both keeping up their own little meta-fictions (the former pretending to be a small neighborhood newsletter replacement, but utterly ineptly edited, and the latter being a long running food industry information source.
bummer if we lose Betelgeuse! And psychologically rather upsetting.

February 14, 2020

i do not want to have you
i do not want to have you
to fill the empty parts of me
i want to be full on my own
i want to be so complete
i could light a whole city
and then
i want to have you
cause the two of us combined
could set it on fire
Rupi Kaur, from "milk and honey"

February 15, 2020

One of the ways that you can say 'I love you' in Irish is 'mo cheol thú' -- 'you are my music.'
Pádraig Ó Tuama
I've started listening to his Poetry Unbound podcast. The poem is read, pontificated on briefly and thoughtfully, and then read again, and it's beautiful. One of the few I don't listen to at 1.5x speed or faster- and not just because of the narrator's terrific Irish accent. Honestly it's a secular sermon.
Just passed a mum with her little girl, no older than 7, who was crying over a skinned knee.
Mum: I don't think we need to cry over this anymore.
Little girl, still crying: This is in NO WAY a WE situation.

I spent way too much of my childhood assuming the Harlem Globetrotters would have utterly decimated the rest of the NBA.

February 16, 2020

Shirt Retirement! Graphic Tees are funny - ultimately expendable, but also often literally irreplaceable. Here are two I'm especially going to miss:

This one I got in Japan in 2008, a Manga-ish frame of a boxer being knocked down. It was my lowkey message shirt when I was expecting a bad day, like layoffs at work or whatever.

Probably my dorkiest and most pretentious shirt - Kay and I collaborated to screenprint a batch of these - it's my favorite exchange from "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" where the titular characters realize they're below decks on a ship, but the last thing they remember was being ready to be hanged...
"We might as well be dead. Do you think death could possibly be a boat?" "No, no, no... Death is...not. Death isn't. You take my meaning. Death is the ultimate negative. Not-being. You can't not-be on a boat." "I've frequently not been on boats."

People CLAIM they like gum, but as soon as I describe it as "putty you put in your mouth so you can drink you own flavoured saliva" they're all "ew gross" and "Ryan why"

Fascinating digging into how No congenitally blind person has ever been diagnosed with schizophrenia - implications for the connection between vision, timing, and how are minds model and predict the world.

February 17, 2020

Melissa and I were at the Brattle Theatre's Bugs Bunny festival - in Long-Haired Hare he plays a tuba! A notable well-rendered sousaphone (so many comics and cartoons clearly use no reference art and draw it like something out of Dr. Seuss....)

Man, this sucks: Cracked on 5 Ways The World Undermines Teen Girls' Confidence.

I'm so grateful I was able to stake out an "affable goofball nerd" personality for myself in high school. My fixed mindset "smartest kid in the place" ego was (is?) tender and needing lots of coddling, but I was able to carve out a social niche that wasn't as worried about standings in social hierarchies- and there's probably a lot more room for boys to do that than girls.

I wish I knew how to start distilling useful lessons for the kids in my life, the virtual nephews and especially nieces. But, like with job advice, I only know what's worked pretty well for me, from my rather fortunate starting places and an affinity for computers, and so have never had to be very analytical or planning-smart about my trajectory....

February 18, 2020

I'm back to pondering on KonMari "does this spark joy" like I was a month ago - back then I realized the answer to "is the joy-spark test a way of answering 'do I *really* like this?' or 'is this cosmically a Good Thing in my life?'?" is a blend - getting a joy out better establishing the balance with possessions in your life. (I like that day's thought on hip minimalism as well)

Yesterday, perusing some sweater-y top things I inadvisably decided to take a chance on during the death throes of the local Sears, I realized the "joy spark" test is a way of counteracting the negative energy that comes with having to admit "huh maybe I was a bit of dum-dum for buying this"... so it reminds me of how decluttering is a negotiation with both our past and our future selves! In the past, as we consider why we brought this into our life, and with our future, as we make some doors of future possibility a bit less open. (Maybe the opportunity to wear this special use clothing item won't arrive, probably I won't get around to engaging in this hobby thing I bought stuff for, perhaps it will never be quite worth swinging back to this old video game system, etc.)

2020 February❮❮prev